Sorta Blind Contour Drawing

Feb 23

Last Tuesday Koosje Koene posted her Draw Tip Tuesday video about blind contour selfies.  Yes, I thought. That’s perfect for a postcard or two! I’ve been making portraits of my ancestors, but the faces are so controlled and overworked. I want to loosen my style, and blind contour selfie drawing? Just the ticket!

But when I sat down, Bic pen and pad of postcards in hand, iPhone with selfie on the table, I couldn’t do it. I froze. I wanted to look at that paper. I forced myself to make a few lines without looking, and then I allowed myself to break the rule about not looking. Because this project is not about constriction. It’s about exploration and developing my growth mindset.

And I discovered something. I love making sorta blind contour drawings! I’ve drawn three selfies and one portrait of Neal. These little line drawings have been a blast, and I want to encourage you to take a few minutes to make one, too. Here’s my method:

sorta blind contour drawings1. Grab pen and paper.

2. Take a selfie, get to a mirror, find a picture, find a live model.

3. Without looking at the paper, get down a few lines. You can tell on my postcards where I started, I’ll bet!

4. When you can’t resist looking, look. And draw. Try to keep the “tone” of the blind lines. Be playful.

5. Go back in to add detail if that makes you happy. I added watercolors to one, lines to enhance my hair in another, and cross hatching on Neal’s sweatshirt.

6. Admire your funny little drawing.

Keep me inspired: tell me what you’ve been doing to encourage your growth mindset.

Want a funny little postcard from me? Read about my #2015PostcardProject and sign up here.


  1. The other tip about blind contours is to go SLOWLY. Like super really boring barely moving the pen slow. They come out “better” when you slow down and really LOOK at your subject.

  2. These are exquisite! They speak volumes. Keep going!

  3. You’re doing well because you have no fear. You’re just going for it and letting your pen flow. Love it!

  4. Hi, I have used this for a start to embroidery, as I wanted to reduce the number of lines to simplify the picture and really find the essence. It was way more scary to do it with a sewing machine instead of a pencil, but very interesting as no matter how hard I tried the finished stitching ended up the same size as the original picture I copied. I got much better as I practised and it really loosened me up.

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