Adebanji Alade American Artist Magazine ball point pen Brook Temple charcoal contours Inspiration to sketch outlines Sketchbook Sketches Sketching Tips tombow dual brush pens

We are now into the demos! This is where I’ll be showing and explaining in depth a few of the things that have made my sketching life much easier. In this particular post, I’ll be dealing with the OUTLINE and something I discovered from a 1985 American Artist Magazine, called-“The Blind Contour”. The Blind Contour actually improved my eye-hand co-ordination more than any other technique!

But before we get going on HOT SHOT 7 & 8, please click HERE if you missed HOT SHOT 6.


There are many ways to start a sketch. You can start by doing simple outlines of the subject or object before you. This is the contour of the object. This is a good way to really get going with a simplified sketch. Here you don’t really consider detail or tones. Your main focus is the outline. A good way of training your ability to do this is, is to do something I’ll treat on number 8 called the blind contour.


just various heads where the contours are the main feature.


The outlines are not really outlined but we have to force our eyes to see the line that goes right round the thing we are about to sketch. Being able to quickly see this and put it down as accurately as possible is a very good way to start sketching in full force! Just the outline! When starting this for the first time, try not to pick your pencil and hand from the paper but just let it flow and move around your drawing surface.





To improve your sketching of outlines and contours. You can do what is called the blind contour. You get hold of your pen or pencil. Look at the object or subject you are about to sketch. Know where you are starting from and then just simply follow the contour of the object without looking back at the paper. Do this, until you feel you have completely covered the whole outline of the object. This is a great warm up exercise and really helps what you need as a great sketcher. It’s called your eye-hand co-ordination. You’ll be training your eyes, your most powerful weapon.


It's the overall outline sketching that was employed here.


While in Nigeria around the 90’s -I discovered a publication of the AMERICAN ARTIST magazine, It was dated-February 1985-It was a SPECIAL DRAWING and PAINTING ISSUE. The Magazine simply changed the way I saw! I must have read it over and over-100 times or more.

One of the articles that really touched me was one by someone called Brook Temple, He wrote a simple straightforward article on “Exercises to improve your drawing skills”.

In all these sketches, it was my charcoal just going around the outlines of my sleeping daughter and myself


He mentioned Blind Contour as one of them and this is what he said, “Contour drawing is probably the most single important element in figure drawing and the closest thing to pure drawing. It is a strong confidence-builder because it co-ordinates hand, eye, and mind. If there is a secret in drawing, I believe it begins with contour drawing.”

He also said, “I use contour drawing throughout my classes because it is important as a tool in learning to SEE what is right there in front of you. If YOU can see it, YOU can draw it.

This is his procedure: “We start by taking a soft charcoal pencil or a coloured crayon and drawing the outside contour of the figure without looking at the page. Now this may seem awkward at first; some people find it very hard not to look back and check the drawing. DON’T! In my class I monitor the eyes of my students to make sure their eyes are glued to the model for the duration of the pose, usually five minutes. Remember, If you cheat, you’re cheating yourself.


Very quick outline sketch of a man on his phone

Now, I remember reading this article and I was instantly hooked! I hope you can do this on a daily basis! Don’t worry if you stop, just get back at it again! I have been using this technique to improve ever since then and you can too!


Two separate sketches where outlines and contours have been utilized.

I hope you are fired up by this post and if you are and you want to share, please do, or just comment or like with the Social media buttons below!




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