Many Renaissance artists sketched preliminary studies for larger works. These drawings were studies from life: a bird wing, the profile of a face, light and shadow on fabric, etc.
This practice of looking in detail, followed by drawing gave Renaissance painting its naturalism.
A practice used in many current drawing studios that is designed to build close observational skills and foster hand and eye coordination is called Blind Contour.
Blind Contour does not produce a proportional ‘beautiful’ drawing (although often beautiful in its own way) it is an exercise in looking deeply. In a Blind Contour do not expect your drawing to look like your subject in a conventional sense.
Guidelines for Blind Contour:
· You will need a piece of paper, a pencil, and a subject to draw (this can be anything that will not move around: a bowl of fruit, your shoes, etc).
· Set your subject up in front of you and position your paper off to the side by your drawing pencil.
· Pick a spot on your subject to look at and set your pencil on the paper.
· As your eye travels sloooowly over your subject (look for as much detail as possible) allow your pencil to follow along on the paper.
· Do not lift your pencil off the paper.
· Do not look at your paper-only at your subject. (the urge to peek can be overwhelming-resist!)
· Look at, and draw, everything.
When you are finished take a picture of your drawing, write a few words about your drawing experience