Definition: A blind contour drawing contains lines that are drawn without ever looking at the piece of paper. This forces you to study a scene closely observing every shape and edge with your eyes as your hand mimics these on paper. The aim is not to produce a realistic artwork but rather to strengthen the connection between eyes hand and brain: a reminder that when drawing you must first learn to see.

Blind Drawing Exercises: Blind drawing is an excellent way to start a high school Fine Art programme. Drawing wobbly lines that bear little resemblance to the chosen object is relaxing and stress-free. Often a classroom bubbles with laughter at the unexpected results. Blind drawing stretches the arms and soul eases you into observational drawing without fear.

Gesture Drawing / Timed Drawing / Movement Drawing

Definition: A gesture drawing is completed quickly – often in short timed duration such as 20, 30, 60 or 90 seconds – using fast expressive lines. Gesture drawings capture basic forms and proportions – the emotion and essence of a subject – without focusing on detail. Due to their rapid completion they are a great way to record movement and action as well as increase your drawing speed confidence and intuitive mark-making skill. Gesture drawings are best completed with smooth easily applied mediums (chunky graphite pencils, charcoal sticks, pastels, soft brushes dipped in ink, for example), without the use of an eraser. They are often completed on large inexpensive sheets of paper where you can move your arm fluidly be bold with mark-making and not worry. As with blind drawings gesture drawing is an ideal warm-up activity.

Gesture Drawing Exercises: When you begin investigating your subject matter in the initial phase of a high school Art programme it can be helpful to make several first-hand gestural drawings. The best of these can be selected for your final portfolio (taking advantage of a photocopier or digital camera to reduce in size, if necessary). A small still life scene can be depicted just as easily as a large moving form.

Continuous Line Drawing

Definition: A continuous line drawing is produced without ever lifting the drawing instrument from the page. This means that the addition to outlines and internal shapes the pencil must move back and forth across the surface of the paper with lines doubling back on each other so that the drawing is one free-flowing. To avoid the temptation to erase lines it can be helpful to complete a continuous line drawing with an ink pen varying the line weight as needed to indicate perspective and areas of light and shadow. Like the drawing methods described above this drawing method develops confidence and drawing speed and encourages your eyes and hand and brain to work together. Continuous line drawings work best with in-depth observation of your subject without interference from your thinking mind.

Contour drawing

Definition: A contour drawing shows the outlines, shapes and edges of a scene, but omits fine detail, surface texture, colour and tone (‘contour’ is French for ‘outline’).

The illusion of three-dimensional form space and distance can be conveyed in a contour drawing through the use of varied line-weight (darker lines in the foreground / paler lines in the distance) and perspective.