Back Door Tri-Fold PageI've had some comments lately about contour drawing. I love it - it is my kind of drawing. I don't do blind contour - well, I shouldn't say I don't, but I'll get to that later.
Everyone is very different when it comes to processing information, and I think of different styles or methods of drawing and sketching preferences to be along the lines of processing information. Don't try to analyze it - just do whatever works for you.
When I'm drawing, I need to stay connected - literally. When I'm doing a contour drawing, I'm keeping my pen or pencil on the paper - even if it means I have to back-track, or if I make mistakes and have to keep correcting. I'm just moving from shape to shape, space to space, with no conscious thought as to what those shapes and spaces are - only how they relate to one another.
It ends up being an informal (sloppy?) drawing that usually gets everything in the right place. The look of it appeals to me, but I'm sure it doesn't appeal to everyone. If I need to have a "cleaner" drawing, I can use the information I have obtained from doing the contour.
When I try to do a sketchy, more precise style of drawing, I actually can't stay connected - it feels as if I am skipping around and nothing has anything to do with anything else. That's just my opinion - "real" drawing works for a LOT of people.
The ideal way to do a contour is to be looking at the subject more than the paper. Some people say they draw only when they are looking at the subject. They stop drawing when they look at the paper to make sure they are making connections, and resume drawing when they look back at the subject. I may be doing that too, but haven't really thought about it when I'm drawing. I'll have to pay attention next time.
I find contour drawing helps me edit and keep things simple - I'm just moving along and only getting in the things I really want to be there. I find it pretty easy to skip over the unnecessary objects.
I'll dig out some contour drawings I have in sketchbooks, and put them in a future post. I'll also talk a bit about blind contour and why I find it useful.
Maybe contour drawing is an acquired taste, so give it a try - you might learn to love it!