Saturday, April 23, 2005

contour drawing: A method of drawing popularized by Kimon Nicolaides in his book The Natural Way to Draw(1941), which presents itself as an effective training aid or discipline. The student, fixing his/her eyes on the outline of the model or object draws the contour very slowly in a steady continuous line without lifting his pencil or looking at the paper; his eyes slowly follow the outline of the thing that he is drawing in unison with the pencil. The student may look at his paperto place an internal feature, but once he has begun to draw it he does not glance down, but follows the same procedure as for the outline. A well done contour drawing frequently has sufficient quality and character to be preserved as a work of art.

An outline drawing, according to Nicolaides is a “diagram or silhouette, flat and two-dimensional,” while a contour “has a three dimensional quality; that is, it indicates thickness as well as the length and width of the form it surrounds. We do not think of line as a contour unless it follows the sense of touch, whereas an outline may follow the eye alone.” P.92-93 A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques by Ralph Mayer, Copyright 1969, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York.


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