Silly Drawings!

If viral news is getting to you, take a break from work, school or washing everything in sight. Try blind contour drawing! I guarantee that you’ll create something strange and probably funny. Here’s my sketch.

I’m right handed. I drew with my right hand but made the entire sketch without looking at my paper. You can do it, too. All you need is something to draw, a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. I used a pen.

Step one: Place the tip of your pen at a spot on the inside of your paper. Then look at what you want to draw – the subject.

Step two: Focus your eyes on a point at the edge of your subject. Now move your gaze ever so slowly along that edge. Move your pen at the same time, noting every dip and variation that you see before you. Look only at your subject. Do NOT look at your drawing.

Step three: Follow the contours, moving in and out, all the way around your subject. You may draw both inside and outside edges to make a complex network of lines. Remember, go slowly. Keep your pen on the paper, and do not look at your drawing!

Step four: When you have finished, look at your paper. What do you think? I love the surprise of seeing what I’ve drawn.

As you do more drawing, you might change your process. Allow yourself to look at your paper now and then. Focus on the contours of your subject, but from time to time check the location of your pen. If you need to, lift your pen and move it.

When talk of viruses or social isolation gets you down, have some fun. Contour drawing is easy. It’s guaranteed to be silly, and you can share the results online!

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This approach to drawing was made popular by Betty Edwards in her book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

Copyright Liz Macklin 2020

Outdoors At Last!

A sunny afternoon and we couldn’t resist drawing outside.

drawing of garden by first grader

I looked in my bookshelf and pulled out a copy of Nature Drawing by Clare Walker Leslie. Beyond the front door we sketched blue skies, puffy clouds, cherry trees and architecture — inspiration all around us.

drawing of school by first grader
Drawings by students at Carlin Springs Elementary School

Drawing at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Drawings of Architecture by Children

This fall I’ve enjoyed drawing in the courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I’ve met several talented young people, and three of them allowed me to photograph their work. Jennifer’s drawing (on the left) captures the activity at the museum during the Big Draw Family Day, and Amelia’s (in the center) is a colorful design of her dream house. A third anonymous artist drew the geometry of the courtyard skylight in bold black and white.

The museum offers free drawing sessions in the Luce Foundation Center on Tuesday afternoons. The exhibit, The Civil War in American Art, recently opened and will be on display until April 28, 2013. Don’t miss it!

Nature Drawing and Painting

Daffodils
Daffodils | watercolor | 7" by 8" | copyright Liz Macklin 2010

It’s time to draw and paint outdoors! Join me and more than 40 other artists at the spring art festival at Fort C. F. Smith Park.

We’ll celebrate with an opening reception and exhibit on Friday, March 19th from 6 to 8 pm. Drawings, paintings, ceramics and glass will be on view all week in the historic Hendry House at 2411 N. 24th Street in Arlington.

There will be workshops, lectures and concerts — all free and open to the public. For anyone interested in sketching outdoors, Jocelyn Hunn and and I will lead  nature drawing from noon to 2 pm on Saturday, March 20th. We’ll sketch flora and fauna throughout the park using easy techniques. All ages and abilities are welcome. Children under 12 must be  accompanied by an adult.

For information about the full week of programs, see the Arlington Artists Alliance website. To register for workshops, e-mail sparkerart@yahoo.com.