Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Drawing Class Takes the Contour Challenge!

The Tuesday drawing class and I have taken on the challenge to do 20 minutes of contour drawing a day for one week. At least one drawing should be blind contour.  No peeking!  Bring them to class next week.

Why do we do contour drawing?  Three reasons. One, it develops eye/hand coordination. It focuses you on what you see and not what you think you see. Three, it develops expressive line quality.

To refresh your memory:

Contour Drawing

Drawing is seeing.  If you understand what you see, with practice you will be able to draw it.  Contour drawing will develop eye to hand coordination.  Just like learning a tennis serve, it will take practice, practice, and more practice. 

A contour line explores the perimeter of a shape.  It is not exactly the same as the outline or silhouette, but it may include those.  Move your finger along the outside edge of the fingers on your other hand. Trace around a knuckle.  You are moving your finger along the contours of the opposite hand.  Contour drawing does the same thing, but instead of using your finger to feel the contour, you follow the contour with your eye and imagine your pencil on the paper is doing the same thing.  With practice, what your eye sees, your hand will draw.

In blind contour drawing, look constantly at the object and never at the paper.  Think … my eye moved this distance, my pencil moves the same distance.  If you find it impossible to not look at your paper, throw a towel over the paper and your drawing hand, or put your drawing board on your lap under the table, where you cannot see it.  Do not look at the paper until you have completely finished the drawing.  Don’t worry if you lose your place.  Keep focusing on what you see and letting your pencil follow.  Go very slowly. Imagine your pencil and not your eye is moving along the object.  The finished drawing will be out of proportion with every detail exaggerated.  Good!  The object of the exercise is to practice seeing.  It doesn’t matter what the result it.

Contour drawing is the same as blind contour, except that you look at the paper to check the position of the pencil, the size of something or the direction of a line.  But, NEVER draw while looking at the paper.  When your pencil is moving, your eyes should be on the object.  When you stop to check something and make a correction, your mind will remember.  Your eye, hand and mind are learning to work together.  Concentrate, but don’t feel any pressure about the result.  

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