What Is Cross Contour Drawing?


Whether you draw with a pen and ink or a stub of pastel chalk, learning as many techniques as possible will enable you to reach your artistic goals. Cross contour drawing is fairly easy to understand and execute, and will enable you to draw just about anything. With a richer understanding of what you and your tools are capable of, you will gain perspective on what you can accomplish now and far into your artistic future.


  • Essentially, cross contour drawing is a technique that takes the line that you are creating across the contours of the form, crossing over both horizontally and vertically. An object is viewed from a particular angle and represented in a linear fashion so that it appears three dimensional on paper.


  • Imagine a mold that has been designed to fit the complex contours of your face. It must cover all the angles, raised and inverted, and carry the planes created by your facial features. Drawing an object using cross contour will map out all the details of an object, much like a grid. Every object carries its own unique topographical stamp that can be illustrated with pen or pencil.


  • Chances are, you don't need a busy configuration of lines to suggest the form of an apple in a drawing. Your imagination has already taken the cues of the apple's outline and stem to understand that this is an apple. While practicing this technique, it's a good idea to omit some of the criss-crossed curves and lines so that the viewer's creative process can work. Leaving some room for suggestion also makes for a more artistic and less technical feel within your art.


  • Cross contour drawing needn't be stoic and mathematical. The essence of the object can be represented in a variety of approaches with this technique. Adding energetic lines or varying the pressure of your pencil can create an emotional feeling. With a relaxed flick of the wrist, you will quickly find that you can easily sketch any object.

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