Day 10. Delight: BLIND CONTOUR DRAWING!
Find delight in HOW we draw
GUT Friends!and I are here to help and cheer you on! WELCOME!
What a total delight to see so much nature. Our chat thread is like a giant salon art in France in the 19th century — except not at all snobby, and way more fun. Your drawings are magnifique. Yes, they all look great, but really what’s so captivating about them is how much FUN ENERGY comes through. Looking at the lines, shapes and colors, it really feels like y’all enjoyed creating and sharing them. Big smiles!
TODAY we take a break from our regularly scheduled drawing of delights and turn our attention towards drawing delightfully. Meaning, focusing on HOW we draw, not just WHAT we draw.
Yesterday I showed you some of my favorite drawings by the one and only Ellsworth Kelly. The plant drawings he did are all created with a technique called “contour drawing.”
A contour drawing is when we draw only the outlines of our subject. We look closely and trace the edges of the subject with our eyes, and mirror that with our pencil on the page.
Here is a wonderful contour drawing GUT membercreated for our nature delight yesterday. Check out the nature chat for other member’s contour drawings. (Y’all leave me breathless!)
Contour drawing is, generally speaking, how *I* draw. I love contour drawing because it helps me to look closely at the subject. When I draw like this, it feels like I’m sort of carving my subject out of space with eyes, tracing its edges with my fingers. This style of drawing keeps my eyes moving around the subject and helps me pay close attention and really SEE the construction of it.
Contour drawing is a blast and I recommend everyone try it.
But that is not what we are doing today.
Today we are going to practice the fun, silly, younger sibling to contour drawing.
Today we are doing “BLIND CONTOURS".
Oh, yes, friend. If you’ve drawn with me for any length of time, you know this practice well. And you know how important it is to me, and how fun it is.
A Blind Contour is a drawing created with one rule: while drawing you can ONLY look at your subject matter - and you can NEVER LOOK DOWN AT THE PAPER YOU ARE DRAWING ON. This forces us to look super closely at what we are drawing, and trust our hands to follow our eyes.
Not only does blind contour drawing help connect our eyes and hands which helps increase our drawing skill, it teaches us to SEE again.
I know it looks loose and silly and the opposite of “serious drawing.” But honestly, I think blind contour drawing is the most important transformative drawing practice on Earth. Not only does blind contour drawing help connect our eyes and hands which helps increase our drawing skill, it teaches us to SEE again. We rarely slow down our eyes and really LOOK at what - and who - is in front of us. When we do, we begin to question and undo biases and expectations of what - and who - we’re looking at. We begin to connect with them from a place of curiosity and vulnerability and authenticity. This, my friends, is called connecting. And that changes EVERYTHING.
Blind contour drawing allows us to let go of expectations of doing a “good drawing” and focus exclusively on process.
ALSO ,unlike the traditional contour drawing, there is NO WAY a blind contour drawing can look “right.” It’s going to look ridiculous. What a relief! Blind contour drawing allows us to let go of expectations of doing a “good drawing” and focus exclusively on process. Process over outcome, y’all! GUT MOTTO.
Whenever I give a talk I make people in the audience do it, like I did at the beginning of my TED talk (Which just hit 4M views!! I’m heartened so many people are interested in drawing!!)
Not only does blind contour drawing teach us to see, but it is also a LOT of fun to do. It forces us to slow down, pay attention, let go of expectations, control and perfection and just DRAW. Like, super fun.
Today, we are going to delight in the drawing itself. All you need is a paper, pen, colors, and a subject - it could be the plant you drew yesterday. Or it could be… A PERSON. Or it could be an idiosyncratic subject so no matter how silly the lines of your drawing end up being, it’ll be recognizable to you and others.
Oh, and colors if you want to paint your subject, like I did. (Recognize my portrait model?🤗)
Either way, grab them, and here are today’s instructions: