Contour is an outline. Usually, there is contrast between a subject and the background. This contrast might be in colour, value or focus or texture. The contour of the object is a line which follows the boundary. You can make a contour drawing which will successfully represent an object even if the proportions are poor, and the shading and texture is absent. The illustration [fig:Contour-Drawing-of-hands] depicts just essential contours very simply using short, independent straight lines. Alternatively, you can try an exercise to draw a single smooth contour without either looking at the paper, or lifting the pencil. In this case, you stare at the subject, and concentrate only on the contour. Proportion and shape is not important to the exercise. See [sub:Contour-drawing-exercise.] for more information and an exercise.
In this very rough contour drawing, the outline of the subject is all that is drawn. It is not even drawn particularly carefully or with any detail. The simple lines just indicate where the boundaries are.
When we draw a portrait, a preliminary contour drawing is useful. If our preliminary contour drawing is proportionally accurate then we may wish to extend the concept inside our object to identify abstract shapes within. This will aid us in the rendering stage. It's advisable to make the contour lines feint and use a soft pencil. Usually, the contour lines will be erased or covered over during rendering.
(C) Jeremy Lee 2010, all rights reserved.
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spOOk's art is owned by Jeremy. He has practiced drawing and painting for about 40 years, and might get good at it one day. spOOk's art is focused on graphite portraits.