11 July 2008

Blind Contour Drawing

As some of you know, I have real fear when it comes to drawing. So much so, that I get a knot in my stomach when I even think about drawing. I seriously cannot do something as helpful to myself as take a drawing class, even though that would probably go far to get me beyond my trepidation. But, I just get too anxious when I even think about it, and I have real anxiety problems.

So, as part of my 100 Day Reality Challenge, I have decided to start drawing. EEK! to me! LOL! I have the book The Natural Way to Draw, by Kimon Nicolaides, and I am working with it. It starts you off with blind contour drawing.

For those of you who don't know what blind contour drawing is, it can be a little hard to explain. Basically, you put your pencil on the paper while imagining that it's on a certain point on the object you are drawing. Then you move your eyes slowly along the contours of the subject, while moving your pencil at the same time. However, you do not look at your paper as you draw! When you come to a stopping point, you can look at the paper to reposition the pencil. Once your pencil is in the new starting position, you carry on as before, moving the pencil as you move your eyes until you have followed this new contour as far as it will go.

The book recommends that you draw live nude models, but I don't have any of those handy! I think I know how to get into a drawing group that meets on Mondays that has live models -- and I may do that at some point -- but I have to take baby steps with this or my anxieties will shut me down -- BIG TIME!

Oh! About the pictures! The top one is the first blind contour drawing I did. It's of one of my teddy bears, Trevor. It was done on 07 July -- just a few days ago. You'll notice that he only has one ear. I started drawing at his right ear, and basically drew in a clockwise fashion. By the time I got to his left ear, I was heading off the page! LOL! You'll also notice that his left arm is coming out of his head, poor thing. All-in-all, I don't think it's too bad for an initial effort, considering that you don't look at the paper while you are drawing. Of course, it's impossible not to peak now and then, but when I catch myself looking, I just tell myself "Don't look" and go back to what I'm supposed to be doing.

The bottom picture is one I just finished on the night of Thursday, 10 July; it is the sixth such drawing I've done. I still started at the top of Trevor's head, but this time, when I ran out of contour line the first time, I repositioned my pencil at his left ear and drew from there, rather than continuing in a clockwise fashion. I continued to do that, working from side to side, as it was time to reposition my pencil each time.

One of the great things about blind contour drawing for someone like me, who has such a blockage about drawing is that the product is not going to look great, no matter how good you are -- especially if you really are doing them blind, or near blind. So, I'm making silly drawings that are supposed to look silly! It relieves a lot of the pressure to "do good".

I'll be honest: I don't enjoy this as much as some other art activities that I engage in. But I'm probably getting more out of this, growth wise, that when I do the same ol' thing over and over. I'm hoping to come to enjoy this. I'm considering contacting an art teacher acquaintance of mine and arrange for a private lesson, just to make sure I'm not developing any bad habits. Have her go over things with me like how to hold my pencil -- and what all the pencil designations mean, anyway! -- in relation to the paper, and stuff like that. I don't think I'm ready for drawing lessons, but I think I'm ready for one drawing lesson!


Jill said...

Hi Cindy! I recognized the teddy bear figure immediately as I was scrolling down your blog page. This drawing technique sounds really interesting.

julie h. said...

This is great, Cindy! May the anxiety lessen as you learn that you've got some awesome drawing skills!

Anonymous said...

I am trying the blind contour drawing my self, I agree with you that it was difficult, but sometime you would find the result quite amazingly accurate (well small parts of it).