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Cross Contour Drawing for Beginners

Updated on June 10, 2011

Cross Contour Drawing Example

Example of a cross contour drawing.
Example of a cross contour drawing.

What is Cross Contour Drawing?

Like contour drawing, cross contour drawing involves drawing an object using only line. Unlike contour drawing, cross contour drawing deals with illustrating the way an object sits in space using lines. For example, if you were to draw a sphere, there would be circular marks inside the sphere that will illustrate the way the sphere is round. See the example image for the way a hand would be drawn using the cross contour technique. 

Drawing Supplies

Strathmore (25-818 200 Series Newsprint Pad, 18"x24", 100 Sheets
Strathmore (25-818 200 Series Newsprint Pad, 18"x24", 100 Sheets

A newsprint pad will go a long way for all drawing exercises you do.


Basic Cross Contour Line Drawing Exercise

So you want to do a cross contour drawing? Good, because I am going to tell you how.

1. Prepare your environment. When doing anything important, including drawing, it is necessary to remove distractions from your environment as well as have a neat and organized working area.

2. Begin with a normal contour drawing. If you are unsure what a contour drawing is, just an outline of the object you are drawing. That is the most basic form of contour drawing. There is more information on contour drawing here. Cross contour drawing builds on contour drawing by adding lines that represent the way the object occupies space.

3. Begin to draw lines that represent the way the object occupies space. If you have trouble drawing those lines imagine that the object you are drawing is wrapped in wire. The lines that you draw will represent the lines the wire would make on the object. As you start to draw these lines notice how that the object already begins to look for three dimensional.

4. Complete and review the drawing. Complete your drawing to the fullest you can. Then look at your work, analyze it, and see where you need improvement. Do another drawing and focus on improving what was weak in your previous drawing. The most important part of doing drawing exercises like cross contour drawing is to learn and improve!

Cross Contour Drawing

An example of a cross contour drawing
An example of a cross contour drawing

Additional Exercies for Cross Contour Drawings

These exercises build upon previous cross contour drawings and should only be done when you have a good understanding of cross contour drawings!

Increase your line density where there are shadows. This is a simple way for your cross contour drawings to further help you understand the three dimensionality of objects. You simply add more cross contour lines where there are shadows. Shadows, of coarse, represent the way an object takes up space. By adding in this into your cross contour drawing, you are better understanding how an object takes up space.

Draw cross contour lines for the shadows of the object. This, in essence, is as simple as adding shadows to your cross contour drawings by adding more lines. You take the object that you are drawing, view the shadow of the object, and draw lines to resemble that shadow. For example, if you were drawing a sphere, the shadow of the sphere would mimic the shape of the sphere. In a spheres case, the shadow would be circular. If you were drawing an object with strait contour lines, the shadows would be strait.

Both of these techniques can be seen in the image entitled cross contour drawing in case you are a visual learner!

Cross Contour Drawing Video


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am delighted that I observed this web blog , just the right info that I was looking for! .

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image


      6 years ago from East Coast

      Thank-you for the clear, concise (without being dry!) article on drawing. The illustrations were excellent. Happy hubbing to you:)

    • Annastaysia profile image


      7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I love to draw, but never the way you describe here. Now I have a new project. Thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i don't know why they put all this stuff on

      here 4?

    • daviddwarren22 profile image


      7 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this hub. Very unique and informative!

    • grayghost profile image


      7 years ago

      Enjoyed your article. I draw, but have had no training or education. I learned a couple good things here.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I would like to see how the leaves are done.

    • MKayo profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      Good info on cross contour method. Thx.


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