blind contour drawing of four faces drawing with ink

Blind Contour Drawing: An Exercise to Sharpen Your Artistic Skill

Have you struggled to capture the essence of your subject in a drawing? The blind contour drawing exercise is the answer and a great way to practice sketching and shading without looking at what you’re doing.

This exercise will force you to focus on the lines and curves of your subject while also giving you a better understanding of light and shadow. The exercise is similar to continuous line drawing except here. The artist will not look at the paper that he is drawing.

So try this exercise if you want to sharpen your artistic skills!

Before we further do blind contour drawings, let us understand what it is.

What is a blind contour drawing?

Blind contour line drawings are a type of exercise where the artist creates a drawing without looking at the paper. He can use a reference for drawing or can draw from memory, but the essence is he will not look at what he is drawing.

Sometimes this exercise may be time-bound. You must complete the drawing within 10 minutes, or it will be an open option.

This exercise helps improve his observation and drawing skills by forcing artists to think about outlines and contours.

The benefits of blind contour line drawing don’t stop there, it can also help improve your accuracy and understanding of lines, curves, and shapes.

It is a simple exercise and does not require elaborate equipment or materials; just a pencil and a piece of paper are adequate.

This art exercise can be practiced anywhere by anyone without preparation.

How does it help improve your artistic skills?

To become an artist, you must constantly elevate your drawing skills. And what better way to do that than practicing blind contour line drawing?

This practice will help you become more accurate, and it will also help you understand light and shadow better. So if you’re serious about becoming an artist, don’t miss out on this opportunity to improve your skills!

Improves Eye and Hand coordination

Blind contour drawing exercise is a great way to improve eye and hand coordination. 

To accurately represent the object you are drawing, it’s important to keep your focus on it and use your hands and eyes in tandem. Avoid looking away from the object while drawing.

This exercise can help improve overall coordination and accuracy. It can also help you to loosen up and create more dynamic artwork.

Blind contour drawing is familiar exercise artists use to improve their outline contours and create fabulous pictures.

Improves your Line Accuracy

Accuracy is essential for any artist, and blind contour line drawing can help you improve it.

Being accurate means that you can draw precisely what you want to and how you want to. Line accuracy is keeping your lines straight or curved, just like they should be or in the reference.

The drawing will help improve your accuracy because it forces you to focus on your lines and curves without looking at what you’re doing.

Develops an understanding of Lines and Shapes

Blind contour line drawing forces artists to focus on their lines and shapes.

It helps artists see various aspects of drawing. It also helps them analyze how to shade particular objects in a drawing.

Participating in blind contour line drawing exercises will help improve your artistic skills by developing your observation, accuracy, shading, and visualization skills.

Improved observation skills

You will start observing things to draw in more minute details.

To draw them accurately, you will start looking at the subtle curves, shapes, and lines.

You will enjoy doing line drawings with no help from your eyes and manually visualize things in front of you in a 3D model-like picture.

Improved observation skills help people precisely sketch objects or anything without any errors.

Blind Contour Drawing – A Warmup Exercise

Many artists do blind contour drawings as a warmup exercise before starting a new piece.

It’s easy to start the day by stretching your mind and focusing on drawing without looking at what you are doing.

When you start practicing this, you need to remember with this practice is that it isn’t about the picture itself but rather what you’re learning from it.

Steps for Doing a Blind Contour Drawing

So now that you know how blind contour line drawing can improve your artistic skills, it’s time to learn how to create it!

Here are the steps:

  1. Choose your subject matter. It can be anything – a person, an animal, a plant, a still life, etc.
  2. Get yourself a pencil and drawing paper.
  3. You can sit comfortably with all your accessories and ensure your subject is within reach.
  4. You can have a reference or still image, or maybe you can draw from your memory.
  5. Remember, you will never look at the paper you are drawing. If you are drawing from memory, it is better to blindfold yourself to avoid looking at what you are drawing.
  6. Draw a simple outline of the object without looking at what you’re drawing on the paper.
  7. The drawing exercise has no hard and fast rules, but the advice is to be consistent. It is better to draw from Top to bottom and left to right. But please follow whichever is comfortable for you.
  8. Even if you feel you have made a mistake or drawn an incorrect line, that’s fine; continue to draw, come back to the place where you mentally think it is right, and continue your artwork.
  9. Once you’ve finished the outline, you can start shading the object. It can create the illusion of depth and realism in your artwork.
  10. When you have completed it, you need to look at what you’ve drawn! You can use erasers if there are any mistakes that you want to correct.
  11. Like any other exercise, it may take some practice before you can master this one. But don’t stop trying. You can still see improvement after hundreds of failed attempts at this exercise.
  12. Repeat the process as often as you want until you’re comfortable with your drawing skills!
  13. While some drawings may come out better than others, it is essential to recognize the areas where you made mistakes and the areas where you did well. Don’t worry about perfection. The point is to hone your skills and train your brain to think more creatively.

It’s also good to try this exercise with different objects to develop your skills.

Benefits of Practicing Blind Contour Drawing

There are many benefits of practicing blind contour drawing. Here are just some of them:

1. You will develop your observation skills because you have to look at what you want to draw and mentally visualize it.

2. You will improve your accuracy because you have to look at what you want to draw and visualize it instead of looking at the paper while drawing.

3. You will develop your drawing skills because there is no way to cheat by using guidelines or tracing previous drawings during this exercise.

4. It’s a great way to train your brain to think more creatively.

5. This exercise improves your mental acuity and mood by helping you relax and be in the moment.

6. Shading techniques will teach you how to draw objects with three-dimensional depth.

7. With continued practice, you can improve your drawing skill level and participate in drawing contests.

8. Art students will improve hand-eye coordination, memory, and focus.

9. This exercise is quite fun to do!


Blind contour line drawings may seem difficult at first, but the more you try them, the easier it’ll become. If you’re a beginner, start slow and do not rush yourself.

If you make a mistake, it’s okay! You can always use an eraser to correct your error and try again. Remember all the benefits of practicing this exercise when you feel like giving up.

It will motivate you and help you continue this process and eventually master it! Enjoy every moment of your artistic journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is Blind Contour Drawing Important?

    Blind contour drawing is essential because it helps you to sharpen your focus, improve observational skills and pay attention to detail. As the artist draws without looking at the paper, they have no choice but to concentrate intensely on their subject. This leads them to thoroughly comprehend what they’re observing and create an accurate representation. Moreover, blind contour drawing can help people end bad habits in art making while establishing a more distinctive and personal style.

  2. What is the Difference Between a Contour and a Blind Contour Drawing?

    A contour drawing is a line sketch that outlines the external shape of an item. A blind contour drawing is feeling out each motion with your fingers instead of focusing merely on what appears before you. A blind contour drawing, on the other hand, requires you to draw without looking at your paper. This encourages more individual and instinctive drawings instead of concentrating on the result.

  3. What are the 3 Rules of Blind Contour Drawing?

    To help you hone your observation skills and sharpen your focus on a subject, try the 3 Rules of Blind Contour Drawing: 1) Keep your pencil in contact with the paper, 2) Never look at what you’re drawing, only observe the object being drawn, and 3) Draw every contour without lifting. These rules will aid you in creating more accurate and expressive drawings.

  4. What is a Blind Contour Drawing Used For?

    Creating a blind contour drawing can be a handy tool for any artist who wishes to hone their observational and drawing skills. This technique helps artists better understand what they are creating and allows them to draw precisely and accurately. The process necessitates that the drawer only focuses on the object or subject at hand, not looking upon the paper itself when executing it.

  5. How do you get better at Blind Contour Drawing?

    Devoting yourself to regular practice sessions is critical in blind contour drawing. Instead of looking at your paper, try focusing on the sensation of your pen or pencil as you draw. Begin with basic shapes and steadily progress towards more intricate subjects. Don’t forget that using different tools like charcoal or ink can help enhance line variation and provide a stimulating challenge.

  6. How to Teach Blind Contour Drawing?

    To teach this method, start by having your students observe the subject and thoughtfully verbalize its details. Subsequently, ask them to place their pencil on the paper and trace around the image without looking at either their hand or creation. Emphasizing that it’s not about results but instead tuning into what they’re experiencing as they draw. Through repeated practice of this exercise, students will hone observation skills while also learning to focus more deeply on the subject being drawn rather than worrying about perfectionism with each sketch.

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