Contour Exercise

Contour Exercise

Contour Exercise

Today I’m working on an exercise for Sketching Now Foundations course by Liz Steel. Doing both blind and point to point contour drawings at different speeds. This week we are working on feeling edges. I’ve done blind contour drawing before, but I haven’t done point to point contour drawing.

I worked standing up. I usually work sitting down, but I read somewhere that it is better for your health to work standing up so I thought I’d give it a try. I placed my pad of paper on a tripod stand that I have for my iPad. It worked well. I had more freedom of movement and felt looser and more relaxed.

I started with a “30 Line” warmup. I guess I should explain that since it’s my own invention. I always draw better after warming up, but I realized this morning that I really have no idea which is better – drawing for a set time (say two minutes) or drawing a set number of lines (say 30 or 40). So today I’m trying a set number. I counted to myself as I made each mark. When I reached 30 I found I hadn’t finished the subject. So, I continued to 40. Okay, so I cheated. I’ll rename it next time. I think it helped. My first blind contour wasn’t half bad. It was fun doing a fast blind contour. Next time I’d like to use a fine tipped pen instead of a calligraphy pen just to compare the emotion of the line.

Point to point is a modified contour drawing and you don’t do it blind. You first place your pen on the page, pick a point in the subject and follow the edge of the subject with your eyes noting the shape, angles, and length. Next you follow with your eyes slowly back to the starting point. Finally you slowly trace the edge again with your eyes as you move the pen in sync with your eyes. You continue to do that point to point around the subject. It’s an interesting technique. The results are pretty accurate, but it takes a long time and requires a lot of concentration.

I did the fast point to point roughly two times faster. By this time I had drawn the same subject five times. So, I knew the shapes well. I felt comfortable working faster. The proportions suffered a little bit (the vertical lengths are off), but I like the feel of this last drawing. It doesn’t feel as stiff as the slow one.

Here’s a photo of my subject taken after I was finished drawing.

Contour Exercise Photo

Contour Exercise Photo

At this point process is more important than subject.

Strathmore Bristle 300 series 11x 17 inches (27.9 x 43.2 cm) paper, green Sailor calligraphy pen with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink.


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