For this drawing you will be positioning your hand once again and drawing it however you wish. When we first picked up a pen or pencil and started making marks on paper, we began with line. This article contains exercises for Art students who wish to produce contour line drawings, cross contour drawings, blind drawings and other types of line drawings. Definition: A blind contour drawing contains lines that are drawn without ever looking at the piece of paper.
Blind Drawing Exercises: Blind drawing is an excellent way to start a high school Fine Art programme. A warm-up activity in which students were asked to create blind contour line drawings of shell (teaching exemplar by the Student Art Guide).
Definition: A gesture drawing is completed quickly a€“ often in short timed durations, such as 20, 30, 60 or 90 seconds a€“ using fast, expressive lines.
Gesture Drawing Exercises: When you begin investigating your subject matter in the initial phase of a high school Art programme, it can be helpful to make several first-hand gestural drawings. Definition: A continuous line drawing is produced without ever lifting the drawing instrument from the page.
Continuous Line Drawing Exercises: This drawing method is great for sketchbooks and drawing from life. This beautiful sketchbook page contains several continuous line drawings, drawn from first-hand observation.
Definition: A contour drawing shows the outlines, shapes and edges of a scene, but omits fine detail, surface texture, colour and tone (a€?contoura€™ is French for a€?outlinea€™). The purpose of contour drawing is to emphasize the mass and volume of the subject rather than the detail; the focus is on the outlined shape of the subject and not the minor details. Modern line drawings by Ultima Thule: there is a slick contrast in this drawing between the sharp black lines and the dripping green.
Definition: A cross contour drawing contains parallel lines that run across the surface of an object (or radiate from a central point), such as those that appear on a topographical map or a digital wireframe.
Cross Contour Drawing Exercises: This is an excellent way to gain familiarity with the volumes and three-dimensional forms in your project, producing analytical cross contour drawings that are suitable for sketchbooks or early preparatory sheets. These cross contour drawings were completed as part of Breadth assignments for AP Studio Art. Definition: A planar analysis drawing simplifies complex curved surfaces into flat planes, using straight lines. Planar Analysis Drawing Activity: This can be a great introductory drawing exercise, especially if you are moving towards Cubism or abstracting scenes into geometric form.
The symmetry and familiarity of the human face makes portraiture a great subject for planar analysis; the task of converting complex three-dimensional form into flat surfaces. Definition: Wire can be cut and bent into shapes with pliers to create three-dimensional a€?drawingsa€™, often resulting in a work filled with flowing, curved lines.
Wire Sculpture Line Drawing Exercise: This is an excellent activity for middle school students and for high school students, if it relates specifically to your project (and does not interfere with postage requirements, for those who need to post work away for assessment). As well as representing contours, line can also be used to apply tone (light and shadow) to a drawing.
There are many line techniques can be used to create tone, as illustrated in the worksheet below. The angle that these techniques are applied may remain constant within a drawing, or it may change in response to the angle and direction of the forms. This worksheet introduces a range of line drawing techniques and encourages students to invent their own (such as using the first letter of their name). In this ink drawing, a small grid experimenting with different line techniques has been included in the top left of the work. In this sketchbook page Samantha imitates and analyses a line drawing by Vincent van Gogh, discussing the suitability and appropriateness of each technique. Here is a collection of line drawings from famous and less well known artists, to inspire high school Art students and teachers. Line drawings by Picasso: a series of drawings showing the progression from realistic form to a few curving lines.
Most famous for his post-impressionist paintings, Vincent van Gogh also produced over a thousand drawings. These precise anatomical line drawings by famous artist Leonardo da Vinci show the internal structure of a human scalp, skull and eye. Cross-contour line drawings by Aaron Earley: graphite lines of various weights trace over the contours of the face, clearly conveying emotion, despite the lack of tone and detail. Contemporary line drawings by Peter Root: a series of straight graphite lines is used to create a curvaceous, flowing abstract form. Cross contour line drawings by Tornwing: black lines of different thicknesses flow around three-dimensional forms.
Gestural line drawings by Karolina Cummings: dramatic and vivid, capturing form in rapidly scrawled, fluid line. Sensitive line drawings by Roz McQuillan: the contrast between the rendered siamese cat and the white cat formed (formed from a few light lines) draws you in to this quiet embrace.
Pencil drawings by Wang Tzu-Ting: an overlapping sequence of drawings, using lines that approximate tonal boundaries, set on a running wash of acrylic.
Painterly line drawings by Nina Smart: what appears to be an abstract artwork of smudged and messy paint lines is, upon closer inspection, an accurate and well-proportioned horse. Expressive line drawings by Andy Mercer: this mixed media drawing contains a mass of lines that create the illusion of a busy city scene a€“ a tangle of architectural form.

Scribbled line drawings by Doug Bell: a portrait beautifully crafted from a tangle of lines.
Line drawings by Matthew Dunn: graphic in nature, this monkey appears to be hacked from a wooden board or lino cut. Blind line drawings by Nicholas Weltyk: a wobbly yet controlled continuous line defines form in this emotive drawing.
Line drawings by Hong Chun Zhang: this huge hair drawing hangs down the wall and drapes across the floor. Line drawings by Bruce Pollock: finely interlocking mesh of lines creates an intricate and mesmerising pattern. Line drawings by Matt Niebuhr: a shimmer of tightly meshed smudged and erased graphite line. Line drawings by Il Lee: whoever knew the scribbling of a blue biro pen could result in such magic. Line drawings by William Anastasi: while blindfolded, Anastasi drew on a wall with graphite for an hour.
Line drawings by Charles Avery: the illusory combining of hair with perspective lines vanishing towards a horizon make for a powerful image. This website uses advertising to help us develop high quality teaching resources and provide these to our audience for free. Our team of experienced teachers and high-achieving students publish new ideas, tips, techniques and case studies for you weekly. We love the public domain, as it allows us to bring you a level of high quality cat you can’t get anywhere else. This concludes our line drawing series for the moment, we’ve run out of drawings to color.
There is something about cats that makes us want to capture their spirit (& sleek physique) in artistic ways. Lucky for us, there are those out there who can capture cats they way they should be and they have created a great variety of line drawings of our feline friends.
I was hoping to use these line drawing images for a fund raising event at my son’s school fair.
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Whether self-taught, through trial and error, or guided by others, we learned how line defines form, creates structure, divides a frame, traces contour, creates tonal variation (cross-hatching, for example) and leads the eye from one part of a work to another. It is a teaching aid for high school Art students and includes classroom activities, a free downloadable PDF worksheet and inspirational artist drawings. This forces you to study a scene closely, observing every shape and edge with your eyes, as your hand mimics these on paper. Drawing wobbly lines that bear little resemblance to the chosen object is relaxing and stress-free. These blind drawings were included in the first preparatory sheets submitted by CIE IGCSE Art and Design students. Gesture drawings capture basic forms and proportions a€“ the emotion and essence of a subject a€“ without focusing on detail.
The best of these can be selected for your final portfolio (taking advantage of a photocopier or digital camera to reduce in size, if necessary). With just a few expressive lines, we instantly recognise the scene: two women teaching a child to walk.
Note the variation in line weight: light lines applied initially, with darker lines and hints of detail all that are needed. This means that, in addition to outlines and internal shapes, the pencil must move back and forth across the surface of the paper, with lines doubling back on each other, so that the drawing is one free-flowing, unbroken line. After completing warm-up activities such as blind and gesture drawings, slower, more formal contour drawings can be an excellent way to begin more realistic representations of your subject matter.
The lines can run at any appropriate angle (sometimes at multiple angles) and may continue across objects and into the background.
Note how the shell pieces that are furthest away from the viewer are thin and light, whereas those that are closest are darker and thicker. Hands can create interesting, complex, curving shapes, as in the examples above, and are readily available for first-hand observation.
These drawings show clever use of line thickness, with the line-weight varying in order to create the illusion of tone and show three-dimensional form. These drawings were completed as part of a papier mache sculpture project, with the contour lines representing the supporting cane structure.
This process helps students to think about the underlying structure of objects and results in an analytical drawing, that is rather mechanical in appearance. These wire sculptures can be attached to a two-dimensional frame or a flat surface, hung in the air, or be left free-standing, changing in appearance as a viewer moves around the room. Having a base image to work from (this could also be an earlier observational drawing) makes the process of transferring from two-dimensional to three-dimensional much easier.
For example, cross-hatching may flow around the surface of an object in a similar direction as cross contour lines.
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It allows students to practise using these techniques and to apply tone to a range of simple geometric objects. Some of these have been selected to apply tone to the work, carefully replicating reflection and shadow.

Note that when learning from artists, it is rarely necessary to slavishly copy an entire work; replicating small pieces (as in this example) is often all that is needed. He draws in silence, with precision and care, moving a black ink pen across the paper quickly. In this pen and pencil line drawing, a€?Cottages With a Woman Working in the Foregrounda€™, we see the stylistic swirling of line in the trees and clouds that is so characteristic of his well-known paintings.
Facial proportions are carefully mapped out and documented in the image to the right; the drawings surrounded by annotation and enlarged details. Without any background to speak of, this collection of marks is enough to communicate a message with ease. Amiria has been a teacher of Art & Design and a Curriculum Co-ordinator for seven years, responsible for the course design and assessment of Art and Design work in two high-achieving Auckland schools. If you would like to support us or contribute in some way, you can find out the best way to help us or contact us here. We hunted long and hard to track these line drawings down so you better color a few of them & make them your own.
With that being said don’t allow yourself to fall completely back into how you would normally draw.
The aim is not to produce a realistic artwork, but rather to strengthen the connection between eyes, hand and brain: a reminder that, when drawing, you must first learn to see. Due to their rapid completion, they are a great way to record movement and action, as well as increase your drawing speed, confidence and intuitive mark-making skill. To avoid the temptation to erase lines, it can be helpful to complete a continuous line drawing with an ink pen, varying the line weight, as needed, to indicate perspective and areas of light and shadow. Used intermittently throughout projects, contour drawings can also be helpful for the student who needs to work faster.
Cross contour drawings typically follow the rules of perspective, with lines drawn closer together in the distance and further apart in the foreground.
Note also how the direction of the contour lines relates to the shape of object that is drawn, with lines projecting outwards from the centre of the shell. Note how the density and weight of the line also helps to communicate areas of light and shadow. Due to their flexible nature, wire sculptures often move slightly in the wind, adding an extra interactive element to the work. These techniques are also a great way to create the illusion of texture (see our article about observational drawings).
Capturing the swirling of the trees and the movement of the clouds, van Gogh represents the light falling across the textured landscape with quick, confident mark-making.
Amiria has a Bachelor of Architectural Studies, Bachelor of Architecture (First Class Honours) and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Blind drawing stretches the arms and soul; eases you into observational drawing without fear.
Gesture drawings are best completed with smooth, easily applied mediums (chunky graphite pencils, charcoal sticks, pastels, soft brushes dipped in Indian ink, for example), without the use of an eraser.
Like the drawing methods described above, this drawing method develops confidence and drawing speed, and encourages your eyes and hand and brain to work together. In this type of drawing, the illusion of three-dimensional volume is created entirely with line.
This worksheet is suitable for middle school students, or senior students who have not had prior experience with line techniques. They were completed using a basic printmaking technique: pressing sheets of paper into a wet ink drawing, transferring the image to the second sheet.
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So half of the time you should be looking at your page and the other half you should be drawing while looking at your hand (blind contour). They are often completed on large, inexpensive sheets of paper, where you can move your arm fluidly, be bold with mark-making, and not worry about mistakes. Continuous line drawings work best with in-depth observation of your subject, without interference from your thinking mind.
When a line is drawn on a piece of paper it’s intention is to depict the three dimensional world on a two dimensional surface.
You are the magician deciphering what you see in reality and transforming it onto a two dimensional surface. You are going to keep your focus on your hand, and do the drawing looking only at your hand. I want you to imagine that your pencil is touching the outward contours of your palm, winding in and out of all those wrinkles, and sliding down those slopes. Think of yourself as Luke Skywalker when he’s on the Millennium Falcon for the first time. And he’s got to use his light saber to fend off lazer shots with his blast shield down.

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