Beginning Drawing Lesson 2 – Contour Line Ink Drawing

Art 4 Home School

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Review of Lesson 1

In case you missed it, here is the link to the first lesson…

Beginning Drawing Lesson 1 – Contour Line Drawing

Hopefully you have completed the assignment drawing for lesson 1… a contour pencil drawings.

Let’s look at the main points of lesson 1:


First, what is art anyway?

Let’s agree on this…

  1. Art is different things to different people
  2. Everyone can be an artist


Why Drawing?

Realize this… every piece of artwork starts with a drawing of some type, whether it’s a pencil drawing, a watercolor painting, or a sculpture… they all started with a drawing.


Elements of the Visual Arts

All visual artworks are made up of the different Elements of Artthese are the basic components, or building blocks, used by artists when producing works of art.  These elements consist of color, value, line, shape, form, texture, and space.

Our first element we looked at was “line”.

A line is an element of art that refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point.

A contour line drawing is basically a drawing that is an outline of the subject.  The definition reads… a contour is the outline of a figure or body; the edge or line that defines or bounds a shape of an object.

You were asked to draw three “contour drawings” or “outline drawings” this week.


Contour Line Ink Drawings

Now we are going to add another medium to our artwork… ink.

In artworks, the “medium” is the material the artwork is created with.  In a watercolor, the medium is, of course, watercolor paints.  A pencil drawing uses pencils or graphite, the stuff that’s in the pencil lead.

A sculpture might use clay, stone, welded steel, or bronze… or many other materials.

An artwork might use several different materials combined to make the piece.  This is called “mixed media”.  For example, an artwork might combine ink, tempera paints, chalks, and yarn… all used together.

As I said before, we are going to add ink to our new drawings this week in the form of felt tip markers.

The inks in markers are in reality closer to “dyes”… but they are a whole lot easier and neater to work with than real ink, especially for the budding artist.  As you get better and in more control of your pens, I urge you to try some actual inks for your artwork, as most markers will fade as time passes.


Just Follow the steps

OK, so how do we incorporate ink into our artwork?

Remember that we are still creating a “contour drawing”, but we’re using ink as the primary medium.

But wait, in your first drawings I’m sure you used another tool to complete your artwork…  an eraser… right?

And ink, or markers, can’t be erased… right?

So, what we do is lightly sketch the subject in pencil first… that’s step one.

Actually, it’s step two… you need to find and select a quality subject first… just saying.

Don’t just pick an idea based on the “it’s easy” criteria.

Try to select something that interests you… something you are passionate about… something that you know well.

I once painted a picture of a horse running through the desert. The only thing was, I really didn’t know anything about horses.  I was displaying it at a sidewalk art show and an older man walked up and quietly informed me that a horse living in a desert setting would not be as “fat” as the one I pictured.

From that time on I have only drawn and painted things that I really know.


Step 1… Pick a quality subject.

 Contour Line Drawing 1

Here is the subject I picked…


Step 2… Sketch the basic shapes lightly in pencil.


Here is my basic shaped sketch


Step 3… Refine the lines of your contour drawing

You don’t want the final drawing to look “sketchy”.


Here is my completed pencil drawing…

Remember to keep these lines light as well… we will not want these “construction lines” to show in the final art work.

“Construction lines” are the lines used to create your drawing, but are still temporary… they will not show in the completed piece.

Notice that I left out the leaves on the tree branch… I felt that they made the picture too “busy”.  Feel free to make changes to make it original and yours.


Step 4… Ink your drawing.


Once you have completely defined your drawing, it is time to get out the ink pen.  I suggest you use a fine point felt tip… I personally like the “Flair” pens by PaperMate… but there are many other types that work just as well.

Take your time when inking your drawing… don’t get in a hurry… why spend all the time getting your pencil lines “just right”, and then do a “sloppy” job of inking!

Be sure to let your ink lines look as if they were drawn, not traced… redraw the lines that you drew before, but in ink this time.

I know that that may be hard to understand…  but it’s very important.


Step 5… Erase the construction lines.


The focus of this lesson is to create an “ink drawing”… we don’t want any pencil to show in the final work.

This is VERY important… allow your ink lines to completely dry before erasing.  If you don’t, your ink will be smudged and ruin your drawing!

I suggest you use one of your “white” erasers to for this step… but really, any good eraser will work fine. An old eraser that has “dried out” will not be good to use… you usually find these on old pencils that have sat around for a long time.

Notice that I signed my work with just my signature… no “by” before my name.

When you have completed your final drawing, why not upload it to the “Art 4 Home School Class” Facebook page for everyone to see.  You can take a picture of it with your phone and send it to me as an email attachment, and I’ll upload it.

My email address is…


If you would rather, we can take care of that in class next week.



            Complete a contour ink drawings

            Learn the steps to best complete the contour ink drawings:

  1. Select a quality idea for your art work
  2. Sketching lightly… lay out the basic shapes of the subject
  3. Continue the drawing by refining the contours of the subject
  4. Ink the drawing with a black felt tip pen
  5. Let ink dry and then erase any remaining pencil lines


Bonus Assignment – Scratch Art Drawing

Here is a bonus assignment… do a scratch art drawing.

Scratch Art is a process that is basically opposite of what you are used to… instead of drawing with black on white paper, you will be drawing with white on black paper.

Scratch paper, or scratch board, is made by coating the surface of the drawing surface with black ink.  Your drawing is made by scratching away the black surface of the scratch board, or scratch paper, with a sharp tool called a stylus, or a scratch board tool.

The steps here will be slightly different that with the ink drawings.

Follow steps 1-3 as before…

  1. Select a quality idea for your art work

Scratch Art 1

2. Sketching lightly… lay out the basic shapes of the subject

Scratch Art 1a

3. Continue the drawing by refining the contours of the subject

Scratch Art 1b

Then move to a new step 4…


Step 4 – Transfer your drawing onto the scratch paper

Before you start, recognize this… your hands are “oily”.  It’s the natural oil of your skin, so don’t be embarrassed.

When you touch the surface of the scratch paper you can leave fingerprints which will seal the black ink, and not allow it to be scratched away.  So, try and keep your hands off as much as possible.

Take your pencil drawing and position it on top of your scratch paper.  I suggest that you tape it down so that it won’t move… but be sure none of the tape touches the scratch paper.


Using a ball point pen (not a felt tip) draw over your pencil drawing.  Press hard, because basically the pressure of your pen will make a slight impression onto the surface of the scratch paper.


Here I am tracing over my drawing…


Step 5 – Scratch your drawing

Next, remove the original drawing and use the scratch tool to scratch away the ink to make your drawing.


(Note – The scratch paper I purchased is not the same as I have used before, and the drawing did not transfer well to the scratch paper, so I had to freehand it.)


After you complete the drawing, you can use a can of spray varnish to “seal” your drawing so it won’t scratch any more.

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson…

Next week we will add another “element of art” to our creations… tone.

What’s that?

See you next week and find out!