Countour Line Drawing

Contour Line Drawing: Shoes

This is the first lesson in our unit “Cultural Discovery through Art; Expressive Line”

Check out this beautiful example of a Chinese Line painting.  This artist uses only lines to express their ideas.


The first type of line we will be using to express our ideas is called a “contour.” Here is an example of a contour line painting done by a freshman in college in China.



  • Contour: outline
  • Blind Contour: is a method of drawing widely where an artist draws the contour of a subject without looking at the paper

Begin by practicing a few blind contour drawings.  Draw the face of the person across from you without looking at the paper.  Try not to lift your pencil from the paper as you draw. Here are two examples of  blind contour:

Blog Post 201a 251px-IMG_3612

Don’t worry about making your drawing accurate, practice outlining the different shapes of the face.  Try not to generalize the shapes!

Next put at least three shoes in the center of the table.  Place them in interesting ways so you’re not drawing the same view of the shoes three times.  Draw the contours of the shoes (this time you can look at your paper).  Include shapes inside of the shoes as well.  Here are some examples of contour drawings of shoes:

sandals-contour.JPG art 1 contour shoe shoe_contour_1_by_fuyumi_kun-d30x4go



  • Use contour lines to outline the shapes outside and inside of the shoes
  • Draw the entire composition, some shoes overlapping, tabletop, etc
  • Include at least three shoes in your drawing
  • Try not to generalize your lines, don’t make assumptions about the shapes you are outlining!


Download the rubric here: ShoeLifeRubric


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