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For the Love of Dogs: The Blind Contour Drawing Experience

For the record, I’m one of those dog owners. I take more photos of my beloved Pit Bull Sampson than I do other family members. You’re likely to see just as many photos of Sam across my social media feeds as you are posts about social media strategy. Each year, I send out a calendar devoted to photos of Sam — mostly sleeping or begging for treats. He has a unique personality that makes him stand out in a crowd. As such, when I decided it was time to have his portrait drawn (I told you, I’m one of those dog owners), it was clear I needed a unique approach.

I had come across a dog portrait drawn and painted by Kayti Didriksen, a well-known blind contour artist (and former student of mine) awhile ago and bookmarked it.

Blind contour drawing a method of drawing where an artist draws the contour of a subject without looking at the paper.

I contacted Kayti to see if I might commission a portrait of Sam for my partner for Christmas. She was game. Since my dog is not good with strangers and I’m not in Brooklyn, I sent videos and photos to Kayti so she could become familiar with Sampson’s movements and personality.

#blindcontour #dog #drawings for the next commission. #whatsonyoureasel

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In the beginning…. #blindcontour #dog #portrait #whatsonyoureasel

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#Portrait of a #dog #underpaints #whatsonyoureasel

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This #dog is a great #studio mate settling in for a long night of #stories #lifeofSam

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#blindcontour #painting #lifeofSam the awkward part of the #process #wip #whatsonyoureasel

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'Twas a fine #dog #Portrait then #drama came along and added to the #story #lifeofSam #wip #whatsonyoureasel

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#Life of Sam #dog #portrait #wip #whatsonyoureasel

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#yellow #lifeofSam #portrait of a #dog #wip #whatsonyoureasel

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Ready to #sign this #puppy. #blindcontour #dog #portrait #lifeofSam 3'x4' acrylic on canvas

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Not only was the final project spectacular, the whole process was an amazing experience. Kayti sent me photos of the painting as she worked on it. I could barely contain myself. I shared her progress with friends and family, who became just as eager, excited and engaged in the process as I was.

It was the perfect Christmas gift and a wonderful way to pay tribute to our favorite dog.

About the Artist

Kayti DidriksenKayti Didriksen is blind contour artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her drawings  are made without looking at the page an exercise she learned in 1987 and has been practicing ever since. She likes to draw movement and is inspired by music. She uses  drawings to engage guests at events as well as create large scale paintings  that show space and movement with color.  Her Brooklyn Symphony EGGestra design was chosen for Faberge’s 2014 The big egg hunt in New York in the Spring of 2013. On  January 30, 2015 she will speak at TEDx Baltimore on the art of blind contour drawing.

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