Blind Contour Drawing

Beginner Art Lesson

Online Drawing Course

Blind contour drawing is an exercise to disengage the analytical part of the brain. It is a little like a game of Pictionary after rolling the special dice and then having to depict your subject without looking at what you’re drawing. Incidentally if you have the board game, it is a great and entertaining way of sketching symbolically and loosely.

In high school many lessons consisted of copying passages of text from a board or projector parrot fashion. Some kids would compete to see who could finish the quickest, and cast their tacit superiority over those who would dawdle to finish the last sentences as the teacher waited to write the next line, or put up the next slide. I got into a habit of writing without breaks so I could carry on writing several words at a time whilst looking up at the board and memorising the next sentence. At first my writing would worsen and come off the lines, but with a little practice it became more respectable and efficient. I try to adopt a similar approach in drawing and sketching, so that whilst I am looking up at my source, my hand is often dabbling at the paper, although that is not to say I will not take frequent short pauses to make sure the drawing/sketch is taking shape. I believe exercises in blind contour drawing can improve the ability to keep the hand in motion during these moments of direct observation, and not only keep the momentum and flow of the piece in progress, but prevent the analytical brain from trying to jump in and assess every little pencil stroke, something I find particularly useful in rendering and simplifying grass, water, or anything with intricate texture.

Although the results may look pointless, producing little more than a scribble, the exercise is really a very useful one allowing the hand to freely follow form and direction to capture a gesture. Look for randomly chaotic textures and patterns in clothes, finger prints, leaf capillaries, your carpet... Take a pencil in hand, and without looking at your sheet of paper, follow the little movements, lines and gestures that you observe. Try to work at a steady and consistent pace without pause, and include as much detail as you would like.

blind contour art blind contour drawing, learn to draw

blind contour art blind contour drawing, learn to draw


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