Drawing without looking

This morning as I was eating breakfast and reading my feeds I read Austin Kleon’s post about blind contour drawing. It’s worth a read if you’re into learning about a bunch of people who are also into blind contour drawing. But it led me to read the piece he cites in the New York Times by Sam Anderson.

I really like doing blind contours and contrary to what many folks think, I think many of them can be finished drawings, just as valuable and worthy as the ones you do while looking. There is a magic to them that can only happen when you give up that kind of control. As Anderson says in his piece,

But inevitably, almost by accident, your hand will produce little slivers of excellence — a nose that looks exactly right, an inscrutable expression on someone’s face, the dip and curve of a dog’s back — but then these will be obliterated, immediately, by the subsequent maelstrom of lines. I have learned to enjoy the feeling of swimming in sensory ignorance, to appreciate the vast distance between my hand and the reality it tries to trace.

I haven’t been drawing as much as I’d like recently, this was a good reminder to pick up the pen and draw something without looking at it.