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Art Lab for Kids: Lab 1 – Contour Drawings

In my quest for simplicity and ease, I was directed to Art Lab for kids by Susan Schwake. I used this resource for the first time last week, and I have to say, it’s great! And better still, it fulfils the whole ease of use quality that I need at this time in our homeschool. This week we did the lesson on Contour Drawings.

Contour Drawing

Contour Drawings: Supplies

I bought in new supplies so I didn’t have to rely on Lillie actually knowing where her supplies are. I ordered some heavy weight A3 art paper, two sharpies, a pack of pencils of different hardness and charcoal:

We were all set for the first lesson!

Contour Drawings: Continuous Drawing

I set up a simple still life of a jug and vase:

Contour Drawing

I showed them how to see the drawing – not to just glance and then draw what they thought they saw, but to really study the still life. With my fingers I showed them the ellipses, and how the outline of each item looked.

There first drawing was a simple continuous drawing in pencil. They needed to do a simple outline of the still life without ever lifting the pencil off the paper. This is continuous drawing. It trains the artist hand/eye co-ordination.

Contour Drawing

These were their sketches:

Contour Drawing
Contour Drawing

Contour Drawing: Blind Drawings

Blind drawings are when the artist draws the outline of the still life without ever actually looking at their paper:

Contour Drawing

This trains the artist in observation skills. Poor Becca did not like this at all! She felt very much at the whim of her hand rather than hand and eye. The aim of these drawings is not to look like a mirror copy of the still life, but to resemble it enough that one can tell what it is. In this I think they did well:

Contour Drawing

And the more they practice, the more accurate they will become.

Contour Drawing

In our last practice sketch, they used a sharpie pen to copy the still life using both blind and continuous drawing:

Contour Drawing
Contour Drawing

Contour Drawing: Exploring Charcoal

The girls had particularly enjoyed using charcoal. So, I did a quick lesson to help them understand not just observation, but also light and dark. In particular, the way that the sun creates the highlights, as well as the lowlights by creating shadows.

Contour Drawing

I taught them how to shade using their fingers, and how to highlight using the rubber:

Contour Drawing

Both girls really enjoyed this, although my little perfectionist wasn’t too happy with the result.

Contour Drawing

However, I was chuffed with their pictures. They had taken everything on board and produced some fabulous results.

Contour Drawing

I decided to create an art gallery in the corner of our dining room. The girls eyes lit up when they realised I was going to display their work so prominently:

Contour Drawing
Contour Drawing

Contour Drawing: Artist Study – Rose Sielian Theriault ‘Pear Squared’

I have written about the picture study we did with ‘Pear Squared’ by Rose Sielian Theriault. Basically we set up a still life almost identical to the one we saw in ‘Pear Squared’. They did a contour drawing of it in pen. Then the girls tried to apply everything they had learnt over the past week to create their own take on ‘Pear Squared’:

Contour Drawing

Again, we hung them up in their art gallery:

Contour Drawing

I have written a separate post regarding this study so please click on the picture below to read all about it

A great, great lesson!

1 comment on “Art Lab for Kids: Lab 1 – Contour Drawings

  1. Charcoal is so forgiving to work with. I quite love it.

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