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Thread: Pencil techniques + grip questions

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    Pencil techniques + grip questions

    well, since i was a kid i've never changed my pencil holding grip to the proper one, which is gripping the pencil between index and thumb, with middle finger giving support below.

    the way i hold it is like this (kinda weird lol) : pencil rests on the bend between thumb and index finger, and both index and middle finger rest on top of the pencil.

    pencil is then supported by my 4th finger.

    i was just wondering if this would affect my drawing in any way lol if it does have an affect im going to start changing my habit ASAP.

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    i drew with my mouse my left hand witih the grip if you don't get what i mean, haha.

    also, was wondering what kind of pencil shading techniques do guys like whit brachna, wes burt, marko djurdjevic use? is it mostly cross hatching? or do they just lightly shade the things they draw with very light strokes. i very much love that style of pencil drawing and was just wondering how they do it.

    thanks in advance,

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
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  3. #2
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    any one have any idea? im really curious lol and i feel taht if there's anything im doing wrong i better change it soon before its really raelly too late.

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
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    As long as you can draw a relatively controllable line and you don't have a death grip on your pencil, you should be fine. Drawing with an underhand approach is something worth learning (somebody will surely post a picture, since I'm too lazy to find one).

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    I agree with Noah. It really doesn't matter HOW you hold a pencil, it's what you can DO with it. I wouldn't worry about it too much, because from looking at your sketchbook, you seem to have good control.

    As far as pencil shading techniques, just find something that works for you. There are a million ways to do it and using some famous artist's method isn't necessarily going to make your work any better.

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    For sketching and gestures I was taught a specific way to hold the pencil and I have found it useful. Lets see if I can explain this. Hold out your hand, palm face down, with your other hand hold the pencil below your fingers. Now interweave the pencil so that the eraser end is above your pinkey but below your other 3 fingers. Now close your hand and grip it like you normally would but the back end will be resting against the web area between your last two fingers. Then sketch. This helps you to practice using the side of your pencil to sketch instead of drawing with the point of your pencil which causes people to focus more on details.

    Hope that helps.

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    cool, thanks for the responses guys. more relieved that holding the pencil 'wrong' is still ok for artistic purposes

    amber alexander, do u mean a grip liek this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
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    Pencil techniques + grip questions

    I used to hold the pencil like that too but in highschool I made the effort to change into a regular grip position.

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    Portus, then...did it make a big difference? do you think you would've been OK without having changed your grip?

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
    HELLO SKETCHBOOK.
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    i would also like to add some more about pencil shading techniques.

    for example, a piece of Kevin Llewellyn's

    http://www.kevart.com/seniel.html

    what direction is the pencil shading done in on the girls' forehead? the black background? and the rest of her face?

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
    HELLO SKETCHBOOK.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlquddnr View Post
    well, since i was a kid i've never changed my pencil holding grip to the proper one, which is gripping the pencil between index and thumb, with middle finger giving support below.
    Funny, that's the way I've always held pencils, but I've seen one or two pro-artists saying not to hold it like that.

    I dunno. It works for me. What works for you?

    ...which is only my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlquddnr View Post
    cool, thanks for the responses guys. more relieved that holding the pencil 'wrong' is still ok for artistic purposes

    amber alexander, do u mean a grip liek this?

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    like this, the tip is being held by the thumb and first two fingers:

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    Quote Originally Posted by dlquddnr View Post
    Portus, then...did it make a big difference? do you think you would've been OK without having changed your grip?
    Yes because it's a 3 finger grip instead of 4 the movement range is considerable higher and less restraint.

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    I used to hold a pencil "wrong" for years and years (I don't remember exactly how anymore), it never really affected my ability to draw. Although I did have a deathgrip so hard I would occasionally snap pencils in half or tear holes right through the paper.... And then one day I decided to sharpen my nails for some odd reason, and every time I tried to use a pencil like that, I stabbed myself...so I changed to the "right" way. I did notice my handwriting was a little neater, but that's about it.

    There are tons of different ways to handle a drawing/writing utensil. I find how I hold a specific thing depends on what it is and what I'm doing with it. Mechanical pencils handle differently than traditional wood ones; you need a soft touch with Prismacolours or charcoal because they're so easy to break, Rapidograph and Calligraphy pens need to be held in an almost vertical straight up and down position to get the ink flow right, and if you're too hard on a Micron pen, the tip will get shoved right up inside the pen body.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amber Alexander View Post
    like this, the tip is being held by the thumb and first two fingers:
    That's a good way to get RSI and never being able to hold pencil again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pencilcandy View Post
    That's a good way to get RSI and never being able to hold pencil again.
    umm dunno where you're getting that from but its not that much different than how people hold their pencil normally, its just at a flatter angle.

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    Is this grip possible with a wacom pen? ^_^

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    That's how I do it. I don't know if it's wrong. I was told I hold my fork weird when I'm eating too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenzybaR View Post
    Is this grip possible with a wacom pen? ^_^
    no its not

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    I personally changed the way I held a pencil many years ago. So just get used to a normal grip.

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    There is no "right" or "wrong" way to hold a pencil, pen, etc. For years I fretted I would never properly learn to draw with my odd grip. Till I realized it was far easier to draw as I was already holding it rather than the "right" way. Its all relative, simply the majority pushing what they believe as correct rather than what others do. Stick with what works.

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    again, thanks for all the responses everyone.

    was wondering if anyone knew any specific pencil shading techniques.
    for example as i mentioned in the OP, wes burt and marko's shading techniques.
    are there any general rules for which direction to shade in for which kind of form?

    additionally, for the really fine shading technique (less obviously seen lines) such as in this picture http://www.kevart.com/seniel.html , what direction, for example would the pencil strokes go in shading the girl's forehead? and her hair or neck? would it be consistently one direction (all diagonal? horizontal?) or does it involve going all over the place?

    thanks in advance.

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
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    Actually if you look at the other pictures on his site, he seems to prefer going in one direction. For the forehead, I think he went in about two directions. One plane going towards us, and one going down. The rest is just modelling and smoothing the values out. When the lead gets to a nice dullness (not too sharp, not too dull) you can fill in large areas with a few strokes and just keeping the strokes right together will create an even value.
    You don't want to go in all directions because even if you manage to blend it all in people will still be able to tell that area is more 'chaotic'.

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    Yeah. I think he mostly goes for single direction and up to two passes. It looks very clear here http://www.kevart.com/saralegs.html

    It's all matter of carefully planning the shape of the shadow and where it has softer or harder edge before you start rendering.

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    cool, thanks a lot for the replies.

    farvus: 2 passes.. as in he can just go over one area twice and achieve such beautiful shading?? i can't imagine when i'll ever get to that level...

    are there any rules for shading different forms? e.g. shading a tall, vertically standing cylinder, should you shade along vertically or should u shade horizontally? or does it not even matter what directino you do as long as u can get it lookign good.

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
    HELLO SKETCHBOOK.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlquddnr View Post
    farvus: 2 passes.. as in he can just go over one area twice and achieve such beautiful shading?? i can't imagine when i'll ever get to that level...

    are there any rules for shading different forms? e.g. shading a tall, vertically standing cylinder, should you shade along vertically or should u shade horizontally? or does it not even matter what directino you do as long as u can get it lookign good.
    I'm not 100% sure though. Pencil rendering is not my strongest skill. Maybe you could write him e-mail.

    As for shading form. Last two pages of tutorial here (female/high contrast) could answer your question - http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=14035

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    I don't really believe in this whole idea of a "correct" way to hold your pencil. I have found that different grips work well for different situations. Depending on how you are shading something it can help to hold it a different way. If I'm sitting at my desk or at a table I will mostly hold my pencil like I'm writing, but if I'm standing at an easel I tend to feel better using a grip similar to the one dlquddnr posted.

    I think it's all about experimenting with different grips and seeing what feels most natural to you and what works the best for the particular drawing.

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    thanks a lot everyone! i love CA

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
    HELLO SKETCHBOOK.
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by dlquddnr View Post
    thanks a lot everyone! i love CA
    Remember, there are no rules, only tools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    Remember, there are no rules, only tools.
    There are many rules,
    if you know them and are good you can start to get away with playing and breaking rules.

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    Craig D is correct - it isn't rocket science or mysterious or magic or "anything goes". I hate to sound dogmatic, because to some degree everyone does do what works best for them but there are still some basics that are important to study and understand. The artists you reference, (and any other decent professional artists) have a firm grasp of the fundamentals they have gained through practice and study. My advice is to not worry about how they hold their pencil or shade something - instead try to understand what they have done to learn their craft - then take a similar approach. You'll find the one thing they all have in common is studying from life.

    On pencil/drawing media technique: there are two ways we draw - from the wrist and from the shoulder - both are valid depending mainly on scale - but drawing large from the shoulder is the best way to learn. When drawing small (8x11) it is easy to hide or gloss over important information - drawing large (18x24) allows you to really understand the subtle information that is necessary to properly convey the illusion of form. When we draw small we sit at a table and the paper/surface is horizontal and thus perpendicular to our line of sight - this can introduce a lot of problems in scale, perspective, etc. Drawing large while standing at an easel allows the surface to be vertical and in the same plane as the picture plane. It also allows you to draw from the shoulder which provides much more freedom. Drawing from the shoulder changes the grip on the pencil/charcoal/pastel as well - basically you use an overhand grip wrather than a writing grip - simply pick up the pencil/stick off the table - that's how you hold it. It feels pretty awkward at first but you soon realize that is how it's done and you start to wonder how you did it any other way.

    One thing I think people forget because we look at books/web images so much - the drawing and paintings we see are generally very large and have been greatly reduced in books. Bridgman, Loomis, Vargas - whoever - their drawings are all at least 18x24 - not little images in books - so copying them at the size they are in books won't teach you much.

    Apologies for the length - just a lot to cover on an important question.
    Keep working at it and try to understand the big picture - not the specifics.
    Good luck!

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