how important is "pencil holding technique"?
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Thread: how important is "pencil holding technique"?

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    how important is "pencil holding technique"?

    not sure if "pencil holding technique" is exactly what you'd call it, haha... but i found an article on how to hold a pencil.

    http://chiseledrocks.com/main/musing...old_the_pencil

    been trying to use the "pen grip" as of now, as opposed to just holding the pencil like I'm writing... so far it feels uncomfortable and I'm having less control over the pencil because of me being used to the "writer's grip". I'm wondering if its worth switching over & getting comfortable with this new grip. the article says this grip is good for drawing small, which is what i usually do...

    are there any major pros & cons to learning these grips? or does it not really matter too much?

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    Learn to draw using the biggest possible muscles. That is, when drawing on an easel, you're drawing using your shoulder and elbow. The smaller muscles are used to control line quality, i.e. using the point or the side of your pencil. Holding your pencil like a spoon essentially makes it impossible to effectively use the smaller muscles. It helps you to develop nice and confident lines, as opposed to hairy searching scribbles.

    If you're drawing very small, for detail work, then you will indeed use the well-known writing grip, to have more control. However, if you're always drawing small, I suggest you move to a larger format...

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    eh
    You don't really 'draw' with your hand anyway. You can hold a brush in your mouth and probably paint a silhouette of a figure as decent, albeit having it look wobbly but the idea is there.
    I'm not trying to undermine the importance of grip so much as I see such concern over trivial things. Though I dont see it as that important as long as you're comfortable in making lines.

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    I can't really see any real cons about learning several different grips, but I agree with eezacque that moving to a larger format would be good if drawing small is all you do, because you'll be saving your wrist a lot. Learning new way of holding a pencil is much less uncomfortable than working with tendonitis or an otherwise aching wrist.
    Also those grips do work on relative small size too, I've been using the violin bow grip while drawing main forms on A4 xerox paper and it works fine.

    Not to mention the site itself says:
    A beginner thinks that scribe’s grip is comfortable because he knows no others, and for him such attitude is counterproductive.
    So yeah, I'd say learning new stuff is worth it. After all, if you're serious about drawing, you'll be doing this for years.

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    This pen grip thing looks kind of awkward to me personally... I only ever tried to classify grips into three kinds.... the writing one, the figure drawing one (similar to the violin bow grip), and everything else. I think the most important lesson with all these funny grips is that you learn how to use your whole arm and to vary the pressure you place on the drawing.

    The violin bow thingy or whatever you want to call it does allow you to get a MUCH wider range of line widths and softnesses (assuming you have the appropriate media like a charcoal pencil that's sharpened the right way) than the writing one, so yes I would say there is an actual advantage to learning how to hold the pencil some other way than the writing grip.

    But, there is in the end no 'correct' way to hold the pencil, just the way that will let you get the effect you desire.

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    ok cool, yeah this all makes sense. i was just concerned because i was wondering if it was worth getting used to a new grip if I'm already comfortable with another one, & if it might hurt one's progress... but ok, i see now. and drawing larger seems like a good idea..

    thanks guys.

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    All these names make me feel im in a skateboarding game! Move to a bigger size paper and you will start to draw in a different grip immediately probably because it is just more comfortable. I see it like this: working small: work with your wrist, working medium: draw with your elbow and shoulder. going big (like using a broom or whatever): you use your whole body. In the end it`s just a matter of preference to me!

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    Yes I think it is very important because hand cramps are not very good for your health and will worsen your drawing and or writing experience.

    I have experience a pain in my wrist for two to five days just because I was writing a short paragraph in the scribe grip.

    Highly recommended to use a pen grip. A++

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talis View Post
    Move to a bigger size paper and you will start to draw in a different grip immediately probably because it is just more comfortable.
    As someone who has taught many a drawing class, all I can say is if only! You wouldn't believe the horrible monkey fists people insist on using, no matter what the circumstances.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    As someone who has taught many a drawing class, all I can say is if only! You wouldn't believe the horrible monkey fists people insist on using, no matter what the circumstances.
    "monkey fist" ?

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    Try holding a piece of vine, compressed charcoal, conte or pastel with a "writing grip". Also it's always a good idea to look around in the class and see what the top students are doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deepinonespersona View Post
    "monkey fist" ?
    I think he's referring to the way some people sometimes write (or in this case, draw), using the writer's grip with their hand turned inward, instead of straight, thus giving them the appearance of a monkey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mistermonster View Post
    .... it was worth getting used to a new grip if I'm already comfortable with another on.....
    The more things you learn how to do, the more things you can so....

    Why would you want to limit what you can do, in a field that can get very competetive?

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    One grip involves making a fist, curling your first two fingers around the pencil. It's surprisingly comfortable, and promotes using your elbow and shoulder. The angle, however, makes it better for using on a table than on an easel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deepinonespersona View Post
    "monkey fist" ?
    Yeah, this.
    Quote Originally Posted by George guy View Post
    One grip involves making a fist, curling your first two fingers around the pencil.
    Don't do that.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Don't do that.
    I don't, generally, and certainly wouldn't at easel angles. Is there any particular reason not to use that grip at a table though?

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    hahahaha I like the monkey fist grip. I think it would be fun for an activity but doesn't give enough wrist control.
    I started writing with my pencil between my index and middle fingers because it seems to help keep my wrist from getting too stiff. For drawing I try to stick to violin for rough stuff, and pen grip for smaller work and clean lines.

    I think getting used to using the different pivots in your arm is more important then the exact way you hold your utensils. You have 4 pivot points in your arm- fingers, wrist, elbow and shoulder. + the length of your pencil.
    With pen grip my wrist gives me a tight 5 1/2 inch arc - violin gives me a loose 8 inch arc. (measured from pen tip to wrist on thumb side)
    If your working larger it's easier to draw with a larger pivot. Drawing on an upright canvas with your wrist will just hurt your wrist.
    It also helps to realize that your joints are pivots. You can draw a pretty good quarter circle if you use your elbow as an anchor- or look at circle drawing contests where folks use their shoulder
    Your hand and arm are tools, so learn how to use them to all they're worth.

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    I think that the pen grip is just sort of my default grip anyway. I use the violin bow grip exclusively when working with charcoal. It took a little getting used to but now I'm totally comfortable with it and I feel that it's much more efficient than the other grip styles. Does anyone actually hold their pencil with the violin bow grip while drawing on a flat surface, though? For me it's more of a gestural thing.

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    Most of my pencil stances have evolved naturally; the writing grip was the most prevalent, although I found that the pen grip came naturally when I wasn't thinking, just drawing. After learning to shade an object violin bow grip became a necessity. I have a friend who shades with just the pen grip, but I have never learnt that. Violin Bow is funnier (and more artsy-looking) anyways.

    The most interesting thing about using violin bow is that at least I don't have to second-guess my lines as much as when using the pen grip. I guess it is a more intuitive way to draw.

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    Is your hand leaning on the paper?

    If yes, try make a rule to yourself that it shouldn't then see how fun the writing grip is after a few minutes, then test it with the other pencil-holding-techniques as well. Not touching the paper also more or less naturally requires that you then use other muscles/limbs/? to move around with

    And if all other options fail, cut your pencil down to a stump (or use a short piece of charcoal) where you just have no other choice but to do something else than "writing" a drawing.

    Hehe, I still sometimes use the writing-grip though. Especially for details or small areas and precise line-work ...Ooops! :p

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