Contour Drawings—Always Useful

March 16, 2020
Page from one of my cataract journals. While I was getting used to the new eyes that weren’t happy communicating with my brain, I found that making contour drawings while watching TV helped reconnect my mind and eyes. (Lined notebook.)

Students in my current session of Drawing Practice have been posting contour drawings. Every group takes to it differently, some, like otters, rush along the side of the stream, darting in and out and sliding effortlessly with the current. Others stand back curious, but not committed.

Like anything it takes practice. It’s why I call the class Drawing Practice.

Anyone who has been working for any length of time making art has developed ways to immediately drop into work mode.

For me I always look at contours breaking everything down into values (which I don’t fill in because I am focused on contour).

That seems enough to just snap me back into sync.

So I keep pushing my students to work with contour lines. They may eventually find that working with value washes, or with gesture, or focusing on negative space will help them reconnect what they see to the page. To me it doesn’t matter which they rely on; only that they have the tools. 

Because I know how important it has been in my life.

Upcoming Classes

If you’re interested in taking  Drawing Practice: Drawing Live Subjects in Public the final session for 2020 opens registration on May 6 with classes beginning on June 7, 2020. It’s an intensive class with two lessons opening each week through the month of class. Daily homework sketching only from life is needed as are several sketching out sessions each week. It’s not a class you want to take if you are traveling during the class month. It is a class to take if you want to get serious about learning fundamentals, sketching live subjects, setting goals, and silencing your internal critic.

If you thought in the past about taking this class or my other online classes, think hard now. Classes in 2020 will probably be the last ones. Currently I have plans to close my online teaching platform on December 31, 2021.

UPDATE 3.16.20 4 p.m. CST

Today’s post was written a couple weeks ago and it was not clear where covid-19 was going. With the new instructions from government today, and projections that we might still be in curve of new incidents of infection through August, I may move my final session from June to November. I’ll decide in May about this. It’s difficult for students who want to draw live things in public when health guidelines tell us to stay away from public areas. If the class is moved to November students will still have 13 months of access before the platform closes.

I hope you are all safe and healthy at this time. I hope that you and your loved ones are too. 

In such uncertain and stressful times it might seem as if drawing doesn’t matter any more, but I want to remind you that drawing actually reduces stress and that boosts our immune system.

But more importantly, the simple act of sketching your lunch time bell pepper, your pet sleeping, or your significant other watching TV can be calming and satisfying, by the way it brings us back to the present moment. This act reminds us of how precious time is; and how restorative it is to spend time drawing because it keeps us in the present moment, away from worry and anxiety. Don’t throw away you drawing habit. You need it now more than ever.

    • Tina Koyama
    • March 16, 2020

    Continuing to draw daily has been my sanity saver. I’m sure I’d have a breakdown from anxiety if I weren’t drawing. Stay safe and be well, Roz.

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