Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Contour Line Drawing

We are in our second week of the new semester! The syllabus has been read; the shelves have been labeled. 1st hour Drawing & Printmaking is up and running!
Our skill practice the first week consisted of various contour line drawing exercises. We viewed contour drawings by master artist Pablo Picasso (have you heard of him? He's pretty good), to identify and discuss line styles.
Key points:
  • Contour line drawing forces us to recognize lines, shapes, angles, and proportion-- and translate them into two-dimensional form
  • lines must be thoughtfully chosen and applied in order to communicate the form in the simplest, most clarifying manner
  • Different weights can be placed upon lines to add or detract visual emphasis
  • Repeating a line style adds BALANCE and UNITY to an artwork
For our culminating exercise of the week, we created large-scale contour drawings of plants. Of course, this involved several trips on my part: down the length of a very large school with a giant cart laden with plants from the obliging Science Department. Worth it.

Students worked on white paper from the roll usually kept for protecting tables during messy projects. Each sheet was roughly 40x40" to begin with. I chose to have students draw using acrylic paint watered down to a liquid consistency; we each began with a 1/2" flat brush and black paint. When the main plant body had been rendered, students used larger 1" brushes to add weight to selected contours. They were given the freedom to add green accents at their discretion, and choose what contours would best serve the composition in the background. When all the brushwork was complete, students went into the work with black permanent marker to add the finest lines. We are actually still working on this final step, but I had a camera and a few extra minutes... so here are some samples!

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