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

    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      This was a really difficult exercise. I found the most difficult part was knowing where my hand was on the page.  This meant that my end did not get back to my beginning.  I think I was able to do the curve shapes pretty well and some of the smaller details. D9DBF7DB-5DAC-4F32-B68A-FCD07E912347But anywhere where there was a long thin part did not get aligned. I’ve  marked in red on my photo the places I think I did okay at.
    • Dee
      Participant
      Chirps: 40
      C183A61C-7037-4852-B257-F17C1AABB35BI thought I was doing well but to my surprise I definitely lost it on the left side.  I think the blind contour drawing is a great exercise and I will continue to use it to improve my eye-hand coordination.
    • It seemed that I did better when I started on the top side of my subject. It also helped me to look at the negative space around the subject. IMG_2441
    • Maureen
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      • This exercise definitely made me slow down and concentrate on the outline of the subjects. It was hard in the beginning not to look at the paper, but by the 4th subject I was so lost in the form I didn't mind not being able to look. My results were quite laughable, however, I could see part of each drawing that was spot on. These were usually the small details of the claws, tail or antlers. This was really fun.WIN_20210329_13_39_47_Pro
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      I found this kind of like playing the piano, knowing where your hands are on the keys without looking, is like knowing where your pencil is with respect to everything you've already drawn. Blind Contour
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 74
        I like your analogy of the blind contour experience with playing the piano. I believe that it is pathways from eye to hand that we are training. It's also like typing or keyboarding.
    • Christopher
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Observations about this exercise with the four photos:
      • Really need to think about matching my drawing speed with my observation speed around the boundary of the subject.
      • Trying to coordinate where I'm drawing on the physical page with the composition and layout of the subect.
      • Need to concentrate on both drawing speed in both horizontal and vertical dimensions across the page.
      Chose a houseplant for the subject of my last drawing. My additional observations:
      • Have to worry about parallax with 3D objects, especially if they are close.
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    • Erica
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      yes it enhanced concentration and attention to detail.  hardest part was to get the volume, proportion and ends to meet!
    • Francesca
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      My ability to gauge how far I've moved across the page is pretty limited.  I am wondering a bit about hand speed and beats of time as a way to improve, but probably there's also a lot of figuring out angles.  IMG_9940
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      imageI really enjoyed this exercise. As I went from photo one to photo 4 my drawings improved. I did the first two twice each and noticed that as I concentrated on the photo and drew areas that were close together I was able to get more accuracy. I covered the sketch pad with my copied photos so I was not tempted to peek. The more I concentrated on observing the photos the more accurate my drawings became. It was fun! 
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      imageI really enjoyed this exercise. As I went from photo one to photo 4 my drawings improved. I did the first two twice each and noticed that as I concentrated on the photo and drew areas that were close together I was able to get more accuracy. I covered the sketch pad with my copied photos so I was not tempted to peek. The more I concentrated on observing the photos the more accurate my drawings became. It was fun!
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 28
      contours Very good exercise for focusing on the subject! I superimposed each contour drawing on top of the other, using colors of the subject that were harmonious with each other. The copper for the tropical bird didn't work, though, and looks grey. The outcome is a playful abstract design - and within the design one can see suggestions of a head-horn-ears, tail, and feet....Lots of fun!
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      Blind contour
      • Karen
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        I liked blind contour drawing to focus my attention on what I am actually seeing; I'm not worried it isn't a true likeness.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      The more often I practice this, the better I get at moving my eyes and pencil in concert. Muscle memory is definitely taking place.
    • Janine
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      I think I drew too quiuckly, but it was an interesting exercise, and made me look more closely at the outlines.
    • Janine
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
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    • Helen
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      This was very difficult.
    • Helen
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
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    • Marissa
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      This was definitely a challenge and not natural (I accidentally looked for a sec on one...but I didn't see anything;) )! To tell the truth, the only one that I did decent on was the Springbok... but I did make sure to find the successes in all of my contour drawings! I will get better with practice. And good job to all that did this practice! :D
    • Chloe Hernandez
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      IMG_7210 This was a fun exercise! I think certain subjects are easier to blind contour than others. If the subject's shape is continuous and flowy, I'll have an easier time drawing, like with the sunbird and the bird of paradise flower.
    • Charlotte
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      It kept me focused, that's for sure. But a bit frustrated--I thought we were getting away from long, heavy lines. My stuff looked like bad cartoons. I couldn't find a part that I did well (OK, being too judgmental here).
    • Karly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      this was a fun exercise. it helps to keep things light and not take your work too seriously. I tend to get fixated on my drawings so this is a great way to loosen up and also work on the mind and hand connection.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      IMG_0180 This really forced me to let go and just focus on one thing. I think it'll be very useful for those times when I see a bird or animal and I know the moment is fleeting. I don't want to look away to draw or get my camera out. To be able to capture any memory during that brief moment would be very satisfying.
    • lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      blind drawing
    • lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I did not do well with this exercise. My hands did not create a good image without looking at the subject. Bunch of scribbling actually. But I was focused on the images, so I guess that was somewhat of a success. I did do a good job on the feet of the lizard. lol
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I think blind=contour drawing helped me concentrate. One aspect that was difficult was how far to go on a fairly long line. I found my eye jumping to the top; I think slowing the eye down and following that visual with my pencil will help make the drawing more proportional. I did pretty well with the overall shape, but 3/4 of the time didn't end up where I began. I felt good about the fact that I finished where I started on the springbok drawing.