# How do you create a legend for a contour plot?

You could also do it directly with the lines of the contour, without using proxy artists.

``````import matplotlib
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.cm as cm
import matplotlib.mlab as mlab
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

matplotlib.rcParams['xtick.direction'] = 'out'
matplotlib.rcParams['ytick.direction'] = 'out'

delta = 0.025
x = np.arange(-3.0, 3.0, delta)
y = np.arange(-2.0, 2.0, delta)
X, Y = np.meshgrid(x, y)
Z1 = mlab.bivariate_normal(X, Y, 1.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0)
Z2 = mlab.bivariate_normal(X, Y, 1.5, 0.5, 1, 1)
# difference of Gaussians
Z = 10.0 * (Z2 - Z1)

# Create a simple contour plot with labels using default colors.  The
# inline argument to clabel will control whether the labels are draw
# over the line segments of the contour, removing the lines beneath
# the label
plt.figure()
CS = plt.contour(X, Y, Z)
plt.clabel(CS, inline=1, fontsize=10)
plt.title('Simplest default with labels')

labels = ['line1', 'line2','line3','line4',
'line5', 'line6']
for i in range(len(labels)):
CS.collections[i].set_label(labels[i])

plt.legend(loc="upper left")
``````

Will produce: However, you might also want to look into annotations for your own need. In my opinion it will give you a more fine grained control on where and what you write on the image, here is the same example with some annotation:

``````### better with annotation, more flexible
plt.figure(2)
CS = plt.contour(X, Y, Z)
plt.clabel(CS, inline=1, fontsize=10)
plt.title('Simplest default with labels')

plt.annotate('some text here',(1.4,1.6))
plt.annotate('some text there',(-2,-1.5))
`````` 