Even if Your Vision Is Giving You Fits You Can Still Get Some Sketching Done

May 29, 2020
Conture drawings in an inexpensive lined notebook.

This is a short pep talk.

Your glasses don’t fit.

The prescription isn’t right.

Your vision is blurred by cataracts and any number of things that can happen to eyes.

And you just don’t feel like sketching.

Tough do it anyway.

It keeps you prepped for sketching the next time your vision isn’t as blurred. Or it keeps your skills up as your vision fails. Either way, keep sketching.

I find that contour drawings are the best fall back on days when my vision is particularly bad. Since cataract surgery I have continued blurred vision and an array of other effects that impact my ability to draw realistically.

But I find it’s important to pick up a pen and “feel” around a face, either that I see on TV or see sitting next to me on the couch (during this pandemic when I’m not going out and about). 

Just looking for the shadow shapes and the value shapes helps me to locate the features of a face, and I even start to see a likeness emerge—though that’s not important to me in sessions like these. All that’s important is that I move the pen around, look for shapes, and feel the familiar comfort of a pen in my hand.

I suggest you try this when you have a series of drawings that don’t work out for you. Before you close your book, do a contour drawing or two.

Or to warm up tonight before your drawing session—yep, a contour or two. 

It doesn’t matter what shows on the page. The page is simply an artifact of the drawing session. You know what you saw, what you observed. And there is a reminder of all that within the lines on the page.

    • Susan
    • May 30, 2020

    Great pep talk! I love the last paragraph in particular. I wrote it in my sketchbook with a drawing I did today that has lots of room for improvement. But as you say, when I look at that page I will always remember what I observed, the warm spring air, and my feelings for my model.

    1. Reply

      I’m glad it was helpful. I think it’s important to keep working and get things down, so we can remember them later!

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