Try This Foundation Drawing Technique: Blind Contour

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Blind Contour drawings are a foundation drawing technique used by several of our programs to sharpen technique. It is traditionally one of the first activities that students do when they start our Art Fundamentals program. Blind Contour is the approach to drawing without looking at your paper. In the drawings shown above, students did a self-portrait without looking down at what they were drawing. It requires a slow, intense inspection of details, and it is a true test to how the hand and eye communicate.

A contour line is the use of a single, clean, continuous line that defines internal planes and shapes as well as external edges. The line can define both negative and positive edges. The contour line is more spatially descriptive. Whereas outlines are flat, contour lines emphasize a three dimensional appearance.

Students set up for the Blind Contour self-portrait by placing their hands under the top sheet of paper so that they cannot look at what they are drawing. First, they pick a point and imagine inching along slowly over the form that they are looking at. The trick is to draw what you think you feel. Even if students take a break along the way, the line should continue and have the appearance of one single line.

In the end, the drawing should not resemble your subject. If this is true, then you were too concerned with making a nice drawing, and probably not drawing blind!

To learn more about our Arts Programs, go to and explore the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design.

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