I've never been one to get caught up in the whole land of art lingo. I think fancy words can tend to sound pretentious and really just create an unnecessary roadblock for people looking to understand my work, and that's the opposite of what I want. But recently I realized that I've been calling my latest series of drawings by the wrong name, and that's just not cool. Turns out these aren't "gesture drawings" but "blind contour portraits" (that I then add details to)!
After realizing this, I decided to do a little research and learn more about where this style comes from. The word "contour" is actually a French word for outline (source)! I've been loving this style because it allows me to get out of my head. With portraiture I get so caught up in the tiniest details. By not allowing myself to look at the page while I'm drawing, the gesture of my drawing becomes surprisingly more accurate than when I would normally start a piece head on by pouring in all the details. The practice of blind contour drawing "trains the eye and hand to work as a team" (source), a technique introduced by Greek, American art teacher, Kimon Nicolaides, who worked with contour maps during World War 1.
Many artists have experimented with contour drawing, from Egon Schiele...
Here's one of my recent blind contour drawings, that I then selectively filled in with details.
Then I experimented in Photoshop, coloring in areas to create a more graphic look.
I'm still looking to see if there's a name for my particular style, since "blind contour drawing" really only applies to the first part, not the detailing...so stay tuned for another vocab lesson when I find out in the future! :)
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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