BLIND CONTOURS! This is one of my favorite exercises I do with Claire, my art student.
We both find it a challenging task, but also a great way to warm up before a long session of artin'.
- something to draw with
- something to draw on
- something to draw
- a timer (optional, but good when you're beginning)
For art lessons, we usually start with our blue mechanical pencil and a sketchbook page. The subject for the day can be anything from a pinecone to a pet dog. In these photos, we were at the Field Museum of Chicago and drawing a statuette from the Egyptian exhibit.
To start with I recommend timing yourself or your student. Conveniently, my smartphone has a timer app but a watch would work just as well. Generally the first few sketches are around 30 seconds to a minute, and the final might be closer to two or three minutes.
Now that Claire is familiar with the drill I usually ask her how long she wants to go for and how many she'd like to do. I give her a reminder at the 1/2 time mark so she can keep track of time but other than that, it's all on her.
Blind contours are an awesome way to get a feel for your subject before you start drawing without the pressure on yourself to make a "finished" piece of art. They're also challenging without requiring a huge time input, which is something I love as a teaching tool!
What are your favorite warm-up activities before you start drawing or painting? I'd love to hear some of your answers and get ideas for teaching!
*sketches and photographs used with permission of Claire, the artist