Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pure/Modified Contour

Sixth graders ... Homework will be due next Monday!  If you were absent the day this homework was assigned, read the rest of this post to learn what you are to do.

The sixth grade homework this week is to try out a training practice to help improve drawing skills.  I call this a training tool, because it is not something an artist would do all by itself, but is good for improving skills.  Think of it like all the exercises a sports team does during practice, or the exercises a ballerina does at the barre.  Running 'ladders' in practice is not the same as playing in a game, but it helps an athlete with speed and quick reflexes.  Plies done at the barre aren't done on stage, but they are neccessary for training technique into muscles.

So.  This training tool is called 'Pure Contour' and 'Modified Contour' drawing.

First of all, what is a contour?

In art, a contour line is a line that represents the surface of an object.  Some contour lines show the edges of objects.  Others show how it curves or bends.  In this assignment, contour lines should represent the edges of every detail of the object being drawn.

A 'Pure Contour' drawing is made by placing your pencil on the paper, then covering it with another paper so you cannot see what you are doing on the paper.

That's right!  You are not supposed to look at your paper AT ALL for this part of the assignment.  Instead, spend every moment looking VERY closely at all the details on the object.  Draw every little detail!

Once you are sure you have drawn everything you can possibly see, slide your hand out from under the top paper; but DON'T PEEK at what you have done!  Not yet!

Now it is time to make a 'Modified Contour' drawing.  Draw the same object a second time on the top paper.  This time, though, you are allowed to "peek" at your drawing on the paper from time to time to make sure the pencil is in the right place.  Remember, though, that you should still spend MOST of your time looking at the object being drawn... not your paper.

After you have finished your 'Modified Contour' drawing, you can lift up the top sheet of paper.  See how goofy the 'Pure Contour' drawing looks?  Go ahead and laugh at it, I always do!  It is not supposed to look good.  It is supposed to help you see all the details you usually miss or skip over in your drawings.

And there you have it.  Two drawings of the same object are due next Monday.  One of the drawings should be done in 'Pure Contour' style, and the other in 'Modified Contour' style.

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