Contour Drawing Will Help You Learn To See?

Contour Drawing Will Help You Learn To See?


Contour Drawing Will Help You Learn To See?

Contour drawing consists of drawing exactly what it sounds like: the contour or outline of an object. This can be used for many different reasons. When learning to train your eye to see, contour drawing is one of the best methods to start with, and often it is one of the first things you learn how to do in drawing class.

Instead of drawing the object, you are forced to draw the negative space instead. This helps train your eye to see, forcing you to follow the curves and lines of the object as you draw it, not what you think it looks like.


Drawing objects this way will help you with proportions, and you will start to look at the negative space that creates the shape of the object instead of the other way around. The “weight” of the line also controls how the object will look. The darker the line, the more the object will stand out and the opposite with a lighter line. This can be used to perceive depth, giving your drawing more punch, and make your contour studies stand alone as art in their own right.contour-drawing-shane

Contour drawing is also very effective for drawing patterns, as you are essentially creating a stencil or cutout of the object that you are drawing. The better you get at drawing contours, the better and cooler patterns you will be able to create. If you study any patterns, you will easily be able to see the contour of the objects in them.

When drawing from real life, you will want keep your head in the same spot otherwise the perspective will change and throw the drawing off into a skewed angle.

Drawing contours also aids your creative side as it forces you to see the outline and line of the object.

Want to learn more about contour and other forms drawing? Check out The Secrets to Drawing course below

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My Own Form of Contour Drawing

I actually have my own way of contour drawing that you may find useful. I call it Blind Drawing.

Blind Drawing: the process of closing your eyes and drawing what you see. This allows you to not focus on the specifics of the drawing but rather just getting the major shapes and ideas down on paper and out of your head.

I visualize better in the dark. This lets me “trace” the image I see with my eye, and it stays more focused in my sights. For me, when I have an image in my head, as soon as I open my eyes it is of course gone. Using this method, the image stays in my “mind’s eye” and I can see it more clearly. Instead of a snapshot, I get a long exposure.

Once the major shapes of the image have been defined using your “blind drawing,” it is easier to add the details and refinements.

  1. Because you have been focusing on it for a longer period of time
  2. Because you aren’t wasting your time worried about getting all the proportions and details correct in the beginning.


Activity:Me and my friend used to close our eyes and draw a crazy line and then connect it to make it one shape. We would then give the image to each other and we would have to create a new image from it. Once you do this a few times, you will quickly start to see other objects that you can make out of these crazy shapes that seemingly look like nothing.

Contour drawing can be fun and very productive. Sure, maybe drawing a pot of flowers may not seem fun. I know I never enjoyed it. I especially hated drawing still life in art class, but you don’t have to turn your art lesson into Sunday afternoon craft hour at the old-folks home.


If you happen to enjoy drawing plants and flowers, then draw them. If you enjoy drawing portraits and faces and people, that is also fine. Find what you like drawing, because if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it!

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Kevin is an artist that specializes in traditional artwork, graphic design and video. He is the author of “How to Create Stunning Realistic Portraits.” At around five or six years old he was bitten by the drawing bug and it never let him rest. His work has been featured in Artist Magazine, Strokes of Genius 3: The best of drawing, galleries throughout the South and the web. He loves learning and sharing his knowledge, hence ;)


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