A blind contour study is actually an experience rather than a drawing and one which can only continue whilst you have the patience. Contour drawings indicate all three dimensions of a form (length, width and depth) where as an outline drawing indicates only two.
This exercise is a line drawing and is best done slowly, searchingly and sensitively.
Blind contour drawing is a slow, painstaking process but you will be delighted and surprised with the results (if you can stand it!) and it will improve your eye to hand co-ordination no end.
- For this exercise I chose to draw my hand but you can please yourself what you would like to draw.
- Sit close to the model or object you wish to draw and lean forward in your chair.
- Focus your eyes on any point along the outline or edge of the model.
- Place the point of your pencil on the paper.
- Imagine the pencil point is actually touching the subject instead of the paper.
- Without taking your eyes off the model, draw with the imagination that the pencil is touching the point on the subject upon which your eyes are fixed.
- Move your eye slowly along the contour of the model and at the same time move your pencil slowly along the paper. Keep the belief that your pencil point is actually touching the outline of the subject.
- The idea is to be guided by touch rather than sight. To do this, you must draw without looking at the paper! You may look at your paper if you think you have gone way off to the side of the subject (this sometimes happens) but it is important not to draw when you are looking.
- This will only work if you have the absolute belief that you are touching the subject.
Remember distortions are a an unconscious result of drawing “blind” and these distortions always add expressive power. This is the most helpful exercise you can do when learning to see form.
This drawing illustrates the difference between an outline drawing and a contour drawing. An outline drawing indicates only two dimensions of a form, a contour drawing reveals all three dimensions.
Here are some of my blind contour drawings. When I went through them this morning I decided to lend them extra sweetness by working into a couple with ink. Blind contour drawings literally jump out with life and character. You will love yours as I do mine.