"The concept of edges is a fundamental concept in art, having to do with unity, perhaps the most important principle in art. Unity is achieved when everything in a composition fits together as a coherent whole, each piece contributing to the wholeness of the total image."
-Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
For me the practice of contour drawing—really focusing on those edges—is the most valuable drawing exercise I can do. Last night I went to my local guild meeting. The program was given by the wonderful Kerr Grabowsky and I was pleasantly surprised to hear her talk about how much she likes contour drawing and how valuable it is to her art.
One of the contour drawing exercises I really like and find challenging is identifying and drawing both the positive and negative spaces. Drawing negative spaces is a real right brain exercise if you can ignore the positive image and just focus on the shapes of the negative space.
Place an object or several objects on a contrasting background—a sheet of paper, a plain cover book, a place mat or napkin, etc. Be sure that your object(s) extend over the edge of the background in one or more places.
Jamie sent her contour drawing of several items, including the same key drawn from different angles.
There is a really nice loose, free feeling to these drawings! I especially like the keys, with their subtle hints of dimension. You can tell she was really feeling the shape of that key.