Teacher Workshop — Contour Drawing!

“Blind Con­tour Draw­ing” of a stu­dent in my workshop!

I love this quote by Kathryn Tem­ple, author of Art for Kids: Draw­ing.… “Draw­ing has more to do with see­ing than it does with hold­ing a pen­cil in your hand.” So true!! In my teacher work­shop last week­end (“Teach­ing Draw­ing to Kids”) we focused on how to help kids unleash the power of the right side of the brain to learn to “see like an artist”. One great way to do this is by prac­tic­ing the four types of con­tour draw­ing, the first of which is “Blind Con­tour Draw­ing”, like the draw­ing pic­tured above.

In “Blind Con­tour Draw­ing” you look only at your sub­ject, not at your paper. I like to demon­strate this tech­nique on the board by draw­ing a blind con­tour por­trait of a stu­dent “vol­un­teer”. This always gets lots of gig­gles as they watch my draw­ing become more and more “Picasso-like” as I go along!! Then I have stu­dents draw a blind con­tour por­trait of me on a piece of copy paper at their desk. (They think this is pretty funny, too!) Once they get the hang of it, they enjoy tak­ing turns pos­ing and draw­ing blind con­tour por­traits of each other.

The pur­pose of this exer­cise is to train your­self to really focus on your sub­ject, mov­ing your eyes slowly around it at the same speed as your pen­cil moves across the paper. You will begin to notice more details than you ever have before! It may take sev­eral reminders to keep your stu­dents look­ing only at their sub­ject and not at their draw­ings.… stu­dents younger than grade 3 can be espe­cially chal­lenged by this. Remem­ber, no peeking!! :)

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One Response to Teacher Workshop — Contour Drawing!

  1. Krissy May 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Great les­son! I used to do this one with my sev­enth graders and they always got a kick out of it. Nice blog — I will def­i­nitely subscribe!

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