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An Introduction to Contour Drawing Page 2

Contour Drawing Exercise


contour drawing

Kitchen implements make great subjects.

Contour drawing often uses the 'taking a line for a walk' approach, picking a spot and continuing until the drawing is complete. Along the way, the relative sizes, shapes and directions of lines are noted and copied, a bit at a time. Take your time in the beginning, as the first parts of the drawing establish scale for the whole drawing. A common mistake is to run the picture off the page, having started too large or in the wrong place. If this happens, don't worry - either finish off, use another part of the page for a drawing, or start afresh.

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Outline Drawing Exercise

The Aim:Practice contour drawing with simple objects.

What You Need: A4 or bigger sketch paper, B pencil (any will do, really), or a pen, and some small objects.

What to Do:Choose a small kitchen or office object, whatever you have handy. Pieces of fruit, and natural objects such as plants or leaves, are the easiest. Making your drawing the same size as the object is helpful when you are learning. Place very small objects close to your page, bigger things a little further away. Just pick a point on an edge of the object and continue along with your eyes, letting your hand copy the shape on the paper. If there is a strong line, such as a fold or crease across the object, draw that too. Sometimes it helps to squint your eyes so you can see the 'silhouette' of the object. This is the basic shape you are trying to capture.

Reviewing Your Work:Don't worry too much if the shapes aren't perfect. Think of these drawings as a warm-up exercise - there is no right or wrong. At this stage, all you want to do is practice getting your hand and eye to do the same thing, judging the size and shape of the edges you can see. If you feel you are ready to be critical, place your drawing close to the object, and consider whether the shapes you can see match those you have drawn. Are the proportions right? Have you included all the details, or did you skip the tricky bits?

Going Further: Try doing a larg-scale contour drawing of a complex object. On large paper, you are forced to use your whole arm to draw, which helps you to 'loosen up'.

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