Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Drawing with Kids: Contour Drawing

We checked this book out of the library and have been reading about artist materials and working on all kinds of drawing. Miss Kinder, age 5, particularly enjoyed the section on contour drawing, which happens to be the first exercise in the book. 


Contour drawing, if you aren't familiar with the term, is basically drawing the outline of your picture. (My favorite contour drawing artist/illustrator, as a side note, is the lovely Leanne Shapton.) The exercise in the book is to create a contour montage, which involves tracing the outlines of a few interesting pictures of your choice. 

We taped the magazine pictures she chose to the back of her paper (dancing woman, stack of money with eyes and cat face) and then taped the paper to a window so she could see the outlines most easily. After tracing the images, she spent some time tracing her pencil lines with a black pen and erasing any extra pencil marks she didn't want. Then she used oil crayons to color it in.

One of the rules the book emphasizes is that tracing isn't cheating, which I loved sharing with her. She and her peers seem to think that copying in any form means you are not interesting, or that you are trying to ruin the game or their drawing. She was very excited to see that this exercise specifically required tracing which allowed her to feel that her picture would have more of a resemblance to what she wanted it to look like, yet the end result is very different from the initial image so it's not merely a copy. 

I foresee more of these in our future.

1 comment:

AlewivesGirl said...

That is so cool that you mention this about tracing.

I went to art school for three years and I learned the MOST from tracing pictures or copying famous works of art.

It's just a different way of learning shapes!

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