Yesterday, I subbed for the figure illustration class at Macomb Community College and the lesson plan for the afternoon was contour drawings. For those not in the know, a contour drawing is a sketch where you use a continuous line while not looking at your drawing surface. This exercise makes you look at what you are drawing and to draw what you see and not what you think it should look like. Preferably, one should not even lift the pencil from the paper, just keep that line going. I did a few of these drawings myself to give some students that were having a hard time understanding just what they should be doing, and these are some of them above. When a student is first learning this exercise it is sometimes a difficult one to grasp at first, because it goes against everything that they know. I think one student was actually sweating. Even if it wasn't sinking in to them, they were getting it down and it will come in time.
I like doing these kinds of sketches and feel that all artists regardless of their skill level should do these from time to time to hone their observational skills. As you can see, the results can be interesting and somewhat abstract.