Using blind contour drawing as a form of expressive abstract drawing

Today I was thinking about the process of warming up and practicing drawing to develop hand-eye coordination. I was going through a notebook full of art notes yesterday and ran across a blind contour drawing I did of something out of the blue while in the middle of my notes. I can’t even tell you what it was but the interest and energy of the line got me thinking why not have some fun and purposely develop a blind contour drawing into an abstract drawing/painting. I’m sure I am not the first to think of this but I had fun today anyhow.

Blind contour drawing is a method of drawing widely used by art teachers, where an artist draws the contour of a subject without looking at the paper.

This is the subject I used to create my blind contour drawings. It is a dried milkweed pod.

The first drawing I did was in pencil on watercolor paper. The contour drawing itself turned out better without the watercolor. I think the watercolor was put on too stiffly. This was the first attempt.

Round two I decided to switch over to one of my Micron pens. The watercolor is getting looser.

The third drawing was done on Yupo paper with the Micron pen and watercolor. I like the lack of control I had with the water on this one.

Lastly, I did a wet-on-wet watercolor background first on this one and let it dry. I also ended up moving the milkweed pod to a different position.

This experiment was fun and next time I might try it on a larger scale. I think this is a great exercise not only to develop hand-eye coordination but also to let go of expectations of the finished product and loosen up a little. I would love to see the results if anyone else gives this a try.

15 thoughts on “Using blind contour drawing as a form of expressive abstract drawing

  1. What a great idea Rebecca! I love how each of these turned out so differently yet each is so beautiful in it’s own way. I am definitely going to try this.Thank you for the inspiration.


  2. Good idea – I’ll definitely give this a try. Thank you for sharing, and I particularly like your drawing on Yupo paper.


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