Blind Contour Drawing

The other day I was called to substitute for an Art teacher. YEAH!  I wrote a little bit about it the other day when I talked about the Reynolds High School Art Show and Auction.  I was asked to teach about blind contour drawing.

I was excited because I love doing blind contour drawing. I love the process. It is fun to see the reaction from the class when they find out how they are going to be drawing.  It gives the student a chance to do something they may have never done in their entire life.  Listening to the reaction when the students look at their work is a lot of fun also.

Teaching about blind contour drawing can be a little tiring when you have a large class. You really have to convince the kids that there is a reason for doing blind contour drawings.

Some of you may be wondering what a blind contour drawing is.  Well, a contour is the edge of something.  So, you are drawing the edge of an object.  Blind means not being able to see. No, you don’t draw with your eyes closed.  You draw without looking at your paper.  Yeah, it is a little strange.

Why draw without looking at your paper?  So, you can train your eye to look closely at details.  Another reason, to train you to switch to the right side of your brain. When you look at something closely, it bores the left side of your brain. When the left side of the brain can not see the paper the hand is drawing on, it gets frustrated. It allows the right side to take over. When the right side takes over, you get much better drawings.

Naturally the blind drawings will not be anything you are going to try to sell in an art gallery. They are done for practice. The more you do them the better you get at switching over.You will be surprised when you look at your blind contour drawings. Sometimes you will find clarity in these drawings.

Once you learn to switch over more readily, your drawing will improve when you draw actually looking at the paper.

Here are the rules I give my students for blind contour drawing:

1. Do not talk. (Talking takes you to the left side of the brain.)

2. Do not pick up your pencil. (So these drawings will be done with one continuous line.)

3. Do not look at your paper.

The largest class I substituted for had 36 students. It was a little crowded. I tripped over people as I went around the room giving encouragement after each drawing session. We drew our hand open, our hand in a fist, our neighbor, and our shoe.  It was a little difficult getting everyone quiet at the same time, but we did it. I could tell if the students really got into the drawing and switched to the right side. The amazing thing, all 36 tried. Some were more serious than others, but I felt it was a successful class.

If you want to improve your drawing skills, try to do a blind contour drawing. You just might like it!

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