Skip navigation

Linda Fremder

Linda Fremder

Joni Dick2

Joni Dick2

Jeanne Kensill4

Jeanne Kensill4

The above three drawings were drawn without looking at the paper. It is the first skill my beginning drawing students learn. I am always amazed at the ability we have to actually feel the surface of what we see and transpose it to the paper with just a few directions.

In class, the students learned blind continuous line, continuous line, negative space, one point perspective, cross contours, value and gridding. They worked from both live objects and photos. My main goal was to help them to see and then feel the contours and decipher the angles and values of what they see.

This class was a joy to teach and it is my hope that they continue to explore drawing and art in the future. If you would like to view a gallery of their work this last six weeks click here or the link at the top of the page titled “Student Art: Beg. Drawing”.


  1. Nice exercise, I have never tried it though.. so let me try and enjoy..

  2. My blind contour, continuous line drawings never looked this good!

    • Keep trying Sherry. They can be practiced in a limited amount of time, daily. Thankyou for your comment!

  3. wonderful blind efforts Leslie, and you know what? They’ve managed to complete drawings which would put any of my ‘seeing’ ones to shame. (I think I’ll stick to ‘word’ designs) 🙂 Just going to ‘click and follow your link.. xPenx

    • I’m in agreement with you. I really like what we can draw and create when we push our critic aside. Thankyou! 🙂

  4. I love these exercises!

  5. How exciting for your students! Affirming exercise…

    • Thankyou, Jots. I enjoyed seeing what they each brought to class and did in class each week.

  6. I love creating drawings like this and I see them as revealing an honesty that would not be there if one were laboring over each line.

  7. so interesting. did not learn this technique in high school, but as an amateur photographer, and a wannabe artist, i think some of us has this part of our nature, skills. thanks for sharing, and happy drawing.

    • Hi SSGT Leslie,

      Thankyou for your visit and comment. Until I learned this blind drawing skill, my drawings were always stiff and lifeless. I fall back on this exercise everytime I don’t like what I have tried to draw. It never fails to point out what I’ve missed. 🙂

      • hi leslie, your welcome, thanks for sharing all of your thoughts, ideas, works of art,. a good solid plan, and it works for you. that is what is important.

  8. Hey Leslie. These look like a lot of fun.

    • Hi Eva!

      Oh yes. This is great fun and something that can be practiced, daily in a limited amount of time. Done enough, it can really help improve an artist’s drawing skills, which we know begins with improving our “seeing”. Thankyou!

  9. what an interesting exercise – It sounds like I could learn an awful lot in your class!

    • Thankyou, Nicola. I think many drawing classes include blind and looking continuous line, now. At least the ones around here. It helps with getting the artist to concentrate and see and feel the contours of what he or she is drawing. It also helped me to understand the kind of flow and feel I’d need to do gesture drawings.

  10. I always love seeing your students’ work. I’ve done the negative drawing but never the blind continuous drawing which I now have to try. I also liked the drawings that were broken up by vertical bars. It created an interesting energy to the drawing. To echo what Nicola said, “It sounds like I could learn an awful lot in your class!”

    • You are way too kind. The real joy in this blind line contour is the release from having to be perfect. However, make sure you actually pretend the point of your pencil is scrolling over the surface of what you choose to draw. Include contours across the subject as well as the outline. When drawing a cross contour, your pencil then scrolls to show roundness or flatness, etc. Do not take your pencil off the paper. If you get lost, don’t look at your paper, just pick a point and continue on. The point of this exercise is not to get a perfectly rendered drawing but to record what you see and feel without that left part of your brain passing judgement on what you are doing. One thing that helps me is to relax and to draw large (I have an 11×14 sketch book). Then move on and draw a continuous line drawing while looking back and forth to the subject and your paper. I have seen this work and people become more expressive with their drawing skills, time after time.
      The broken drawings? That was practice in changing color to value. The idea of cutting a reference in strips is to get the brain to focus on shapes of value rather than the subject like a person or a house that is in the reference. Then the artist chooses what on the strip is to remain white, what is to be midtone and what is to be the darkest dark. You can cut a reference photo up in any shapes to do this. I have them trace the strip or shape on their paper, so these are not huge drawings but they are very effective in helping someone see value. When I started drawing, I thought everything should be shaded in. I did not understand light at all!Thankyou for your comment, here, Carol.

  11. Am loving what I am “FINDING” on your site ? Do you have any books available as I am In AUSTRALIA !

    • Hi Patricia. Oh, thankyou for asking if I have a book. I take that as a compliment. I, like you search books for new ways of ” seeing”. For drawing?I rely on three, heavily. They are “Keys to Drawing” by Bert Dodson, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards and “Experimental Drawing” by Robert Kaupelis. You have a very talented watercolorist that I admire very much in your country. His name is James Lovett. He has a fantastic book titled “Watercolor for the Fun of it” by John Lovett. He has a wordpress blog: and he teaches workshops in your country, frequently. I hope this helps. …and yes, follow me here!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: