Continuous-line Blind Contour

This simple drawing technique is a great warm up activity for drawing
Learn more below
Continuous-line Blind Contour

An urban sketch is a fun way to send a unique snapshot home while on vacation. This simple drawing technique is also a great warm up activity for drawing in general. Experience your vacation from the perspective on an artist and you are guaranteed to take home a memorable souvenir.


  • Moleskine sketchbook
  • Sakura pigment micron pens
  • Watercolour travel set
  • Paintbrush or water reservoir paintbrush


How to draw a character without looking

Step 1: 

Position yourself so that you can comfortably see your subject but not your sketchbook. For this exercise it is important that you do not look at your paper while you draw.

Decide what part of your subject you would like to start with, keeping in mind that you will work your way around the form completely without lifting your pen. Look at your paper and position your pen where you would like to start. Look away from your paper and look at your subject, keeping your pen pressed to the paper.

Step 2: 

Begin tracing what you see slowly with your eyes and your pen. Your pen and your eyes are now connected and every movement you make with your eyes you will make with your pen. Carefully trace around your subject, following the contours of their body. Do not lift your pen.

Where clothing creases or to add facial features do not lift your pen from the page to reach them. Instead, continue your unbreaking line, working in and around, allowing your line to loop over itself as you return to the contour edge.

Step 3: 

When you have traced the entire subject with your eye (and pen) and returned to the place where you started, lift you pen and look at your drawing. Marvel in it’s perfection and lack of perfection! The goal of this exercise is not to make a perfect likeness but to train your eyes and hands to be connected and to learn how to really look at every detail of something. As you do more of these sketches your accuracy and speed will improve, and you will be able to quickly add people in lifelike poses to your urban sketches before they have a chance to move.

Set a timer for 5 minutes and try this exercise again.

Step 4: 

Add a touch of colour to your sketch! A watercolour travel set and reservoir paintbrush are great tools to add to your urban sketching kit. Use your looped over lines as you would a colouring book image and experiment with filling in different areas of the drawing with colour.