Time Duration: 2 class periods

Unit Title: Drawing/Painting

Lesson Topic: Line

Objectives of Lesson

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

1. Identify contour lines, gestural lines, implied lines, and expressive lines.

2. Use gesture lines to sketch and contour lines to add detail to a drawing.

Materials Needed

1. Sketchbook, drawing pencil, and eraser.

2. Set up in stations: chopstick, markers, pastels, brush and ink, and charcoal.

3. Simple objects to draw.

4. Line, Gesture and Contour instructional posters.

Instructional Procedure with Approximate Time Line

1. Anticipatory Set (5 minutes)

Read students the following: Line is a mark made by a pointed tool &emdash; brush, pencil, stick, pen, etc. &emdash; and is often defined as a moving dot. It has a length and width, but its width is very small compared to its length. A line is created by the movement of a tool and pigment, and often suggests movement in a drawing or painting.

Variety in the thickness of lines creates surface interest. Some lines are thick; some are thin; and many are both thick and thin.

Lines can be expressive and suggestive because of their endless variety. Some adjectives that can describe the quality of a line are nervous, soft, heavy, waving, erratic, etc. In nature, lines can be seen as tree branches, cracks in rocks, grasses, flower stems, spider webs, etc.


2. Gesture and Contour Lines (35 minutes)

Using the Gesture Line poster, point out the characteristics of a gesture drawing (done quickly, does not outline &emdash; line moves freely within, no details, captures movement, can be shaded to make things stand out, and thick/thin lines can be used to bring out certain edges). Explain that gesture drawing is a great way to sketch. Read the poster:

"Gesture drawing is an important step in the process of drawing. By definition, gesture drawing is a quick method of representing a sense of movement and an object's weight and mass with as few marks as possible.

Even though gesture drawing appears to be simple, it requires that the artist approach the subject matter with an attitude of inquiry, translating almost rhythmically what he or she is seeing. Usually, these drawings can be completed in 30 - 60 seconds to capture the movement. Practicing gesture drawing enhances the artist's ability to express and interpret the overall qualities of an object, and many artists begin a large drawing project with this foundation. Be careful not to draw edges or to outline - scribbles and spirals are good marks to use."

Gesture of a Bowler

Have the students practice gesture drawings in their sketchbook (title the page "gesture drawings"). The students should choose an object from the classroom, and within 60 seconds complete a gesture drawing. Do at least three gesture drawings this way. Next, have students picture something in their mind and do a gesture drawing of it. A good suggestion is a person in movement.

Still Life Gesture Drawing - Can you see the bottles and fruit?

Using the Contour Line poster, point out the characteristics of a contour line drawing (outlines the object, no sketchy lines, shows detail, no shading, and can use thick and thin lines). Contrast contour lines with gesture lines. Read the poster:

"Contour drawing helps define and explore edges through line and locates one object in relationship to another. It also establishes an expressive and accurate representation of the subject by the richness of the lines, thick or thin, crisp or soft, and the speed and rhythm with which they are drawn. Contour drawing enables the artist to develop the illusion of volume through space and line.

One of the most demanding requirements of contour drawing is developing the ability to concentrate which enhances hand-eye coordination and helps the artist to perceive the object as a whole. Be careful not to use sketchy lines and make sure you capture the details when doing a contour drawing."

Have the students practice contour lines in their sketchbooks (title the page "contour line drawings"). Students should choose an object from the classroom and do a contour line drawing. Do at least two this way. Lastly, have students do one contour line drawing from their mind’s eye. Ask students if it was more difficult to draw from what they saw or what they imagined?


Contour Line Drawing Examples

Homework: Practice doing gesture and contour line drawings of objects. Fill one sketchbook page with gesture drawings and one with contour line drawings.

Day Two

1. Activities (40 minutes)

Activities are to be done on separate sketchbook pages, not back to back.

2. Extra Credit:

3. Assessment

0 points = Activity not completed or not found. Activity done incorrectly or no title.

5 points = Activity partly correct. Improve and turn in again.

10 points = Activity successfully completed. Student demonstrates understanding of concepts.


Lesson ideas were used from the Elements and Principles of Design Posters, Teacher’s Guide, by Crystal Productions

Palani Williams, Kamehameha Middle School