Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Geek: Sanguine

Basil's playmate
Sanguine and graphite sketch by Estelle Rocca-Serra
Now...I am not sure about the choice of the illustration here! Personally I find it totally inappropriate; I suspect that it comes in retaliation for the paw marks that were, allegedly, found on some drawings last week… tsk, tsk!

Anyway... let's talk about Sanguine.

Sanguine is a drawing medium, a coloured crayon with a sensual reddish colour, taking its name from the French word “sanguin” meaning “bloody”.

Encased in wood like a pencil, it is made of a fine clay which contains naturally occurring iron-oxide - geeky name for rust - which gives it a wide range of shades from delicately yellowish to deep red and even violet. It has a texture close to chalk, it’s very flexible and can make quite sharp lines, but also blends beautifully smooth.

The sanguine line, compared to the black charcoal, has a softer and almost sensual feel that lends itself naturally to figure drawing with a colour similar to skin tone, it also works wonderfully on coloured paper.

It is said that towards the end of the 1400’s, Leonardo da Vinci was one of the first to see the potential of these red earths for drawing and Michelangello used them for some of his studies for the Sistine Chapel in the early 1500’s.

Source: The material and techniques of painting, Kurt Wehlte.