Stop hurting your hand. Hold your pen gently.

Take-away: Don’t grip your pen tightly. Just don’t.

Reading time: 2 minutes.

Here is the story about how I lost my hand.

It all starts a few years ago, when I was holding my pen like this:

You see how I’m squeezing that thing?!

Oooh, drawing with a deathgrip. Guess what I got out of it? A lifelong injury! Well, maybe it’s still reversible but I don’t want to stop drawing to check. Three-week breaks from drawing have yielded no improvement at all.

Just two weeks after starting Art school, my hand and wrist were hurting. Every day it hurt a little bit more. It became difficult to hold my pen. Quickly, I stopped pinching by myself because it hurt too much. But then it became painful to just hold a pen. Or to hold anything, really.

At the height of my pain, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t bend my fingers.

So like all sane people and aspiring artists, I kept drawing.

I taped socks around my Wacom pen.

First I tried rubber bands to tie my pen to my hand, but they cut off blood flow. I started using tape, sticking the pen through my wrist brace, tying it with scraps of cloth, ….

A few weeks later I found a working technique:

Yup, I used a bandage to wrap my pen onto my hand and that’s how I kept on drawing.

Holy damn, do you need your hand a lot. Losing functionality in my right hand, I had trouble with:
Opening doors, using chopsticks, shuffling cards, carrying anything, opening bottles, writing, using your smartphone, mouse/touchpad,

Some of my homework that had teardrops on it. I learned to hide those stains by scanning, upping contrast and submitting the print.

Here’s my class notes before and after pain in my hand:

Guess which one is before and which one is after hand/wrist pain.

But at least I finished school.

What’s the point of this post? Am I looking for pity for my broken hand? Am I encouraging you to draw through the pain?

Nah, man, that’s silly.

I’m telling you DON’T PINCH YOUR PEN. Just learn to hold your pen correctly. You can avoid all of my pain ’n suffering. If this little story doesn’t convince you it’s important, then I… eh… well, you do you.

Now go draw. Without pinching.



One thought on “Stop hurting your hand. Hold your pen gently.”

  1. Just found your blog. I’m sorry to hear this story! how did your teachers react when they saw you drawing with your rubber band hack? did nobody take your pain seriously? i mean it makes no sense to ruin a students health right at the beginning of her career. extreme work moral is bad when your health is in danger. the pain is your body talking to you. i hope you can find a way to heal your wrist completely! Philipp

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