Oh, what a fun morning this has been! I’ve just finished my “truly blind” drawings for our “link party” — being hosted by Siena Blue.
First things first now. What is a “link party”? It’s also called a “blog hop” and it’s always fun. Siena Blue and I recently invited other bloggers to take part in an art game — drawing with our eyes closed. Today on her blog, she’ll be sharing links to blogs of those who have participated.
And… in case you missed the invitation, it’s never too late to join the fun. You can still do an “eyes closed” drawing post, send the link to Siena Blue, and have your blog added. Just check out this link!
Now…a few more questions. Drawing with eyes closed? How? Why? Is this the same as “blind drawing?” Here is a simple FAQ I put together.
Q. Drawing with eyes closed? Really?
A. Yes. Try it. It’s interesting.
Q. How do I do it?
A. You close your eyes and then draw.
Q. Why would I want to draw with my eyes closed?
A. It’s fun. Try it.
Q. Is this the same as “blind drawing”?
A. Not quite. In “blind drawing” — often called “blind contour drawing” your eyes are open. You’re looking at the subject and not at your drawing. In “eyes closed” drawing, you’re not looking at anything.
For our little link party, I did a series of five faces, all drawn with my eyes closed. Afterward, I used watercolor markers to add color and a bit of detail on some faces. Here they are. They are The Librarian, The Snooty Old Woman, The Curious Asian Lady, The Bored Boy, and Mr. Chubbs. I hope you can figure out who is who!
So, exactly how did I create these faces?
I began by visiting Line of Action, a website I often use for gesture drawing. Instead of choosing figures, I selected the “Faces and Expressions” category, then set the display for 10 minutes for each image. I didn’t actually spend 10 minutes on any drawing. I used that setting because that gave me time to study the image carefully before I closed my eyes and began to draw.
One of the reasons why this exercise is beneficial — and that’s what this really is, you see… a helpful drawing exercise — is because it makes us focus our attention on our subject. Knowing that I would be closing my eyes and trying to somehow re-create what I was looking at really made me pay attention to details. I knew, of course, that none of my drawings would be realistic in any way, yet I knew, too, that I should be able to see differences from one face to the next.
My process was to look first at the overall organic shape of the subject’s hair. I then focused on the facial shape and how those shapes — hair and face — fit together. I looked to see if there was any thing else different or distinct. Then, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and did my best to remember what I’d seen.
I relaxed. After all, I wasn’t creating a detailed, complex drawing. I was just having fun with a drawing exercise. That meant no pressure. That meant that when I opened my eyes, I knew I would see some wonky faces with features in weird places.
Actually, I was surprised that some of my faces … well, all of these faces, really, looked like faces. By contrast my first attempt at doing this produced some very strange faces, like this one.
I think today I was perhaps a bit too cautious, maybe a little too thoughtful, maybe somewhat more focused on outcome than I needed to be. The real pleasure in drawing with eyes closed is in the process, I think. I do find this a very relaxing drawing practice.
It’s similar to “memory drawing exercises” in that you spend a lot of time looking at your subject before you put your pencil or pen to the paper. I like it better than other “memory drawing exercises”, however, because it does feel so free.
Of course, it some respects, it probably all sounds a little silly. Drawing with eyes closed? Goodness, gracious, what is the point in that? I can’t really answer that question for you. All I can say is that if you try it, you’ll understand.