Sunday, June 3, 2012

Contour drawing

"The essence of drawing is the line exploring space." ~ Andy Goldsworthy 

I hope you have had a chance to explore the idea of "right brain drawing." Did you try drawing the faces? Did you get the idea of drawing, not the recognizable object, but the lines and angles and shapes without thinking about what they are?

Contour drawing is a great way of getting into your right brain and really observing your subject. Contour drawing is drawing the outer lines of the object. As much as you can, you follow the contour of the outer edges of an object with your eyes, as your pencil follows along. Don't think that you are drawing a bowl or a roller skate or whatever, just think about where the line is going. Think about the shape it is taking, the ins and the outs and where it curves gently or turns a quick corner. Remember that poppy I drew last week? That was a contour drawing, with a few details added.

Pick an object with an interesting shape. A key is a good small object to start with. Nothing that is iconic or, if it is, try to put the stereotypical image aside while you draw.

Contour drawings tend not to be perfect or even as realistic as you may want, but they are so good for training your eye to really see, and I find they often have a lot of character and a certain charming quirkiness. Strive for a confident line, not a wimpy or sketchy line.

Pick a more complicated object and draw its contours. Don't worry too much about exact proportions or proper perspective. Let your eye just move around the outlines. Don't add any shading. This toy had some good lines.

I think if I did a small contour drawing every day for a year I would get good at it! Maybe that's a good goal.


Janet Burns drew a sunflower. I love the sense of movement in the petals.

Karen Miller did a sketchbook theme page of  a couple kinds of flowers. Then added color.

Jean Shute drew her foot and shoe. Nice value range in this drawing. It's good to see a black black, grays and white in a drawing.

This is Jean's geranium. Isn't this a nice technique? Not sure how Jean did it, but if I were doing this I would start with a very light pencil drawing, add the inked dots, then erase the pencil.

Jean says, "The flower drawing is certainly not a quick way to draw, but it can be somewhat meditative to sit tapping on the paper until it comes to life.  Also easy to camouflage a misplaced line. "

1 comment:

  1. The geranium drawing is a pointellist technique. Terry is correct in that a pencil outline saves some headaches. It works better on a hard/smooth paper. The drawing tablet was pretty soft so it bled a bit. You're simply putting down dots of ink and gradually building up the drawing.