Join Amy Wynne for an in-depth discussion in this video Warm-up: Blind contour drawing, part of Foundations of Figure Drawing.
- Strengthening your ability to see will build confidence. Before you start working with a figure you should always warm up, and there are fun ways to do this. One of my favorite warm ups that always helps me slow down and see is blind contour drawing. A contour drawing is done with one long unbroken continuous line. Imagine that your pencil line was a grey string that you could lift up in one piece. The blind part is that you aren't allowed to look at your paper while you're drawing.
You're going to find it hard not to look down, but resist the temptation. I'm going to do one now with our model here. I'm going to place my pencil on the paper, I'm going to observe the model, and I'm going to slowly start moving my pencil around and through her form. My eye is moving at the exact same pace. My eye is not speeding up and my hand is not speeding up.
They are connecting and they're strengthening their connection by doing this exercise. If you think you're drawing slowly enough, slow it down a little bit more. Also, as you're working with her and I'm now on her face, there might be some areas where you have this feeling like you want to press the pencil a little bit harder. There might be areas where you feel like you want to have a slightly lighter approach.
That pushing and pulling of the pencil can really make the drawing more beautiful, that's something that you feel more than thinking about it. I'm coming around her breast, I'm going to come up over her shoulder again, moving very slowly, really allowing my eye to travel across her form. It's not just an outline, it's actually traveling back and forth across the form you're never lifting your pencil, because you really wouldn't know where to put it back down.
You're working only looking at the model. I'm coming out to her hand, out to her finger, back in again, then I'm coming over to her torso, hoping I can find that again, coming across to the other breast, up around her wrist and her fingers, down to her elbow, and I can feel myself slowing down.
I can feel myself really looking, really learning about what she looks like. With each new model, these warmups will help you familiarize yourself with their particular form. Coming around the hip, back to the navel again, coming down the thigh, stopping at the knee to explore that a little bit. Up again, down again, all the way to the ground.
I can actually feel myself relaxing as I do this. I can feel myself really starting to have a connection between my hand and my eye. I'm going to go back to the back foot and the heel, up the leg, down the opposite side, and then I'm going to look down. I see that I was actually able to give some sense of face, the hands are pretty awesome, down to the feet, the toes, it looks like a figure, even though it's rather abstract.
Check out the exercise files for this movie and give it a try. Be brave and connect with the figure. Your hand and eye will trust each other over time, which is really the key to drawing from life. It's all about seeing.
- Tracing the history of figure drawings
- Using the right materials
- Sketching gestures, structure, and motion
- Recognizing symmetry and asymmetry
- Placing weight and balance
- Comparing male and female proportions
- Drawing standing figures
- Drawing 3D volumes
- Rendering shadows