Thursday, June 11, 2020

Blind contour drawing = great strings!

I often draw a string blind (with my eyes closed, or averted), or with my non-dominant hand. It always affords some interesting placement, wiggly lines, mismatched corners, and other oddities.

For something a little different, I decided to try contour drawing a few nearby things in hopes of some new shapes.

What's contour drawing, you ask? 

It's a technique in which the artist draws a subject slowly, concentrating on the contours of the subject. The focus is on the essential form and not the minor details. Expect a contour drawing to look wonky; perhaps that's why I like them! In a blind contour drawing your eyes are only on the subject - not the paper - slowly and carefully following the outline with your pencil on the paper.
A page of contour drawings of things around my desk.
I'd say 'blind' but I cheat, and glance occasionally.
To use this technique to draw a Zentangle string, I recommend doing a very simple drawing. You don't want a lot of teeny, tiny spaces to deal with.

On the corner of my desk are two photo cubes with recent, favorite Zentangle tiles in them. I did a blind contour drawing of them and tangled with variations of Emingle for a Square One prompt.
Tangles: Doodah, Emingle, Pearlz, Zewm, Zonked
If I glance to the right from my art desk I see my husband's coffee machine. Here's the machine, the blind contour drawing I made, and the resulting tile.
Turned 90 degrees counter-clockwise from the string photo.
Tangles: Arukas, Emingle, Moonwaves, Zonked and a Black Pearl(z)
Here are two sets of pliers and the resulting tile.
Tangles: Cubine, Lamar, Romanancy, Zonked
And finally, here are three small bottles.
After I did the contour drawing I turned it sideways and thought it looked like 'something' pushing across the page. Maybe Bunzo? Mooka? Hollis? Then I turned it upside down and it looked like three trees. Well, you know me and trees!
Tangles: Amazing Spider, Black Pearlz, Icantoo, Prestwood, Pia, Sanibel, Zander


  1. This is a very interesting project. The results both inspire and intrigue.

  2. Thank you for this interesting post.
    I don't like the strings, they seem very difficult for me to fill, but it is fantastic to see how you can make such beautiful results of each string!

  3. I love this tutorial, Margaret! I can't wait to try it! Thank you.