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ATCs - Blind Contour

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One of my favorite things about atcsforall and illustratedatcs are when I come across a project that's more than just 'draw a bird' 'do your best work'. That's not to belittle the usual 'here's the theme, go to it, ladies and gents', because those do produce some fantastic work, or rather, the artists playing produce fantastic work. Often times, I think we get used to what we're doing and just chug out some artwork that can be somewhat predictable in content.

But every once in a while, you get a swap or two that has people going a little step further, or delving into something we may not have done since drawing classes -- like the blind contour.

It both takes you back a step -- to those classes -- then also makes you use your current skills to refine and produce something finished out of something fun and sketchy, and often lopsided. There's a swap going right now on AFA (full!) for blind contour ATCs. I didn't notice it in time to get in, though I'm 4th on the waiting list. I decided to do some cards anyway. It was so much fun, and there's some really great character work and artwork going on in that thread. ( Hosted by AnnD.

How does it work?

First, take up a pencil and some paper (I used a dictionary page with gesso on it.) Don't look at the paper, draw a face quickly. I did a few, then I cut them out, and glued each one down onto a pre-prepped ATC base. (I have a huge stack of them ready to go, with collage and various acrylic backgrounds. I make backgrounds when I get bored!)

After you've cut them out and glued them down, draw any other bits you'd like to paint. I drew bodies and necks with gesso, then let that dry before proceeding to the next bit.

Cue acrylic & watercolor painting! When I was finished with that, I added some super black india ink via a dip pen for outlines, then threw in some white gel pen when everything was dry.

I might make a habit of this, cos they look pretty awesome sewn into miniature sketchbook pages...

Larger images @ Flickr:

Updated 05-08-2010 at 08:47 PM by nicci (added link.)



  1. tascarini -
    tascarini's Avatar
    Thank you for sharing this, you're right they do look awesome. Do you have any photos of your miniature sketchbook and pages? I'm a glutton for sketchbooks. lol
  2. -
    's Avatar
    they look really great nicci! i am in that swap and really looking forward to seeing what i can create.
  3. nicci -
    nicci's Avatar
    T: Hmm. around here somewhere. there are some on flickr and some at & ... if you mean finished and bound... not yet! I sold the finished blank inside ones. =D All of my finished sketchbooks are commercially bound.

    K: I hope some people drop out so I get in that swap lol. I will be watching the thread anyway, waiting to see what you make!
  4. Kitten Heart -
    Kitten Heart's Avatar
    I´ve seen cards from that swap in the gallery, and I´ve been amazed how fabulous they´ve been! Your cards are just as fab, and I do get an itch - I think I´ll try it out!