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Gripping Stuff

This week I've been inspired to draw in pen and ink after I was given a pile of beautiful smooth, white paper. A joy, that's what it is.


I started thinking about the holes in my pen and ink collection - I have a variety of calligraphy, drawing and marker pens, and some good quality India ink, some nice brushes...yet they won't the marks I've been wanting to create, especially waterproof ones.


I began doing some research, watching videos and tutorials on dip pens, technical pens and brush pens. My word. There's a lot out there. The first thing that struck me, however was the way some people hold a pen. I actually recoiled at times. "That's not how you hold a pen!"


I got thinking about my judgy reaction. Why do I hold a pen or pencil the way I do? Probably because my early education drilled it into me. Why do I think it's the best way? Because I feel I have all-round control of the nib, my motion comes from the small joints of my fingers rather than my knuckle or wrist area, so I can make marks accurately, and the angle of the nib means I can see what I'm doing....then again, these weird people seemed to be producing perfectly lovely, admirable images and lettering without any trouble. So what's the deal?


It turns out there are several popular grips. Who knew? I found this image on Pintrest to show you what I mean.



I'm a dynamic tripod kinda gal (common and efficient! Ha!), except that unlike the example, my forefinger covers my pen. Then I thought, well, maybe there's a time and place for different holds, like if I wanted to make a larger smooth line, and my fingers don't give me as much range as my wrist. So I've been trying out different grips and actually, when hand painting gold lines onto vintage roundabout rides that we're restoring at the park, I'd say a lateral tripod does give me greater range and more stability.


While I'm not going to change my go-to grip, and I still think some of these holds look a bit peculiar in action, I'm happy I challenged myself and learned some things. Mostly, how other people hold a pen is none of my damn business ;-)

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