Life drawing class today, and I stumbled upon a piece of sanguine red chalk today while in the art store. Turns out that the Old Masters really knew their materials well.
While browsing A&C Supply today I was next to the graphite pencils choosing the best variation of leads for my sketchbook when I saw the “Cretacolor Leads” and one of them was red. Now most of the red chalks that I have tried have been bound with additives and turn out to be a bit waxy, but this one was dry as a bone, just like chalk. I was going to by a few but all they had was a couple sad broken pieces on the self, and the clerk was nice enough to give me a piece to try during my class.
I must say I really liked working with it, especially on newsprint. Where charcoal would scratch over the paper, the chalk would roll over it smoothly with a nice line. Thinking about it now it kinda makes since, charcoal is made from wood which naturally has fibers, very stiff fibers, ones that easily turn into splinters. Dragging these over paper especially in the wrong direction isn’t the smoothest. Chalk on the other hand is compressed dust, or dirt like substance, when dragging this over any surface the feeling is much smoother with the added bonus of the ability of drawing against the lead.
After working at home tonight I was still thinking about the “Cretacolor Lead” and I jumped online to see if I could purchase some, and to my surprise, they call it Sanguine!
Sanguine is the red chalk that most Old Masters used when drawing, you will see tons of master sketches in this red color, that is Sanguine. Originally it came in big irregular chunks and you would have to chisel off a good size piece and shape it with a knife. I looked for hours once online to see if I could buy it anywhere, but the only place I could find it was a store in Italy, and it was super expensive.
So if anyone is interested here is a link to the products.
Sanguine pencil, pencil lead, and stick.
The very cool pencil lead holders.
Here you can see that I’m alternating between the sanguine and the charcoal. I’m not sure of it yet.
This happens all the time, I like the drawing when I’m at the class, and I leave feeling great, then I get home and look at it again and hate it. I wonder if its the lighting in the class… maybe its so dark in there that I can’t see bad drawing.