Blind Contour Portrait: Jessica by Dior

When I lived in Taiwan, two of my best friends were Jessica and Dior, so this blind contour portrait made me smile a lot. I remembered when we drew these blind contour portraits of each other and laughed and laughed at the ridiculous results.



Some things that I especially liked about Dior (the original artist of this portrait) was her ability to connect people from different social groups, and how she always seemed to find fun things for people to do together - new restaurants to try, hikes to hikes, operas to see.

One time, Jessica, Dior and I went to see Swan Lake. We watched the beautiful dancing and music with enjoyment but also confusion. Why didn't I recognize any of the songs? What was the plot of Swan Lake anyway? Why was nothing at all familiar??

It turns out that we had accidentally gone to a different show, but didn't trust ourselves enough to say with certainty, "now, I know this isn't Swan lake!"

When I paint these blind contour portraits, I try to go in with no agenda except to try something new. I think this is in the spirit of blind contour drawings. The artist is supposed to let your hand draw without the help of the eye. So I tried to let my hand paint without too much help from my brain!

This time my goal was to play with a new set of tools I got for Christmas: a vintage drafting kit! When mom gave it to me my first thought was, "how am I ever going to figure out how to use all these?" But a tell-tale smudge of dried ink on one of them revealed to me that it was a dip pen (the top tool in the photograph). It has two "sides" to it, so it forces you to draw in a straight line. Like, if you have a one-wheeled wheelbarrow, it can wobble all over, but a two-wheeled wheelbarrow is easier to push in a straight line. A normal pen has one tip. This pen has two tips and the ink runs between them. Pretty amazing invention, if you ask me!

So I decided to draw geometric shapes in the empty space around the main portrait. This turned into a sort of astronomy-ish drawing, with the face in the middle being orbited by three moons.

I used Handy Art Black Velvet Waterproof India Ink for the lines, which is pretty good, but tends to spill out of the pen and create puddles of ink. I am not sure how to prevent that, yet. I used watercolour for the coloured parts, some felt markers for the coloured details, and white gouache for the sparkly stars at the end.

In the end, I think it turned out really interesting, and I'm pretty happy with the result! If you're looking for a wacky way to try new art styles or supplies, I recommend this as a very enjoyable way to do so!

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