View Full Version : Tips for developing a steady hand?
August 13th, 2002, 09:36 PM
I have a really difficult time keeping my hand still while I draw. I'm one of those eraser and paintover freaks, because my images seem to lack confidence. I was wondering if anyone had any techniques for learning how to draw long steady lines?
August 13th, 2002, 10:24 PM
Practice sketching with a ballpoint pen. There's no going back if you don't get it right, plus the cheap pen makes it seem like, if you do mess up, it's not a huge loss.
August 13th, 2002, 11:59 PM
in my family we have a problem. on my mother's side they all have a tremor. so bad they have to take medicine to steady their hands. being an artist, i was naturally worried it would affect me and when i turned sixteen and my hand started shaking i was extremely dismayed. well, it hasn't caused too much trouble as of yet, but one thing i will say that helps me steady my lines and brings much more confidence (because it is forced) to my art work is to hold the pen/pencil far from the tip. if you hold it near the back it gives you a greater sweep in your strokes which is nice, but it also allows you to have much more freedom and variation of marks. plus you can always go back later and tighten things up.
just my thoughts
August 14th, 2002, 07:15 AM
this depends on the time of course, but if you're drawing slowly and carefully, a little trick I do is to sometimes hold my breath for the time my pen/cil is on the paper. its a hangover from photography, probably not for all, but it works for me...well until I get uncomfortable holding my breath! :)
other wise just try not to think of the consequences and just go for it, but don't take your pen/cil off the paper. This is a great exercise in life drawing. draw with as little lines as possible - with one line you can draw from the head all the way down to the foot.
August 14th, 2002, 07:29 AM
I used to do some very clean linework in the far past, before the times of illustrator ;)
I used to work with a Rotring pen on special smooth white cardboard. You could use a scalpel to scrape off the black ink to correct little mistakes. For curves etc. I used all kinds of mals (is this correct English? I mean pieces of plastic, shaped in ellipses, cirkels and curves).
After a couple of years I started hating to work like that and begun to make very fast marker drawings and my work finally got some more power in it.
Whenever I now need extreme clean lines I use illustrator (as in my avatar ;) ).
Try to loosen up in holding the pen. That might do the trick aswell.
August 15th, 2002, 05:23 AM
hmm, interesting one...
Try handwriting... draw cursive letters small to start with, then slowly increase the size you are drawing them until you can do big sweeping smooth curves... this should hopefully imporve your coord, but I'm not sure about the shakes.
maybe sit on it? :jump1: yeah! great idea Ian!
a little bit of :chug: would calm the senses too.
:rock: but what would I know... I just like using the emoticons.
August 16th, 2002, 03:35 AM
Thanks for all the tips everyone. I'm going to have to start working on that. Especially if I plan on upgrading to a more sensitive tablet - or else my stuff will look REALLY awful.
August 16th, 2002, 04:08 AM
A more sensitive tablett will show more shivers(?) from your hand I think.
More tips: work very, very big and downsize your work on a xerox machine or a scanner/printer. I used to do that all the time.
Oddly enough: work fast. A fastly drawn line usually looks smoother than one that you slowly and too carefully draw. Works best with a good black soft-tipped marker.
August 16th, 2002, 12:31 PM
I don't know you by any chance do I jeroen? ;)
I used to work w rotring pens like that too... and I still have my set, although i rarly use them nowadays, since I got tired of cleaning them up all the time. Plus that the pens themself (stupid small lil bits aren't they) are REALLY expensive...
anyway.. as for a steady hand.. it takes some practice and still, some ppl just can hold still better then others. Eventually you'll find your way to do things your way.
I used to know someone who couldn't hold his hands still for just a few seconds, and by that he learned to set his lines down fast. You wouldn't believe howfast the man could draw...
August 16th, 2002, 01:14 PM
Could be... depends on what TJ stands for and where you worked.
Getting sick of the cramped way of Rotring drawing made me turn to ultrafast SignPen (fom Pentel) inking. I can ink a big piece under 10 minutes... keeping in mind that most of the lining will disappear into the fast markercoloring anyway.
August 21st, 2002, 10:05 PM
i'm one of those scribbling people as well.
one of my friends throws in one pencil line and wham, there it is! i always need some underlying structure and if it is just taking a 3h pencil and letting it make lines through its own weight (i.e. they are next to invisible)
as i get your point, your problem isn't that you want to get into that clean-one-line-style but becoming a bit more sure with your scribblings, right?
some things i did:
work with next to no pressure for slowly building up lines
make "painting" sketches with a pencil - take a soft pencil (b or softer) and after having a rough shape of things, just quickly throw in some dark shadowy areas to render them. unlike the "classical" way of drawing, i see this more of a painting process, as i am forces to think in areas, not lin lines.
in general, drawing a lot gave me a lot more confidence in my lines. using ball-points is a good idea, too.
also, i sometimes take a brush and ink for drawing without preliminary things.
i then think of the words that i read in either the book of 5 rings or the hagakure (don't know exactly)
a samurai's job is being strong and a warrior. this should reflect in his calligraphy, too. so, everytime you move your brush, think of your motion as if you wanted to rip the card apart with your brushstroke.
just let the strokes fly free and with a bit of getting used to, they find their way.
don't let people tell you that you _have_ to do everything with one line. we scribblers just work like that :)
August 21st, 2002, 11:00 PM
I'm not a pro, but from my experience, what gekitsu and waylon mentioned is true.
It's as simple as a ballpoint pen and a cheap sketchbook.
Just scribble and doodle in it as much as you can. Don't worry about doodling something that looks bad. Just draw over it. Fill each page as much as you can. After a while it will look like a big mess, but an artistic one :)
You wont ever get a finished piece out of this, but it will give you confidence for when you do want to make something great. Plus, doodling will let you get down quick ideas which may lead to something bigger and better :)
September 15th, 2002, 04:02 PM
I like to think that, if you know the form/line you are going to draw, it's easier to do be quick, and that means more secure and steady lines. I agree with drawing quicker. The human hand is not meant to be held steady, it's a dynamic, flexible appendix to be moved. Confidence!
September 15th, 2002, 04:10 PM
what size is your tablet jezebel?
I am as shakey as they come...but drawing with my arm solves that problem...use a larger tablet...draw larger. learning to use my whole arm during many semesters of life drawing really provided me with a gestural ability to get past that.
tis my solution. :)
September 15th, 2002, 04:13 PM
here is a post by jon foster...he briefly says the same thing I did...work larger.
read his second informative post...first couple paragraphs.
September 17th, 2002, 11:34 AM
A little trick I use with tablets in order to calm the shaky lines is to lay a piece of paper over the tablet . then the tablet pen gets a little drag from from the paper making it feel as if you are drawing on paper...cause you are.
September 20th, 2002, 03:53 PM
*sigh* this is the third time i've had to reregister (with the same user name) on these forums since its inception... :(
anyways, one thing that seems to be helping me recently (seeing as i have the same deal that quantas has with the shaking hands) is drawing with vine charcoal... the stuff comes off so easily from paper that you absolutely cannot put your drawing hand down on the paper to steady it, forcing you to be more confident and bold and sweeping with your strokes...
September 21st, 2002, 09:14 PM
hmm cant help you there if your working straight from tablet....im still a pencil paper guy and i wasnt very happy with my pencil work especially after you scan it and it comes out on the monitor...YIKES! how discouraging seeing how messy your work is....so lately ive been using non photo blue pencil and i can be as messy as i want to be i find that this actually loosens me up and after sketching out everything with non photo i then go to my mechanical pencil and i find that my confidence in pencilling something out is much more smoother :D
October 15th, 2002, 02:28 PM
I know this might sound positively ridiculous, but what some of my teachers offered as a sort of advice to people like that (on larger paper that is, but i'm sure it translates to everyday use) is to just make a point on a page and then a 2nd point and just draw a line between the two points, do this fairly fast and just do sheets of it whenver you can until you improve. This may help, but i've seen the results of it in my class and some people didn't realize how bad their coordination was until they tried that excercise. But like it's been mentioned this will only help really with a bigger tablet and using the whole arm to draw
October 16th, 2002, 11:38 PM
Yeah, I agree with Don on that one
At university we did a class called "Freehand Perspective" that taught a LOT of useful stuff for drawing. The technique we were taught for drawing straight lines was to place the pencil where you want the line to start, move your eyes to the point where you want it to end and keep them there as you drag the pencil towards that point. It's very important that you never move your eyes from that point as you bring the pencil to it.
With a little practise, you'll be surprised at how straight your freehand lines can get, regardless of how long they are. It really works!
October 17th, 2002, 06:06 AM
Something I learned was to use two pencils in the same hand simultaneously. Make sure they are large pencils of the same type and then just hold them one over the other and go for it. It makes you worry less about mistakes so you just focus on doing. Works for me. Of course you need to work at a fairly large size but it should give you the practice to move back down to a single pencil and be even more confident with that....oh BTW throw away the eraser, dont let it interupt the flow....
PS technique wont work with a tablet unless you have two pens...can you even use two pens on one tablet?
October 17th, 2002, 03:06 PM
Just to add... (and this applies especially when drawing big) is to lock your wrist and elbow, and let your shoulder and part of you upper body do the swing of the art and/or line. As you go smaller in lines and arcs, start moving your elbow but keep your wrist locked, and then finally use your wrist to do the arcing for small detail.
October 22nd, 2002, 05:31 PM
Here's some tips, many don't apply to working digitally though.
-use a mahl stick
-draw from your shoulder
-a good manual exercise for increasing your 'drawing from the shoulder' dexterity is to draw circles repeatedly on a large sheet of newsprint.
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