Blind contour drawing is an art technique that involves drawing without looking at the drawing. The activity is usually done slowly with an emphasis on paying attention to details, thereby improving awareness, concentration and hand-eye coordination.
This technique was popularly used by teacher Kimon Nicoladies and became the method. Kimon Nicolaides (1891-1938) was a Greek-American art teacher, writer, and artist. He served as a camouflage artist in the US Army in France during the First World War.His first contact with art was a subconscious familiarity with oriental objects imported by his father. He decided early that he wanted to paint, but had to run away from home to study art because his family did not take kindly to the idea. One of his assignments, which involved the study of geographic contour maps, first opened up the concept of “contour”, which formed Exercise One in this book. After working for a while in Paris (1922-23), he received his first one-man exhibition by the famous Bernheim Jeune gallery there. Returning to New York, he opened his first exhibition at the Old Whitney Studio Club, now a museum, and settled into painting and teaching. Kimon NicolaIdes’ book “The Natural Way to Draw” has long been a staple for middle school art educators.
According to Kim Nicoladies, to apply this technique correctly requires keeping an eye on the model and not looking at the drawing until it is finished. It is important to be guided by the sense of touch rather than sight. The purpose of this drawing method is to pay attention to the subject. When we look at the artists who use this method in the world, we come across Sophie Kipner and Ian Sklarsky, who have recently applied this technique. Sophie Kipner is a visual artist and writer from Topanga, California. His ongoing project DONTLIFTUPDONTLOOKDOWN- drawed his subjects primarily using blind contour drawing. Kipner brought the blind contour drawing, which he started as a play at a dinner party, to the galleries. The drawing technique, which started out as a fun group activity, eventually became for commission. Drawing from photography, Kipner depicts everything from family portraits to rock’n’roll icons. DONTLIFTUPDONTLOOKDOWN first premiered in September 2015 and has since opened ten exhibitions. Works from their ongoing series have been sold to private collections and commercia properties worldwide and are auctioned at UCLA’s 2018 IoES (Institute for the Environment and Sustainability) Gala and Help Refugees, launched in partnership with artist Ai WeiWei.
Ian Sklarsky is an artist who works with blind contour drawing. His newest work can be seen at Wyndham 45 and the Bernic Hotel in New York. Stating that he followed this method because of the ways of capturing the essence of the subject, the artist said; He states that the contours he draws with pencil create a sense of rhythm and movement while capturing the essence and character of the subject in a very sincere manner.
Blind contour drawing method, which has an important place in psychology today, is used more and more frequently in fields such as art therapy and group therapy. It is used to increase self-awareness and self-acceptance, especially in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance use disorder and depression. Blind contour drawings, individually or in groups, are often fun and encourage release of control and playful interaction within the group. The therapeutic effects have also been proven in studies to be calmness, relaxation and patience.
“There is only one right way to draw, and it’s a completely natural way. It has nothing to do with art, technique, aesthetics or understanding. It has only to do with the correct act of observation. By that I mean physical contact with all kinds of objects through all the senses.” Nicoladies.