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  1. #1
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    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?

    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?

    You guys ain't holding it like this:
    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?


    I know....it depends...another subjective post.

    Just have fun with it. Stop taking things so gawd damn seriously...damn it!
    It's not about whose right or wrong it's about your experiences...blah blah blah....I'm just trying to reduce the drama......what I just said probably didn't help.....yes, I know Carl Dobsky kicks ass and I shouldn't question anybody because I'm so weak...blah blah blah.....just answer the question.
    Last edited by NoSeRider; November 26th, 2012 at 06:10 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Hold it however the hell you want.

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    Now THAT´s an unconfortable way to hold your pen!!

    I know that you don´t want to hear this, but more than a subjective question, it really doesn´t matter how you hold your pen, your hand will set up a way that feels confortable eventually.


    For example, my hand has really unnusual joints, I can bend then in the last falange( without affecting the rest) and tense then backwards...So it was hard for me to set up the "classic" way of holding a pen....So I use my pinky to hold the tip...It turns out great for really little details, but with risk of staining the drawing in case of charkcoal.

    all tho I grew so used to it that I no longer ruin a picture with my pinky finger tip.

  5. #4
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    they tell you to hold it that way because they don't want you working in too detailed with your fingers too soon. if you hold it like that, you have to move your wrist and elbow to make a mark. i suppose it helps in the begining phases of learning.

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    these sorts of threads are what sarcastically witty people wait out for. But the correct answer is to hold your pencil the same way you'd write with it.
    Passion rules the game

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    If I'm doing detail AND am sitting down, I'm probably going to switch to a grip similar to the hand on the left. If I'm working bigger, more with the elbow and shoulder than the wrist, I'll be holding the pen / stick like the hand on the right OR your example. Whatever feels comfortable and that doesn't damage your hand and tendons.
    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?

    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?

  8. #7
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    hold it anyway you want. there are only various ways in which you can hold the pencil/brush that can produce diffrent results. For example, the example you posted enables you to produce much more looser lines in comparison to when you hold the pencil when you are normally writing. The latter approach is more suited for small details.

    Just don't think about it too much. Be natural as much as possible.

  9. #8
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    Richard Morris draws like he writes.
    I'm just trying to figure out how literally I should follow instructions.

    Believe me, when I ask these stupid questions.....I'm think'n about it.....for years.

    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?

    Hold the charcoal pencil thumb up swinging the wrist and arm to create a graceful line and rest the fingers lightly on the paper. When holding the pencil as if writing and moving the fingers, it can be moved only a few inches but when holding the pencil thumb up and moving the wrist, the range of motion is greatly increased. I began to think of drawing as similar to dance...
    My New Neglected Sketchbook
    You Ain't no Nina!.....

    "Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
    "My mind is made up. Don't confuse it with facts." -- Terence McKenna

  10. #9
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    argh wtf.
    just go into irc the next time to discuss this.
    ffs
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    Well. here's the weird way to hold your charcoal pencil.

    Not looking for absolutes, just experiences. A lot of art questions seem to be about trivial things, like color, light, composition.....so get use to it.
    My New Neglected Sketchbook
    You Ain't no Nina!.....

    "Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
    "My mind is made up. Don't confuse it with facts." -- Terence McKenna

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Man View Post
    Hold it however the hell you want.
    cant agree more.

    Try doing multiple ways of holding your pencil while drawing, if you are taking too long getting the rough/gesture in, try something different.

    I suggest you hold it like a stylus, and you draw on a wacom

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    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?
    In your hand

    ~Oreg.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregano View Post
    In your hand

    ~Oreg.
    i think there where artists who dont have hands and still drew figures.


    But its just the same with masturbating, there is a general preference, but you might have a variation that works more for you.
    (23:41:52) (ArneLurk) I woner of there are people who have hairy penises

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoSeRider View Post
    Well. here's the weird way to hold your charcoal pencil.
    Weird, you bet! He's holding it in the wrong hand!

    Tristan Elwell
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  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Weird, you bet! He's holding it in the wrong hand!
    No he isn't

    Actually, the way he holds it is my preference as well. It allows you to make very thin lines when needed, as you almost put no pressure on the charchoal this way.

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  19. #16
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    I hold it the way I need to hold it. I don't hold the pencil in one way all the time, I like to change it up a bit.

    Sort of like brushes, you don't use one brush all the time. You don't use one way to hold a pencil all the time either.

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    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?

    I find it much more cumfortable to hold it like that. It took me a little while to maintain a steady hand but once I got used to it, I found drawing (and painting) much easier because I could easily switch from the point of my pencil to the side, to easily change between different widths improved my outcome quite alot and gave it more confidence. I'd usually switch to the way I hold when writing to put in more finite detail, though.
    Last edited by B u r l; May 25th, 2008 at 12:50 PM.

  21. #18
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    depends on the scale, but for the most part, you want to hold it in a way that gives you the most comfortable control of all parts of your arm collectively.

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    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?

    It's been about three years since I've started drawing holding my pencil and charcoal in that fashion, and I've gotten used to it. In my classes when drawing on large 18 x 24 newsprint for example, it helps to move your whole arm...especially when you're on a time limit. I think that's the concept my teachers were trying to convey.

    That being said, I still draw the way I used to at times. The way one would draw as if they were writing something. However I usually draw in this fashion when it comes to my sketchbook or making small details on large drawings. Since there isn't that much space required to do the job.

    But as long as your drawings look good, you can draw however you want to I guess.
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  25. #21
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    Just try out different ways to hold your pencil and see what is most comfortable for you.

    Alot of people just ignore the teacher when he says to hold it in a specific way. That way you'll never try out maybe even better ways to hold it.

    Personally I hold it this way and once you get used to it it works alot better then holding it like you write because you can make sharp edges and big flat strokes at the same time.
    This is from Kevin Chen's class for anyone who wonders.

    Attachment 377206

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    Most of the examples I've seen in this thread are great if you want control, but I want to toss in a technique for people looking to improve their sense of movement and gesture.

    I used to find a long, thin willow stick on the ground (I say willow because it was both flexible but strong - you can use any other wood so long as it has some give and won't snap on you) and sharpen the end of it with a razor. The stick should be no thicker than a pencil, have a slight curve to it and be about 1.5'' long (do experiment with other lengths!), something that will force you to surrender a little control in your drawing! Dip the sharpened end in India Ink, have a seat on the floor and draw the pose with your whole arm. I found the mark-making to be beautiful with this technique and it really helped my eye to let go of the minor details and see the line of action.

    I did this drawing using that technique way back when:

    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?

    Just something to try when you're sick of cross-hatching!

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  28. #23
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    I have a question , i guess. I am always seeing this almost photorealistice life-studies...how are they created ? With coal/charcoal or pastel or very soft pencils ? And what techniques are there to smudge the lines to create this very soft and realistic feel ? I tried it with coals and a smudge-paper pen thing but i am unused to this technique and i would really appreciate it if someone can give me a few hints or some insight in this matter =)

    On Topic = I tend to grab the pencil very close to its tip for small details , but when it comes to loose rendering or creating the first lines i try to be as far away to the tip as possible. It feels just more organic and free.
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  29. #24
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    Personaly I do under hand on large an small sketches. Mainly because i like to vary my strokes line width (i'll only do this with a wood pencil, vine charcoal, and occasionaly lead holder). For pinpoint accuracy I just do it with the writing style. It comes natural though after working large and small from life, and just in my sketchbook.

    Do whatever the hell you want. I have a friend who holds it sort of writing style but between his middle and forefinger and his thumb pushes the pencil.
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    I draw the way I write. Using my thumb index and middle finger to control the pencil. I usally just draw on small paper. I rarely use bigger size paper, but when I do I still it hold the same way, I just move my arms more and still control the pencil with my fingers especially for the fine details. I'm not classicly trained so I never was taught to hold a pencile in any way. I just do what came natural to me.
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  31. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoSeRider View Post
    You guys ain't holding it like this:
    How Are You Suppose to Hold Your Pencil for Figure Drawing?
    http://www.dhfa.net/Artiststatement2.html
    Thats how I work on a large surface when using charcoal. I switch to a writing type position when using a pencil or pen in a sketchbook sized surface. Charcoal pencils can go either way.

    In the end what matters though is the end product.

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    I am always seeing this almost photorealistice life-studies...how are they created ? With coal/charcoal or pastel or very soft pencils ? And what techniques are there to smudge the lines to create this very soft and realistic feel ?
    Last weekend I was able to watch someone (very talented) doing this sort of work - he used a not particularly soft pencil, and simply built up the shading gradually with layers of hatching at different angles, holding the pencil right at the back. He emphasised that stroke directions followed the form in the lights and halftones. The layers were initially applied very lightly, and then when he was more confident with placements, darkened by firmer application, commenting that if he'd had a softer pencil he would have used it. He took out lights with an eraser (he had one he'd got in the US with an eraser as the core of a pencil, which he could use with precision), and simply smudged with a tissue.

  33. #28
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    Looks like just about everyone has weighed in here, so I guess it'll be Ok if I do too. I use the writers grip for almost everything, and will even rest my palm on the drawing while I'm working (though I do try to lay a sheet of clean paper between my hand and the drawing surface.) I'm fairly sure this is a bad habit that I've picked up, but it's how I trained myself to draw when I was little, and it's has been almost impossible to break now that I'm older and all set in my ways.

    Why is using the writers grip a bad habit to get into?
    I'm sure there is a whole host of reasons why teachers are telling you to get comfortable with the underhand grip, but here are three things I've noticed just from fumbling around myself and doing it the wrong way for several years.

    1. The writers grip makes it much more difficult to draw in an upright position. I have to draw while seated at a table, or else 'Indian style' with the drawing board in my lap. Anything more than a 30 degree incline and I become very uncomfortable, my lines less controlled, and my overall endurance falls off rapidly. Easels and those easel-chair deals that you straddle with your drawing board, are particularly rough for me.

    2. It's difficult for me to draw "large"; and when I say that, I mean it's difficult to accurately draw what's right in front of me. I can handle the big, expressive blob of scribbly nothingness as well as the next guy, but when it comes to doing a realistic human face/figure (from life, reference, whatever) things become increasingly difficult the larger I attempt to draw them.

    3. Smudging - is a lot more common. This goes back to the whole "temptation to rest the palm on the drawing surface" thing I mentioned. Especially if I start out in the upper right or lower left corners of the page (which seems to be the case more often then not, for what masochistic purpose I'm not really sure) it can be a total pain. In my experience, 'working' fixatives don't really work all that well, or rather, they change the consistency of the graphite so much that I run into trouble. You can get around it to an extent, I suppose, if you watch your elbows, but smudging is always a problem.

    Why does any of that matter?
    So far as I can tell, these grip problems are problems, mainly because they can present difficulties when you transition into traditional painting. If you just want to work in graphite or charcoal, then the grip you develop might not matter as much; but the way you get used to holding the pencil will likely affect the way you want to hold a brush, and that can be problematic if you also want to be a painter. Painting is a lot more comfortable (and less damaging to your back) if you paint in an upright position. Larger paintings often sell for more than smaller paintings (probably true). And smudged paint can be lot less forgiving than smudged graphite (with the added downside that you can't cover wet paint with a clean piece of paper to rest your palm on). So just going off those few things I mentioned, it might be advisable to explore other grips as well.
    Last edited by Jasonwclark; May 27th, 2008 at 07:09 PM.

  34. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burp_Sanchez View Post
    But the correct answer is to hold your pencil the same way you'd write with it.
    John Howe would disagree. He says to hold your pencil anyway BUT how you write with it. I don't have the quote but it's from a fantasy illustration book that he did.

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