A practice in looking hard at what you are drawing.

I am only going to give this exercise this one time today, BUT I would love it if you would continue to do this as a daily warm up going forward (I would get some loose printer paper after today, because these sketches will add up to a big pile over time and you don’t need to fill up a sketchbook with them.

Today you are going to draw your hand without looking at your paper.

  • Sit down at a table.
  • Place your sketchbook on the table.
  • Look at your non-drawing hand (position your hand into some interesting to look at).
  • Without looking at your paper whatsoever, draw your hand. NO PEEKING.

drawingDemo

I admit I haven’t done this exercise in years, so I was interested in what would happen.

hand01 hand01_drawn

Wow, that was challenging. It’s difficult not to peek at what you are doing, but the rewards for this sort of practice are huge. When you do this, you are truly looking at the subject and trying to define it as a line. You are forced to plan at least a little bit ahead as your hand moves across the page. Will you take a left or right turn? Is now the time to draw that other finger or should you keep drawing that line? You can’t draw the symbol you once remembered as “hand” because you can’t see what you are doing.

Another benefit of this is that it eliminates any “perfectionist” tendencies that many of us, myself included, suffer from. You have to accept going in that whatever you draw will be a hot mess of crazy and just run with it.

I tried it again because the first attempt was stressful but also kind of fun and liberating:

hand02 hand02_drawn

CONTOUR LINE DRAWING

This second example highlights something important about this exercise – don’t pick your pen up off of the paper. Keep your pen on the paper the entire time, because once you lift your pen off the paper, you are placing it almost completely randomly back down and have no control over the rest of the drawing. Those fingers that are behind my index finger and thumb? I decided I couldn’t just keep my line going and needed to reposition.

This was a mistake! And so the fingers ended up weirdly overlapping the first part of the drawing.

ASSIGNMENT: 

  • Draw your hand. Do it a few times. As I said before, I would (and will, going forward, along with you) do at least one of these a day on loose paper just as a warm up. It doesn’t have to be your hand, it can be whatever subject you care to try. In high school our art teacher had us draw trees this way, which was a nightmare because trees are already hard enough to draw.
  • Post your drawing in the Facebook Group! (the link goes to the specific thread where I want you to post). I am loving how active the group is already and I am excited to see what wacky mess comes out when you do this assignment.

Happy drawing guys!

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1Drawing of hand
2Posted drawing to Facebook Group