Drawing Exercise: Blind Contour Drawing

Blind Contour Drawing of a Binder Clip

What is Blind Contour Drawing?

Blind contour drawing is an exercise that consists in drawing the contour of a subject without looking at the paper, at least while the pencil or pen moves. During the exercise, the eyes follow the edges of the subject, while simultaneously drawing the contour very slowly, in a steady, continuous line.

Why do it?

This exercise has two main benefits:

  • Improves hand-eye coordination;
  • Reinforces the habit of really observing the subject being drawn.

How is it done?

There are several variations but the rules I try to follow are:

  • Move the pencil or pen at the same speed as the eyes move along the edges of the subject;
  • Never look at the paper while drawing;
  • Pausing to look and re-position the pencil is allowed;
  • Draw as long as possible without looking.

Variants:

  • Never look at the paper during the entire drawing;
  • Never lift the pencil from the paper, i.e. do the entire drawing with a continuous line.

Each drawing is relatively quick and the results are always fascinating. As for subjects, I go around the house looking for objects or arrangements. Sometimes I use watercolors to loosely color the drawings.

Examples

A blind contour drawing in pen and ink:

Blind Contour Drawing of a Wooden Toy Horse
Wooden Toy Horse

An example to which I added some color:

Blind Contour Drawing of a Vase of Flowers
Vase of Flowers

For more examples see my October's, November's and December's blind contour drawings.