Continuous Contour Line – 3rd grade

16 Jan

Continuous Contour Line lesson with Room 13


Today we are going to create continuous contour line drawings. This is a technique where a whole image is created without picking up the pencil (or pen or brush, etc) from the paper surface. It’s tricky sometimes but a lot of fun to try!

Remember that line is an element of art that helps us to show shape and movement through straight, angular or curvy markings on paper.

What is a continuous line?

A continuous line keeps going and doesn’t end until the drawing is finished. It can show the outside and inside shape of an object. For third graders, it is the same idea as the cursive writing where the line creating the letters moves along and doesn’t end until the last letter of the word.

What is contour? A contour is the line that defines a form or edge – an outline. Contour drawings follow the visible edges of a shape. There are also inside lines which show contour by outline the most dramatic shapes showing on the inside.

Blind contour drawing is studying a subject with your eyes and not looking at your hand that is drawing on the paper. This allows you to look carefully and see the contours and is a good warm up drawing.

Artist: We showed pictures of the art created by the Canadian artist, Emmanuel Claudais. He works in Montreal as an illustrator and has been a painter for 30 years along with working in stained glass. He is an art teacher of about sixty students and director of his own Art Gallery. He has made 52 animated capsules for the Discovery channel’s TV series, “How it’s Made”. We also showed a few of these animated capsules to the kids which are a fascinating example of his art and this technique.

Art Activity: Creating 4 drawings using the continuous contour technique
As we make our drawings remember:

-Keep your pencil or pen always touching the paper as you draw, making one continuous line. If you accidentally pick the pencil up then put it down in the place where you picked it up and keep going. There are no mistakes and you can go back over lines again to get your pencil to a new location.

-Look at the object on your desk and see the outer edge and any bigger inner shapes. Start at one side of the object with your eyes and using your pencil draw that side and the rest of the object making a continuous line describing WHAT YOUR EYES ARE SEEING in front of you.

-The picture will have a loose and flowing style. Funny lines are OK and don’t need to be fixed.

-Go slow and steady. Carefully look at the object with your eyes as you draw.

-After a few practice pictures with pencil on newsprint we’ll do a final piece that will be an ink drawing on white paper. If we have time we will finish with colored pencils inside the black lines to add another element of design to our art. Color.

Have fun with this! This is one way to use line to describe an object through your picture which is a your art work.

Drawings for students to try:
1. Draw a five pointed star with the lines crossing in the middle as first example for newsprint drawings. This is an easy and familiar example to let them practice keeping their pencils on the paper.

2. Water Bottle from their desk is the second pencil drawing on newsprint

3. Next try a Blind Contour of a vegetable(s) or water bottle with pencil on newsprint.

4. Final drawing on White paper with black marker of a water bottle, vegetables or you can try the flower and vase, or for a bigger challenge you can try and draw your shoe. Finish the drawing with colored pencils only inside the ink lines.

Closing Comments: Conclusion: After clean up we held an art walk in the room to admire each other’s work. We remembered that our comments are descriptive and positive. The students enjoyed seeing the drawings. The final ink drawing was harder for them as it felt more permanent and so they wanted it to be careful rather then loose and flowing. I might use pencil next time. They loved adding color to them. *Thanks to Jen Clark, a parent in room 2 who inspired this lesson with her own! Jen saw Emmanuel Claudais’s work on a Discovery/Science Channel show called “How It’s Made” where he’s done a number of real-time contour pieces as an intro to the final segment of the show. You can find it streaming on Netflix if it’s not still running on the Science Channel. I found artist information and photos of some of his paintings on the Fine Art America Website where they are for sale.

Room 13, 3rd grade, Ms. Vontver
Docent/s: Jill Mount


Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Emmanuel Claudais, Line


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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

%d bloggers like this: