Rather than using value and shadow to defineshape 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 thedrawing. 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 definethe face. Lines in this drawing tend to be thicker where there may have been a shadow.
This Warhol drawingdefines the cast shadowwith a contour line aswell. He also usesdifferent types of line todefine different areas--look at the difference inthe line used to draw thejagged edge of the lidcompared to the smooth,accurate line of the canopener.
In this Warholdrawing he uses tinylines to make detailthat happens insidethe form of his foot.This can be a goodway to show achange on thesurface.
Obviously value hasbeen used in thisdrawing on the areasthe artist found mostimportant. Afterfurther inspection,however, the contourdrawing used tolayout the rest of thedrawing is extremelywell drawn. Noticehow the folds of thefabric appear to havedepth.
In this drawing the thickand thin lines reallyhelp to define theshape of the body.Areas that are darkerare achieved bygroupings of smallerlines, suggestingtexture or a slightshadow.
Egon Schiele is also amaster of contourdrawing. Look at howhe has used line todefine the crease inthe woman’s stomach.
Even technical drawings use line weight to helpaccurately depict the subject. Notice how thinner,lighter lines tend to be used to define areas wherethe surface area changes.
This figure drawing also uses line weighteffectively. Notice how the rules of composition also play into this drawing.
To achieve variation in your lines you can press harder onyour pencil where you would like darker, thicker lines and useless pressure for lighter lines. Pay attention to which pencilyou are using. ‘B’ pencils are softer and can have greatervariation in the lines they create. ‘H’ pencils are harder andmake lighter lines.
Similarly, this contour drawing of a still life uses different line weights to define changes in the surface of objects.
This contourdrawing uses twocompositionmethods: the ruleof thirds andtreating eachcorner differently.
While each object in this drawing is successfullyrendered, 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 ofthirds, 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 alsomakes 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 asconscious 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 asuccessful studentdrawing. Darker andlighter lines lead theeye around page.
This is a detail of thesame drawing. Payattention to theincredible amount ofdetail achieved throughcontour!
As we begin our in-class drawing, besure to remember toconsider yourcomposition and useyour contour lineweight to definedetails.
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
Remember these drawingsas you work on yourhomework assignment andstrive to make your drawingeven better!