Trying something new

I had the chance to come across some new materials I haven’t used before. To be honest, I’m not the type of person that likes to experiment with either materials or techniques. I know it sounds really bad, but not having much time to draw and paint I prefer stick to what I know it gives me some kind of comfort. However, once in a while, I get some free samples of some new products; this is when I don’t really have an excuse for not to trying them out.
A while back, Cass Art opened a new branch in Kingston upon Thames and to celebrate its launch they gave away a very generous goody bag with all sorts of materials.
Amongst some more familiar stuff, like paints and pencils, there were some sketching crayons (Conté Carrés Esquisse) and some watersoluble wax bars (Derwent Artbars), which caught my attention.
I decided to give them a try and these are the results.
I also received a sample of the Derwent XL graphite blockand the Derwent XL charcoal block this week. Finding myself in this experimenting mood, I thought I should try these as well. I did not realise at first that one block was graphite and the other one was charcoal so I used them in the same way, in the same drawing…the graphite block did feel harder and less messy than the charcoal one, but not being very familiar with any of the two, I thought it was normal!
I’m no expert in using these media, so I can’t really give a proper review as I’ve got nothing to compare them against. However, I did enjoy trying them out and if I have to pick a favourite that would be the sketching crayons from Conté. They were relatively easy to use, messy, but not too much. I could get some pretty sharp lines and, at the same time, fill in a big area quite quickly. Also, I love sanguine colours!
Second favourite were the Derwent artbars. I loved their smooth lines, the results of overlapping colours and the fact that they are watersoluble. Bit of advice, as they are wax bars, they tend to actually melt in your hands while holding them; the solution is to be quick and make a lot of breaks to avoid heating them too much.
Least favourites are the blocks. The ones I used were samples, so not the actual size and a bit difficult to hold. They were very messy, and not really appropriate for small size drawings, as the XL in the name suggests! Very good for filling in big areas and do some bold and quick sketches, probably excellent for doing some big scale live drawings.