Sunday, 19 January 2020

Trois Crayons

My artist's journey into portraiture has continued with more pencil and graphite work and then into the classical "trois crayons" (three pencil) method used by many renaissance artists.  I learned this first from a video by Gunhild Hope on sktchy art school (in the class 30 Faces / 30 Days) and have taken it forward in half a dozen drawing since and am really enjoying adding the touch of colour from the sanguine pencil and the toned paper.

The idea of trois crayons is that you do the main part of the sketching in sanguine pencil (sangine is the colour of dried blood) and then darken it where necessary with a black pencil and then add final highlight with a white pencil.

I obtained my materials from the Faber Castell Pitt Monochrome set of 12 items (available at great discounts from various art outlets). and I found that a good paper to use is the Strathmore Toned Tan.  I also tried Daler Rowney Ingres paper but founds it had too much "tooth" (it was too rough) and wouldn't give me the smooth drawing effect I was looking for - a shame, as its very high quality paper. 

This set has an interesting selection of materials.  The black and sanguine pencils are like pastel pencils but are oil-based - this means that they don't smudge as easily as an ordinary pastel pencil. The white pencil used for highlights is a normal pastel pencil.  In addition there is a brown pastel pencil , a charcoal pencil and a graphite 2B pencil (perfect for doing an initial sketch as its so easy to erase mistakes).  A putty eraser is include and also 4 square block chalk crayons - like Conté crayons, which are useful for large areas like backgrounds. Also, a 6B Graphite stick.

The only thing you need in addition to this is a couple of blending stumps (made of rolled paper and available cheaply on ebay).

Anyway, here are some drawings I've done with trois crayons.  These are all drawn from sktchy photographs.

I've really enjoyed doing these and I'd like to develop the technique further so I can do more detail in the drawings and get a more artistically refined result.

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