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Hands on - in contour line.

This year, I was looking for a way to challenge my high school students in the area of contour line. Nothing new came to mind until one day on the way home, I passed a gas station with a help wanted sign. The sign was simple and visually appealing. It showed two hands, arms with sleeves rolled up, with one hand pointing to the words "help wanted." This was the beginning of my idea.

I wanted my students to focus on a process that they might see every day, but hadn't really looked at. They were asked to produce a line drawing of two life size hands involved in some kind of process. The subject was up to them but it had to include a visually interesting environment. I gave an example of a person planing wood. The composition would include two hands holding the plane, the piece of wood, and a curled wood shaving. This could be angled for greater visual impact.

I gave the students 18" x 24" (46 cm x 61 cm) white vellum paper and reviewed the contour drawing process. They first worked in pencil and went over their line with fine-line marker. The assignment was a challenge which produced diverse results. This project preceded figure drawing in which a variety of student models posed. This assignment greatly increased their ability to include hands in relationship to the figure, and provided them with a higher confidence level in their drawing ability.

Ken Vieth teacher art at Montgomery High School, Skillman, New Jersey.
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Author:Vieth, Ken
Publication:School Arts
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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