Learning to actually SEE is vital to becoming an artist and being and also being a writer. Actual SEEING is complex and requires more than looking at something–in the same way that your dog or cat or the birds outside look at something. Even flies look.
Seeing is a type of looking at something that involves a detailed recognition of all of the object’s physical traits–as well as seeing into the object’s spirit–seeing the essence of the subject. Looking is a physical type of viewing. Truly seeing is more spiritual. Artists and writers must be able to see. Contour Drawing is a type of drawing which helps the artists and writers truly see.
A Contour Drawing is a simple line drawing but all simple line drawings are not the type of contour drawing that I recommend.
Contour Drawing is a type of life drawing. Drawing from a photo won’t work for the type of contour drawing that I recommend.
You begin a contour drawing by looking intently at one specific place on the subject that you will draw. True contour drawing is done without looking at the paper. This type of drawing is called Blind Contour.For blind contour drawing, you must lock your eyes on the subject and your hand on the paper in precisely the same place. Slowly you nudge your eyes around the subject matter, and simultaneously, you nudge your pencil along, as well. Do not allow either your eye or your pencil to leap ahead.
You probably won’t like your first blind contour drawings, but keep in mind that in contour drawing, you are not trying o make something pretty. You are training your eyes to see. You are training yourself to meditate through your drawings.
Gradually, your drawings will begin to look more like your subject, but in doing blind contour drawings, don’t expect realism for a while.
We have become so very hurried and harried in life, and we are tethered to instantaneous text messaging, social media, television, surfing the net, whipping in and out of traffic, multitasking, etc. Because of that, it is very, very difficult to keep oneself from racing along as we draw. As you are attempting your first contour drawings, you will want to glimpse at the ending place–but you must learn not to do that. You must move very slowly and deliberately, and you must keep your eyes and your hands locked together, inching boh your eyes and pencil around the outer surface of what you are drawing. You must never lose focus or allow your attention to wander at all. Just as we are advised to live in the moment–Contour Drawing is a Way to See in the moment–and to Be in the moment.
Spend at least 30 minutes doing slow, contour line drawings. Try to do this every morning. Do not lift the pencil once you have begun to draw–until the drawing’s end. Try not to look at the paper while drawing. Select objects with simple shapes and draw from those objects and not from photographs. Don’t peek and then shrink when you see what you have drawn. Even my contour drawings will be pitiful right now because I myself have not done contour drawing for years.
If you are participating in #ArtyNewYear, I recommend addomg contour drawing to your daily routine. I am developing #ArtyNewYear for both of us. I myself need to jump off the fast track and reconnect with myself. Contour drawing will help me get back to my better art and also my better writing. I’m about to do my own 30 minutes of contour drawing. I’ll show you how I did–my first contour drawings won’t be better than anyone else’s. But both of us will get better if we hang in there.