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  1. #1
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    Drawing Problem?

    Hey guys,

    I am curious anyone have faced this problem. Not intending to debate which method is the best or which is the right way, the thing is I have been using the writer style of drawing. After watching vilppu's video, i saw he used the underhand way of drawing. So i tried it out. However, whereas glen seems to have like total control of his stroke and lines, mine seems to go wiggly and out of control. One difference is he work no a huge paper and I, having no big drawing board at the moment, is drawing on a4 size paper. Could that be the problem? or am I doing it wrongly??

    And my shoulder is super tired while using the underhand method of holding.. Is that normal??

    Even though it might seem like common sense to some of you, I hope some pro can come and explain the different drawing method, maybe explain what are the benefits and disadvantage of each method? For the beginners pls ? (should probably make it sticky imo)

    -JS Neo

    "Choose only one master.. Nature. " Rembrandt

    "The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
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  3. #2
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    Bigger paper will make a big difference.

    Your shoulder will hurt for a while- i think everybody's does at first. Eventually the muscles will get used to it and the pain will go away.

    There's an overhand grip you can use for drawing on smaller paper that offers more control than than underhand, but still less than the writing grip. It's somewhere in between. It's basically like how you hold a blade when cutting something precisely- an overhand grip with the pointer finger close to the pencil lead to stabilize...

    Usually when I am drawing in a more traditional manner I try to spend as much time in an overhand or underhand grip (depending on paper size) for as long as possible, switching only to a more precise grip for a few small details at the end.

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  4. #3
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    Learning a new technique takes practice. Your muscles have to learn how to do new things. Keep trying and don't be put off by wiggly lines or tired muscles. :-)

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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  5. #4
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    Yeah, Seedling is right. You just gotta get used to it.

    It's probably better if your drawing surface is upright or slightly diagonal when you're drawing like Villpu.

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    Well, I switched to this kind of grip lately and it felt very natural for me. This was really surprising for me, but I have find I have much better hand-eye-brain coordination with this grip than with the standard writing one (well I've never used the 'standard' but a modified one, I learned to write while my index finger was broken so I use the middle finger instead, maybe that's why the underhand grip feels much better).

    In the end it's a matter of getting used to it, but I'm wondering people might have a natural tendency. I don't know, really.

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    Thanks to all !! I guess I am still in the phase of adaptation. It just feel soo disempowering (feel like a 3 year old :p) but I will push on until I master it !..

    -JS Neo

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  8. #7
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    When I took my first drawing course years ago, I asked exactly this question to our teacher, and he replied it really didn't matter, and I should hold my pencil the way I feel most comfortable with. So I stuck to the writer's grip.

    A few years ago, I whipped myself through Nicolaides' The Natural Way to Draw, which really changed my way of working. No idea where things changed, but afterward I found myself using a loose backhand for bigger or faster work.

    Personally, I feel you'll finally use whatever works for you. In this respect, my teacher was right, in that he didn't make me try to find a specific grip. Just allow yourself to find what works best: draw a lot, at different sizes, speeds, materials, techniques, subjects.

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  9. #8
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    Thanks eezacque... It will be better if each grip can be explain in more detail.. Like the proper way of holding, application situation. It is easy to teach people saying that it doesnt matter what grip is better and you just used what ever grip is comfortable. However, I think each grip has its purpose and usage and much explanation is needed to better inform beginners of each technique. (of cos maybe after drawing a thousand picture you can understand the different purpose but wont it be more beneficial if it is explained from the start? ) Just my opinion

    -JS Neo

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    "The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
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    Its important to remember that there are advantages and disadvantages to using both grips (writing/tripod or back/underhand.)

    The main advantages of an underhanded grip are:
    -Curved lines are smoother, and easier to achieve at the larger scales. (Its very difficult, for example, to draw a freehand 'circle' much larger than a couple inches using the writer's grip.) With the underhand grip, you can use your thumb, wrist, or elbow like the anchor of a compass, and then wheel out to form more natural curves.
    -Pencil strokes are more fluid/casual, which allows you to shade large areas with greater ease.
    -Your drawing hand floats above the paper, rather than resting on it, which prevents smudging (but also causes that ache in your shoulder.)
    -In general, this grip helps you to draw bigger and faster.

    The main advantages of the tripod grip are:
    -Basically, you have more control at the smaller scale.
    -Pencil strokes are sharper/more violent, which allows you to 'scribble,' and handle the detail work with greater ease.
    -In general this grip helps you to draw smaller, or with a narrower focus.

    I use the tripod grip for the details in my work, but a modified underhand grip when I'm trying to work more rapidly, or if I'm trying to shade the larger areas of my drawings. A lot depends on what you're trying to accomplish though, and both grips have applications in painting, so its probably a good idea to play around and expirement with each as time (and muscle fatigue) allows.

    Also, attached below are some images for the people who have no idea what we're talking about.

    Left: Tripod Grip
    Right: Underhand Grip

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    Last edited by Jasonwclark; August 30th, 2007 at 10:16 PM.
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  11. #10
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    Thanks you for the informative description. However correct me if I am wrong, I thought underhand grip is when the pencil is totally under the hand. In other words, the pencil does not go through the hole btw the thumb and the index figure but rather go under the palm?

    -JS Neo

    "Choose only one master.. Nature. " Rembrandt

    "The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
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  12. #11
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    OK, here's my take. Attached are photos of the three pencil grips I use regularly: standard/writing grip, under/overhand grip, and a "modified overhand" grip. Here's a brief description of each:

    Writing/Standard Grip
    • most control
    • least fluidity
    • least variety of marks (hard to use side of lead)
    • good for details & small work
    • takes more concentration to draw with whole arm (for fluidity)
    • using the point tends to cut the paper grain, thus harder to erase
    • dulls point as you use this grip
    • works with drawing surface horizontal or vertical


    Over/underhand Grip
    • Most fluidity
    • least control
    • most variety of marks
    • good for large work & broad strokes
    • play with rotating hand (rotate between overhand & underhand as you turn your shoulder)
    • forces drawing with whole arm for fluidity
    • drawing with side easier to erase, sharpens point as you use this grip
    • awkward when drawing surface is horizontal


    Modified Overhand Grip
    • Like regular overhand, but with pointer finger reinforcing the point for more control
    • In between regular overhand and writing grip for fluidity & control
    • better than regular overhand for smaller work
    • tends to force drawing with side of lead unless you choke way up on the point and turn hand over more (slightly awkward)
    • forces drawing from at least the elbow when working small, not so hard to use whole arm
    • tends to sharpen point due to drawing with side of lead
    • easy to use with horizontal or vertical drawing surface


    Note that with any of these grips, holding further away from the point encourages fluidity and discourages control, and holding closer to the point does the opposite.

    Hope this helps!

    Tim

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  14. #12
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    Thanks Tim
    Those pictures are much better than the ones I was able to hunt down, and the grip descriptions are excellent.

    Correct me if I am wrong, I thought underhand grip is when the pencil is totally under the hand. In other words, the pencil does not go through the hole btw the thumb and the index figure but rather go under the palm?
    There are actually a couple different underhand grips that you can use depending on the situation. Whether you hold the pencil above the thumb or beneath it is more about personal preference (basically, whether you are more comfortable with your palm facing up or down), but you can achieve similar strokes using both methods. The grip that works best in a given situation will depend on what you're trying to accomplish, and whether your sitting down at a table, cross legged with a drawing board, or standing in front of an easel. There are also some other interesting grips you might want to check out as well, like the Fencing grip and the Egyptian grip. Here are a few links to some free Google books with a lot of aditional information and pictures:

    Holding Pencils: Hazel Harrison

    Pencil Positions: Sherry Wallerstein Camhy

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