The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Nature Journaling and Field Sketching Focusing on Your Subject – Blind Contour Drawing

    • LeslieAnne
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      9C166559-4FE0-4F10-9074-ECA313CF28FDI do think contour drawing helped me stay completely focused on the subject, but I had no sense of where my hand was on the page or where the beginning of the drawing actually was. Because it is so cold outside, I sketched a birch tree. Again,  I was unsure of where the drawing had actually begun but the overall shape wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.   597FBEF9-B640-4731-B1B9-013AE7DF36B8
    • Paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Definitely helped me stay focused. My mind drifted even after a short period demonstrating my lack of focus which I need to improve. Good exercise. I learned much especially that I can actually capture some parts without looking at the paper!
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      This was a lot of fun. I didn't go outside because it was freezing out, but did the given examples a couple of times each - not perfect but I liked the way worked - I did add the branch and eye of the bird post-exercise...I also did it in my regular notebook because I thought it would be a waste of paper - but it was not. contour drawings exercise
    • Coral
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      After doing these exercises, it was apparent to me that steady and  SLOW  is the key. 0688EF30-1738-4B4D-A09D-52CC029580F0_1_105_c  This morning I took more time to do the blind contour and I think it's a noticeable improvement.  E04970AC-C5B5-42AE-AC2A-307E4C003956_1_105_cFAFA9EC8-6777-473A-A54C-66254B305C8B_1_105_c
    • ColoMtn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      blind contourBlind Contour of a Succulent.  I like how focused I felt during the exercise
    • Ida Maria
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      IMG_20191227_131332??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????:):):)
    • Ida Maria
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      IMG_20191227_131059I had a lot of fun!!
    • Astrid
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I must say I produced some very abstract art here :-). But I will keep trying!
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      This exercise was more successful than I anticipated.   I found that I make somewhat fatter bodies than the pictures.  Being aware of this is very helpful.
    • Rohit
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I thought it was a piece of cake..haha..and the results are pretty funny!Unknown
    • Charlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Very difficult. All my contour drawings looked like amoebas and never really improved.  It did help me stay focused.
    • Jack
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Wow!  That was different and quit difficult.   My first two were barely recognizable, the nest two MIGHT you might have been able to ID? Great exercise however and I was able to pick out something that made me say "oh, that looks a little like that part of the original"  Very cool.  Thanks.
    • Ashlynn
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      • 15755567337986525071334829912041I really love this technique. It is very fun and is helping me so much. This is actually my best one.
    • Craig
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      Questions: Why does my pencil speed change? Should I move my arm or my hand? Does peripheral vision of the drawing affect the outcome? Does keeping the notebook firmly planted on a tabletop help? Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 1.35.40 PM
    • Madeleine
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I'm having trouble believing that some of the posted images I'm seeing here were done blindly.  This was, and I'm really enjoying this exercise! Eye-hand coordination has always been my issue, and I've learned that it improves with practice and training. So this is a very good exercise for me. I also learned this time, as I'm left-handed, to start on the right. And yes, focusing on the subject really helped get the essentials right, even if the drawing turned out awry. Practice makes perfect! journal02
      • Astrid
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        Not bad at all!
    • Olwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      As part of this section I am practicing sketching using my Sibley field guide in an effort to get shape and color, also objects from around my location outdoors.Chickadeecollection
    • Olwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I have enjoyed this section. I attempt the blind contour sketch and then attempt an eyes open sketch. I follow this with lots of questions and then research the answer. So far I have done the EasterNewtn red newt and the Green-tailed sunbird. I found it very difficult to get the colors correct on the bird.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I found this to be so valuable!  My final sketch already was a lot better than my first.  I can see how practicing this would help train my brain to "talk" to my sketching hand in a better way.  I plan on continuing to play with this technique.
    • Jenn
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      This was an interesting exercise.  I found that not looking at all really helped me focus on the small details in contours. However, I found checking in a key points to see if I was close to where I was supposed to be helped me to both focus on the subtle details and complete the image. IMG_2440IMG_2441
    • patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      contour drawing
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      03A053DA-90E7-4EF2-A5C4-1D303C424CDEI found this interesting. Yes, it did make me focus completely on my subject.  The drawings were not as off- base as I thought they would’ve been. I’m so enjoying this class. It’s such a great opportunity to really learn HOW to nature journal. Liz is such a fabulous instructor. She’s so encouraging!
    • Pat
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      I can see that these warm up activities can help me get comfortable.  Each session should start with some warm ups.   WIN_20191117_13_03_30_Scan
    • Martha Davis
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      IMG_4896 I recognize the value of such exercises, even though it's humiliating to be so off mark! I'm amazed how close many of the rest of you were in your drawings.
      • David
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        I have done this exercise before in a live drawing class.  The instructor spent half an hour roaming the studio reminding us to absolutely, positively not look at our drawings while we were doing them.  Virtually the entire class needed to be "reminded" of this several times throughout the session.  I'm not making any assumptions about anyone else, but I will speak for myself and say that it I find it virtually impossible to do a blind drawing where the line ends exactly where it is supposed to.  As a reference, I've attached a recent drawing I did of some fish vertebrae I found on the beach and my "newt."Vertabrae and newt
    • Sharla
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      IMG_4052I liked this exercise.  I remember learning to draw in elementary school using a similar method and I remember using this to draw maps way back in the "old days".  I think I did better on the Bird of Paradise than the animals.  I wonder if this had to do with not having a "picture" in my brain of what this flower looks like.  I know what a bird and a lizard look like and wonder if my brain was able to follow my eye better because I wasn't competing with an image stored in visual memory already.  Hmmm...
    • Christi-June
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Not moving my eyes away from the subject was difficult.  I did find if I was able to glance to the paper a bit I did better but I know thst is not the point. I'm wondering how I can improve. Slow down? Practice?  The newt I drew did not attach correctly in the end and ended up headless. The Bird of Paradise flower was very primitive, the othet two were better but not by much.