In Monday’s class, we experimented with blind contour drawing; in other words, drawing solely by looking at the subject, never looking at the page, and never lifting the implement from the paper. First we drew our hands, contorted, with a thick-tipped Sharpie:
The drawings bear hilariously little resemblance to reality, as you can see. I very much enjoyed working the Sharpie; it doesn’t really allow you to be remotely shy; you don’t just mark the paper, you mark the paper. I also have to say that once I’d done the first contour drawing and seen everyone else’s, I immediately relaxed–when no one produces something terribly recognizable, it removes the pressure to create something perfect or even good, as it forces you all to be on the same level. As you can tell, we drew our hands several times and it was interesting how each time I drew my hand, I saw another way in which the lines of it connected to each other.
Next, we drew the face of the person sitting opposite us, this time with a thin-tipped Sharpie:
Much as I didn’t mind using the thicker pen, I think I much preferred the thinner; it just felt much more natural and a little more delicate–but since it’s still a Sharpie, it still definitely marks the page. I was also surprised by how difficult it was to keep a straight face while drawing and being drawn; something about staring right at someone for extended periods of time creates hilarity.
Then, we drew the same person’s face but with our non-dominant hand:
Good for a laugh, if for nothing else! You can really tell how uncomfortable I am using my left hand in this picture; my entire upper arm felt uncomfortable since I never use the muscles there in the way I was using them. The end result is significantly lighter than the previous work (mostly because, as I noted, I really unaccustomed to using those muscles that way).
Finally, we experienced with two different implements, two kinds of colored pencil:
I’m not sure I appreciated the color pencil as much; as you can see in the bottom one, it smudged, and as you can’t see, one of them was so light that despite my applying the typical amount of pressure it didn’t even show up on the page.
We did the same exercise outside of class as well. When I went to the other end of the room where we have class, I saw this sculpture:
(I apologize for the distance; it was in the middle of a circle of tables). So, I decided to do my contour drawings on pieces of the sculpture. I looked around the room to see what media I could use and found a box of chalk, so used that first, drawing the shirt with my dominant hand:
I’m a little torn on the chalk; on the one hand, I absolutely love how it looks, but it’s extremely difficult to maneuver and the lines are a little overly thick.
Then I attempted to draw the blocks in the corner of the structure (this is not the best picture, again due to distance, but hopefully you can roughly see what they look like):
So, I drew those with charcoal, with my dominant hand:
I actually very much enjoyed using the charcoal; a little smudgy, yes, a little squeaky, yes, but I really like the look of it.
I moved on to using pencil again and drew my hand:
(If you ever see someone with a hand like this, run away. As fast as you can.)
I actually enjoyed working with the pencil far more the second time around; I’m not sure if it was just increased familiarity with it or just the different circumstances, but I really liked both the feel and the effect.
Next up was drawing the blocks again, with crayon, with my dominant hand:
Much like drawing my hand and my partner’s face earlier, when I drew the blocks a second time I had a renewed appreciation for which lines coincided with which and how they all interconnected. I absolutely adored working with crayon; for one thing, it reminded me of kindergarten (and who didn’t like kindergarten?); for another, I simply found it really easy to maneuver and I like the thickness of the lines it creates.
Then, it was onto using my non-dominant hand with which I used crayon to draw both blocks and shirt, respectively:
It’s fairly evident that I have a much harder time pressing down with my left hand; honestly, drawing with my left hand feels a bit like having an albatross at the end of my arm; I can sense that something’s there, but I can’t manipulate it very well and I can just feel that it’s not doing quite what I want (albatrosses never do what I want either). Very frustrating!
Nonetheless, I feel like this was a really enlightening exercise. There’s so much you can’t see in an object (or a face!) at first, second, or even third glance, but being forced to look at the same lines over and over really makes it impossible not to see how they relate to each other. Quite apart from that, I found the drawings just plain fun (when they weren’t mildly exasperating).