Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Return of Contour Drawing


Me Again
Contour Drawing - 20 August 2011
Graphite Pencil on Paper
35.5cm x 53.5cm (14" x 21")

Contour Drawing is back with a vengeance in Section 7 of the Natural Way to Draw. This is the exercise in which you imagine the pencil is touching the subject and draw without looking at the paper (see the previous posts Contour Drawing, Sunday Papers and Farewell Contour Drawing). Section 7 has a number of variations of the exercise: Cross Contours, Quick Contours, The Head, Right Angle Contours and The Five-Hour Contour.

The drawing at the top of the post is my attempt at the five-hour contour exercise. In the five-hour contour, the pencil is supposed to crawl across the paper at a snail’s pace. My speed was too fast and I finished in 2 hours.  The text suggests that I should persevere and add more details, but I’ve decided to start again on a three-hour contour (with a different subject) because I misjudged the speed so badly.

One of the main goals of the exercise is to study a subject for 5 hours. I have failed to achieve this, but I have understood the point of the exercise and there are other opportunities to gain this experience later in the course. I know that I was studying my face intently because at one point I was confused by a slight pulse in my neck.

I struggled to get back into contour drawing. When it is going well it is a meditative state – there isn’t anything apart from the contour I am following. Unfortunately, there are parts of my consciousness that don’t want to have a meditative state imposed on them. They protest, distract, and try to make the whole experience unpleasant. It took a few sessions for me to address the protests and to get back into the groove.

The drawing at the bottom is a 30 minute contour drawing of my head. Neither of the pictures really looks like me, but they both capture different parts of my face quite well.

And Again
Contour Drawing - 24 August 2011
Graphite Pencil on Paper
28cm x 46cm (11" x 18")

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