How to Hold The Pencil While You Draw

Posted in Blog on August 29, 2019

Pencil and sketchbook

There are a lot of theories about how to hold a pencil when drawing.

While the art supplies you use matter a lot, how you use them is more important.

You will hear so many people tell you you’re not holding your pencil incorrectly or that is not the standard way to hold it.

Let me tell you that trying to force yourself to adjust to a grip you’re not comfortable with is the worst thing that you can do to your drawing.

It creates stress and obstructs the natural flow of your drawing.

There are different ways to hold a pencil.

I’ll tell you about them so you can explore them all.

Once you know about the right grip, I’ll explain the right and wrong methods for how to hold a pencil when drawing.

Let’s get started.

Basic Tripod Grip

The most basic method to hold a pencil is the tripod grip. This is probably the one you use for writing.

For the basic tripod grip method, your thumb and forefinger create a triangle with your middle finger. Your ring finger and the pinkie finger support your grip.

You’ve got a tight control on the pencil, which makes it suitable for drawing precision lines.

You use your fingers and thumb to control the pencil, so this method is great for drawing in a smaller space.

Drumstick Grip

The second grip is the drumstick grip.

It’s called the drumstick grip because you kind of hold the pencil like the way you hold a drumstick.

Basically, the pencil is held loosely between your index finger and the thumb.

This allows the marks you make with your pencil come from the side of the graphite rather than the tip.

With the drumstick grip, you’re moving your hand and shoulders instead of just your wrist and fingers.

This forces you to loosen up with your drawing on a larger scale.

Paint Brush Grip

The second method of how to hold a pencil when drawing is the paint brush grip.

It’s like how you would hold a paintbrush. You hold the pencil upright.

The back of the pencil rests against the area between your thumb and index finger.

It’s the ideal grip for when you want to make light, delicate marks while drawing.

This way of holding a pencil makes the tip of the pencil come into contact with the drawing sheet.

You’re also able to use a combination of wrist and shoulder movements to make the marks.

The Right and Wrong Ways to Hold Your Pencil While Drawing

Essentially, the right method of how to hold a pencil when drawing is actually based on your comfort level.

Many people prefer the tripod grip because that’s how they naturally hold a pencil when writing.

If you feel you draw better with any of the grips mentioned above, that is the right way for you to hold your pencil.

Never force yourself to stick to a grip because someone else told you to.

Even if you are using high quality art supplies, the comfort level of your grip will ultimately influence how well you draw.

Just try out all these different approaches. It might feel a little weird at first but who knows?

Maybe you’ll enjoy the alternative grips more than the standard one.

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