Tag Archives: conte crayon

Stages Of A Drawing

11 Aug

Alan 7

Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop, working with one of our regular models, an older man. I worked large, into an A2 sized brown paper sketchbook that I picked up really cheap a few years ago in New York City. Ooooh get me! I built the drawing up with chalk to start with and then made more committed lines with white conté crayon.

Alan 7b

Look. My friend brought me a set of conté crayons back from Cornellisens in London, white, sanguine and black.

Alan 7c

Then I started in with the black conté. I’ll put up the final stages of the drawing tomorrow. I’m off to bed now. Goodnight.


By the way, since February, I have been travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams; cold and stormy, hot and humid, up mountains, through slurry, mud and bog, in all weathers accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials.  Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures.

I’ve done around 50 drawings now and these will be exhibited in my solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September. Please click here to find out more about it.

And if you want to see some of my other artwork, please click on the image below.


Life Drawing Female Nude

22 May

may prone 1

This is the other life drawing I did at Swansea Print Workshop last week, working with a middle aged female model. I am always influenced by the model and often draw each of them in different styles with different media. I am using a very free line with this model, drawing with conté crayons in black, white and sanguine into an A2 size brown paper sketchbook. I like drawing onto coloured paper, it breaks the tyranny of the white surface.

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If you would like to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

A Hand Study

21 May

hand 5

Here’s another sketch from this week’s life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop. I had about 10 minutes to kill towards the end so I did a study of the model’s hand – good practice. I drew into a large, A2, brown paper sketchbook with white, sanguine and black conte crayon and some compressed charcoal. I took digital photos as I went along so the development of the drawing can be seen in the slideshow below.

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I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Black, White And Sanguine

19 May

May 8

Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop working with a super model, such an interesting body. I drew into a large, A2, brown paper sketchbook with white, sanguine and black conte crayon and some compressed charcoal. I quickly sketched in the rough outline of the figure in white and then drew into it with sanguine and then black, adding more layers of detail as I went along. It was also great to draw a contrapposto pose, quite challenging.

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I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

The Quoit Of The King

29 Mar

Manorbier dolmen

Husb and I went for a drive on Easter Monday, exploring some of the South Wales coastline that we hadn’t seen before, the lovely beach of Manorbier / Maenorbŷr in South Pembrokeshire. It’s a very ancient settlement with local evidence of flint microliths from the Mesolithic and Neolithic ages and this magnificent dolmen, The King’s Quoit, looking out over the sea from the cliff path. There are Bronze Age burial mounds, an Iron Age enclosure and evidence of Anglo Saxon farming. The imposing castle and parish church are Norman. It has a railway station and can be reached by train on the lovely West Wales line.

Kings Quoit b

Sometimes the Welsh, Maenorbŷr, is translated as Manor of Pŷr, but an alternative meaning I have seen is ‘Holy (or sacred) Stone’, which would make sense, given the magnificence of this Neolithic burial chamber. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and bright and the beach was busy with families enjoying their Easter break. But it was quite cold and blustery up on the cliff where I settled down to draw the dolmen – you can see what it was like in this short video.

I did this drawing in carbon and white conte crayon onto Fabriano Accademica paper that I had prepared with my home-made walnut ink. This is now for sale in my Artfinder gallery, please click here to see more images of it.

The Old Quarry

3 Jan

brecon walkers 1

I’ve been looking at the photos I took yesterday up on the Black Mountain, selecting some for sketches. I’m using a white conte crayon, which is quite chunky, into a Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’ spiral bound A4 sketchbook. Here’s Husb and Number One Niece walking around the site of the old lime kilns and quarry.

Quarrying took place for around 200 years, from the early Industrial Revolution until the mid 20th century and has left its mark on the landscape. There are some very well marked walks taking in the industrial history of the area. It was unseasonably warm but very misty, we were up high and there was very low cloud over the mountain. It’s not easy to draw small figures with the blunt crayon but I don’t want to transfer to ink and fine detail. I like working out of my comfort zone.

Out Of The Gloom

29 Dec

window 2

I’m ploughing on with atmospheric sketches based on digital photos from the old church in Swansea that I visited a few weeks ago. I’m trying to keep it as minimal as possible, with more black than white, emphasising the chiaroscuro. I’m using conte crayon into an A4 ‘Ebony’ sketchbook by Daler Rowney. I took the photos on my Samsung phone and downloaded them into Adobe Photoshop where I did a bit of tweaking to bring up the black balance, then I drew from the adjusted photos.

A Nook?

20 Dec

corridor 1

Is it a nook or a cranny? Here’s another very quick sketch based on some digital photos I took last week in an old church that is up for sale. It’s surprising how many nooks and crannies there are in old buildings. From the outside, it doesn’t look like it’s been extended but inside, this strange little corridor was tucked away at the back of the building and doesn’t seem to serve any particular purpose. It’s only about a hundred years old so I’m guessing that an architect was involved, so I find it a bit odd that the weird little places dotted around the church were designed in the first place.

I sketched into my A4 Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook with a piece of white conte crayon.

The Spiral Stair

16 Dec

spiral 1

Here’s another drawing from my visit to the old church yesterday. It’s one of those rambling churches in the Victorian tradition, although it was actually built around World War 1. The fabric of the building is pretty sound, but there is a some deterioration to parts of the interior. There is a consortium of different community and cultural groups pulling together to buy and adapt the old building and give it a new lease of life.

The church is full of nooks and crannies and this little bit of a spiral stone staircase is behind a heavy wooden door at the back of the building, leading up to the top of the bell tower. I took a load of digital photos without a flash; the inside was dark and gloomy with little natural daylight coming in from the rain-soaked December afternoon outside.

I used white conte crayon, chalk and compressed charcoal into a Daler Rowney Ebony A4 spiral bound sketchbook. I like drawing onto black paper and I especially like the difference in the blackness of the paper and even more darkness of the compressed charcoal.

The Dark Old Church

15 Dec

window 1

I went rummaging around in an old church earlier today. There were no working lights and the natural daylight was very dim because of the torrential rain outside, so it was dark and spooky. I did some sketching into my Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook with white conte crayon and chalk. The church is no longer used and it’s up for sale for around £50,000 but it needs about another half a million spent on it. A consortium of groups – artists, musicians, community organisations, performers, is trying to raise the funds to buy and develop it.

I loved being in there in the dark, absorbing the spooky atmosphere. I took a lot of photos as well so I’ll probably do a few more sketches from them and I might develop them into manier noir drawings over the coming weeks.

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