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 draw!
|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, and don’t ignore what your body is telling you. 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 if you just so happen to have a four-footed studio mate keeping you company, you are in great shape to take advantage of the Passion for Pets Ultimate Collection available right now. It includes great colored pencil drawing lessons and info on how to keep your passion for drawing on the right track and making fun portraits of the loyal pets you love. Enjoy!
P.S. If you have any ways of reducing strain in your drawing hand, share them with us by leaving a comment.