View Poll Results: Do you draw overhand or writing-style?

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  • Overhand

    8 25.81%
  • Writing-style

    23 74.19%
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  1. #1
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    Question Do you draw overhand or writing-wise?

    A couple months ago I started drawing overhand, that is, holding my pencil or pen or whatever perpendicular to the line of my fingers and not how I hold it when I write. Barbara Bradley advises this in her book "Drawing People" and I think Andrew Loomis does too somewhere.

    It took a little getting used to but it has helped me quite a bit. I have a little less precision, but I find this makes my lines a little more alive-looking. it means much more action comes from the arm and wrist than from the hand itself, and as a result I get fewer hand cramps. it also encourages me to leave my pencil on the paper which gives the drawing more continuity. it's hard to describe, I'll have to wait until I can post "before and after" pictures to really show it. I still suck, but I feel like this is decent step in the right direction and I'd strongly recommend it.

    But, aside from me I don't know who else actually uses this. it may be taught in kindergarten for all I know.
    So, do you draw overhand, with the medium between the thumb and the ends of all four fingers or between thumb and forefinger (how most people write)?


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  3. #2
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    mm-- I tried it right after reading your post -- the effect was that I was drawing lighter! (and not the angry, hard-stokes I want to exorcize from my habit)

    Though I'm not sure if I'm doing it right (pen parallel to index finger?) -- could you post a drawing of the position?

  4. #3
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    On smaller drawings, I tend to draw the same way I write, but on large drawings, I do the "correct" method (except for veeery small details). Y'know, the one where you grab it all weird like... bah, can't explain it, maybe someone else can (or provide an illustration of it). Anyways, that method always tends to give me much longer lines (I tend to do short lines otherwise), and I'm always much more loose. Though, my shoulder cramps up if I do it for a few hours.

  5. #4
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    I'll try, sorry my explanation wasn't very clear.

  6. #5
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  7. #6
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    cool site, Nudnik, I guess what I'm talking about is the "violin bow grip" or something like it, I wasn't aware of these other forms.
    I agree with what he says about not choking the point, Loomis I think mentions that Bridgman did some huge beautiful drawings with a crayon on the end of a yardstick, or something like that.
    below is my crude paint rendering, with the writing grip at left and two examples of the overhand grip at right.
    Do you draw overhand or writing-wise?

  8. #7
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    great thread! i have spent hours over this problem already.. thing is, i started drawing with no teacher or books.. so i used the "writing-style"..

    then i bought an easel and a drawing board therefore my canvas was almost vertically locked. after taking the first drawing class i learned the "violin" or "overhand" grip, and tried to use it. i immediately understood that this one allows you to draw much more freely and vivid, although my lines were quite shaky in the beginning.

    my problem is:

    when i draw at home on my easel i can use the violin grip but when i am at school or outside and only have my sketchbook with me and / or am sitting somewhere i have no other choice than using the "writing-style" grip.. i can still use part of my arm but its really annoying.. sooo..

    does anyone have the same problem as i do or have a solution for it? it would be greatly appreciated

  9. #8
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    Kinda depends. I usually use overhand when I do shadings. But regular writing style when I go down to details.

  10. #9
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    i forgot.. i would LOVE to see some of the professionals posting here and see what their grip is, i would find it very interesting.
    thing is, i saw some pics of san fran workshop or austin where wesley burt, marko and rich (insane visions) drew their pictures
    a) at a TINY desk that was (of course) horizontal
    b) with the "writing-style" only
    c) on a small sheet of paper
    and i though "wtf" why are these pro's doing everything my drawing teacher tells me not to..

    just a question tho.

  11. #10
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    when i draw at home on my easel i can use the violin grip but when i am at school or outside and only have my sketchbook with me and / or am sitting somewhere i have no other choice than using the "writing-style" grip.. i can still use part of my arm but its really annoying.. sooo..
    that's odd, I have no trouble at all using the violin grip in my sketchbook or on small bits of paper. maybe it's because I first used that grip in my sketchbook and didn't try on larger, more vertical surfaces till later. on a smaller scale it's not always perfectly smooth and precise, particularly for details (although I still like it for details) but it's worked out into something I like a lot more than the writing grip. for what it's worth, when I draw on a small scale with the violin grip, my elbow sticks out a bit and my and movements are sometimes like I'm using a salt shaker. I also shake my hand around and try to do some warm-up doodles and lines and tones before every time I draw.
    Last edited by Brutillus; May 3rd, 2005 at 04:37 PM.

  12. #11
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    i hold my instrument the same way i write on average sized pieces, i do however hold my tool more like a brush on larger scale shit. it really is all about what feels natural to you i think.-c36

  13. #12
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    "I have encountered people who claim that the best way is to use whatever feels comfortable, and if that's the scribe's grip so be it. What these people usually miss is that it's best when you already have an arsenal of skills and can pick the most appropriate one for the task. A beginner thinks that scribe's grip is comfortable because he knows no others, and for him such attitude is counterproductive. Everyone is entitled to pursue an own style and approach, but only after they mastered the basics and can be aware of all the choices."

    that was in the article up above...
    "One needs a certain humility to learn, arrogance never does good." Chiseledrocks.com article

  14. #13
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    I hold it the incorrect way perscribed on the site maybe I should work on that. Thanks for the site Johnny. 8)

  15. #14
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    Your poll needs "both" and "other" choices.

    I'll pretty much echo what Coro said. You use the proper grip for the job. As with anything else, the more different ways you have to approach any problem, the greater your chances of success. Most people don't have to be taught the standard writing grip (although that's not 100% true; you'd be shocked and amazed by how some people hold their pencils), so a lot of emphasis is placed on teaching alternatives. That doesn't make any one grip "right" or "wrong", just more or less appropriate for a given task.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lim
    ...and i though "wtf" why are these pro's doing everything my drawing teacher tells me not to...
    Because they can .

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron

  16. #15
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    I usually draw in the writing style, but lately I am trying to gradually shift to using my arm more. Thanks alot to whoever posted the link to the site with the info on correctly holding a pencil, very helpful!

  17. #16
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    I was taught the same thing by Carol Nunnelly, Barbara's former student.

    I do it overhand when I'm working from an easel while standing up. When my paper is flat on the table, I use the writing position. When it's slightly at a diagonal angle, I use both. I also use the writing position when it comes to smaller details for more control.

    Yeah, like what elwell and coro said, it pretty much comes natural depending on the situation. What works best.
    Last edited by Dizon; May 4th, 2005 at 01:11 AM.

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