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Thread: Tips for developing a steady hand?

  1. #1
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    Question Tips for developing a steady hand?

    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?



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  3. #2
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    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.
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    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

    -q
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    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.
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    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.
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  8. #6
    Ian Jones Guest
    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.
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    *chuckles*

    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.

    ^_^
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    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.
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  11. #9
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    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...
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    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.
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  13. #11
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    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
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  14. #12
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    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
    Good luck!
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  15. #13
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    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!
    Portfolio: www.torsteinnordstrand.com
    Working on / for: Age of Conan / Funcom
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