new drawing 2 project // blind contour descriptive portraits

i love blind contour line drawings. in case you are unfamiliar - this is when you draw something without looking at your paper and without picking up your pen. its hard, and typically the drawings have a wonderfully active line and most times it looks strangely like the thing that you are drawing... although features are misplaced. its a really fun way to tap into your subconscious and to work on trusting yourself and what you see. i have always wanted to do something in class with them, and have tried out a few different possibilities over the years as exercises, but nothing really awesome has emerged... until now!

i started doing blind contours of one of my musical heroes - miles davis. these were in one of my small sketchbooks. i spent an hour or so and did about 20 different drawings. they ranged from ridiculous and uninteresting to really engaging and cool. i decided to take one of these and project it on a large cradled birch panel that i had laying around. i then took another picture that i had of him and drew it inside the large space that was his forehead. from here, the piece began to really take shape. i thought of it as if it was one of my recent paintings where i am assembling different pieces of found wood and creating a narrative through the use of text, pattern, and portrait elements. but this time instead of different pieces of wood, i utilized the different sections of his face and background that were created by the lines that connected the facial features (remember... you can't pick up your pen!).

here is what my piece looked like in stages (excuse the less-than-stellar lighting in the pics)


so this became the impetus for the new project for my (predominately) junior drawing 2 class. it has been an interesting set of challenges so far, and i look forward to seeing where they all go with it from here. i'll update with pictures of their progress soon!

as always, we looked a great deal of master artwork at the beginning of the project - and look through the same works throughout the process, to reflect on the different elements of the artists' work and how it relates to the part of the process that the students are currently digging in to. the main artist that we looked at is daniel o'toole.

o'toole's work is creative, painterly, loose and full of really beautiful surprises. you can look for a long time and get lost in them. i see new things every time. (click the thumbnail for a full page image)

there were many more artists that we looked at - including sam rodriguez, and many others that you can find on my pinterest page (specifically the illustration, painting and collage boards).