How do you hold a wacom pen for better tracing?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by TheGenerous, May 16, 2015.

  1. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a

    TheGenerous

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    I'm an Austronaut
    #1
    I'm learning to illustrate using a Wacom pen (Intuos 4, S) and I'm having trouble holding the pen to produce good traces.

    Could you please post a picture of how you hold the pen while the pen touches the surface? I'm interested in the wrist position as well.

    I'm tracing over other illustrations as an exercise, like those when we were learning handwriting as kids, but I have trouble with simple lines or curves. I'm trying different grips, using the pinky finger to balance, different velocities and page zoom configurations. Thanks :D
     
  2. CrickettGrrrl, May 16, 2015
    Last edited: May 16, 2015

    CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #2
    Are you feeling tense as you do these exercises? Perhaps you're gripping the stylus too tightly as a result.

    I have a bit of a wobble when I draw on a slick tablet surface and I've found that Command-Z and some self-forgiveness go a very long way.

    My grip is usually pretty loose (stylus held between thumb & forefinger in a relaxed grip & side of hand on the tablet surface) and when I'm in the drawing "zone" it's not unusual for me to drop my stylus occasionally, yeah, that relaxed. If it's a hot humid day I have a fingerless glove that will slip along the tablet surface. Unfortunately it's synthetic so if it's hot & humid it's not so comfortable to wear, & I'll put up with the judder & rude tabet noises instead.

    How do you hold a regular pen or pencil?

    -----
    Also, I learned to use a tablet 3 -- 4 years ago. I like, scratch that, love drawing, --but I was absolutely terrified to freehand lines with the tablet for at least a year. I'd go out of my way to use the dreaded pen tool and create shapes I could clip lines and textures to, rather than go "freestyle". But I'm timid about stuff like that so maybe you won't have as much trouble as I did. :p

    My freehand drawing improved radically after I got Manga Studio/Clip Studio because it has a much, much better drawing engine than Photoshop. My hand still wobbles but the lines look much better, and if they're not perfect --so much the better, it's okay.
     
  3. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #3
    Longtime Wacom tablet user, even more longtime crappy drawer. I'm more of a drafter than anything relative to putting stylus to digital medium - and I was a heavy user of Streamline when it was out, and now use Illustrator and other cheats... But, I'm not here to whine so much...

    Look at your stylus, remove it from the base and put it on your table - then pick up the base and give it a twist. If you haven't figured it out yet, there's at least 4 different types of nibs in the base, plus a nib removal tool. Try a different nib style!! I think I went maybe 5 years before I figured out there's nibs in that there base.... ;)

    My favorite two nibs are the white hard "felt" nibs, which make the drawing experience more like using a pen on paper, and the spring-loaded "stroke" nibs which are more like a smoother brush on a canvas. Wacom used to sell soft felt nibs but I haven't seen them on their web site for a few years (after I wore my last one out).

    The felt and stroke nibs work much better for me, and I haven't used the standard black nibs in ages. I can use a slow, and much more methodical hand when I'm attempting to draw an object.
     
  4. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #4
    I'd second the MangaStudio recommendation.

    I use a Cintiq now, so the following tip is no longer applicable to me, but when I used a tablet, I found taping a sheet of paper over the drawing area of the tablet hugely reduced the tendency of the pen to drift, especially on light/fine strokes. Be aware that this does increase wear on the nib, but you may find the benefits outweigh the disadvantage of the shorter nib life.

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  5. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #5
    I did try a piece of printer paper and you're right, the nib wore down substantially in a very short time. I'll try to track down a sheet of drafting mylar and try that as well.
     
  6. Yakibomb macrumors 6502

    Yakibomb

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #6
    Although many say that illustrating with a Wacom pen is exactly like drawing it does take quite a while to get used to. I guess its all about finding whats the most comfortable, as the way I was shown to hold the pen was extremely uncomfortable and hard to work with.
    In short practise, practise, practise :D
     
  7. TheGenerous thread starter macrumors 6502a

    TheGenerous

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    I'm an Austronaut
    #7
    Thank you all, this community is great! I'm trying all the advice from your responses.
     

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