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Blinders cure blindness


From: Marvin P Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jul 22 2002 - 10:20:57 PDT

Have you have ever tried drawing blinders? I would love to know what your
experience was. Also, how did you get the idea to use blinders?

To make blinders I use paper about the thickness of manilla folder card
stock cut into 7 x 7 inches. I drill 1/4 inch a hole in the center of a
stack of cards with a drill press or electric drill. Every student gets one.

This site shows a 3rd grade class using blinders.

I grew up on a farm. Workhorse bridles have blinders to prevent peripheral
distractions. This gave me the inspiration to invent "drawing blinders".
Many believe learning ability is correlated with the ability to focus and
concentrate. Blinders and viewfinders teach this. They are used together
or separately to hide distractions. It goes beyond learning to draw, it is
learning how to learn because it teaches the ability to focus and

At first I emphasize that blinders are for "practice" drawings. I get
better acceptance if encourage humor when looking at the results. I
mention that mistakes are normal whenever we are learning new stuff. For
final drawings they may look under the blinders to place the pencil to
start a new line. I encourage very soft drawing pencils and white erasers
to make corrections as desired. Students keep blinders and viewfinders in
their sketch books for regular practice and for class drawing rituals.

Blind practice drawings are often selected to be finished. The finishing
may be in another medium that allows the pencil to be erased entirely in
the finished product. Students amaze themselves. I make age appropriate
adjustments in approaches, but I have successfully used blinders with all
ages including children as young as four and five.

Here is a cubism lesson that works using blinders.
They learn to compose from multiple viewpoints without seeing any examples
until after they have learned the seeing process themselves. They learn to
innovate rather then to imitate.