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How to Contour Draw and the Many Benefits...

Making a contour drawing may seem a little overwhelming or pointless to you. Let me say there are a great many advantages and lessons learned through doing these drawings.

First, let’s discuss what a contour drawing is. Before you can draw the human form, or anything else for that matter, you must be able to see it accurately. Contour drawing is a tool that helps artists develop this skill through the sense of sight and sense of touch.

The contour is the edge of the model in space, or in more simple terms, it is the outline or horizon of the form. Contour is more than the outline; it shows forms within overlapping other forms and so on. It creates the sense of 3D. It is curved lines representing specific forms along the silhouette of the form. Defining contour can be tricky but as we explain how to do the contour drawing, you will see a clearer definition.

How to draw the Contour…

Contour drawings should be handled carefully and delicately to see the great benefits in your drawings. To make a contour drawing, you must be able to see the different variations in the shape of the figure you are drawing. Put your pencil on your paper and fix your eyes to a starting point on the model. The starting point should be on the edge of the model. Starting on this contour, move your eyes and drawing hand slowly along the edge/contour at the same time. (A helpful hint is to turn sideways so you are not tempted to look at your drawing.) As you move your eyes along the contour, your pencil is moving along the paper to draw the contour. These are done synchronized. Don’t worry about your drawing! Just keep concentrating on the edge/contour/ as your eyes follow along the contour. Follow this edge/contour until it ends or changes direction. When it changes direction, establish a new starting point and begin the process again.

One note of caution…Try not to let your gaze get ahead of your pencil. Don’t get too concerned about the accuracy of the drawing. Use patience and practice and you will reap the benefits of this tool.

Benefits of Contour Drawing…

Contour Drawing is a great tool for helping artists to be able to see the model/human form accurately. It helps you develop this skill through the sense of sight and sense of touch.

Since childhood, we are sometimes taught to draw icons as certain shapes. Use a football shape for an eye, etc. Contour drawing helps us learn not to be iconists. We start seeing the subject correctly. In addition, contour drawing helps create a sense of 3d. Done well, it can stand-alone. Contour drawings help us get rid of biases that may have been ingrained since childhood. For more info on learning to draw, visit www.learning2draw.com.

If you have further questions contact us at info@learning2draw.com.

Submitted by:

Todd Harris

Todd Harris

Learning2draw.com is a resource web site to help artists of all levels elevate their artistic skills. Todd Harris, president, of Learning2draw.com is a concept director of a multi-billion dollar company. He is trained in the Florence Academy Method and is fueled by his passion for art. All information in this article and on website is Copyrighted 2006 learning2draw.com.



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