View Full Version : Very N00b Question: Training your hands for flexibility and drawing

04-17-2008, 04:41 AM
To all fine arts and other pencil artists...

Could you kindly suggest exercises for training your hands for flexibility? I know there are a lot of warm up exercises that artists use before beginning to draw, like practising to draw the perfect circle or straight line without any aid by repeatedly scribbling them.

I was just wondering if there are other exercises similar to these.

Response is much appreciated. Thank you.

04-17-2008, 05:58 PM
circles and lines certainly do work very well, especially if you learn to do them from all directions (left to right, right to left, up to down, dowin to up...etc). Other than that, simply drawing still life will train your eye/hand coordination as well. Or simply copying any image will train you also. Most artists have copied at least several images (photo or artwork) to train themselves on how to depict fine detail.

04-18-2008, 05:28 AM
I guess the best place to copy stuff would be the comic books. Thank you lunatique. May I ask if the image in your avatar is a digital painting or a real pic?

04-19-2008, 12:56 PM
I don't really count as an artist yet. But I used to just sit and draw lines and circles while travelling. Lately I've been switching it up by trying to draw details on people's clothes/bags and so on. It is quite fun. People get a little scared when you sit and stare at them though. Haha.

04-19-2008, 08:21 PM
Thats a really good idea. I'll remember to wear some dark shade glasses when I am doing that. Thanks Kawe.

04-19-2008, 09:27 PM
I would actually suggest not having dark shades.

The point with drawing other people's stuff while traveling is that those things are going to move sooner or later. So there's kind of a time limit. This leads to training the ability to quickly find all important features as well as remembering them. If I wanted to take my time I could just draw something.. well.. that is more static.

So why bother with learning it at all? Well, I think it helps later when you are drawing your own designs to quickly draw the small details without having to think about it. So you can focus on the designs so to say.

EDIT: Oh, right. So the point of not having shades is that you can't take your time or else you'll be bothering people :)

09-20-2008, 12:10 AM
whoa what!? , i don't think copying from comic books is the best thing to do nor even good thing to do... its a copy of a copy, what if the perspective is wrong or something like that...?
you need to master the real stuff and then you can apply that to other techniques.
At least that what most of the experts and some teachers have told me.

09-20-2008, 12:56 PM
I think the most valuable exercise is simply trying to improve the length quality and speed of your strokes.

Start by grounding the tip of your pencil as though to do a full stop, then quickly flick it to draw a stroke. Then move the pencil back, and draw another stroke over your first, this time slightly longer. If you did it properly it should just look like one stroke. Then go over it again, and then again each time increasing the length, and trying to maintain the illusion that it is just one stroke.

Try to do straight lines, and curved lines, you can continue a curve all the way round into a circle or an ellipse, or do curls and swirls. Drawing hair is quite good exercise for getting nice flowing strokes.

I also like to draw random shapes, and then try to shade them in as fast as possible without lifting the pencil and without going over the lines, or leaving gaps. You should also try to keep the direction of your shading consistent.

I think these two are the most valuable since drawing is pretty much all strokes and shading. You should also think about controlling pressure, see how lightly you can do each exercise.

I would also suggest normal hand writing exercises if you want to improve your motor skills. You might also try all this with your hand raised off the page.

I've heard that doing a little every day is better than doing a lot sporadically (like any exercise I guess)

09-23-2008, 08:27 AM
I guess the best place to copy stuff would be the comic books. Thank you lunatique. May I ask if the image in your avatar is a digital painting or a real pic?

My avatar is a photo of my wife that I took.

The one caveat about copying a piece of artwork is that you could also be copying the mistakes of that artist. Unless you are very aware of it and take that experience within context, it's better to copy reality instead.

11-02-2008, 09:30 PM
Sorry to wake up this thread again! But i agree, don't copy comic books.

When i was a kid i got interested in drawing through comics like spiderman and superman. My parents where kind enough to let me take a beginner course in drawing. Finally, i thought! They gonna teach me to draw like Stan Lee. But to my dissapointment the teacher just put up an orange on a table, and let us draw it. Then a banana, then a ragdoll...

After about 30 minutes i was bored. This wasn't anything like Stan Lee would draw, i thought, and i never went to that class again. I tried to learn drawing at home from comics instead. So after a while i could draw the hulk slightly from the right and spiderman hanging in the web, but i couldn't draw a decent banana or a straight line. If it wasn't cool and in a comic book with a pose slightly to the right, i couldn't draw it.

Now i'm older, and i regret i didn't continue that course. I'm trying to learn it all over again now, but i got a bit more patience and interest in the basic rules of drawing.

11-10-2008, 09:19 PM
I'd say I draw some doodles first... and I also train Aikido on a regular basis (don't know if it helps but I also use some warming techniques for fingers, wrists and arms)...

11-11-2008, 12:56 AM
most flexibility comes from how you hold your pencil not from exercises. if you use the tripod grip hold your pencil near the eraser end not the tip, hold it so loose that if some one tried to take it out of your hand they could just take it without force. you only apply pressure when you bear down for dark lines. this is done with the fingers and thumb not the hand. for more flexibility hold the pencil overhand or underhand grip, again hold it loosely.
if you are unfamiular with the differnt ways of holding a pencil described above go here (http://www.chiseledrocks.com/articles/grips/section0.htm)

11-27-2008, 12:34 PM
I recently saw a dvd and one of the suggestions that was made was to draw circles or waves along a ruled pages trying to keep the shapes between the line. It was also suggested to try and draw from big to small then back to big again and applying different pressure. I reckon it's good for hand-eye coordination as well if your trying to keep the shapes in between the lines

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