Kurasowa movie rashomon. 1950 Conte crayon sketches

conte crayon
Kurosawa - A sketch of a frozen frame from the movie Rashomon.

If you are into movies with great drama and visual imagery, Akira Kurasawa is your man.

His early masterpiece Rashomon brought him to fame in the west, and rightly so as it is so well crafted with each scene full of drama.

Kurasawa trained as a painter and I have read somewhere that he storyboarded the scenes beforehand with his own paintings.  Now wouldn't they be something to see?

I can remember watching his movie Ran and being blown away by the intensity of the acting and then a few years later finding out that that it was Kurosawa's adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear.

toshiro mifune
Kurosawa's favourite actor ToshirĂ´ Mifune

I read somewhere that the French made Conte crayons (a waxy thick pencil) were well thought of in art circles, so I got a few and gave them a try.  There is no going back with Conte crayons, what you put down stays down, trying to erase just results in a greasy smudge.  The payoff is in the end result though.  A full range of shades from barely perceptible light to intense darks.  They come in at least two colours, black and a rich brown.

These shots are from a working sketchbook, and even though I tried to keep them sharp and not smudged I failed.  As far as I know there is no fixative for wax crayons.

"The art of drawing which is of more real importance to the human race than that of writing... should be taught to every child just as writing is... " John Ruskin 1819-1900

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