Drawing without looking at the page!

From my loft studio window, there’s an amazing view of Swindon’s rooftops and local landmarks, and on a clear day I can even see the wind turbines at Westmill Wind Farm, approx 9 miles away.

Week 2

I’ve tried drawing the view a few times and have found myself labouring over angles, perspective and scale, which you can see from this Drawing Diary entry from a couple of months ago.

Now on lockdown I’m spending a lot of my time in the studio because as well as it being one of my favourite places to be (fortunately), it’s also the brightest and warmest room in the house. So, last weekend I couldn’t help but try drawing the view from the window again, but this time I used the well-known technique of ‘drawing without looking at the page’. Wouldn’t you agree that these drawings are much more interesting, with a life and energy that just isn’t present in my earlier attempts?

When running workshops I often use this technique as a warm up exercise, and as a way to practice looking hard at the subject and to develop observation skills. I enjoyed doing these so much that I used the same technique throughout the week in my Drawing Diary, layering drawings of domestic scenes and activities.


In the kitchen and for the first time this year sitting in my little courtyard garden I’ve spent some time drawing the things around me – even the kitchen sink! Everything is interesting when you really start to look, and using this technique you will see more and more as you look. I find that the hardest thing to do is to not look at the page, so you help yourself with this by holding another sheet of paper over your sketchbook page so you really can’t see what you’re drawing even if you’re tempted to look.

I made the drawing at the top of this post last night, very quickly, as the setting sun caught the roof tops. I really wanted to try and capture the contrasting warm oranges and cool purples and mauves. I began not looking at the page and smudging chalk pastels down very quickly, then added line and eventually looked at the page to add some block colour in.





2 thoughts on “Drawing without looking at the page!

  1. Hi Jo

    I love your pictures and really appreciated you sending them!

    I have been doing some drawings in lockdown but not as much as I would have liked – but I have been trying to relearn the piano….. So sorry your course had to be cancelled but hopefully you will be able to run some other ones once this all over.

    Enjoy your new loft space and look forward to seeing more of your work.

    Jo x

    PS I have been posting up some films for our series No Place Like Home on our Meaningful Films website so if you want to have a look at them or our other films please do and pass on the link to anyone who you think may be interested.

    Joanna Crosse

    1 Park Villas | Upper Bristol Road | Bath | BA1 3AN T 01225 332857 | M 07786 175284 joanna@metamedia.uk.com | http://www.metamedia.uk.com Twitter | Linkedin

    info@meaningfulfilms.co.uk | http://www.meaningfulfilms.co.uk



    • Hi Jo! Thanks for your message and sorry for the delayed reply – I thought you’d emailed it to me and couldn’t find it, forgetting that you’d sent it via the blog. My fault! Anyway, so good to hear you’re relearning the piano, I’ll look forward to hearing more about that! I do have another set of Art Journaling dates booked at The Pound in July – crossed fingers they go ahead. They’ll be on a Wednesday morning for 4 weeks. Look after yourself and see you again soon I hope. I think your films are really great – thanks for sharing! Jo.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s