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Contour vs. Gesture

Contour Drawing

I’ve been taking Drawing one for about *counts on finger* 1, 2, 3…4 weeks now?! I went from not being able to draw a straight line to…still not being able to draw a straight line.

Well, now my crooked line has a purpose! It’s called contour, and gesture drawing

Those are terms I never knew existed *puzzled face*

So, whats the difference between the two you ask?!

Gesture Drawing

Contour Lines: Are the lines when two planes meet and changing direction.

Gesture drawing: Is a quick method of representing a sense of movement and an object’s weight and mass with as few marks as possible. They are done quickly, with no outlining. The lines move freely within the object. They don’t capture any details, ut they capture movement. They can be shaded to make things stand out, and thick/thin lines can be used to bring out certain edges.

After struggling to get at least one of those two right, we were given a string.


A plane old string that will become an extension of our limbs. Or so we were told.

The string is a measuring tool. It’s all based on proportions. I could explain how to use a string to measure a still life but if I can’t show you, you’ll never get it.

One great method to help us understand proportions, and an excellent way to pay attention to the still life’s detail is: blindly drawing the “Major points” of the still life.

Blindly doesn’t mean closing your eyes. It means drawing while looking at the still life and not the page.

Descending inner-cross

Descending Inner-cross help us understand how the human eye reads an image. We see objects vertically and horizontally, so any diagonal lines we think we see are just ones interpreted by the brain.

We were given an exercise to draw 60 Major points from a still life within two minutes. It sounds easy but looking at the still life, suddenly it looks flat. This forced our brain to focus and actually see with our eyes (vertically and horizontally).

Finally –well the class isn’t done, so most recently would be more accurate– we were asked to draw Cross contour (basically all the lines that crisscross within the contour). We were asked to draw this:

Box full of ______!

Traumatized? I am!!!

What type of drawing are you more comfortable with? Link me to some of your work.


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