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Drawing Blind + State of Flow

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Drawing Blind

Blind contour drawing became popular by Kimon Nicolaïdes in his 1941 book The Natural Way to Draw.

There is something so magical about blind contour drawings. When you draw without looking you let go of how something should look and amazing things can happen. Unintended emphasis on certain areas open up whole new ways of seeing.

I love how blind drawing evokes whimsy and a bit of rebellion too. When I’m not sure what I want to create next - blind contour drawings are my go to. It's fascinating how our brains work. Why some people seem more artistic and others more methodical. A popular theory states people are either left or right brained and one side is more dominant.

"You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words… Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of ‘whole things,’ and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words."

~ Scientist and neurosurgeon, Richard Bergland

In the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. Edwards teaches various lessons that challenge you to go beyond your conditioning. For example, one exercise has you draw your subject upside down. Its purpose is to force your left (thinking) brain to give up identifying what you draw and simply draw what is. The stone angel above was the first time I tried the exercise back in high school. I was shocked by the ease of drawing upside down and by the accuracy of the drawing in the end. It’s a fun exercise for any age and artistic level. You should try it! Just grab a printed image turn it upside down and draw it the way you see it.

#shoegate / #theshoe An internet pic went viral when different people saw different color combinations in the same shoe. (There was also a dress that went viral for the same reason too). Immediately, it became about left brain vs. right brain! A professor in neurology helped figure out why some see pink and white on a Vans sneaker and others see grey and green.

Check out the sneaker pic at the very bottom of the page. What combo do you see?

Brain-ambidextrous While one hemisphere of the brain may be more dominant at times, truth is we are all “brain-ambidextrous.” Identification with one side as dominant may be more about our need to know where our talents lie. How we choose to identify with brain dominance can help us discover who we are.

Check out this video for a simplified explanation on how our brains work.

State of Flow Brain games aside, blind drawing and exercises like drawing upside really highlight how important flow states are in our lives. Flow states definition:

In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. The main reason I love making art is how it makes me feel. There is a deep sense of well being when immersed in the creative process.

It's funny, I came out of a deep sleep when I first saw the Vans sneaker pic. It was 100% green and grey and now see pink and white. Makes me believe dreaming may be the ultimate flow state!

In these challenging times I hope you find many ways to enjoy and feel the flow!

~ Kim


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