Types of Contours

For this assignment we will be practicing three different types of contour drawing.  First is the standard contour drawing.

Contour Drawing: A contour is the line which defines a form or edge – an outline. Contour drawing is the place where most beginners start, following the visible edges of a shape. The contour describes the outermost edges of a form, as well as dramatic changes of plane within the form.


Next up is the Blind Contour

Blind Contour: Blind contour is similar to a regular contour drawing except the artist keeps their eyes on the subject they are drawing and does not look down at the paper.  The artist also will keep the tip of their pencil in contact with the paper so they don’t “get lost.”


And lastly, the Wrapped Contour or Cross Contour (two names for the same thing)

Cross/Wrapped Contour: Cross/Wrapped contour lines are drawn lines which travel, as the name suggests, across the form. Cross/Wrapped contours may be horizontal or vertical, as on the right side of the example, or both. Often, in more complex forms, cross/wrapped-contours will be drawn at varying angles.


We will be drawing from observation, I hope you wore interesting shoes today!  Take off one of your shoes and put it in front of you.  Using the 5.5×8.5 paper provided (or cut an 8.5×11 piece of paper in half) start with a blind contour.  Blind contour is a great way to get your eye and hand working together in sync, like a warm-up.  It’s alright if it comes out a little “wonky.”  Next get a new piece of paper and move on to the regular contour.  For this one you may look down at the paper.  Don’t be afraid to outline some of the interior shapes of your shoe as well. Lastly, grab one last sheet of paper and try the wrapped/cross contour.  It’s good to do the regular contour first because the wrapped/cross contour is basically the same except you are using more lines to highlight the three dimensional forms of your shoe.

Once you have finished all three drawings go over your lines in sharpie and erase any stray pencil lines.  This will give your drawings a much more “finished” look.

To tie this whole project together we will mount these three drawings to a larger piece of black paper.  Use an archival glue stick to attach your pieces to the black paper.  Make sure to sign your name in pencil on the black paper, the graphite will show up fine whereas pen or sharpie is much harder to see. Here is one of my student’s projects!



  • You must have three drawings mounted on a black piece of paper
  • Your blind contour must be one continuous line
  • Your contour drawing should show the outline of your shoe as well as any interior shapes
  • Your wrapped/cross contour’s interior lines should show how your shoe occupies three dimensional space by seeming to wrap around the form
  • Craftsmanship! (neat, stray pencil lines are erased, drawing was done with care, etc.)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s