Blind Contour Drawing

Blog post #2
Alaska Content Standards-Arts:

A) Create: A student should be able to imagine and develop artistic ideas and work.

B) Present: A student should be able to interpret and share artistic work.

C) Respond: A student should be able to understand and evaluate how the arts convey meaning.

D) Connect: A student should be able to relate artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context.


Last week in drawing class we worked with student on something called ‘blind contour drawing.’ Students could only draw while looking at the object and not looking at the paper. In fact, artists were not allowed to look at the paper while drawing at all for the first couple of days. Eventually, they could look only for a brief second but had to stop drawing if they looked at the paper.

This exercise enables students to focus on the object and not make up what it looks like. They each slowly trace with their eyes around the contour of the subject and slowly make one continuous mark on their page. This allows them to get rid of any preconceived ideas of what a hand looks like or what an eye looks like. The student only draws what they see. In this project, artists are not allowed to look at the paper while drawing. They can only draw while looking at the object and thus not on the paper.

After they create their artistic works, they each had to show their final work to the class in a “gallery” style show at the end of class. By doing this project, students can relate to things that are real versus things that are perceived or imagined. An artist must be able to see what is actually there in order to create what is in their mind.

1 thought on “Blind Contour Drawing”

  1. Sounds like fun! We did this at an inservice once – we were drawing skulls, shells, and other objects found in nature. Everyone enjoyed seeing the drawings in the end!

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