“What seems to happen as we grow older is that seeing becomes dulled. We begin to look in a practical manner just to get enough information to function. … We spend more and more time mentally running around, looking at one thing, thinking of another. …
In practicing seeing, allow your eyes to wander over your subject matter. Visually caress what you are looking at. … Realize there is a wholeness, but try not to stare to strain to see everything at once.— Albert Handell and Leslie Trainor Handell, “Intuitive Composition”, page 12
It’s no secret that continuous line drawing is a favourite technique of mine, and doing it with ink not pencil, thus eliminating the option of erasing any part of it. While what I’m producing is a drawing, what I’m doing is focusing on looking and feeling my way around a subject rather than on my drawing itself.
Because the technique means the result is never going to be detailed realism, it frees me from worrying about trying to make it so, to simply draw and leave dealing with what I’ve drawn for later. There’s a certain stage at which I switch focus from looking to what the drawing is becoming and where I want to take the piece. It’s hard to quantify; sometimes it’s because I feel I’ve looked “enough” or “at everything”, often it’s because I feel like moving onto the next stage with other colours or mediums.
You don’t need pen and paper to do continuous line; you can draw it in your head, tracking as your eyes shift across and around a subject. It’s a drawing about looking, and looking some more.