Drawing with shaky hands can be incredibly difficult. Especially if your condition affects your well-being when all you want to do is have a creative outlet to ease your mind. Or, you just enjoy drawing but your condition interferes with it.
Fortunately, there are alternative ways to draw even if it’s not the way you intended to. More importantly, mental hacks to think about drawing in a better light.
The desire-fulfillment theory suggests that well-being is directly related to one’s attitude towards it.
This means that your attitude determines your quality of life, regardless of a critical, or permeant hindering human condition.
Acceptance may be the key to having a good perspective on drawing, even with the shakiest hands.
This article will breakdown valuable ways on how people with shaky hands draw. Along with research on the top tier strategies on stabilizing even the shakiest hands.
Possible Reasons for Shaky Hands
Neurological disorder(>Nervous system damage due to injury or disease)
- Essential Tremor(s):
- resting tremor, cerebellar tremor, physiologic tremor
- dystonic tremor, hand tremor, action tremor, orthostatic tremor
- familial tremor, intention tremor, posturaltremor
- psychogenic tremor, parkinsonian tremor
- Parkinson’sDisease/ Parkinson’s tremor
- Huntington’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Other Underlying Cause
- Medication Side Effects (i.e epilepsy meds)
- Other health-related problems (alcohol withdrawal, caffeine, stress, anxiety disorder)
- HypoglycemiaLow blood sugar
- Paralysis condition
- Overactive thyroid
Ways to Draw with Shaky Hands
Below is a list of suggestions and resources to help aid drawing with shaky hands including:
- Draw lines quickly instead of slowly
- Angle your lines left to right (or vise versa)
- Use a computer programmed art tool
- Use mindfulness when getting frustrated drawing
- Hand assist device: GRIPIT
- Use a mahal stick
- Brace one hand over the other
1. Draw Lines Quickly Instead of Slowly
Drawing lines quickly will lessen the wiggly lines that can happen when you draw at a slower pace. However, you have to experiment with what pace works best for you.
If you go too slow it will be shakier, but too quick may not allow you to control where it will go.
A tip is to take a writing utensil and a piece of paper and drawing lots of lines on it to figure out your best speed and angle. After a bit of practice, the angle will be less of a hindrance and it will help smoothen lines.
2. Angle Your Lines Left to Right (or vice versa)
By angling your lines from your starting point to your endpoint, your wrist will naturally move along the line you intend your hand to go in. this allows for more control just by focusing where you want your line to go, even if it’s not perfect.
Charles Schulz drew Peanuts for almost 20 years with essential tremor. It’s the reason why the latter strips have a wiggly line look to them.
From this research, there’s so much art you can do without needing to draw the most perfect lines.
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3. Use a Computer Programmed Art Tool
A lady with epilepsy shared her experience of using an online drawing tool, as her hands and body shake 90% of the time from an essential tremor.
Clicking and dragging a mouse may be easier than gripping a drawing tool (pencil) to draw with shaky hands. Better yet, your lines will be perfectly straight as it provides a line stabilizer feature that you can customize to your liking.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this drawing tool is that it’s programmed to detect tremors as you draw virtually, where it stabilizes the shaky parts and provides a fine line that you envisioned to draw.
If you’re interested in creating digital art, computer software like Lazy Nezumi Pro can help you keep your strokes even.
4. Use Mindfulness
Human life comes with inevitable sufferings, that are existential in our species. This includes old age and the downfalls that may come with it. Such as sickness, grief, and diagnosed illnesses.
Psychotherapists suggest alleviating the emotional suffering that sometimes is a by-product of physical suffering with mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be described as a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. It is commonly used with meditation, as a practitioner will tell you to focus your attention on the breath and allow your thoughts to be there, without judging them.
Monks used mindfulness to still their minds and achieve total acceptance of “what is”. By observing your thoughts without judgment, you feel more at peace, just by accepting them.
Most of people’s suffering comes from what they can’t control, shaky hands (due to a human condition) being one of them. More importantly, they feel frustrated and don’t like to sit with those feelings – mindfulness allows these feelings which takes its power out of them.
Amazon has a Book & CD to teach beginners everything they need to know about mindfulness, with tactile strategies to transform the way they think, feel, and even draw.
The teacher is also a scientist and clinician who is an expert in mindfulness that offers ways to become present and accepting amidst difficult daily activities.
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5. Hand Assist Device: GRIPIT
The main development objective of GRIPIT is to assist users to grasp tools with their own hands using a lightweight, compact assistive device that is manually operated via a single wire.
GRIPIT offers a glove, a wire, and a small structure that stabilizes tendon tension to support a stable grasp.
The tendon points are made to apply force to the thumb, index finger, and middle finger to complete a tripod grasp. The tension structure keeps the grasp posture aligned with appropriate tension.
The results out of this study showed benefits for writing sensation, fatigability, and legibility as it affords sufficient grasp force during writing. However, this device can also be used for drawing as lines are made straighter with aiding grasping ability.
Further studies showed better results when participants used GRIPIT than when they used the conventional penholder, mainly because GRIPIT allowed them to obtain a higher grasp control.
Grasp control is important because disabled people cannot control their fingers and need to move their entire arm to write. Conversely, non-disabled people only need to move their fingers to write or draw.
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6. Mahl Stick
A mahl stick is an artist tool to help paint large or small strokes on a canvas. It is a thin pole that is about 1 meter long with a circular shaped pad on one end. It’s an excellent aid for painting, as it has two main purposes.
To help steady your hand while painting. Your painting hand may become tired if you are far away from the canvas. The mahl stick gives an added grip to alleviate some shakiness. Take precaution though if gripping is not working, as you wouldn’t want to accidentally fall into the canvas.
To provide support for your hand to rest on. Sometimes painting on an aisle can feel awkward since there’s nowhere to put your other hand. Most people put one hand on the paper while drawing and you can’t do the same with painting because you’ll get wet paint on you.
This support and steadiness can aid painting strokes, and better yet, you can be as abstract as you want. You don’t have to worry about your painting looking like anything. Lines are perfectly fine and there are no rules to what art is not.
How to Use a Mahl Stick
With your non-painting hand, grab the end (no ball end) and then rest the circular ball end of the stick on the edge of the canvas in a spot you know is dry.
That way, you can lean into your canvas without getting paint on your clothes. Thus, providing steadiness to shaky hands while painting any kind of strokes.
Amazon carries an expandable Mahl Stick for Painting made out of a traditional leather-covered cork (ball-end rest) and varnished aluminum stick. The leather will not slip and provides extra support, unlike conventional rubber.
7. Brace One Hand Over the Other
By bracing one hand over the other, your non-painting or drawing hand acts as a resting spot for support. This simple act can make a difference in regard to steadying your shaking hand with drawing movement.
This drawing aid can be best performed during pencil or pencil crayon drawings. Avoid pen, marker, paint, or chalk as you don’t want to get residue on the side of your hand. However, you can use any drawing tool, just place your hand in a dry spot on the page or canvas.
Without any resting support, it is more difficult to draw from an above angle as the drawing hand will usually become unsteady.
It makes it easier to drag your hand across the surface when you’re leaning on your non-drawing hand while keeping both hands sturdier.
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Shaky hands don’t have to hold you back for a creative part of life which is drawing.
The hand is one of the most crucial body parts for independent living because so many tasks of daily life, such as writing, eating, and grasping, require an efficient hand.
People who suffer from permanent paralysis of the hand, or certain bodily diseases, injuries, and a type of neurological condition usually require assistive devices in order to use their hands.
Drawing needs a certain amount of grip and steadiness to draw shapes or lines with shaking hands. Use these tips to heighten your drawing stability to express your artistic side further.
Adopting a mindful mindset can alleviate the common frustrations people feel while drawing with involuntary shaking hands.
Let us know in the comments if this article was helpful to you or share it with someone you know who may benefit from these tips.