We haven't done work in our sketchpads for a while, so we broke them out and did a refresher on blind contour drawing. If you've never read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, you should as it helps boost your artistic ability no matter where you start. One of the wonderful "assignments" is to do blind contour of your hand. The idea is that we have sort of an archetypal idea of what things look like, say "a house" or "a car" and we learn to draw in a rote sort of way using the more lingual side of our brains instead of the more creative side that doesn't worry about naming things, but seeing them as they truly are: lines, shapes, shadows, colors, etc. A quick way to get into the right brain is to do blind contour. You don't look at the drawing at all, you look at the object you are drawing and draw every single detail you can see. It doesn't matter that it doesn't "look" like the object when you are finished, it's the concentration and seeing part that you tap into that is powerful. In fact, every time I do these sorts of exercises with the kids, they fall completely silent. After they finish with the blind contour, their next drawing will be much more accurate and detailed, so we might do a potted plant or a lacrosse stick on the table to try our hand at next. I've been really impressed with the changes I've seen in their art since we came four years ago. Hopefully they'll all enjoy painting, sculpting and drawing their whole lives.