Don’t Look, Just Draw – From My Little Sketchbook

I drew these figures from photos of men in a catalog – I used a technique I’ve read about and have been trying for myself, that of looking at the image inspiration and not at what I am drawing. Funny how well these came out.

I do admit to peeking a couple of times for each figure, but overall, I just let my pen go along on its own. I am very struck by the freshness this way of working gave my sketches; they don’t look as labored and tight as some other things I have done. I liked the feeling and I plan to direct my sketching efforts more along these lines.



17 thoughts on “Don’t Look, Just Draw – From My Little Sketchbook

  1. Claudia McGill Post author

    It’s like a miracle. I did cheat some and look every so often, but it really took me aback how things came out. I do think I do better drawings if I loosen up and don’t try to get EVERY little thing right, right off the bat, and this reminds me of that fact. It was really an eye-opener.

  2. Palmira G.Q.

    Nice drawing! I´ve tried that technique and I agree, so expressive and fresh results! In fact I try not to develop my left hand so I can use its “freshness” too when I need it. In this case looking at the drawing but my right hand has lost its naif style quite completely.

  3. Dana Doran

    It is a fun exercise – at the direction of an art professor, the class convened in the commons at twilight (the time at which each night a murder of crows returns to the adjacent wetlands) where we attempting to draw birds in flight while not looking at the paper – you couldn’t actually see the paper anyway…haha.

  4. Carol A. More

    I just read a little drawing book that said sneaking a little peak while using this drawing method isn’t ‘cheating’ at all. You’re safe. Every one of your posts inspires me to try something new. Thank you!

  5. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I like that left hand idea. I will remember it. I do find that if I can stop from thinking about what I am doing, and just do it, it works out better, not so fussy. This technique was perfect for that. And fun.

  6. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you for that info. I felt a little like I’d done the technique ALMOST but not quite, but honestly, it’s a reflex to look (if only not to draw on your pants leg or something instead of the book). I was really surprised how these came out and I have since used the method when I’m trying to get a figure to be doing something, but am getting hung up on the details and losing the big picture. I also did a drawing in this style of a room and I think it turned out well, too.

  7. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I really feel I’m on to something with this technique – it just feels so nice to do, and I think the personality of the object or person or whatever really manifests itself (by magic, almost, it’s addicting).

  8. kianho28

    I’ve taught that technique to my students. Usually as part of the demonstration I’d have my strongest and weakest drawing student draw with a large box covering their hands and the paper (drawing blind) to prove that observation is a very important aspect in drawing. The ‘weaker’ student — along with the class — was often surprised that the quality of the drawings were equal. They called it the ‘Yoda method’: “Draw you cannot, see you must”

  9. Claudia McGill Post author

    This is great information. I have learned a lot from trying this technique for exactly that reason – it takes my attention off my drawing and on to what I am trying to draw. Kind of like magic the image appears. I really feel it has opened my eyes to a whole new experience with sketching.

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