Sketchbook Prompt #12 - Having fun with Blind Contour Drawings

Platypusfile blind contour spread for prompt.jpg

Sketchbook Prompt #12 - Having Fun with Blind Contour Drawings

If you have known me as a teacher, or a friend, you probably know I love blind contour drawings. I know this is something that has tortured many an art student but I think there is something so magical and valuable in it. And probably with most things we don’t like at first, we need to look at it in a new light.

How to get started:

Let me describe what you do when you do a blind contour drawing. First, you get your paper, for us it’ our sketchbook, and a pen, pencil whatever, NO ERASER, and without looking at your subject, object you make a drawing with trying to lift your tool as little as possible off the page. Sometimes folks will look down every wee often to get reoriented. This is up to you. The less you look the wilder and probably more surprise will happen. I’m always rewarded that the less I look sometimes the better I get it. And this is where it become valuable not just fun. This exercise helps you see better. You become more aware of the persons face, the vase, the cute dog. You notice things you had not seen before. Now that is what I call valuable.

I love faces, and so I like to look at people at do blind contour drawings. It can a great ice breaker, a party trick, a way to relax, talk and make art. In my Drawing II classes we often make a small book and fill them with blind contour drawings of the entire class, so much laughing ensues.

Fun variations to try:

One thing that I totally discovered this summer is drawing from your Netflix tv shows. If you do some hunting you can see that I was watching Murder She Wrote and Game of Throne. I pause it when someone appears and them make a quick drawing. It’s totally addicting, and you get to watch t.v too.

Another fun thing to do is to go back into the drawings and draw into them, with color, watercolors, play with font, work into the drawing a bit more seriously dare I say realistically. Pretty fun things to try.


That is really what we are doing. We are giving ourselves permission to play, to try something different and allow ourselves to not say, “oh gosh, that’s a bad drawing”, but rather “wow, how unexpected, what could happened next?”. I suggest spending at least 30 minutes to 1 hour playing with this. By the end of you time you will be surprised how much better you got. Remember, with anything when you invest time things improve.

Platypusfile blind contour trio.jpg