Believe it or not, drawing is about touch as much as it is about seeing. Your eyes see the subject while your hand moves the pencil with your sense of touch to mimic the lines and curves they see.
Blind contour drawing is done by drawing the outline of a subject without looking at the paper, and just concentrating on how the hand needs to move to do that.
If you don’t use your body to feel the lines, you become disconnected from the drawing, and your logical brain takes over. It tells you what the subject “should” look like and how you should draw it. This never ends well.
Too see what I mean, make a very quick sketch of a tree. Then take a Dry Erase Marker to a window and trace the trunk and some branches of a real tree. The real tree outline will be much more organic and detailed than yours. And when you were tracing, you weren’t thinking about how to make the lines, you just moved the marker along the tree lines using sight and touch. That’s the feeling-touch blind contour drawing strengthens.
Before And After A Blind Contour Drawing Warm-Up
- Find a simple subject, like a vase or mug, and put it a few feet away from you, Draw it without any warm-up.
- Now draw it blindly. Put the pad of drawing paper in front of you, or in your lap, put the point of the pencil on the paper, and don’t look at it again until you’re through.
When you see a line leaning to the left, move your hand to the left. When the line angles up, move your hand up. A line coming at you is just a short line that angles one way or another, so don’t let it scare you. (When I draw blindly, my whole body moves with my arm and hand.)
- After you’ve drawn blindly for a few minutes, draw the same subject normally again. Glance at your subject and then at your paper, back and forth, comparing what you’ve drawn to the real thing. Feel the angles and curves as you draw them.
Your drawing should show improvement. And now you know that there is more to drawing than meets the eye. :)