Drawing Techniques that Minimize Hand Stress

Drawing Techniques that Minimize Hand Stress

Lets talk about drawing techniques that minimize hand stress.

Sometime ago, I answered a reader question asking for ways to minimize hand pain. That article listed some of my favorite drawing tips.

A few weeks ago, I expanded on that topic by sharing a couple of art products that help reduce hand stress.

Today, I want to focus on drawing techniques that will help you if drawing creates hand discomfort.

As I mentioned in each of those previous posts, the best way to manage hand pain or discomfort is to avoid it. Frequent breaks are the best way to prevent hand stress.

For example, if you can comfortably draw for 30 minutes, then set a timer for 25 minutes. When it goes off, take a break. I like AS Timer and use it often. It’s a free app you can download and install easily. It is Mac-based, however, so if you use a PC, you’ll have to find a PC-based alternative.

And if you like really simple gadgets, an egg timer or alarm clock is perfect.

Drawing Techniques that Minimize Hand Stress

Simple changes in method and technique often help minimize hand stress, pain, fatigue, and discomfort. Hopefully, that’s your experience. But even if simple changes don’t give you much relief, they are a good place to begin looking for solutions to hand stress.

Use Different Types of Strokes

Change up the type of strokes you use. Work with circular strokes for a while, then switch to directional strokes. You still need to take breaks, but changing the type of stroke changes the motions you make with your hand. This simple change helps avoid the discomfort that results from sustained, repetitive motions.

Also, if you usually stroke with the pencil moving away from you, try stroking with the pencil moving toward you.

Change the Way You Hold the Pencil

Most of us hold the pencil in a normal hand writing position most of the time.

But you can also hold the pencil nearly vertical and make most of the same types of strokes. You’ll also have more control.

Or you can hold the pencil in a more horizontal position and draw with the side of the pencil. This is especially useful if you need to use very light pressure for part of the drawing.

You can also rotate through these different ways to hold your pencil. That gives your hand and fingers a bit more variety, and that can be key in preventing tired or sore hands.

Change the Angle of Your Desk, Easel, or Drawing Board

If you work at a drawing table, change the angle of the table top if you can. If you work on a drawing board, put it in a different position.

You might even try working with a drawing board in your lap.

This works much the same as changing how you hold your pencil. The biggest difference however, is that it affects your arm more than your hands.

Work Standing

Working while standing up puts you at a different level relative to your drawing table or easel. Consequently, your hands and arms are at a different angle, too.

A standing desk, a drafting table, or an easel are great ways to work on art and stay on your feet.

Bonus: You keep the rest of you in better shape, too, since you move around more when standing. At least I do!

Those are My Suggestions for Drawing Techniques that Minimize Hand Stress

These things have helped reduce discomfort in my hand. I hope they work for you, too, but they may not. If they don’t, keep looking. There are other techniques that might work for you.

We all need to be more mindful in how we draw. The best way to avoid hand and wrist pain is to find ways to prevent it.

There are many reasons you might be dealing with hand and wrist pain. The best first step is consulting your doctor to find out why, then treating that underlying problem.

I make no claims on medical knowledge. I’m not doctor! These are just a few things I’ve found myself doing to get through long work sessions.

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  1. When I was young and poor, it was a point of pride to use my pencils until they were too short to fit into a sharpener. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was a result of this frugal approach. When I discovered pencil extenders, my wrist stopped hurting as much.

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