Rather than using value and shadow to define shape and form, a contour drawing uses LINES of different thickness to do the same thing.
Both of these drawings use line to define the subject of the drawing. The drawing of the two leaves, however, also uses a variety of line weights to to better describe the way a leaf looks. Often the thickness of your line should change in places where two lines intersect.
This portrait uses thick and thin as well as darker and lighter lines to better define the face. Lines in this drawing tend to be thicker where there may have been a shadow.
In this Andy Warhol drawing the line weights also change, though not as dramatically as in the last drawing. Notice that he has chosen to use contour to define areas where shadows were cast on this figure.
This Warhol drawing defines the cast shadow with a contour line as well. He also uses different types of line to define different areas-- look at the difference in the line used to draw the jagged edge of the lid compared to the smooth, accurate line of the can opener.
In this Warhol drawing he uses tiny lines to make detail that happens inside the form of his foot. This can be a good way to show a change on the surface.
There are areas in this drawing that are filled in with straight black, but otherwise the detail is achieved entirely with contour. the features on her face really suggest three dimensions because of the way line weight has been used.
Obviously value has been used in this drawing on the areas the artist found most important. After further inspection, however, the contour drawing used to layout the rest of the drawing is extremely well drawn. Notice how the folds of the fabric appear to have depth.
In this Gustave Klimt drawing the thick and thin lines really help to define the shape of the body. Areas that are darker are achieved by groupings of smaller lines, suggesting texture or a slight shadow.
Egon Schiele is also a master of contour drawing. Look at how he has used line to define the crease in the woman’s stomach.
Even technical drawings use line weight to help accurately depict the subject. Notice how thinner, lighter lines tend to be used to define areas where the surface area changes.
This figure drawing also uses line weight effectively. Notice how the rules of composition also play into this drawing.
To achieve variation in your lines you can press harder on your pencil where you would like darker, thicker lines and use less pressure for lighter lines. Pay attention to which pencil you are using. ‘B’ pencils are softer and can have greater variation in the lines they create. ‘H’ pencils are harder and make lighter lines.
Tim Hawkinson made this contour drawing that maps the different surface levels of his body.
Similarly, this contour drawing of a still life uses different line weights to define changes in the surface of objects.
This contour drawing uses two composition methods: the rule of thirds and treating each corner differently.
While each object in this drawing is successfully rendered, this is not a successful composition.
This still life also uses contour successfully and has better composition. Can you see why?
The drawing with the chair uses each corner of the composition differently, follows the rule of thirds, and uses diagonal lines to lead the eye around the page.
This is not a very exciting drawing, but the entire page has been considered and the line weight helps to define foreground and background.
This student drawing uses contour nicely. Notice the light, thin lines on the Coke bottle. It also makes a common composition mistake: ending an object at the edge of the page.
Pay particular attention to the level of detail you can capture with contour, but try to be just as conscious about how you compose the drawing.
This drawing is much more interesting when the edges of the page are considered.
This is a beautiful student drawing-- it is well composed and contour is used effectively.
This is also a successful student drawing. Darker and lighter lines lead the eye around page.
This is a detail of the same drawing. Pay attention to the incredible amount of detail achieved through contour!
As we begin our in-class drawing, be sure to remember to consider your composition and use your contour line weight to define details.
This drawing has wonderful contour details. The boot has depth and form without any shading. Your goal should be to achieve dimension in your contour drawing.
Both of these examples are acceptable responses to this assignment. Notice that the entire page has been used in the composition and line weight helps define areas the artist wanted to make stand out.
Both of these contour drawings are well composed with a lovely use of contour lines. Your composition and lines should also be very considered.
Remember these drawings as you work on your homework assignment and strive to make your drawing even better !
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