Monday, November 1, 2021

Inktober Finale: Always Unexpected


10/22/21 My desktop (partial blind contour)

As is the case every year, Inktober did not go as planned. However, as is also the case every year, I learned something anyway, and it was fun, so the challenge was successful.

My initial plan to make small thumbnail-like sketches lasted all of a few days. It was too much like what I usually do, and I felt the lack of challenge in the form of boredom. Just to shake things up, if only temporarily, I started doing blind contours to mark time while I came up with some other idea. To my surprise, I started having a lot of fun with blind contours, which I rarely practice. I’d certainly never done them daily for nearly a month.

10/23/21 The house across the street (partial blind contour,
non-dominant hand)

In some ways, blind contours are not “challenging” in the sense of being difficult or having the objective of practicing one’s drawing skills. They are, in fact, “easy” in a liberating way: There’s no pressure to achieve likeness or accuracy.

On the other hand, blind contours train us to focus on what we’re actually seeing rather than on what we think we’re seeing. If we do them often enough, our hands and eyes learn to work together better, which will ultimately lead to improved drawing skills.

The biggest benefit, however, is that they are highly amusing. Every time I finished one, I looked at the result and cracked myself up! I’m all for cheap entertainment.

As for materials, here are the self-made restrictions I stated on Oct. 1: “One fountain pen, one brush pen and one ballpoint pen. . . . I’m allowed to switch out the tool within the tool category (for example, a fountain pen for a fountain pen), but I’m not allowed to add to the tool set.” HA! Let’s just say that I stuck to my rules in that I never had more than one tool in each category – in my drawing hand at one time. 😉

10/24/21 Our bathroom sink

For the most part, I stayed with the seasonally appropriate
Harvest edition Field Notes notebook, but occasionally I felt cramped by the small format and switched to an A5-ish Stillman & Birn sketchbook instead. With blind contours, my hand tends to wander farther afield, so I need to give myself more space.

Shown here are the last 10 days of Inktober 2021. (Oct. 28 will be shown tomorrow in a separate post.)

How did your Inktober go?

10/25/21 Our livingroom

10/26/21 Our car and the one across the street

10/27/21 A Facebook follower suggested that I title this one
"a mother elephant and her child" ;-)

10/29/21 Maple Leaf neighborhood

10/30/21 Modified blind contour: I drew one line, then used my eyes to
reposition when I switched pen colors.

10/31/21 Our coffee maker


  1. The most important thing is that you had fun doing your version of Inktober. And you're right that blind contour drawings are amusing. While everyone claims they help hand-eye coordination, I've seen little evidence and, to me, it makes little sense from a neurophysiology perspective.

    1. It hasn't helped my hand-eye coordination! ;-) But it's always worth doing something fun! :-)


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