Drawing Tutorials : Drawing Your Hand Without Looking At It

The upside-down exercises in the previous drawing tutorials make you begin to see the edges for the first time.

That is a great start.
In this drawing tutorial, you are going to do a blind contour drawing exercise to further sharpen your sense of touch and sight.

Expect to become more sensitive and perceptive!

A blind contour drawing is similar to a contour drawing except that you look at your object all the time, not at your drawing paper. Hence, the term “blind”.

I often use the drawing exercise that many school art teachers use because it is a simple and effective way to teach you how to draw what you see instead of what you know.

If you haven't done this kind of exercise before, follow the instructions and you will witness a significant change of perception when you are done with this exercise.

As in the previous drawing tutorials, eliminate all the distractions in your room. You need total concentration for this exercise to work.

Sit comfortably in front of your desk, and place a sketch pad and a pencil( no eraser!) in front of you.

The exercise instructs you draw your non-dominant hand. A good support for your 'model hand' will ensure your hand does not go to sleep! If you are sitting in a chair, one with arm rest or back works better because you can lean your elbow or hand on it.

Place your pencil in the middle of your paper-

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes. This way, you will not have to keep track of time.

    drawing tutorials : blind contour drawing



  • Turn you head away from your dominant hand and drawing paper. Move that shoulder along with your head at 60 to 90 degrees from the drawing paper. This way you will not see what you are going to draw.

  • Rest your lower arm and hand on the arm rest of chair back. Rest your hand and open your palm.

  • Do you see the fine folds, wrinkles or grooves in your palm? Progress from bolder lines to finer lines as you sketch.

    Watch for the directions of the folds. For deeper lines, press your pencil harder on the paper(without looking at it, of course). For finer lines, use a lighter touch.






When the timer is up, look at your drawing.

I hope you come up with an unexpectedly beautiful drawing-definitely something you would not be able to create if you watch what you draw. It is okay that it does not resemble your palm wrinkles. If you want to practice some more, you can move on to more complex objects like a flower, a camera, a crumbled piece of napkin, a bicycle, etc. The choice is limitless.

I suggest you can also modify the exercises to maximize the benefits:

  1. You can do a blind contour drawing and another contour drawing looking at your hand and pencil. Then you can compare the two drawings. Notice the difference in the qualities of contours and edges in both drawings.

  2. You could draw continuously without lifting the pencil.

You have done one of the most important drawing tutorials!

Expect to experience initial confusion and occasional frustration. When you do, fret not, continue on. It takes patience. Sufficient practice, like physical workouts, will flex your artistic muscles and quick start improvement in no time!

Soon you will not need this kind of exercise any more in order to learn to see and draw.

Drawing tutorials : Part 1- copy a signature upside down.

Part 2: Now give the image a try but copy it upside down.

Part 4: Draw your hand on a two dimensional surface.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Grasp the mechanics of drawing and get to the zone


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