How to Sketch With Contour Lines

I’ve recently had quite a few requests for a quick overview of contour line sketching and how it works. In this video, I go over a few tips and tidbits on how to quickly show form using simple contour lines while sketching. As always, feel free to share the video and leave comments below. If you’re having trouble viewing all the videos, check out vimeo.com/idsketching for all our archive of videos. Spencer out.

P.S. my apologies for the shaky camera – I’m using a new camera rig that I am trying to perfect.

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  • http://www.owenharvey.com Ohjin

    Thanks for this vid. Nice clear explanation. I found it very informative.

  • http://www.owenharvey.com Ohjin

    Thanks for this vid. Nice clear explanation. I found it very informative.

  • lukiba

    cool man, thanks. keep up the tips! fantastic site, i check it out everyday!

  • lukiba

    cool man, thanks. keep up the tips! fantastic site, i check it out everyday!

  • Jaewoo Kim

    What video camera do you use for these video tutorials?

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      I’m using an old JVC Everio HD Camcorder so that I can record in 1080P.

  • Jaewoo Kim

    What video camera do you use for these video tutorials?

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      I’m using an old JVC Everio HD Camcorder so that I can record in 1080P.

  • tom

    great vid, really helpfull. pretty nice to see how you construct your sketches too.

  • tom

    great vid, really helpfull. pretty nice to see how you construct your sketches too.

  • Fab

    Really helpfull. Thank you for those amazing videos.

  • Fab

    Really helpfull. Thank you for those amazing videos.

  • Andrew Scott

    This is one of your best videos so far. Really nicely done.

  • Andrew Scott

    This is one of your best videos so far. Really nicely done.

  • Jaewoo Kim

    Off topic but,
    whatever happened to Josh Reed’s Interior car sketch tutorial?
    I dont think he ever finished it. Bummer.

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      I think that’s as far as it went or that’s all I got from him. He just sent me another tut tho, so stay tuned.

  • Jaewoo Kim

    Off topic but,
    whatever happened to Josh Reed’s Interior car sketch tutorial?
    I dont think he ever finished it. Bummer.

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      I think that’s as far as it went or that’s all I got from him. He just sent me another tut tho, so stay tuned.

  • dean

    spence you are my hero just what ive been lookin for.

  • dean

    spence you are my hero just what ive been lookin for.

  • Jaewoo Kim

    Hey Spencer,

    I have a question about sketchbook pro.
    Im looking for this feature that I saw in the iPad version of sketchbook pro that I want to use in the desktop version of sbp. In the iPad version I noticed that you could tweak the thickest part of the brush and the thinnest part of the brush. So that you can get that perfect taper based off of what you wanted. I am thinking that this feature was only added to simulate pressure sensitivity for the iPad. But I was hoping that this same feature can be found in the desktop version as well. If this feature exists, can you please show me how to do it?

    Thank you.

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      First, you need to create a custom brush – you can do so by duplicating the current brush. Then you’ll see the settings for that custom brush pop up. To bring them up again, double click on the brush’s icon.

  • Jaewoo Kim

    Hey Spencer,

    I have a question about sketchbook pro.
    Im looking for this feature that I saw in the iPad version of sketchbook pro that I want to use in the desktop version of sbp. In the iPad version I noticed that you could tweak the thickest part of the brush and the thinnest part of the brush. So that you can get that perfect taper based off of what you wanted. I am thinking that this feature was only added to simulate pressure sensitivity for the iPad. But I was hoping that this same feature can be found in the desktop version as well. If this feature exists, can you please show me how to do it?

    Thank you.

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      First, you need to create a custom brush – you can do so by duplicating the current brush. Then you’ll see the settings for that custom brush pop up. To bring them up again, double click on the brush’s icon.

  • http://www.creativitylives.com Jorgen

    More, more, more, more.

  • http://www.creativitylives.com Jorgen

    More, more, more, more.

  • Ivan Epling

    Very informative video.
    Every time i watch a video from you i am forced to stop everything and start sketching!

  • Ivan Epling

    Very informative video.
    Every time i watch a video from you i am forced to stop everything and start sketching!

  • http://patrickdeza.blogspot.com Patrick Deza

    Nice tutorials!
    Your videos inspired me to draw with constructions as you recommend.

    btw I have linked your website on my blog.
    http://patrickdeza.blogspot.com/2010/05/industrial-design-sketching.html

    thx for sharing

  • http://patrickdeza.blogspot.com Patrick Deza

    Nice tutorials!
    Your videos inspired me to draw with constructions as you recommend.

    btw I have linked your website on my blog.
    http://patrickdeza.blogspot.com/2010/05/industrial-design-sketching.html

    thx for sharing

  • Burak Serin

    Very helpful. Thank you very much. You make drawing look easy !

  • Burak Serin

    Very helpful. Thank you very much. You make drawing look easy !

  • http://www.coroflot.com/defo Diego

    this is truly a masterpiece for the teaching of sketch, thanks for posting!!

  • http://www.coroflot.com/defo Diego

    this is truly a masterpiece for the teaching of sketch, thanks for posting!!

  • Maj

    I’m a bit confused. I was taught those vertical and horizontal lines that suggest an objects surface were called cross-sections. Is that so? I’m sorry I just want to make sure I follow the video correctly. Otherwise it’s great thank you Spencer.

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      Same thing.

  • Maj

    I’m a bit confused. I was taught those vertical and horizontal lines that suggest an objects surface were called cross-sections. Is that so? I’m sorry I just want to make sure I follow the video correctly. Otherwise it’s great thank you Spencer.

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      Same thing.

  • http://www.coroflot.com/haojf fengyun319

    Thanks man!
    Very cool!

  • http://www.coroflot.com/haojf fengyun319

    Thanks man!
    Very cool!

  • http://www.zacharyasher.snappages.com zack

    on behalf of the new designers out of college who need practice on style and professional sketching, thanks man, im trying to sketch every day and this helps a lot

  • http://www.zacharyasher.snappages.com zack

    on behalf of the new designers out of college who need practice on style and professional sketching, thanks man, im trying to sketch every day and this helps a lot

  • Aritz

    offtopic: Autodesk Alias Sketch 2011

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFM5DR-a_pE

  • Aritz

    offtopic: Autodesk Alias Sketch 2011

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFM5DR-a_pE

  • Jesus

    Hey men great tutorial, realy help me in my sketches, Saludos desde Mexico y sigue hacienso esto realmente eres bueno.

  • Jesus

    Hey men great tutorial, realy help me in my sketches, Saludos desde Mexico y sigue hacienso esto realmente eres bueno.

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  • nfrate

    nice vid.

  • nfrate

    nice vid.

  • mutou

    cool video
    I’m a beginner, I want to ask those pens are what brand
    thanks

    • nfinlay

      They are Pilot’s Fineliner. Check jetpens.com they should have them. Ive never been able to find them in stores.

      • mutou

        thanks,i had found

  • mutou

    cool video
    I’m a beginner, I want to ask those pens are what brand
    thanks

    • nfinlay

      They are Pilot’s Fineliner. Check jetpens.com they should have them. Ive never been able to find them in stores.

      • mutou

        thanks,i had found

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  • vis

    sexy. excellent technique.

  • vis

    sexy. excellent technique.

  • mng

    maaaaaaaaan you rock !!!! and not only in sketching. For 10 mins I learnt more from you, than a year in my interior design course ( interior or industrial i must sketch ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kym-Accleton/100000606153094 Kym Accleton

    OK, now I know what they’re talking about at Uni and what I’m aiming for. At last! Thank you!

  • C Stewart

    Hi Spencer
    I have just been watching your video with some of my Product Design class…. Ben Luke Thomas Michael Colin and Stphen. They were totally in awe of your sketching supremacy. Keep up the excellent tutorials you are WORLD CLASS..

  • Plpgomes

    I Spencer. Can you tell me, in reality, how much time did it take you to end the earphone sketches