Exercise: Blind Contour Drawing
Aim: To develop hand-eye coordination and observational skills
Materials: Paper, B pencil
Time: At least 15 minutes, preferably longer
Set Up: Have your sketchbook or a piece of paper on a board so that you can place it on your lap under the table where you can't see the paper, or place your paper on the table and set up an object as a screen. For this exercise, you are going to draw a picture of your nondrawing hand resting on the table. Remember, the point is to look at your subject, not your drawing.
Blind contour drawings look strange but are excellent practice.
Start Drawing: With blind contour drawing, it is important to go very slowly. Working too quickly will defeat the purpose of the exercise; try to draw as slowly and deliberately as possible. You are training your eye to observe every little detail and teaching your hand to follow. The end result does not matter, only the activity of drawing.
Review: If you have done very little drawing, you will probably find that your completed exercise looks quite abstract, with little sections of detail that look like part of the hand. If you have had some practice, you will find that your proportions are more correct. You might also be surprised at just how accurate some parts are. Most beginners do this exercise far too quickly—if your lines seem simple and featureless, try drawing more slowly.
Explore Further: Try this exercise with a complex, natural form, such as a leafy plant or bunch of flowers. If someone will pose for you, a figure makes a great subject. Faces can turn out pretty funny! You might like to find other objects to try. Just remember to work very slowly; don't rush.