Blind drawing is drawing without looking at the paper. Some artists use it to improve hand-eye coordination, or (as with negative space) to make themselves aware of what's actually seen rather than some symbolic stereotype for it.
I like blind drawing because it produces interesting lines, which have
more character than if I draw while looking at the paper.
Here are two examples:
The first image was competitors in Scrufts 2013, the Wolvercote Midsummer Festival dog show. The second was a customer waiting in the Summertown Costa.
I have three questions. First, what psychological techniques could make blind drawing more accurate? I once read that the caricaturist Harry Furniss used to attend functions at which he wasn't allowed to draw, and so would draw surreptitiously on a notepad he carried in his pocket. Eventually, such practice made his drawings very accurate. See Appendix A for Furniss's own account. Could the "Templar Cross" software I propose in Appendix B help achieve such accuracy? Are there any methods for teaching the blind to draw which might help?
Second, how can I get the same quality of line in drawings where I'm looking at the paper as in my blind drawings? Does psychology have anything to say about this?
Third, artists often say that their first rough sketch of a subject is more "alive" than a final copy made from it. Again, this is because the line in the original has more character. How can I train myself to make the same kinds of line, i.e. the same kinds of movement, when copying as when drawing the original?
The excerpt below is from The Confessions of a Caricaturist, Vol. 1 (of 2), by Harry Furniss. It's annotated in the electronic copy as page 146. You'll notice that the excerpt begins with double quotes, and appears to be about Furniss. This is because it's an imaginary conversation with his pencil.
"H. F. trained himself to make sketches with his hand in his pocket, and worked away with me and his book–or rather cards, which he had specially for the purpose–whilst looking straight into the face of his victim. He manages in this way to sketch people sitting opposite to him in the train, and sometimes when talking to them all the time.
"You know that without special permission from the Lord High Great Chamberlain no stranger is allowed to pass the door of the English House of Lords, even when it is empty; but when the precious Peers are sitting, the difficulty of making a sketch is too great for description. You are not allowed to sit down, speak, smile, sneeze, or sketch. H. F. once produced me in the House of Lords. Had he drawn a sword instead of a pencil he could not have created greater consternation. Explanation was useless. The officials knew that he was only for 'takkin' notes' for Punch, but the vision of a pencil produced an effect upon them the same as if they had caught sight of an infernal machine. But necessity is the mother of invention. It was then he hit upon the plan I have just told you about. He draws in his pocket. Keeping the card against his leg, he sketches quite easily. A pocket Hercules is an oft enough heard-of individual–so why not a pocket artist?
Here's a Templar Cross:
Imagine this painted on a graphics tablet, or displayed on the screen of a a tablet computer. I trace it with a stylus, without looking at it. The program works out where my stylus is, and if it has wandered from the cross, sounds a tone whose pitch or volume depends on how far it has wandered. Would this teach me to blind draw more accurately? One artist I've spoken to thinks it would, and would be worthwhile.