This exercise is an original right out of art school. We would practice these for hours sometimes, with the end goal of “learning how to see”. It will train your eye to focus on the information you are perceiving visually, and less on your other modes of interpreting it.
I originally posted this on my blog as an ISW mini lesson, but you will certainly find many other approaches and eg. around the internet.
- Individual activity
- Any drawing surface and implement
- 1 minute to an hour or more
- A subject
This activity is designed to get you to see the world in a new way using a classic drawing technique called “blind contour drawing“.
Detailed instructions for a blind contour drawing activity reposted from PDF from Xavier University.
Some others links to check out…
Blind Contour Drawing
The purpose of this assignment will be to familiarize students with an exercise in drawing that has been used by artists throughout history. Students will learn the significance of line in drawing as well as train their hands to truly draw what the eye is seeing. They will complete multiple quick blind contour drawings and then finalize with a image where they are allowed to focus on the object. Emphasis is placed on the development of the hand to accurately execute what the eye is seeing after the exercise not, on the quality of the blind line drawings.
Print these worksheets to practice.
Warm up in the Scribble zone!
It’s not always easy to distinguish if we are drawing from our imagination (what we think we see) or drawing from observation (what we really see). Lets try the former first, drawing from imagination. Please draw a picture of your favorite chair, as realistically as possible.
Blind contour is a challenging activity that artists use to ‘unlearn’ the way they are used to seeing. The rules? there are only two but this activity could take a bit more
- Do NOT look at the paper while you are drawing.
- Once your pen touches the page, it stays on until the end.
- Become familiar with line as contour.
- Be able to develop their hand – “minds eye” coordination.
- Deconstruct drawing from a serious painstaking work to one that is quick and intuitive.
- Express the emotion in the line.
- Explore the variation of materials used to make the lines.
- Blind drawings and finished drawings must be completed on the same piece of paper. (front & back if necessary) but, students need to # drawings to allow them to reflect on the process.
- Gather materials
- Set up still life and arrange yourself so you face away from your paper towards the objects.
- Time several quick drawings varying times from 1 to 3 minutes.
- Allow 15 minutes (at least) to complete a full blind contour drawing of the still life