Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Defining the Various Forms of Drawing Materials

There are really quite lots of drawing materials that are available for you to try out, and I must add that they are also very affordable compared to say, painting materials like oil paints for instance. It is however by plodding and experimenting with these materials that you will be able to know which one or combination of drawing materials you will fall in love with, and may wish to eventually adopt at the end of the day.

'Biola' - pastel drawing by Morgan Nwanguma

I will further let you know that as a professional artist there is no limiting the height you can assail even by the sole application of any one or a combination of some of these materials. Thus you could stand out of the crowd excelling as a draughtsman in say conte renditions, illustration, or in producing pastel pictures, etc.

The followings are some of the popular drawing mediums that are available to you either as a student artist, amateur or professional.

Carbon Pencil

This is a soft black pencil that produces texture like that of eighteenth century pencil drawings.

Chalk Pastel

This medium is a soft stick of delicate and pale coloured drawing and painting material. It comes in ranges of pale hues of pigments mixed with chalk. Chalk pastel usually would require fixing after use; otherwise, framing your drawing behind glass immediately after use will be called for.


This medium comes in brittle sticks of black carbon material. It is a specially prepared residue of burnt wood; it is only presented in black and usually also needing to be fixed with a spray of fixative.


Conte is the shortened form of conte chalk; it is usually produced in a square shape stick and also mostly coloured in brown, sanguine or terra-cotta red, black and white. Conte sticks are brittle but slightly harder and not powdery like chalk pastel, and will equally require fixing after you have produced your drawing with it.


Crayons are made of chalk or pipe-clay; today it is a drawing material that comes in sizeable sticks of composition wax, and usually intended for use by children.

Oil Pastel

This is a product of the twentieth century in which pigment is bound in a base that contains oil in a basic range of colours. It is easier to apply than when compared with chalk pastel, and you can actually build up layers akin to impasto as you work with the medium.

A charcoal portrait drawing of a man


This medium derives its name from the Latin word ‘penicillus’, meaning a drawing or writing instrument usually in a cylindrical and pointed form. But today pencil has come to mean a black-lead (graphite) drawing or writing material encased in wood.

Silver Point

This is a very fine silver (tipped) rod similar to a graphite pencil, also usually encased in wood. Using Silver point requires specially coated paper, and this method or medium for drawing was highly favoured by such masters as Durer and Holbein (15th and 16th centuries). 

By Morgan Nwanguma

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