A few weeks ago an artist friend of mine rotated his wrist
and made a wincing face after he had finished working on a quick pencil drawing,
and it made me realize that drawing isn't just fun and games. It can cause strain
in the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck, and back for many artists who work
predominately with a drawing pencil. But hope is not lost. There are a few
preventative measures I wanted to share with you to keep you in good shape to
|Detail of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo,
Sistine Chapel ceiling, 1611.
Make sure you set up your workspace so that if you are
sitting, your feet rest flat on the floor with your hips higher than your knees
so you keep the natural curve in your spine. Keep your drawing arm supported
from elbow to fingertip, and that your arm can move freely without bumping
along the edge of your desk. Working on an elevated surface can also help avoid neck strain.
Stretch--and often! That means before you start a drawing and
several times during a drawing session if necessary. Take breaks when you feel
fatigued--don't push it. The drawing will always be there waiting for you,
right? So there's no hurry. And if drawing one way causes you pain, look for
another way to execute the same stroke. Changing technique isn't the end of the
world and I've found purposefully doing that has been rewarding for me. Not
necessarily because of joint discomfort, but because it allows me to realize
how open-ended my pencil strokes can be.
Hopefully these tips will help stave off any discomfort you
have when drawing, allowing you to have enjoyable and productive studio and
workshop experiences. And American Artist
wants to help with that. Right now a digital download of The Best of Drawing is being offered to
all of our members for only 10 cents! It includes great pencil drawing lessons
and info on how to keep your passion for graphite on the right track. Enjoy!
P.S. If you have any ways of reducing strain in your drawing
hand, share them with us by leaving a comment.