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Drawing a line

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How should you hold a pencil? How far from the sheet of paper should you be? These are the ABCs of drawing. With a little practice, you can master the right way to hold your pencil. 


Before starting, the right gestures:

You won't hold your pencil the same way to sketch the broad lines of your composition as you will to work on details. Play your hand !

1. Detail or small format work

Hold your pencil the way you usually hold a ball-point pen, placing your fingers 1 cm from the end of the lead. In this position, you can easily create detailed work. 

On the other hand, if you try to draw an arc of circle or a straight line, you'll see that you move unsurely and make an irregular stroke. This is because your wrist joint is "locked" and you lack range of motion.

2. Detailed sketch

Hold your pencil between your thumb and your index finger, placing them about 5 cm from the end of the lead. Wedge the other end of your pencil in the palm of your hand. Draw a shape of your choosing.

Back your fingers up some more and check your movement now, but, this time, setting your sheet of paper upright (on an easel, for example,). This way, you have greater control of your movement. A piece of advice: the more you practice this, the more confident you'll become!

What you need to know

People tend to try to draw the way they write… and that's a mistake!

Contrary to writing, drawing requires a minimum distance between the eyes and the sheet of paper: between 45 and 65 cm. With practice, you'll see it is a lot easier to draw at some remove from the subject: this will keep you from a lot of perception errors. 

Your watchword: stand back!