Tips to Draw Better: How to Hold the Pencil Like a Master?

Hello, my friends and welcome to another Tuesday for a tutorial! I’m Zeny from Gallery Tindouf and today I will give you some tips to draw better.

Today we will talk about what is the best way to hold the pencil to improve your drawings. Most people grab the pencil like this when they were want to draw similar as if they were going to write. This is normal because that is the way most of us got taught when we were kids. However, that´s a very tight grip. So, which one is the best grip for drawing? That depends on a good deal on what is the effect you want to get and what surface are you working on.

If your drawing is not too small and if it is vertical, or tilted one of the best grips, is like this with your finger, with your index finger and your thumb. And then the rest of the fingers you can lay them lightly on the pencil or you can leave them, whatever you want. And try to do your movements all the way from your shoulder. Very loose. The writing grip, which is also called triple grip, is very good for small detail. To draw with precision. With this should make short lines.

The bad thing is that when you try to make a long line with this grip, it may happen something like this. It is composed of a series of short lines, and it doesn’t look good at all. Therefore, a much better way of holding the pencil, is the underhand grip, with your index finger and your thumb and with your palm facing up; and you can rest the other fingers on the pencil or leave them free. In this way, you can do much looser and continues movements. Especially if you do them all the way from your shoulder, as we mentioned.

Also with this technique, you can use the side of the graphite, which leaves a softer and wider line. Which is excellent for the earlier strokes in a sketch. Or you can use the tip, which produces a finer and more precise line. A variation of the underhand grip is the overhand grip. Which is similar but with the palm facing down… … and you may easily alternate the two, switching from one to the other or also with the palm to the side. And while the underhand grip doesn´t really work on horizontal surfaces, this one does. You can use the overhand grip on horizontal, vertical or tilted plains.

The next one is called the brush grip. This is because you hold it like a brush. It is a bit like the tripod grip, except that you grab it from the back and a lot looser. I personally love this one I find it very natural and you can also achieve loose strokes. Maybe you have noticed that this is the position that I use the most when drawing in my tutorials. This also because of a technical reason, which is that the best way I have found for recording, is drawing on a horizontal surface, with the camera directly over the drawing so that my body doesn´t get on the way.

And as I need to complete them fast, they are usually in a small format. If they were larger and on a vertical surface, I would certainly use a lot more the underhand and overhand positions. Good! Here for example to do the little detail, we can switch to the tripod grip. However, notice how the strokes immediately get a lot tighter. But they are precise. So I´m not telling you not to use the tripod grip, it has its place. What I am saying is that it is not ideal to use it for everything.

And the further ahead we grab the pencil, the more precision we have, and the least freedom of movement. If we hold it a little bit further back, we have less precision but more movement. And if we hold it all the way from the back, we have a lot more freedom of motion. Another thing to notice is that when we make short strokes, we do them from the fingers.

When the lines are a little bit longer, we move the fingers and the wrist. If they are longer, the movement comes from the wrist. And for longer lines then we move the whole arm. There is another grip which is with the index finger on the tip. This is a powerful one because we can press on it. And so achieve darker and wider lines. We can also use it too, to do dark shading.

And now let´s apply all of this. With an underhand grip, we make a flowing line, and the paper being vertical, which is the best position for drawing because it is perpendicular to the line of vision. While if it is horizontal, as you look at it from one side, the perspective distorts the figures. I´ll speed up the video and in another tutorial, I will explain how to draw the head of the eagle.

Here the important thing is that you see how I continually change the grip of the pencil, so as to achieve the different effects. With the overhand grip, I give shape to the head and neck; I drew the pupil with the tripod grip, and we refine the beak with the brush grip. In summary, there are two factors for the quality of the line: One is the grip of the pencil, and the other one, from where you do the movement. When you first try to hold the pencil in ways in which you are not used to, it may feel awkward and unnatural.

This is normal, and that is why a majority of the people give up and go back to their only way to hold it. But I recommend you to persist, to do enough exercises and sketches until you make them yours. When this happens you won´t look back. Using this arsenal of grips will imbue your drawings with an X-factor of variety and richness of mark, difficult to otherwise achieve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *