Blind Contour Drawing

Blind contour drawing was something I started doing when attending Life Drawing classes back in Argyll.  It was always a really great warm up exercise as it sharpens my observational skills, makes me really think about the connection between shapes and angles.  It was also occasionally helpful in loosening up my mark making a bit.  Usually I deployed it for quick gestural drawings but, being fairly speedy at drawing, I also used to do blind contour studies of longer poses from time to time if I had adequate time left in a pose.

My kids always liked to look at my life drawings each week and they would chuckle at the blind contour drawings.  It seemed, therefore, like a good idea to get them to try blind contour drawing for themselves.  As I had hoped, they had a blast doing it and there was much mirth as we shared our drawings with each other.  Hopefully they also learned something about observing things closely when drawing.

Blind Contour 1

The activity began with a quick demonstration by me, since it is easier to teach blind contour through “monkey-see-monkey-do” methodology than through words.  I, therefore, did very speedy drawings (no more than a minute each) of each of my sons.  They loved seeing what I had made of their faces.

Blind Contour 2 LRDP

My seven year old drew my face (in the red at top left), a wooden art manikin (in orange), and a Pop vinyl zombie figure (in black).

Blind Contour 3 AR

My nine year old drew a toy musket, a cuddly spider, and my face – all those noodle lines being my scruffy hair.

Blind Contour 4 ET

Blind Contour 5 ET

My 10 year old drew BB8 (in black), the Pop vinyl zombie (in blue), and the toy musket (in orange).  We all had a really hooting chuckle at the musket.  It looks like the offspring of some sort of phallic eel and Nemo the clown fish.

Blind Contour 6 OA

My 13 year old drew  the wooden manikin (brown), my face (red), the Pop zombie (blue), and a model catamaran (orange).

Blind Contour 7 AB

If you have never done blind contour drawing before, I heartily recommend it. It is so much fun and the results are often very amusing.






Square Studies

Last week’s Life Book lesson was a fun tutorial by Kristin Dudish.  It essentially made a kind of game out of close observation and small studies of parts of an image that would build up to a whole.  It involved using a source image to copy so I chose to use a vintage photograph to steer clear of the whole copyright thing.  We were encouraged to use different media in each square.  However, I was working on this piece late at night and in front of a movie and I quite frankly felt like relaxing and being a bit lazy so I just used different colours of watercolour pencil activated with a water brush.

I have not done such close observational drawing since I left Scotland.  It was something I used to do at life drawing class ever so often – really study an ear or the fingers of one hand – but after almost three years I thought I would be more rusty than I proved to be.  It was a really fun exercise and an enjoyable way to translate what can be a challenging skill into something easily digestible and entertaining.  I think I might even take this approach again in my art journal as useful practice.  Maybe my kids would have fun trying it too.

Week 22 - Square Studies