#19: Automatic Drawing

One strategy surrealists used was automatic drawing. On a blank piece of paper, have students draw continuously for several minutes without thinking about what they are going to draw. Let their hands flow freely over the paper without self-censorship. Surrealist artists did this to let the subconscious take over. Hopefully by freeing yourself from planning and censorship, you true psyche can be revealed 

Art Class Curator

Gather Materials:

  • an artist’s journal, unlined notebook, or piece of paper
  • pencil of your choice

Today’s Exercise

Automatic Drawing – Continuous Line – Blind

Put yourself in a receptive frame of mind, draw without thinking, and avoid conscious control over the image. Keeping your pencil on the paper can help the flow.

In fact, automatic drawing is a sort of accelerated or intensified doodling in which unexpected and unpredictable images can be made to appear, and used as the basis for further visual play.

A Book of Surrealist Games Pg 49
  • Sit comfortably with your pencil and paper in hand
  • Close your eyes and breathe deeply
  • Draw one continuous line moving the pencil without conscious thought
  • I drew until my pencil fell of the edge of the sketchpad

Reflections on the Exercise

  • This was very relaxing
  • I had little time today to do an exercise, this was a quick way to not get out of the habit.
Source: This exercise is from A Book of Surrealist Games by Alastair Brotchie

1 thought on “#19: Automatic Drawing”

  1. I did this one three times in a row. I wasn’t drawing for very long with each. It was just nice to repeat the exercise. And I just stopped when my hand stopped. On the last piece, I decided to alternate between pressing hard and not pressing hard on the paper, to vary the strength of the expression of the line, kind of a combo of this exercise and the previous one of doing angry and quiet lines. I just didn’t focus on angry/quiet but hard/light pressure. So many possibilities!

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