Contour Mapping

Contour Mapping

A perspective on line

Big Idea:

Using topographic mapping of a human body to create 2d form.

Description of Setting:

High School Art Classroom, 30+ students, 9 tables, 35 chairs, 2 sinks, projector

Public School, Fall Semester, 1st Quarter

45 minute class periods

Art History:

Artists that use contour lines: Frank Stella, Richard j anuszkiewicz, Joseph Albers

A depiction of form using contour lines. They focus on optical illusions and perspective that changes the way line interacts with space. It is something flat yet formulated that becomes almost 3D in form.

Goal and Outcomes:

Students will use line and space to express themselves

Students will use contour lines to create 2-D undulations

Students will reconstruct their own body with contour line

Students will create a design that has expression with line.

Students will be able to recognize the use of line in 2-D artwork and understand its geographical counterpart in contour maps.

Students will be able to use thick and thin lines to express themselves, their elevation, or main areas of interest in their 2-D work.

Students recognize and use space between the lines as a way of judging height and distance.

Students are able to critique a work of art using the proper terms and standards used in class to express their knowledge of the assignment when assessing others works.

Students will write a artist statement explaining their artwork and the idea behind their final project.

Positive Critique will be had at end of project.

Discussion pertaining to the silhouette project in class. Is it art? How did it make you feel? Does this give you opportunities to express yourselves in other ways?


Maps, Pencils, pens, white prisma color pencil, or alike white drawing utensil (conte?)- practice paper for study (newsprint),  18 x 24 black charcoal paper? Projector and images of artists, maps, and other designs.

Management Procedure:

Students will arrive on time and take there seats for attendance. Students will stay attentive and quiet while working.Students will not text on cell phones. Students will raise hand with questions. Students will respect one another and the work that is being created. Students will give positive feed back.

Instructional Process:

Students will walk into class and take their seats. Once the class is settled down and all eyes are on screen the keynote presentation will begin. Students will have the opportunity to question key terms and focus their thought on how contour lines relate to elevation, value, 2D forms and expression. Students will proceed to work with contour line graphs from the images on the projector.

While this is taking place the teacher will be passing out an 18 X 24 sheet of paper to each student. They are not allowed to start until they have met with the teacher and discussed their thought process. As each student begins to recognize their 2-D form they may sketch a preliminary drawing out first on a sheet of newsprint paper.

As their ideas are placed on the practice page they are given the final tool to finish the large scale project. A quick demonstration maybe required with the chosen material.  The medium is up to the teacher but should be based on a format of black paper (charcoal) and then some form of white drawing utensil. The students practice thick and thin lines. They learn how the medium flows on the paper and reacts to its counter part. They may find this particular style of map making to be very tedious, much like historians did many years ago.

Each contour line represents undulations in the structure represented. It could be part of a face, hand, foot, animal, ect. The thick and thin lines and the distance between those lines play a large part in depth and space.

The students will look into mirrors to identify their facial elements if needed and once again begin to sketch out a contour form, paying close attention to undulations, crevices, and spacial form of any specific body part.

They will plot heights and distances along with numerous other markings a contour map may have during the construction of their facial line drawing.

Once the work has progressed the teacher will come around to a few students at a time, allowing them to grab a camera and begin taking action shots of themselves. As a groups pictures are taken the students will bring back the camera and the teacher will assign the next group to go.

This will produce the second installment of contour form. Once they have finished practicing the students will be given the opportunity to start on their final contour project. Their own human form.

With 2 to 3 minutes to spare at the end of the class period the students will be asked to put away all materials (put away trays, maps, extra paper, journals, art utensil if used, clean up their space, and put away their projects on the drying rack.). Thoughts or issues about the project can also be announced near the end of class for interpretation and discussion.

Students will have the opportunity to pick an artist discussed to start there paper. This paper will help create an art history book and test material at the end of the year.

As the time nears end, the students will put away all material and find their table and wait for the bell patiently.

Student will leave the classroom courteous of one another.

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