If we want to end a disturbing condition in our business affairs, we study that condition. If we wish to correct a mistake in directions, while traveling on vacation, we study a map. That is what we must do with suffering. We must study them just as carefully as any other condition we wish to correct.– Vernon Howard
Drawing is easy, what makes it difficult is the unnecessary stress the student unknowingly adds to his process. Awareness of the presence and analysis of the function of these tensions in the process of drawing is vital to draw with ease and relaxation. Not to say that some drawing ‘expresses’ tension, but a drawing ‘drawn’ with tension is different. The latter produces unwanted result.
There are two sources of tension a student experiences in drawing, psychological and physical tension. Psychological tension, for example, is being anxious in producing a drawing as good as an artist he idolizes. This state of mind causes physical tension on the student in an attempt to produce art which his hand hasn’t otherwise learned the skill for. Frustration is also a form of psychological tension, the effect of which renders a student incapable of drawing, or in an attempt to correct his mistake, creates physical tension as to forcibly produce the result he wants, adding more tension to his drawing. There are myriads of forms of tension both physical and psychological. These tensions are barriers in the development of skills in drawing. The student must learn to stop and analyze these tensions and bring them to a level of full understanding why these tensions occur. With a little thinking a student can free themselves of these debilitating habits and learn to proceed with ease.
Drawing is a physical activity, and any activity done with a lot of stress produces unwanted result, or can cause physical damage to the body. A student who learns to draw with a lot of tension will have grown with the habit and might see his tension as normal. This reduces his capable drawing time and can also lead to numerous known hand ailments. The student must be aware of his body while drawing and learn to release tension where it is not necessary. Most focus on the hand for it is the primary tool for drawing, but one must not neglect other parts to provide complete ease in drawing.
The eye, for example, a tool for viewing and reviewing your works, must be provided with ample light and easy angle for viewing. A flat table will be sufficient for drawing but an angled drawing table will save you time and energy in checking the perspective.
The lower body supports the weight of the upper body that supports the arm; here the student belittles this area. A proper balanced comfortable chair with a good height ratio with respect to the drawing table will support the body properly; setting the body proper will not cause you to unconsciously shift yourself from time to time, leaving the arm and hand free to do its work.
Most importantly, the hand; it need not apply excess pressure to the drawing, let the pencil be responsible for how light or dark the drawing is by choosing the proper softness and hardness of the lead. A good practice for hand tension is to choose a light paper for drawing and making sure not to tear the paper while drawing.
Learning a little in ergonomics goes a long way, big companies spend lots of time and money on them and so should a student whose pursuit is excellence.