First post. Hello!

  • Hello guys! I'm new here. And loving it. It's just been a day since I browsed in here a bit and I've found some awesome resources.
    I'm drawing right now so I won't say much, but I was just wondering. We all know the advice about drawing from your shoulder. I'm trying to implement it. But especially during figure drawing it's really difficult. I have all these things to keep in mind and I should also remember to draw from my shoulder? Which is forced and uncomfortable anyways because I am not used to it. This is what I'm thinking. I know it needs practise, but I'm asking if it's worth it. Will it indeed train my brain in a way that's beneficial for my art?

  • @tianlian I think it will train your brain in a way that is beneficial to your art because not only will you be able to make the smaller marks with your fingers, wrist, and arm, you'll add another tool to your drawing toolkit. It is definitely worth it in my opinion. It will actually make figure drawing easier for you in the long run.

    I must ask, how are you holding your pencil? Trying to draw from your shoulder while holding your pencil the same way you do when you draw from your wrist (i.e. the writing position) will make it more difficult. That position is intended for the small tight marks necessary for writing letterforms. After practice, I find that I hold my pencil differently almost all the time than when I write except for when doing minute details.

    Also, are you drawing on small sheets of paper or on a tablet? It is harder to draw from your shoulder if you are doing these things. I'd suggest either attending a figure drawing class or session or watching people draw. You'll see them using large sheets of paper and holding the pencil (which they have sharpened so the lead is about an inch exposed) almost like a wand. It's hard to describe but easy to see.

    If you must use a tablet or a smaller surface, change your posture, try to draw as large as you can within reason, and don't choke up on the pencil too much. Think of the pencil as an extension of your arm really. Again, hard to describe in words. Practice will help you realize how you can best do this. It will also be better for your arm health in the long run, as small repetitive motion in your hand and wrist make you very prone to things such as carpal tunnel and repetitive use syndrome.

    This is a professor I know: Check out some of his short figure drawing videos. See how fluid the marks are and how his arm moves? From the shoulder 🙂

  • @teju-abiola Thanks for your detailed answer and sorry for super long reply.
    My country doesn't offer figure drawing classes and such. I'm doing this on my own. I'm drawing on paper right now. On my sketchbook specifically. But I know about the big pads and the "wand" grip you mentioned that they have going in such classes. The space I use to draw is not ideal, but I figured out pretty quickly that when I'm drawing from the shoulder I can't do it in a confined way. It just doesn't work. I'm figuring it out.
    I'm holding the pencil the way I do when I'm drawing from the wrist but more lightly. When I'm ghosting the line I'm able to get a somewhat good shape but when I put it down more firmly the line becomes weird. That's something I face when drawing ellipses.

    I guess I was just wondering what should I do when I'm not drawing figures or practising elipses and straight lines that need the fluidity and smoothness drawing from the shoulder can give you. When I'm sketching or doing a more finished ink drawing should I go back to my wrist and elbow?

  • @tianlian Ah, okay. I understand where you are coming from!

    I'd say it depends on what marks you are making. When doing detailed ink work, then shoulder drawing probably wouldn't be the best, but I'd say that having more fluid movement when sketching wouldn't be a bad idea.

    With drawing, it's hard to day just use your shoulder, or just use your wrist, or whatever. It depends on what stage of the drawing you are working on, what the tools are, and what end result you want. And what is ultimately comfortable for you to do. You have to kind of do everything at once regarding whatever you are working on 🙂

  • Thank you!!!
    That's another lesson I gotta learn. Thinking there's one correct way of doing things or a guaranteed path to success is detrimental to any endeavor. Thanks for your time, I appreciate it.

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