Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to do a Blind Contour Drawing

Have you ever tried doing a blind contour drawing before?  I'm halfway through auditing an art class at a local university and thought it would be fun to share some of the art activities that we're doing in class with you!

How to Do a Blind Contour Drawing

how to do a blind contour drawing

Now, I consider myself a doodler... and definitely not a great artist.  But I had to share this activity with you because I really loved doing the blind contour drawings in class.

What is a blind contour drawing?

 A contour drawing is one where you draw the lines and outlines you see in an object.  You're basically recording all the edges that you see.  So your picture will consist of lines and no shading.

When you're making a blind contour drawing, you make a contour drawing, but you don't look at paper at all.  Yup.  You draw and only look at the object that you're drawing.  You don't look at your hands at all until you're done.  

Drawing from Memory vs. Blind Contour Drawing

Prior to doing blind contour drawings, our art professor first had us draw things from memory.  She told us to draw things like pine cones, flowers, hands, and people.  Here's my attempt at drawing Chuck from memory:

drawing from memory vs. blind contour drawing

(Yup.  See?  Told you I was a doodler.)  As you can see, the boy doesn't really resemble Chuck.  That's because I drew from my imagination (memory).  The face is over simplified and the different facial features resemble symbols or icons... not the actual item itself.  (E.g., An eye doesn't actually look like what I drew, neither does a nose or mouth.)

Once we drew from memory, our professor then told us to do blind contour drawings.  To do this activity, we needed a pen, a piece of paper, and an object or person to draw. Here are my blind contour drawings...

of 2 toys,

blind contour drawing of two toy airplanes

of 2 very ripe bananas,

and of a flower.

Can you see the difference between the memory drawing and the blind contour drawing?

My blind contour drawings are more precise and they really capture the individuality of each item.  Because of this, I actually find them more beautiful than my doodle of Chuck (even though they're probably harder to identify.)

Here are some things to keep in mind while you do blind contour drawings:

  • Don't peek.  Once you start drawing, don't look at your paper at all!  I know it's hard, but it's so worth it.  (If you really find yourself struggling, you can put a sheet of paper over your hand while you draw.)  
  • Don't think.  Just draw. That's right.  Turn off your brain.  Instead of saying to yourself "This is an apple, I'm drawing an apple," note the lines, angles, and curves of what's in front of you.  Remember, this is an opportunity to train your eyes and hands.  Don't let your brain get in the way. 
  • Draw slowly.  Remember, you're noticing all the lovely detailed lines and edges.  Move your eye slowly along the object and draw each detail that you see.  
  • Keep your pen down.  It helps if you don't lift up your pen.  This way you won't lose your place.
  • It's ok to laugh at yourself. Your drawings will look silly. Everybody's drawings look silly. It's ok.  It's all part of the process.  :)

Have fun!

I hope you have a fun time trying out this activity with your kids (or on your own!)  I really, really enjoyed doing it in class and at home.  It felt very freeing because I didn't worry about the final product.  I just enjoyed the process and getting lost in all the lovely lines and edges.

If you liked this art activity, you might like these other fun art activities:

Let's keep in Contact!

You can always find  fun ideas on my Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts!  (Or subscribe to my email mailing list by filling out the pink bar at the top of your screen.)

Happy drawing!