Contour drawing is one of the big teachers in drawing and a very relaxing activity. It can calm you down and drop you into the "zone". It teaches you to draw what you see rather what you think you see. Typically it is done at a slow speed while looking often exclusively at the subject or object that you are drawing and either not looking at your paper at all or only looking at the paper occasionally to reposition your pencil or pen. Contour drawing follows the outer edges of forms. As well, it also follows the edges of interior forms such as where a shirt buttons together or the inside creases in the palm of your hand. You can also use contour drawing to describe unmarked parts of forms where there are no edges or creases. Contour drawing when used as a teaching tool requires that you leave your pencil down on the paper and make the drawing by making a continuous line that does not start and stop anywhere but the beginning and the end of the drawing. The term contour drawing can also just mean making lines that follow contours of forms -- like the contour of a face.
< Back to Glossary >