Dictionarium polygraphicum. Of the making of crayons for dry colouring.

Dictionarium Polygraphicum:
Or, The Whole Body of Arts Regularly Digested.
Vol I.
London: Printed for C. Hitch and C. Davis in Pater-noster Row, and S. Austen in St. Paul's Church Yard. MDCCXXXV.
The use of Crayons for dry colours is so necessary in taking of views and prospects, and there are so few Crayons that are good of the sort, that I think the way of making them a necessary article to be known to every one, who is a lover of drawing and painting.


As for white we have no occasion of any other, than that of white soft chalk, which should be saw'd into lengths of an inch and half or two inches, [There are little saws made on purpose for such uses about four inches long and very thin.] When you have sawed out your Crayons of chalk, which should be at most a quarter of an inch thick, round off the corners with a penknife, and point them by drawing your penknife upwards from the place where the point is to be. You ought to have a dozen or two of these to lie in a little case by themselves, or they will be discolour'd by the other colours.


Yellows come next, which should be divided into four or five degrees of colour.

1st Yellow.
Take some grounds of starch and flower of brimstone, mix them well with a knife upon a polish'd marble, so that they produce the colour of straw, or a yellow as will shew itself faintly; then pour a little milk to them, or a little pale ale-wort, till the colour become like a paste; then spread the paste on a smooth piece of chalk, with a broad knife till it is about the third part of an inch thick, and let it lye till 'tis half dry; then with a sharp knife cut it in lengths of an inch and a half, about the fourth part of an inch wide, and roll it thin between two little pieces of board, till they are round like a straw, and point them as I have directed for the chalk. If you please you may use ground chalk instead of grounds of starch.

2d yellow.
It is made of yellow oker, ground well with fair water, and then dried and beat. Mix this with ground chalk, in such quantity as it will be a little deeper than the former colour, and mix them up with pale ale-wort, in which a little white sugar-candy may be dissolv’d; and make these Crayons as the former.

3d yellow.
Grind yellow oker with water, with a stone and muller, and when 'tis dry, beat it very fine, and make it into Pastils or Crayons, with pale ale-wort, or size made with glover's leather, boil'd in water ’till it comes to a jelly; use it as before directed, and roll the Pastils between two boards.

4th yellow.
Take English pink, grind it as the former with water, and when 'tis dry beat it fine, and mix it with a very little ground chalk, till 'tis deeper than the former colour; then put to it some wort of pale ale, and stir all well together, and make it into Pastils or Crayons, by rolling in the foregoing manner.

5th yellow.
English pink is to be ground as the former, and to be made in Pastils or Crayons, by itself with pale ale-wort.

6th Yellow.
Dutch pink is to be us'd as the former, and mixt with pale ale-wort, or milk, and to be roll'd and dried.

7th Yellow.
Orpiment is one of the most poisonous colours that can be us'd; however it is one of the most beautiful sort, and is next to orange-colour. This must have a little ground chalk, mixt with it, well temper'd together, and made up with pale ale-wort, with a little gum-dragon dissolv’d in it; and roll them up into Pastils, as you did the former.


1st Orange-Colour.
Take yellow orpiment, mixt it with pale ale-wort, and when it is in paste, roll it, and make it into Pastels or Crayons.

2d Orange-Colour.
Take orpiment and red-lead, (let the red lead be very finely ground in water, and dried) then mix a little of this with your orpiment, till you have the colour you desire; and putting in it some ale-wort, wherein some gum dra gon has been dissolv’d, make into a paste, and roll it into Pastils or Crayons.

3d. Orange-Colour.
Take English pink, grind it well, and put to it as much vermilion as will make it of the colour you desire; mix these up with ale-wort, that has been boil'd till 'tis more glutinous than ordinary, and make it into Pastils or Crayons as before.

4th Orange-Colour.
Take English pink finely ground, and put to it as much red-lead, well ground, as will make it agree able to your design, mix these well with ale-wort boil'd to a thickness, and make them into Crayons.

5th Orange-Colour.
Take some Dutch pink, well ground, and mix it with some red-lead finely powdered, to the colour you want; then with ale-wort or milk make it into a paste, and make it into Pastils as before.

Note, In the mixture of these colours, observe, that they have as many different shades as possible.


1st Red.
Take red-lead, grind it well with water, then dry it and beat it to a fine powder, and put to it some chalk or white-lead finely ground to brighten it; mix this with ale-wort, wherein a little gum-dragon has been boil'd, make it into a paste, and roll it into Crayons. Of this your Pastils should be made some deeper, others paler.

2d Red.
Take red-lead, and grind it well with a marble and muller, make it into a paste with ale-wort, in which gum dragon has been boil’d.

3d Red.
Red-oker wants no preparation, but sawing as directed for chalk, in the first article.

4th Red.
Take vermilion, ground fine, and mix it with some fine chalk, or white-lead, well pulveriz'd; divide the com position into three parts, and by adding more of the white to one than another, you may make three different colours; then put ale-wort boil'd thick to each, and make them severally into paste, and then into Pastils.

5th Red.
Take vermilion, grind it well, and mix it with ale-wort, that has been boil'd to a thickness with gum-dragon, till it is a paste, then roll it into Crayons or Pastils.

6th Red.
Take some good lake, well ground with water upon a marble, and when 'tis well dried and powdered, divide it into three parcels, and mix with each as much chalk or white-lead ground fine, as will make them of different colours,work them severally into paste; then roll them into Pastill or Crayons.

7th Red.
Take fine lake, and reduce it to as fine a powder as you can with water, and when 'tis dry, and again finely powdered, mix it with ale-wort, and make it into a paste, and roll it into Crayons.

8th Red.
Take Indian red well ground with water, and dry it like the other colours; then mix it with ale-wort that has been boil'd to a thickness with gum-dragon. This alone will be a very strong colour; but to make it of different shades, you must mix it with white, each parcel so as to be shades to one another; then make 'em severally into Pastils.

9th Red.
Take rose-pink, and cut it into the shape of Crayons, without any preparation. Carmine is too dear for them; for twelve penny-worth would make but a small Crayon.


1st Purple.
Take rose-pink finely ground and powdered, mix it well with a little sanders blue, till the powder appears of the colour you desire; then make it into a paste with ale-wort, thickned with gum-dragon, and roll it into Crayons.

2d Purple.
Take lake finely ground and wash'd, add to it as much blue bice as you think convenient to make it of a reddish purple, and you should vary this in two or three manners, each lighter than the other; in the lighter sorts, put a sufficient quantity of chalk or white-lead ground fine, and mix them up with ale-wort boil'd to a thickness with gum-dragon; then roll them into pastils.

3d Purple.
Take some lake well ground, and to it add as much Prussian blue as will make it of the colour you intend; mix those well together in different parcels, making some more inclining to red than the others; and to make the faintest purple of them, add some chalk ground at your discretion, and make 'em severally into paste with ale-wort thickned by boiling; then into Pastils as before directed.


1st Blue.
Blue bice is the lightest blue colour used, and must be well ground with fair water on a fine marble, and when it is dry, reduce it again to a powder; then lay it in four parcels, and put to three of them, in different proportions, some chalk or white-lead ground, so that, when mixt, each may be lighter than the other; mix these separately with ale-wort, thickened with scraps of glover's leather; and when they are made in a paste to your mind, make them into pastils, and the fourth part of the blue bice must be made up by it self in the same manner.

2d Blue.
Take verditer well ground on a fine marble, lay it in four parcels, and mix one of them purely with a thin size, made of white glovers shreds and ale-wort; and the other three parts mix with several proportions of chalk or white-lead well ground, so as to make shades to one another; make these into paste with ale-wort, thickned with gum-dragon, and then into Crayons.

3d Blue.
Take some Prussian blue well ground, and lay it in four parcels on your marble, and with three of them mix some chalk or white-lead well ground to make them of different degrees of colour, and the fourth must be alone. Make the three mixt colours into paste with pale ale-wort boil'd till it thickens; and the plain colour must be made into a paste with some ale-wort boil'd, and thicken'd with white shavings of leather from the glovers. Make all these into Pastils.

4th Blue.
Take rock indigo well ground with water on a marble, dry it and powder it again; then divide it into parcels as before, and with two or three parts of them, mix different proportions of ground-chalk or white-lead ground, to make them deeper or paler; and one part must be the simple colour. Put to the mixt colours some ale-wort thickened with boiling, and mix them to pastes; then make them into pastils.

As for the plain indigo, mix it with ale-wort thickened by boiling with glover's shreds of white leather, then make it into Crayons.


1st Black.
The black that is commonly used as a Crayon, is charcoal cut into lengths; the softest and best is that made of willow. Have at least a dozen or two of these, for black and white are a great deal more used than any other colour.

2d Black.
Take ivory black ground very fine with com mon water, add to it a very little ground indigo; for a bluish cast will enliven the black, and help that deadness, which a plain black always carries with it.


1st Brown.
Take for a light brown some fuller's earth, grind it well with water, and mix with it some ground chalk or white lead, to make it in different colours, that is lighter or darker, as you think proper; mix this up with pale ale-wort boil'd thick, and have at least four sorts of it.

2d Brown.
Take some Spanish brown ground very well, and mix with it some fuller's-earth, to make it lighter, for the Spanish brown is a dark colour of itself; and when you have made this mixture, you may put to some part of it a little chalk or white-lead ground in different proportions, to have them of different shades: These are for the lighter browns, and mix them severally in pastes with a light size of fish glue, or isinglass and water, and some of them with pale ale-wort boil'd thin, or thick water-gruel boil'd with gum-dragon; then make them into Crayons.

3d Brown.
Take Spanish brown ground fine, and some Indian red; mix them well together, and to them put some pale ale-wort, till they become a paste. You may make some of them lighter with chalk, or white-lead ground; then roll them into Pastils.


1st Green.
Take some verdegrease, and boil it in sharp vinegar, and when it boils, add a little tartar powdered, which will so dissolve the verdegrease, that the liquor will be of a fine colour; then set the liquor in little gallipots expos'd to the air, which will dry the colour, and then it will dissolve in common water. This may be taken with as much warm ale-wort as will cover it, and will dissolve the green; then make it into Pastils, with ground white chalk, as much as you think fit.

2d Green.
Take distill'd verdegrease ground with vinegar on a marble, wash it well with water; the manner of which is, to throw the verdegrease into water, and in half a minute to pour off the water into a cup, and let it settle; then pour the water from it, and wash it again in the same way; and when this is dry, make it into Pastils with ale-wort.

3d Green.
Take verdegrease prepar'd as before, finely powdered, and mix it with a little Prussian blue in several proportions. In the lightest sorts, put a little white, or the brightest yellow well ground, to make varieties of colour; mix all these with pale ale-wort boil'd to a thickness.

4th Green.
Take Indigo well ground, and some English pink; mix these well together upon a marble, and when they are well powdered, make them into a paste, and roll them up with a foft size and oil into the shape of crayons, or with pale ale-wort or thick water-gruel; but when you use water-gruel, it must be strain’d and boil'd with some gum-dragon.

5th Green.
Take blue bice ground fine, add to it some Dutch pink well ground; mix them in parcels, and prepare them in shades to one another; then make them into pastes, and roll them into Passils. You may have five or six sorts of these.

Note, The liquid you use to make them into Pastils, must be ale-wort boil'd a little thick.

6th Green.
Take rock indigo ground very fine with water on a marble, and when 'tis dry, beat it fine again; then divide it into parcels on the marble, and to some of them put a little flower of brimstone in greater or lesser quantities; to others flower of brimstone and Dutch pink mixt, so that you may have variety of colours. When you have thus made the different shades you intend, then make them into pastes with ale-wort thickened by boiling with white glover's shreds of leather, or a little gum-dragon; and roll them into Crayons.

7th Green.
Grind rock indigo with water, and put to it in several parcels, as much Dutch pink as you think fit, to make your greens of various shades; when these are well mixt, put to them some ale-wort thickened by boiling, with which make them into pastes; then roll them into Pastels.

Note, The reason why these Pastils are better than those in common which are bought at shops, is because they are generally made too stiff with gums, and so will hardly touch the paper; and all these will work freely, and express the several colours you desire.

The reason why you are to make five or six shades of each colour is, because we cannot mix any when we use them; whereas in oil-painting, and painting in water-colours, we can make what mixtures we please in an instant: And when we are about any painting or drawing in Crayons, which happens to have a great variety of colours in it, we ought to have every sort of colour that can be thought on.

Note, These colours should be kept in a box partition'd, every sort by it self, viz.

The White.

Yellows. Lay the brightest sorts in one, and the deeper sorts in another, till you come to the orange-colours.

Orange-Colours. The lighter sorts in one apartment, and the deeper in another.

Reds. The paler sorts, or flesh colours, in one apartment, the brighter reds in another, the stronger reds in another, and the deepest reds in another; every one with its proper shades, till we come towards purple.

Purples. The paler sorts inclining to red in one apartment; the next sorts, more inclining to blue, in another, with their shades; and those which are next to blue with their shades, in a part by themselves.

Blues should follow the purples; put the lightest in the first apartment, the next degree into another, a third into another, and the fourth to the last into others: But the Prussian blue keep quite by itself, and its mixtures by themselves; it serves very well in this way to supply the place of ultramarine, and it is much cheaper, for a Crayon made of ultramarine would cost not less than half a guinea. And besides in this way of Crayon drawing, the preparation of Prussian blue does very well answer the same end, though that colour will not do in water-colours, nor even last in oil-colours, if it comes to be exposed to the weather, for in either case it changes to a dirty yellow-colour; but I find the Crayons hold, by being imbodied as I have directed.

Greens should be divided into three or four sorts, and, with their shades, be laid in several apartments.

Browns should also be put in three or four parcels, with their proper shades, to be laid in each apartment of one great box. And you should never be without Crayons of charcoal in another ease.

With all these you will be compleately furnished; and when you go out to take any view, have one of every sort in a little box, divided as the foregoing, to carry in your pocket.

The Paper which you should use on this occasion, should be Venice rough paper, almost like our whited brown paper, or even the whited brown paper sold at every chandler's shop; the stiffer it is, the better; that which they call cap-paper is the best, as you will find by exprerience, for upon such the colours easily distribute themselves. And by this means you may take figures in their proper colours as you see them, for you may match the colours as they appear with the Crayons you have by you; and, as the Crayons are dry, they will not alter their colour, whereas the wetted colours will appear deeper when they are wet, than when they are dry, which will deceive the eye of a young beginner.

Instructions for the use of CRAYONs.

Remember when you use these Crayons, that you point them from the bottom upwards, and make not the points too sharp, except in the white chalk, the red oker, and the charcoal.

You may make a pretty drawing on blue paper, with only chalk and charcoal; the strong lights and the dark shades make a fine contrast, and a pleasant appearance in a drawing.

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