Tag Archives: contour line

Contour Line Drawing

Artists/Art Works That Reflect Contour Drawing Techniques:

Greek red and black potteryHenri MatisseAndy Warhol

To make a contour drawing you draw only the edges or outlines of the shapes you see. There is no shading.

Process:

  • Choose a point on the subject you are observing and place your pencil on your paper. For example’s sake, let’s say that you are drawing a teacup. As you look at the point on the cup imagine that your pencil touching the paper is actually your finger touching the observed point on the cup.
  • Begin tracing the outlines of the cup with your eye. Move very slowly and observe carefully. Now, try to get your eye and your hand working in tandem. As your eye follows the curve of the handle, imagine your finger tracing the same path as your pencil moves along the paper. If your eye moves in a curve to the left, your pencil should move in a curve to the left. If your eye stops moving or looks away, your pencil should stop moving or come off of the paper. Never move your pencil unless your eyes are moving along the contours of the cup.
  • Contour drawing relies as much on your sense of touch as on your ability to see. The line quality of your drawings will be more convincing and sensitive if you can convince yourself that you are actually touching the surface of your observed subject as you move your pencil across your paper (in tandem with your eyes of course). Your eyes may follow a curve deep into a fold in which case you may press harder on your pencil. Then your eyes may move lightly across a soft and expose edge, prompting you to lighten your touch as you imagine the way that surface might feel.
  • Move slowly. This exercise is more about sensitive observation than about finishing a piece.

Journal Entry Examples

1.  Drawing Practice

To boost your skill and practice of drawing and shading techniques, draw the following:

  • Contour Drawing of a cup with a handle
  • Contour Drawing of a pair of scissors
  • Drawing of a small bottle (nail polish or other).  Shade the drawing using hatching techniques.
  • Drawing of a fruit, use cross-hatching to shade.
  • Drawing of three leaves, use the blending techniques (hatching, cross hatching, stippling) to shade the leaves

Note written comments regarding your experience and/or reflection of your work (strengths and weaknesses)

2.  Focus on Composition
Choose three of the objects from the drawing practice to create four thumbnail sketches. Use the following compositional devices for each thumbnail sketch; Triangles, Rule-of-thirds, Cropping, Framing.  Take your favorite composition and embellish it with the shading techniques you have learned. Reflect on your thumbnail sketches as well as the final image.

3.  Research one of the following artists.  Focus on their drawings:  MC Escher, John Menton, Paul Noble, Gino Severini, Claes Oldenberg, Georges Seurat, Edgar Degas.
Answer the following about the artist:
Who is this artist?
Where is he/she from?
What time period did he/she live?
What style is he/she associated with?
What subject did this artist usually draw from?
What did this artist achieve in his/her work?
Paste sample of this artists work.
Draw all or part of the sample work.
What do you think of his/her work (Describe, Analyze, Interpret, Judge)?
What have you learned from looking at this artists drawing?
How will this research broaden your understanding of your own work?

4.  Using the artist research, create drawing influenced by your artist’s work.  How did your new understanding affect your drawing?

Vocabulary:  line, contour drawing, thumbnail sketches, hatching, cross-hatching, blending, stippling, triangles, rule-of-thirds, framing, cropping

Below are some examples from these practice skills:

Drawing: Contour Line Design

In the old days, an ink slinger was a reporter. In my classroom, ink was slung to create a contour design!

I dipped a drinking straw into colored ink and applied a big drop to my white drawing paper chasing it around the page with my straw. I wiggled the straw as I blew to achieve more interesting shapes.

I repeated this procedure several times on the same paper using related colors. With a marker similar in color to one of the inks used, I demonstrated how to draw a continuous contour line around the shapes, leaving a space between the ink and my tine I detoured around all shapes to impress a definition of contour.

I showed several finished examples, noting the variety of contour lines used.

Students noted that thin lines were made with fine felt-tip pens, and fat lines were made with thick markers. Some lines were close, and others were far apart. Some turned around and went back and forth instead of spiraling. Some rippled, getting bigger and bigger.

There was a great deal of advice-giving as the kids took turns blowing their ink-blobs. Moments later the students found their designs were dry enough so they could begin adding marker lines, concentrating on expanding their contours to fill space.

Many students used every color available, others chose analogous, warm or cool colors or other pleasing harmonies. One boy did his entire design in nothing but the school colors.

Contour Line Drawing Exercise

Choose four mechanical objects that are provided for you to create a contour line drawing.  Make sure to draw each object’s outline and no details on the inside, or use of shading.

  • Have each object run off the edge of the side of the paper.
  • Do not overlap any of the objects.
  • Paint in the areas around the objects. You may choose your own color schemes.

To make a contour drawing you draw only the edges or outlines of the shapes you see. There is no shading.

Process:

  • Choose a point on the subject you are observing and place your pencil on your paper. For example’s sake, let’s say that you are drawing a teacup. As you look at the point on the cup imagine that your pencil touching the paper is actually your finger touching the observed point on the cup.
  • Begin tracing the outlines of the cup with your eye. Move very slowly and observe carefully. Now, try to get your eye and your hand working in tandem. As your eye follows the curve of the handle, imagine your finger tracing the same path as your pencil moves along the paper. If your eye moves in a curve to the left, your pencil should move in a curve to the left. If your eye stops moving or looks away, your pencil should stop moving or come off of the paper. Never move your pencil unless your eyes are moving along the contours of the cup.

Matisse inspired contour line project

Week 1/2

Students are to pick four mechanical objects from a variety of choices (scissors, hammers, hole punchers, drills, ect…) to create a contour line drawing.

Make sure to draw each object’s outline with no details on the inside or use of shading.

  1. Have each object run off the edge of the side of the paper.
  2. Do not overlap any of the objects.
  3. An introduction to negative and positive spaces will be discussed. The art work should be a equal part of positive shapes and negative spaces.
  4. Paint in the areas around the objects (introduction to color schemes to be introduced)

To make a contour drawing you draw only the edges or outlines of the shapes you see. There is no shading.

Process:

  1. Choose a point on the subject you are observing and place your pencil on your paper. For example’s sake, let’s say that you are drawing a teacup. As you look at the point on the cup imagine that your pencil touching the paper is actually your finger touching the observed point on the cup.
  2. Begin tracing the outlines of the cup with your eyes. Move very slowly and observe carefully. Now, try to get your eye and your hand working in tandem. As your eye follows the curve of the handle, imagine your finger tracing the same path as your pencil moves along the paper. If your eye moves in a curve to the left, your pencil should move in a curve to the left. If your eye stops moving or looks away, your pencil should stop moving or come off the paper. Never move your pencil unless your eyes are moving along the contours of the cup.

Once the students complete the contour drawings, an introduction to color schemes will be discussed (primary, secondary, intermediate, warm, and cool). Introduction to flat and round brushes will be discussed and loading the paint pallet and painting techniques will be covered.

Homework- Students draw a three 6” by 6” squares in their sketchbooks and choose three rooms in their home, pick three objects from each room (ex. Kitchen/ coffee mug, blender, collider) draw the contour shapes within each square for each room.

Week 2/3
An introduction to the work of Henri Matisse and his paper cut-out art will be covered and the topic of geometric and free form shapes will be explained from his work. Students will outline two 6” by 6” square boxes onto a piece of tracing paper. They will then place the tracing paper over sections of the previous contour drawing as well as the homework assignment objects to create a miniature design from the most interesting sections of the shapes. A demonstration to correct handling of x-acto knives will be presented and the students will then cut out the negative spaces (or positive shapes) to create a stencil. They will then use the stencil to outline onto two different color square sheets of their choosing for designs for their Matisse inspired work. The students will then cut the colored outlined sheets from the two stencils and use the combination of positive and negative shapes to incorporate to the final work in addition to a variation of colored tracing paper. An emphasis of geometric/free form shapes, negative/positive space, and layering will be engaged to the work.

Week 4/5/6
Students will use the variety of examples from the previous project to draw on tracing paper a 6” by 6” square of contour shapes to be transferred onto a piece of linoleum.
The students will carve out the lines and focus on line thickness variation to increase the interest to the work. The students will print several copies of prints with various colors and a variety of colored sheets of paper. The students will choose to carve out additional patterns to either the positive shapes or the negative spaces

Design and Collage

This lesson focuses on drawing and composition skill and is designed to help students appreciate and apply those principles.

First, the students drew trees, plants, people and found objects. To make their images, they applied the contour line method using light colored wax pencils on 9 x 12″ (23 x 31 cm) black paper. Then, they used an arbitrary sys­tem to determine where and how to apply tones and colors. Frequently, they applied the brightest and lightest tones on the edges of shapes and then gradually blended the tones until they reached the tone of the paper.

Using a tacking iron, the students applied dry mounting tissue to the back of their draw­ings. For a backing board, they used 16 x 20″ (41 x 51 cm) white illustration board. Then, they cut out their drawings with X-acto knives, saving the negative shapes and scraps.

Using two sheets of 16 x 20″ (41 x 51 cm) illustration board, the students moved the shapes around while considering a variety of arrangements. When the arrangement looked good, the students used a tacking iron to fix the shapes in place and then put their draw­ings in a dry mounting press for permanent bonding. They used low temperature tissue, which melts at 180°F (B2°C), to minimize any damage that might occur from the heat.

We discussed the many design factors the students should consider:

how to arrange shapes; clustering and density of shapes; orientation and structural axis of shapes; overlapping shapes; repetition of shapes; size variation; balance (symmetry and asymmetry); unity and variety; figure and ground relationships; colors and values; and linear variation and closure.

Then, the students evaluated their projects using this criteria:

1) drawing skills; 2) design and com­positional factors; and 3) craftsmanship.