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Fearless Drawing by Kerry Lemon

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79
Blind-contour drawing means drawing an object or
scene without looking at your paper. This is the perfect
exercise to develop our observation skills, since we are
forced to completely focus on our subject rather than
fiddling with the drawing on the page. As our drawings
improve, we need to get used to spending most of our
time observing the object with only very quick glances
at the paper from time to time.
For this exercise you are not allowed to look at the
paper at all, which is actually harder than it sounds.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be itching to have a
look at your drawing, but its important to RESIST that
urge. The hardest part of this exercise is losing your
way—once you take your pen off the page, its very
difficult to work out where in the drawing you are, so
its tempting to take a quick glance. But by creating a
drawing without looking at the subject, you will start
to “feel” the outlines of the object, training yourself to
draw what you can actually see rather than what you
think you should see.
I find that working in this way allows me to relax and
enjoy the process of creation—I can’t worry about
how the drawing is looking, because I can’t see it. This
is another exercise I use when I need to warm up and
loosen up. Its an invaluable way to begin sketching
anything new, as it gives you space to properly
observe and understand the subject. This adventure
will produce drawings that in some areas may seem
muddled and disoriented, but in many others will be
beautifully observed, demonstrating the enormous
value of keen perception.
Drawing Blind
BLIND CONTOUR
I have a small ceramic mug on my desk filled with five pens, a pencil, and a highlighter.
I used a large, hardcover book to block my view of my drawing paper (so I couldn’t
see the paper and, therefore, couldn’t cheat!) and then drew the pen mug. After the
exercise, I was able to see many places on the page where I lost my bearings and I failed
to join the handle to the mug. (Figure 1)
My second attempt at the same object is a little better as the
pens are more spread out, but again the handle isn’t attached to
the mug. I’m not surprised that this one is better—after having
looked so closely to draw it once, I was bound to have a better
understanding of the subject this time. (Figure 2)
Figure 1
Figure 2
80 > Fearless Drawing
TIPS
If you find that it’s too disorienting to lift
your pencil from the page, try using a
continuous-line approach—draw the
entire object without lifting your pencil
from the page.
Your turn. Grab a mug filled with pens, or select any other object you like. Use a
hardcover book to block your view of your drawing paper, then use your eyes to feel
along the outlines of the objects and reflect them on the paper. Don’t move anything
and try this exercise again—is your second try better? What elements of these drawings
please you? Which do you feel are really accurately observed?
As we move on, remember to spend most of your time looking at the object you are
trying to draw instead of at your page. You only need to glance occasionally at your
page to orient your lines. Remember that all the information you need to create your
drawing will be found by looking at your object, so train your focus there.
Include your drawing here:
Drawing Blind > 81
ADVENTURE

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