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Learn to See Like an Artist with Blind Contour Drawing

“Blind Contour Drawing” of a student in my workshop!

I love this quote by Kathryn Temple, author of Art for Kids: Drawing…. “Drawing has more to do with seeing than it does with holding a pencil in your hand.” So true!! In my teacher workshop last weekend (“Teaching Drawing to Kids”) we focused on how to help kids unleash the power of the right side of the brain to learn to “see like an artist”. One great way to do this is by practicing the four types of contour drawing, the first of which is “Blind Contour Drawing”, like the drawing pictured above.

In “Blind Contour Drawing” you look only at your subject, not at your paper. I like to demonstrate this technique on the board by drawing a blind contour portrait of a student “volunteer”. This always gets lots of giggles as they watch my drawing become more and more “Picasso-like” as I go along!! Then I have students draw a blind contour portrait of me on a piece of copy paper at their desk. (They think this is pretty funny, too!) Once they get the hang of it, they enjoy taking turns posing and drawing blind contour portraits of each other.

The purpose of this exercise is to train yourself to really focus on your subject, moving your eyes slowly around it at the same speed as your pencil moves across the paper. You will begin to notice more details than you ever have before! It may take several reminders to keep your students looking only at their subject and not at their drawings…. students younger than grade 3 can be especially challenged by this. Remember, no peeking!! :)

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  1. Great lesson! I used to do this one with my seventh graders and they always got a kick out of it. Nice blog – I will definitely subscribe!