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• Writing = instrument held in-between index finger, middle finger, and thumb; instrument is usually resting on first joint of the middle finger
• Instead of resting the back end of the instrument in "the crook of the hand" (i.e.: the flesh between the thumb and index finger), try bringing it forward in front of the knuckle of the index finger. This is particularlly good for writing in cursive or script.
• Extend your ring finger and pinky, instead of curling up the entire hand by pulling these fingers in towards your palm. This also helps loosen any "death grip" (i.e.: an overly tight grip that causes tension in the hand and often digs the fingernails into the palm).
• Hold the instrument from further back instead of near the tip.
• If you still have tension in your hand even after trying all of the above, hold the pencil in the same way, but extend the index finger as if you are pointing.
• Underhand = instrument held in-between index finger and thumb; thumb is on top, facing you; other fingers may or may not curl around the instrument; back end of the instrument may also touch palm for stability
• Overhand = instrument held in-between index finger, thumb, and middle finger; unlike the writing grip, the entire hand is over the instrument; index finger is on top, facing you; it is almost as if the instrument is being held with a 'pinch motion'; other fingers may curl in or be extended out; back end of the instrument may also touch the palm for stability
• Vertical = entire instrument is held straight up and down, usually with the index finger, middle finger, and thumb; other fingers may also rest on the instrument; unlike the writing grip, the instrument does not rest on any one finger
• Sideways = entire instrument is held flat between all four fingers on one side and the thumb on the other; thumb can be either down or up depending upon how the hand is rotated
In summary: Writing, Underhand, Overhand, Vertical, Sideways
It is likely that you will regularly switch between each of them depending on the type of motion you are trying to achieve.
• The direction in which the hand is moving
For example, you might find it easier to write from left-to-right when writing with the right hand, or you might find it easier to start from the top-right of the page and your way work towards the bottom-left when drawing with the left hand. Usually the most comfortable motions for each hand are mirrored.
• Pushing the instrument out away from yourself or pulling the instrument in towards yourself
For example, sometimes people find it easiest to "push" straight lines and "pull" curved lines no matter which hand they are working with.
• The speed with which a mark is made
For example, a line might be straighter when made quickly instead of slowly.
• "Ghosting" (i.e.: miming a stroke slightly above the paper before making it)
This can help make strokes of any kind cleaner all around by getting your hand ready to make that kind of motion.
Touch down with the fingers on the same hand that are not holding the instrument, or hold on to that arm with the other hand to gain stability. This is espcially helpful if your hand is floating above the work surface instead of sliding across it.
In general, it is good to think about a mark before making it. For example, if attempting to draw a line, place a start and end point first. Then, after making sure they are in line with one another, ghost connecting them a few times. When you finally touch down on the paper to make the stroke, keep your eyes ahead of the movement of the instrument so that you know what you are aiming for.
Keep what you are doing in front of you and do not block it with your hand. For example, if you are drawing a circle with your right hand, then try doing it counter-clockwise while moving in one fluid motion.
Use what is already set down to help you figure out what to put next. For example, if drawing a line parallel to another, do it beneath the line you want it parallel to and try to make them the same distance from one another throughout.
Rearrange your grip, change what point you are moving from, or re-orient your work surface as necessary. For example, if you need a curve in a particular spot of your drawing and find it easiest to draw that kind of curve in a certain way, then move your paper to help faciliate this action.
Points of Articulation
From widest range of motion to smallest:
• Wrist / Fingers
Different kinds of movement require a motion from a different point. Small, controlled strokes (such as writing) will most likely use the motion of the wrist and elbow, while larger, more fluid strokes (such as drawing) will most likely use motion of the elbow and shoulder.
No matter what kind of grip is being used, you can move from each point at will.