Blind contour self-portraits "take flight" each year in the last weeks of the ICAD challenge. The idea is contagious, addictive and otherwise engaging & intriguing. Results are quirky, kooky and otherwise surreal. All sorts of adjectives. So what is this all about? I think it's about loosening up, working on a simple paper, knowing that there is zero risk whatsoever...
This is a little bonus idea 🎩 perfect for index cards - you can try one - pitch it if you literally drew four eyes or inadvertently put the neck on the forehead. Now it's your turn! I'm inviting each of you to draw a portrait - or a self-portrait. You can indeed do this even if you are adamant that you cannot draw.
These look especially lovely surrounded by color; I added gouache [while looking - I'm not that coordinated]. Try scribbling around yours with markers, watercolor or gouache if you are feeling adventurous!
You can do this several different ways.
1. Find a reference image, an index card & pen. Not a pencil.
a. Get a small makeup mirror or the mirror from your bathroom counter.
b. Snap a photo of yourself with your phone's front-facing camera or in a mirror.
c. Find a fairly large image of a face in a magazine like Vogue etc.
2. Select a reference image 🔝 as your source.
3. Place an index card in front of you. Look @ mirror/photo but DO NOT look down at that card. I know you are going to peek at the card - but if you peek more than once, start again!
4. Draw the face without lifting your pen from the card.
5. Another option is to use your imagination as your source + reference point and draw the portrait with your eyes closed.
They will turn out ridiculously silly. The eye will wind up in the wrong ear and the nose will look like a beard and the glasses will look like iguanas. Or maybe, just maybe, it will capture your expression! Try to capture the ESSENCE of the portrait. We ALL need laughter and ridiculous silliness in our days!!!!
I find that it works better with my eyes closed because I can kind of tell where I am on the card. Let your art time be fun and peaceful and relaxing and let there be ZERO guilt for skipping the laundry in order to do some art. DOING art [the doing, the making, the process, the experience] adds value to our lives in ways we cannot even comprehend!
Here are four that I did back in 2014! They are all blind contour continuous line except the top left, that was the one I drew "after" the loosening up exercises while looking at the reference images. If you'd like an extra gold star 🌟 write the title without looking!
After you draw a dozen blind contour continuous line portraits, try some non-blind portraits and see what happens. Here's a wonky lizard-like person [someone called it Cleopatra, and I see that] that I started "blind" and then added details while looking. So it's a combination of the two approaches.
Here's an example of what blind contour drawings look like, and the value of this technique. Per the Lane Tech site, "We all knew the drawings would be silly and incorrectly proportioned, which took the pressure off making a great drawing and allowed students to focus on observing closely and recording like a scientist." Also... an in-depth lesson in blind contour drawing by Bartel Art.