In this video we will be doing a blind contour drawing. You will need a pencil, paper, drawing board and clip (optional, but a good thing to have anyway), paper plate, and an object to look at and draw.

Your object should have an interesting outline with some curves, bumps, or some variety in shape. A teapot, vase of flowers, lamp, binoculars, or hat would all work great depending on how much time you want to spend and how much of a challenge you are up for.

So what is a blind contour drawing? First, a contour drawing is a line drawing in which you will carefully draw the outside shape of an object. But we will be doing this contour drawing blind – that is, not looking at our paper! To make sure we cannot accidentally look, we will use a paper plate to block our view.

This exercise helps build observational skills and attention to detail.

Push your pencil through the plate and let the plate rest on top of your hand. You can look to make sure you start your drawing in a good position on your paper, but then don’t look down again until you are finished.

Choose your starting point and slowly, slowly move your eyes and pencil along at the same speed. Inch your way along the drawing as though you were a tiny bug crawling along the contour (outside shape) of your object. Go slow so you can observe every little bump and curve of the object.

Once you have completed your drawing, take a look! Sometimes the lines actually connect, but usually it is a pretty funny looking drawing. That doesn’t matter! What you are doing is developing careful observation. You are training your hand to copy what your eyes see. What you want to see is every change in the shape of your object, but it doesn’t really matter if it is in the right place for this exercise.

Now try it again with a few more objects and see if you have observed every detail possible. Challenge yourself with harder shapes or ease back and do something more simple. Once you have made a few blind contour drawings, choose one of the objects to draw while looking. Try a contour drawing where you are going for an accurate outline.

Remember to go slow.