View Full Version : Conte crayon under Acrylics?

02-01-2006, 08:44 PM
Hi !
Iím new to WC and donít know my way around yet. I have been painting with acrylic paint for about a year. I usually do a light graphite pencil sketch directly onto canvas and then paint with acrylic paints. I am curious if I use Conte Crayon will it cause a problem when I paint over it with acrylics? Any advice will be appreciated.

02-01-2006, 09:36 PM
I would think that it might get incorporated into the first layer of acrylic and possibly would alter the initial color. I know it happens if I do a charcoal sketch before painting. I do it intentionally at time to bring the color down and give it a very earthy affect. Subsequent layers are less likely to have that issue until it affects nothing at all.

You might want to try it on a piece of waste canvas, board, whatever and see how it reacts. If you don't like how it looks you may want to consider a barrier layer of clear acylic before applying any color.

Just a few thoughts.

02-02-2006, 02:09 AM
I maybe talking through my hat here (as I am not sure if Contť crayons are oil based), but apparently oil based media won't work UNDER a layer of acrylic paint as the drying times are different (in fact oil pastels don't dry out at all) whereas the acrylic layer would dry out and the whole thing could crack! But I'm a novice to acrylics as well, having finished just 1 painting in the medium, so please anyone correct me if I am wrong.

02-02-2006, 06:29 AM
I found that conte is listed as a chalk (compressed) so it may be something as simple as pigment with a gum binder. I didn't find any reference to it being a wax or oil base. Because of that it may be OK with acrylics.

no guarantee but it seems simple enough.

02-02-2006, 06:33 AM
I use nu-pastel all the time to do my initial sketches and also to keep my direction on subsequent layers. I think that conte crayons are similar to nu-pastel - not sure the differences.

Some paints do not cover my sketch lines sufficiently - INCLUDING titanium white. I find the lines charming, but the consumers don't necessarily. Often I have to scrub the paints into the nu-pastel which then will dissolve the marks enough that they aren't so obvious.

As Hcowdrick said, the pigment in the conte is taken up by the paint and sometimes its a beautiful effect - sometimes a pain in the but (think mud).

That's the extent of the problems I have - definitely not anything major.

02-02-2006, 07:25 AM
I agree with Howard and Jeanette. Conte crayon is a considered a hard pastel and there is no oil or wax content. It is quite safe to use under your acrylic paints (oil paints, too) as long as you don't have a really heavy build up that would prevent the paint from sticking well. The Conte crayon should be incorporated by and sealed within your first layers of paint. If there is too much Conte crayon underneath the paint, some of it may fall away and prevent the paint from binding properly to your painting surface. You can always give the Conte crayon a light spray of fixative before you begin painting. That will minimize any accidental release of the chalk dust. Just be sure to read the label of your fixative to determine if it is appropriate for use under a painting.

I use Conte crayon to transfer sketches to my painting support such as stretched canvas or a painting panel whether I'm going to paint with acrylics or oils. The Conte crayon is a much safer sketching/transfer medium to be used under oil paints than graphite pencil because the graphite can migrate up through layers of oil paint and cause some very undesirable problems in the finished painting. The only problem you may find with acrylic paints is their lesser opacity and covering power. Your Conte crayon lines may show through and need several layers of acrylic paints to cover completely.

So feel free to use your Conte crayon under your acrylic paints. You can even use them as finishing touches in a mixed media painting with acrylics or other water media.


02-02-2006, 09:15 AM
I actually do the opposite; I use my pastel to do some finishing on my paintings and I wondered wether I should use fixing spray and varnish or only varnish on such a painting. Does anyone do the same?


02-02-2006, 03:25 PM
to some degree it would depend on if the work went under glass or was open hung. Even at that i would assume it would at least need a fixatif of some sort just to prevent it from being wiped off by accident. A varnish might be to heavy and destroy the delicacy of the piece. Why not do a few samples and give it a whirl and see where it leads.

02-02-2006, 05:44 PM
Thanks for all your opinions and advice. Today I was in Michaels and I picked up a pack of Conte crayons to read the small print on the back of the package. It states that it can even be mixed with acrylics or oil. In the past I have always thrown the wrapping away without reading the small print.
Shame on me.