There is a simple yet powerful little exercise that artists of all ages can adopt to help train their eyes. It is called blind contour drawing and it’s fantastic.
All you need is paper and a pencil or pen (or marker or your finger dipped in pudding- anything that makes a mark.)
Directions: Look at something and draw it.
Real directions: You may not look down at your paper and try to not pick your drawing utensil up from the paper. You slowly draw the outline of the object you are drawing. No peeking! Now, you can see from the examples that if you choose to draw a face, you’re not just drawing the outline of the head. Get in and draw the features as well, but the deal is that you’re not trying to get very detailed.
The idea behind this exercise is to teach you to draw what you actually see. Not what you think you see- kids start doing this so early on, where their drawings, especially of faces, are so stylized with big almond eyes and sideways noses.
This will be frustrating to them at first, because they are comfortable with the sideways noses. The key is to make it fun. And funny. Have them do a few quick sketches and look at them, because they will crack up- they look crazy. Do a few more.
Don’t underestimate this little exercise. The earlier kids adopt this, and the more they do it, the better they will get at drawing.
Join in by drawing their face as they draw yours.
Set a timer and do 3 – 30 second contour drawings, then 1 – 60 second drawing of the same item.
Try drawing different objects- shoes, chairs, lamps.