Not just drawings done by blind people (do they? apparently, some do. And hey, some deaf people talk!) but a drawing technique employing restrictions on the artist's field of vision to liven up and bring out unnatural expressiveness in illustrating a mundane subject.

Similar to the approach described elsewhere as contour drawing, when blind drawing you actually get a full view of what you're illustrating - the blindness comes in that you're forbidden from looking at the drawing (to adjust and correct for realistic perspective, proportions, etc.) you're making until it's complete! Wow, I drew your other eye outside of your head! (A variant technique, partial blind drawing, permits glancing at the paper to ensure correct pencil placement and orientation, but either way you're encouraged to start on still lives to avoid offending models with the grotesque caricatures of them - the inevitable result of the first few attempts in this style 8)

Sometimes it helps to avoid lifting the pencil from the paper to maintain a relative connection at least to what has been drawn so far - once the tip is lifted chances of continuing a line-in-progress are slim at best. To similarly minimise the obscene distortion that results, if there's a chance of the surface you're drawing on shifting you're encouraged to secure it - tape the paper down, weigh the corners down with books, whatever. On the other hand, you could probably produce some boffo effects by securing the writing implement and drawing the picture by moving the paper across the marking nub like a backwards plotter 8)

Another variation of unseeing drawing techniques has been adapted for party use - writing simple drawing subjects on cards, showing a card to the drawer and then blindfolding them in front of a paper. They draw what they read and the crowd gets to try to guess what it is the drawer's frantically attempting to render, Pictionary-style.

Google tells me that the phrase "blind drawing" is also applied to a lottery for the use of advantageous duck blind locations during hunting season, as well as being used to describe any old draw in reinforcing a sense of the random, "blind", impartiality (as opposed to those regular draws where they pull numbers out of the hat until arriving at one matching a family member of the number-drawer? Your guess is as good as mine.)

They were always telling me to "loosen up", to become more relaxed about drawing. I figured that made no more sense than telling someone who's just learning to drive to "loosen up" at the wheel. It isn't going to work. Only after you know how to do it carefully can you begin to loosen up. So I resisted this perrennial loosening up.

One exercise they had invented for loosening us up was to draw without looking at the paper. Don't take your eyes off the model; just look at her and make the lines on the paper without looking at what you're doing.

One of the guys says "I can't help it. I have to cheat. I bet everybody's cheating!"

"I'm not cheating!" I say.

"Aw baloney!" they say. I finish the exercise and they come over to look at what I had drawn. They found that, indeed, I was NOT cheating; at the very beginning my pencil point had busted, and there was nothing but impressions on the paper.

When I finally got my pencil to work, I tried it again. I found that my drawing had a kind of strength - a funny, semi-Picasso-like strength - which appealed to me. The reason I felt good about that drawing was I knew it was impossible to draw well that way, and therefore didn't have to be good - and that's really what the loosening up was all about. I had thought that "loosen up" meant "make sloppy drawings," but it really meant to relax and not worry about how the drawing is going to come out.

- Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman!

I've encountered another type of "blind drawing" in many art classes. The exercise is to spend five or ten minutes looking at a subject, then turn away from the subject and draw what you remember. After you've finished the drawing, turn around again and compare the subject to the image you retained. The differences are usually very dramatic. It's a helpful technique to train the artist's eye to remember more than the average viewer's eye, and to discover what you consider to be important in the subject.

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