When it comes to making realistic portraits or self-portraits, we rely heavily on visual cues and references in order to get a likeness. But what happens when you take away the ability to look at your subject while you draw? Enter the double-blind contour self-portrait.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, a blind contour drawing is one in which you draw the contours of an object or subject without looking at the paper, usually in a continuous line, never lifting your pen off the page. This forces you to rely solely on your sense of touch and your visual input. What I’m calling the double-blind takes it a step further: I close my eyes and touch the contours of my subject, in this case, my face, with one hand while drawing with the other. Eyes closed.
I’d like to try this with another person, but anyone I’ve asked thinks it’s really creepy to have my hand moving inch by inch over their face. Go figger.
I make blind contour drawings from time to time because it’s a great exercise in slowing down and really getting to know an object with my sense of touch. Of course the results won’t show much, if any, likeliness. Of course the drawing will be hilarious. Once again, about your experience of the process, not the product. If a face is to intimidating for you, start with simple objects. These are from some shells I picked up on a morning walk
I took it a step further and created a collage out of my double-blind contour self-portrait. I cut out the drawing and pulled out some colorful painted papers I had stashed away, experimenting with different compositions and elements, adding some of the same colors into the drawing to tie it all together. It was a playful and creative process that allowed me to just have fun because there was no way I was going to make something “beautiful” out of the ridiculous drawing I started with.
So, go ahead and try a blind or double-blind contour self-portrait. Give yourself permission to get out of your comfort zone and relax into silly playfulness. Make your drawing into a wacky character. Put it in a setting where it would not ordinarily belong. Do it twice and give yourself a twin. Go crazy. Have some fun! Share your results with me here:
I’m really enjoying your blog topics and writing style. I bet my husband would let me touch his face while I draw, not much phases him. Thanks for another great idea!