Blind Contour

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Thread: Blind Contour

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    Blind Contour

    I have been talking with a good artist about Blind Contour drawing and thought I would get some other opinions. I think the more experienced views I garner, the better I can do this.

    So I am following Nicolaides "The Natural Way to Draw" and am at the first series of blind contour drawings. Setting up and not looking at the paper is easy enough. I am struggling with the "feel the pencil on the form" section, though. I am trying to find the best way to focus my mind on the form. You see, this exercise is very monotonous by nature and I find my mind drifting as I draw. My pencil is still moving, taking in the lines and curves but my vision kind of blurs (as happens whenever I look at anything intently for too long, especially staring). I have tried this exercise with music of various styles, without music, with my left hand, and with my right. I have also tried doing a mental dialogue. This last one really seems to work the best.

    I am a verbal thinker. Everything ends up in the form of words and impressions for me. Even dreams. I don't remember images exactly. I have impressions of colors and words that make the image, though the image in my head that I recall is as clear as a photograph most times. So the verbal dialogue builds the image, and the whole while I feel like I am literally carving the image into the paper with the pencil. It feels solid. Every now and then, I am so in touch with it that it feels like I am dragging my finger across the surface of the object. But with the way people describe setting up the process, I worry that I am not "doing it right."

    I understand that there is, technically, no right or wrong way but there is a way that was intended with the exercise. It is just such an internal thing that I think people have trouble talking about it...?

    So...how did you handle the issue for blind contour? What was your thought process? How did you "feel" the form. I know this is hard to explain. Maybe that is why I have not found any discussions at all anywhere on the web on this aspect.

    (side note: the person I was talking to indicated that he interpreted it as a belief, changing how you think completely and giving the line meaning. I think this is great and works for most people, but I wonder if there are other views and interpretations)

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by anjyil View Post
    So I am following Nicolaides "The Natural Way to Draw" and am at the first series of blind contour drawings. Setting up and not looking at the paper is easy enough. I am struggling with the "feel the pencil on the form" section, though. I am trying to find the best way to focus my mind on the form. You see, this exercise is very monotonous by nature and I find my mind drifting as I draw. My pencil is still moving, taking in the lines and curves but my vision kind of blurs (as happens whenever I look at anything intently for too long, especially staring). I have tried this exercise with music of various styles, without music, with my left hand, and with my right. I have also tried doing a mental dialogue. This last one really seems to work the best.
    Relax and do not think so much. My understanding is that Blind Countours is all about line quality, expressing what you see/feel through your line. Nicolaides wants you to perceive through all of your senses, especially your tactile facility, and there is really no need for a mental dialogue: feel the model.

    I am a verbal thinker. Everything ends up in the form of words and impressions for me. Even dreams. I don't remember images exactly. I have impressions of colors and words that make the image, though the image in my head that I recall is as clear as a photograph most times. So the verbal dialogue builds the image, and the whole while I feel like I am literally carving the image into the paper with the pencil. It feels solid. Every now and then, I am so in touch with it that it feels like I am dragging my finger across the surface of the object. But with the way people describe setting up the process, I worry that I am not "doing it right."
    Blind countours is about feeling. It is great that you feel you are dragging your finger across the surface of the model, but it would be even better to feel you are dragging the sharp tip of your pencil across the surface. If you are really carving the image into the paper, it means your pencil is disconnected from you perception, while Blind Contours is about connecting the two. You do not want to carve into the flesh of the model, right? As my teacher used to put it: 'don't hurt the model'...


    I understand that there is, technically, no right or wrong way but there is a way that was intended with the exercise. It is just such an internal thing that I think people have trouble talking about it...?
    No. If I cannot tell the difference between your line when sensing an eye and a cheek and a hair, something went wrong.

    So...how did you handle the issue for blind contour? What was your thought process? How did you "feel" the form. I know this is hard to explain. Maybe that is why I have not found any discussions at all anywhere on the web on this aspect.
    Do Blind Contours once or twice without paper, using yourself as a model, and fysically touch your model with the sharp tip of your pencil. Feel how it is to be touched, and feel how it is to touch. Is it pleasant? Does it hurt? Is it carving or caressing? Blind Contours is like making love.

    (side note: the person I was talking to indicated that he interpreted it as a belief, changing how you think completely and giving the line meaning. I think this is great and works for most people, but I wonder if there are other views and interpretations)
    I agree, but it is not a completely internal process: this meaning must show in the line!

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    That definitely gives me a much clearer idea of "how to think". I have never been good at the clear your-mind things...hm...

    Should I think of it like those meditative exercises where they ask you to "feel the earth". I used to do those when I was really young but I recall little of it. (makes me wonder about the whole fate thing lol)

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    Oh...and...um...this may seem like a stupid question, but what, exactly, does everyone mean by "give the line meaning". This form of art--abstract and so on--are very new to me, so I am learning a bunch of stuff I am not used to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anjyil View Post
    Oh...and...um...this may seem like a stupid question, but what, exactly, does everyone mean by "give the line meaning". This form of art--abstract and so on--are very new to me, so I am learning a bunch of stuff I am not used to.
    Look at art where artists uses different lines to describe different things...

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    You mean like the thickness or thinness, how fast is flows, the way it curves and weight? I will Google some line art and a few other key words and see what I can come up with. This is just all so new to me that I am unsure about a lot. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me better understand this new area of art.

    My full range of work: http://anjyil.deviantart.com/gallery/

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    I think blind contour is useful. Not looking at something while drawing help train your eye hand coordination but no need for the new agey mumbo jumbo. That sort of faux philosophy is like religion, it makes certain types of people feel better but it is not necessary for everyone on their path to being an artist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anjyil View Post
    You mean like the thickness or thinness, how fast is flows, the way it curves and weight?
    Exactly!

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    I think blind contour is useful. Not looking at something while drawing help train your eye hand coordination but no need for the new agey mumbo jumbo.
    To be honest, I don't think blind contours, i.e. working without any form of feedback, will improve your eye-hand coordination.

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    To do it well, you need to concentrate and that is what trains your eye/hand co-ordination.

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    Thank you, everyone! The additional view points really helped! I took a break, ignored the problem, then came back and thought: what do I do where I focus all my intention and mind on the task?

    My answer: reading! when I read, I am completely engrossed in the book to the exclusion of all else. So first, I checked my setup: my pencil grip and pressure was too tight and too heavy respectively. I let my hand rest on the board to eliminate that. I turned off my music because I can't listen to music while I am reading. I ran my pencil tip along the form of my hand, feeling the side and the tip and making a note of how it felt. Then, once I was settled, I told myself that I was reading a book. The result was completely unexpected. I have never put that kind of focus outside of reading before, and it was...eye opening (bad pun!)

    Suddenly, every detail in my hand sprung to life. I could "feel" the curves and wrinkles and the raised veins under the skin. I could feel the flat of the pencil as I went along the outside, and the tip as I let the pencil have more pressure for deep wrinkles and creases. My eyes became the pencil point--it was so weird. I could feel the tingle along my skin as I worked. It was like reading, only the words were the details in my hand. the verbal dialogue in my mind was almost completely silent as I worked because, by my thinking, it was working like it does when I read.

    I was so excited to finally unlock this thing. The result was completely different. As
    eezacque@xs4all.nl indicated, started understanding the point of making line have meaning. Thicker lines at some point, wispy at another (such as when one of the creases fades off). Nicolaides allows for looking at the paper only to reposition yourself when a line ends, so I used that to its best, letting the line fly off in a flourish if the type of line called for it.

    thank you all for your in put. I would have never been able to break this wall without it.

    My full range of work: http://anjyil.deviantart.com/gallery/

    My weird sketchbook here (it`s best to just skip to the end haha): http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...06#post2430006
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