View Full Version : Polychromos and Conte

02-06-2006, 11:47 AM
Hi...I'm not sure if this is the appropriate forum to ask, but since I've read lots here re: Polychromos, here goes. I've bought a few sticks of Faber-Castell Polychromos Venetian Red to draw with. I've fallen in love with the damn thing! Love the variations in texture and line I can achieve with it etc. I suspect the pigments lightfast, being an earth color, but I've put some samples in a window facing south just to be sure.
My questions are these:
The lines and colors are almost identical to my Conte Sanguine sticks. Are the Polychromes sticks and the Conte ones essentially the same thing albeit with a different 'name'?
The pigments are basically identical, no? Red Iron Oxide?
Are the binders the same or not?
Thank you all in advance for your help......respectfully......Antonio

02-06-2006, 12:05 PM
They are made by different companies. But, you give me a big relief. I just ordered some polychromos for the first time and they are to come today. Now, I am feeling my investment is well worth it.
One other thing I have found. The polys are concidered a hard pastel stick and the contes are concidered a pastel crayon.

02-06-2006, 02:00 PM
I may be wrong, but I believe that Conte's have a sort of waxy binder while the Polychromos have a gum type binder which serves to hold the dry pigment together...the type of gum binder differs from soft pastel sticks to hard ones, which is what a Polychromos is classed as. You'll notice that a line done with Polys smudges a lot more than does a line done with a Conte crayon. (Conte DOES put out what it calls a "soft pastel" but that's a different animal than what most people know as Conte drawing sticks)

That being said, I can't see why they couldn't be used together or interchangeably for most drawing needs, altho you might want to use a finishing fixative on the Polychromos to keep it from smudging too easily.

BTW, I love Polychromos too and consider them far superior to NuPastels or Cretacolor hard pastels. But that is just my personal preference.

PS...yes, I would assume that the basic pigments are the same for both.

02-06-2006, 02:34 PM
You'll notice that a line done with Polys smudges a lot more than does a line done with a Conte crayon.

Not at all! In fact, after numerous trials this morning, I find them to smudge to about the same degree.

02-06-2006, 04:47 PM
Not at all! In fact, after numerous trials this morning, I find them to smudge to about the same degree.

In that case, I don't see how anyone would tell the difference by looking at your work. Take your choice and enjoy! :D

02-06-2006, 05:01 PM
Hi António,

Venetian Red 290 has a lightfast of *** which is among the highest of this line. Earth colour also have a good lightfast.
Light greens and some pink/red colours are weaker.



02-06-2006, 05:08 PM
I got my polychromos today. I have had the opportunity to play with them abit and find them very nice. Good color, ease of working with and not rock hard and scratchy like nupastels. I think I may enjoy these.

02-06-2006, 05:37 PM
I like the jewel like tones of the Polys...they just seem more vibrant to me. Plus, as you say, they seem a bit smoother and "user friendly"; I also like those four sharp corners for fine lines! :D What size set did you get, diane?

02-06-2006, 05:54 PM
I was going to get the 36 but, my hubby seeing it thought it a bit skimpy and told me to shoot for the full one. so i did. I'm glad. I feel, though alittle uncomfortable with spending that much, it was worth it. Lovely colors, easy working, versitile and I can see I will get more than every penny I paid for them. Much joy in my paintings. Much color too. A lovely pastel.

02-06-2006, 06:07 PM
wow diane, where'd you get your hubby???

02-06-2006, 08:34 PM
It was a set up about 14 years ago by teenagers. Very Disney. eeewwww.

02-06-2006, 09:14 PM
He sounds like a prince, indeed! :D I'd say you should keep him!

02-07-2006, 10:52 AM
He's supportive of my art. He thinks I have potential!!!lol.
But, he gets a say as he has helped me improve my buildings. Mr. engineer. Actually, he is very laid back, very sweet and very positive. This helps tone down my A peronality. He also has good insight. Being an engineer the man can draw. Wish he would put some of that into trying art--I suspect he would be excellent. Maybe someday....

02-08-2006, 03:04 PM
Can I ask you Diane where you got your polychromes? Did you do some research for a great price?


02-08-2006, 04:31 PM
Tich, any of the web suppliers carry Polychromos...well, most anyway. Jerry's will likely have the cheapest price for the large set, but Blick's will be close, as well. Dakota too.

BTW, Diane...I like the Polys so well, I have bought TWO of the big sets over the last couple years....one to haul around and one to stay in the studio.

02-08-2006, 08:34 PM
I've totally gained understanding why they are the prefered choice here over nupastels. I can understand you having 2 sets. I like a pastel I can enjoy. GAAs and Polys are just what a girl needs to feel happy----and paper. lol.