Pain while drawing and strain injuries
I would like to ask if any of you guys have had to deal with problems related to this during your journey with art. Im curious because one would expect a lot of problems given the workloads freelancers end up taking to advance their careers. I never had to push myself too hard as it has been more of a hobby thing, yet i had to deal with mild tendinitis on my wrist, tennis elbow (because a very physical job) and a brand new ganglion cyst over my wrist (from god knows what).
Do you have useful tips to deal with this problems? I made a shift to watercolors as my main media, i find the use of a brush less taxing on my joints than trying to render with pencils which was my prefered option way back.
I don't experience the kind of pain you do, but as I do watercolour as well I thought if you are sitting at a desk and resting your arm/wrist on the table or easel you might want to consider standing up? It gives you a lot more freedom in movement for your brushstrokes, and you can still lean in for the finer details. i have a stand/sit desk, which really saves my back, which is a bit trashed from life.
Yeah, i think that one of the problems is that i abuse my wrist too much. Part of the improvement i found was to lean more in elbow/shoulder movement while working on a piece, but i always rely on my wrist for fine detail.
Thanks for the suggestion, going to mess around with my set up and see if i can make it work while standing.
I used to have a job hand embellishing products, so it was 8 hours of repetitive motion with a liner brush every day. This was boring, mindless work so I’d distract myself by concentrating on how to make my arm hurt less haha. Through trial and error here’s what I found works for me:
Loosening my hand’s grip. The weight of my thumb holds the brush in place without any of my finger muscles really tightening.
Never moving my wrist. Like my lower arm and my hand are one unit, as if I’m wearing a wrist splint (do not actually wear a wrist brace while drawing, I’ve read that this can make it worse. Look into wearing one while sleeping)
Not leaning my arms on the desk. I wouldn’t put any of my weight on my arm, so the whole thing could float over the desk. Keeping my torso’s weight over my pelvis also helps me not curve my lower back forward.
Keeping my elbow bent at a larger than 90 degree angle. I found that when my elbow was bent at a tighter angle, I’d start to get pins-and-needle tingles in my lower arm, like when you fall asleep on your arm. The trade off is that the paper is further away from my eyes than I was used to.
Movement comes from my shoulder. Elbow is loose and softly bent and kept close to my body, rather than flared out to the side.
Taking breaks to stretch and massage arm to get blood circulating. If you’re injured, rest it and see a doctor rather than irritating it further with stretches. I’m not a doctor / this is not medical advice & all that.
What I’m struggling with now is not hunching my shoulders and craning my neck. Maybe an angled drafting table or easel may help with this? I do wonder how people deal with wet paint dripping.
Good luck, hope you feel better soon!
Thanks man! Awesome tips. I think that it would take some time to retrain my hand to shift from wrist movements and have the same precision, but better start now than later.
Your post made me think of how a PT would teach the right technique to lift weights at the gym from the start, but we are often times on our own when it comes to use a pencil correctly.
Thanks again for sharing your hard earned first hand knowledge, really apreciate it.