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By Dianna Burt

By Jane Knipscheer

By Jill Scott

The above drawings were rendered by three of my students during their first week in beginning drawing. They are examples of blind continuous line drawing.  I have mentioned, previously, that I have a soft spot for drawings of this nature.  I think it is because they reveal to us that we can actually draw, each and every one of us, if we try to “see” and “feel” the edges of our subjects.  I like them because they are the beginning of many artists’ journeys.   They speak a simple beauty.

I have posted some new artwork created by my students and fellow artists in this last six weeks on the Student Art 1 Page here. They are from two classes.

 One class was beginning drawing. We studied continuous line, cross contour, negative space, perspective, texture and value.

  The second class was titled Creative Challenge which was a study of composition. We discussed and worked on developing a center of interest. We discussed elements of good composition in regards to the figure and portraiture as well as still life and landscape. We also discussed attracting attention with the use of repetition, simplifying, exagerration, movement, emphasis, and contrast.

By Dave Bogenschutz

Thank you to all of my students for allowing me to post your work and for sharing your special insights and talent with me!

Echostain’s Blog has just featured an artist who uses her continuous line drawings in her finished work. You can find this post here.



  1. Nice of you to share your students’ art and they are so talented! I loved Emily’s shoes a lot..a simple subject and lovely composition there.. the blind line drawings seem to be good for meditation..seriously..Leslie, thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, padmaja, for bringing the meditative qualities of blind continuous line drawing to my attention! I had not thought of that and it will help me in my teaching of this skill. I like sharing their work. They are a wonderful group of artists.

  2. Very wonderful thing to do: supportive, affirming.

    Also, a delight to review. I love being able to see this. Thanks! 🙂

    • Thank you Jamie. I learn so much about vision through my students’ work. There is something new to discover with every group.

  3. Perfection is; but seldom realized.
    It’s all about the perspective.
    With which sense do we gaze at the world around us?
    We can see with our eyes, hears, noise and even touch. All are a form of sight. The creativity is how one shares that vision with others.

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll be watching.

    • Hi Sam,
      Thank you so much for your gift of poetry, here. It so fits what these artists have done. 🙂

  4. Leslie, I love contour drawing. The best drawing I ever did of Ken was a continuous line contour drawing. Your students have done really nice work. I don’t know if they are all beginners but they are all fearless. What is cross line contour? Please show some when you do it.

  5. I love these contour drawings; the simplicity of them is quite interesting, as where it demonstrates the true talent they all have.
    I have enjoyed viewing them very much, and thank you and your students for sharing them, Leslie!

    • I think you are right, Debbie. Contour drawings are so honest. Thank you! 🙂

    • Sandrine Pelissier
    • Posted March 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Those blind drawings are so beautiful!
    I wonder if it’s because we can’t use our symbols when not looking and then the result is free. Also not looking might take of some of the pressure of trying to have a good result, because anyway it’s not going to be perfectly accurate.
    I looked also at the crossed contour drawing : very interesting. I will try this with my kids.
    Your students are very lucky to have you as a teacher 🙂

    • How come I knew you would be able to appreciate these, also, Sandrine? I agree with you that there is something about not being under pressure when drawing blind. Somehow we relax into that image. When I do these, I often see lines that my left brain does not always allow me to create in its’ desire to be dominant. The distortions often have truth in them, I think. Thank you for that comment about my students being lucky to have me. Most of the time I feel as though I am passing off the energy of an awesome drawing teacher I had in the 70s. I wish I had not lost track of her. She would be pleased that her vision has grown to include so many artists. I have learned much from you, also! 🙂

  6. Leslie,

    Thank you so much for sharing Lynda Robert’s blog post about my work on yours, as well. The continuous line drawings from your students are absolutely wonderful.. as someone else stated, they are “fearless”, and are clearly of the moment and without pause for concern.

    • Hi Heidi! Thank you for coming over and commenting! I love your work, especially the “Bills First Wife” and “Rainy day girl”. I hope many who visit, here, take the time to visit your website.

  7. Wow, I forgot about doing this in high school. All I remember was the feeling of fear and the unknown of what the outcome would be. But they almost always turned out very cool and dramatic. Thanks for the reschooling Leslie.

    • Thank you, Ryan. I return to drawing like this whenever I get confused with rendering the subject. I was only afraid when I first tried it. As time wore on, I realised there were things I could see in my blind line that I needed to include in my finished drawing. Most of my drawings for watercolor paintings begin with continuous line that I modify.

  8. Those are great! I’m going to have to try that. It reminds me of the line drawings by John Lennon and also Kurt Vonnegut!

    • Thank you, Steve! I think you would be great at this! You are so very creative. The key is to not take your pencil or pen off the paper. You feel the surfaces of the object you are drawing even when you travel across the form. It takes a few before you get the hang of it, so don’t give up. You improve quickly. Then? Try a continuous line drawing while looking. No cheating. You must backtrack across the form as you move in and out around the form. 🙂

  9. you cover a lot in your classes.
    Some great efforts from your students.
    The lamp at the top is particularly good

    • Thank you Richard. When I saw that lamp, I wanted to paint it. Dianna will be so pleased you mentioned it.

  10. Oh wow – more daring maneuvers…pulling them out of people, Leslie.

    I just know that I am going to have to give the continuous approach a whirl in the dark of the night when no one is likely to catch even a glimpse. All three fascinate me, but I admit to a large intake of breath over the lamp.

    Dave’s work pulled me in to have a good look at what was there. It fooled me at first in seeming simplicity. I love being fooled.

    • 🙂 You must have a go! It takes more than one try and pretend you are moving your pencil along the surface of your subject allowing it to move up and down and around as it would if it were touching the object. The lamp is moving as are the people. Dave? Isn’t that beautiful? Thank you for your visit and comments, Amy.

  11. Nice of you, sharing and supporting your students’ art work 🙂

    • I can’t help but share. They teach me so much! Thank you, Marinela! 🙂

  12. I love all their art work, especially the simple lamp and the sunset with the grass. Thanks for sharing Leslie.

  13. These are great Leslie – it just goes to show what can be accomplished by ‘taking a line for a walk’ (as Paul Klee said) 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing that statement, Lynda. I had forgotten that and that is exactly what continuous line feels like. 🙂

  14. I think there’s so much I could learn from your classes too… I’ve never heard of blind continuous line drawing before, and I can only imagine what a test it would be to complete such a sketch… Thanks again for sharing yet another artistic technique, and hats off to your students for producing some inspiring works..

    • You are doing a fantastic job creating art! You might like to give continuous line drawing a go sometime. They are not lengthy drawings. Minutes to complete. For me, they are invaluable as an exercise to help me familiarize myself with what I am seeing. Thank you for your visit and your comment.

  15. I feel a sense of excitement when I look at the line drawings, Leslie, almost as if at a new discovery…Whether the excitement is coming to life in me, or in the drawings I have no idea. But it’s a wonderful feeling.
    Many thanks to you and your students, such talent is made more wonderful when shared like this, I thank goodness for the internet. xPenx.

    • I do too, Pen. They make me long to splash color on them. The self portraits always make me want to meet the artist. Thank you! 🙂

  16. Originals artworks! 😉

    Have fun!

  17. I really love the blind contour drawing. I learned about it first from you and still enjoy it.

    It’s so much fun to see this raw talent showcased here.

    • Now you know why I have to keep searching for new ideas. It is not to keep me from getting bored. I feel I need to explore to keep up with these artists, Thank you, Carol.

  18. Nice student stuff as usual, Leslie. Hi.

  19. Those drawings are so full of character – they are quite astounding!
    Well done to the students and well done to you – I would love to attend your classes.

    • …and I would love to attend one of your demos or two or three!…..or maybe paint at “The Pipe” together. Thanks, Stephen. 🙂

  20. I have a friend that does “stick” painting which is very loose and keeps your work so fresh. She breaks off a dowl and uses some sort of India Ink…

    • I have done that, Ruth. Once. I then washed in lighter washes around my lines with a brush. Drawing with a stick is really difficult because you have to dip, drip draw ashort line and dip again. The drawing comes out unique looking. Thanks. Ruth! 🙂

  21. Nice selection of work Leslie! Blind contour drawing is a great way to show the difference between looking and seeing.

    • I agree with you about the line contour actually developing “seeing”. 🙂 Thank you!

  22. Like teacher, like students.. Oh well, almost ..!! 😀

    • They learn and surpass me! It is really fun to watch them learn each possibility. One day they come in and have tried something new and begin teaching me! Incredible how that works. Thank you Rachana! 🙂

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