Protecting Your Wrist and Hand

When drawing, move your lower and upper arm; drawing is more like conducting an orchestra than writing a shopping list.

I underwent surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome 25 years ago. I didn’t want the problem to return and possibly end my career, so I took a good look at my drawing techniques and soon discovered a natural drawing posture for drawing. To my surprise, not only did I manage to totally eliminate the pain in my wrist, but my drawing skills improved as well.

The way you hold your pencil contributes greatly to your level of comfort and your drawing abilities. Lines that end up shaky rather than smooth are the nemesis of many new artists. The difficulty comes from trying to draw as you write ‒ by keeping the hand tense and moving only the fingers and wrist. Drawing and writing do not, in fact, use many of the same muscles, and new artists soon discover that moving only the fingers and wrist can cause discomfort.

After a while, this discomfort may lead to complications such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Artists are prime candidates for this painful and sometimes disabling injury. Repeatedly moving the tendons inside the carpal tunnel of your wrist causes them to become swollen and put pressure on the nerves.

This lesson is free until June 30.


About Brenda Hoddinott
Award-winning artist and author; illustrator, art educator, curriculum designer, co-owner of, owner of Drawspace Publishing, and retired forensic artist Brenda has developed art curricula and taught multidisciplinary arts since 1980. During her 25-year career as a forensic artist, Brenda worked with diverse criminal investigative agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Department of National Defense, private investigative agencies, and municipal police departments. Brenda and her partner John live in the suburbs of Halifax, Nova Scotia with their two SPCA rescue dogs: Timber the Huskador and Katie the Pitweiler. Their blended human family includes five adult children and two grandchildren. Books by Brenda Hoddinott include: 2012: Introduction to Contour Lines (Drawspace Publishing) 2012: Introduction to Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2011: Illustrated Dictionary of Art-Related Terms (Drawspace Publishing) 2010: Getting Started with Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2004: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing People Illustrated (Alpha Books) 2003: Drawing for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc.)

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