Monthly Archives: March 2016

Contour, Gesture and Modelling

Experimental Drawing by Robert Kaupelis

Can’t recommend this book enough…

Chapter one Contour, Gesture and modelling shows you three ways of mark making. All of which you use intuitively, but it’s great to have this clarity.

The illustrations and notes are fantastic – I’ve heavily annotated my book but can’t add it on an open blog. It helps me understand it and spend more time with the illustrations so I can study them and mentally make the marks on the page.

This then goes into my subconscious and hopefully? comes out in my drawing.

You can mix all three in one drawing and working on a project.


This is all to do with line.

It can be internal as well as external and include hatching and hatchuring (hatching following the contours)… and can be quick or slow. Generally it seems to have a lot to do with filtering and careful application of line.

Of course unless it’s a patterned dress with lines on the lines aren’t ‘real’ – a line to close a shape is a convention… in reality it’s a boundary where one object ends and another begins which may or may not be clearly defined.

Hatching starts to shade and therefore model/give 3D qualities to your drawing.


Is all about speed and not filtering the line but capturing the essence of movement/posture/weight/presence in a few lines/smudges/shading.

And from the start it goes inside, down, through and all around the subject and is tonal – rather than just line.

It can be used from life such as a street full of people or in the initial stages of a composition.


This is a ‘shading’ technique which has nothing to do with where the light falls on the model.

It’s almost like sculpting… the areas nearest to you are lightest… as they curve away you increase pressure… and when they angle away from you the shading is heaviest. This makes them look 3D.

I find the examples interesting but ‘abstract’ – in that they are the object in space but lack the spark of life. It’s almost like having a perfect Frankenstein but it’s not got the spark of life. Even a styrofoam cup has ‘life’… it may be weak but you have a feeling about it… it is connected to you in some way.

It’s not that they are academic displays without artistic merit – but that for me (though they speak and have a power) they lack ‘annimation’.

I can’t explain it any more than that.

So a very interesting overview of basic mark making that is both an invaluable psychological insight into the artists craft but also a great practical.