Drawing from the Shoulder
By now you are a routined writer and know your way around a pencil very well. You have the necessary movement routines intuitively at your disposal, your mind and your muscles are trained. You make use of the very same routines for drawing, but to draw more versatile and loosely, you should think about exceeding this preconditioning. Wrist and hand have only a limited area of comfortable movement, the range of a singular stroke is low and you have to involve a lot of muscles to bring lines to paper. What you get is stiff, at least relatively to the looseness your shoulder has to offer. This new video is a good introduction: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlToLk…
To be clear: Drawing from the shoulder means you shift your movement to the shoulder muscles while keeping your wrist stiff. You don't combine the movements of two joints, instead you shift between them depending on the matter at hand. Long and steady lines from the shoulder come easy, since the movement process is way simpler and involving your whole arm acts stabilizing. When you give it a try, you should notice that you can draw pretty fluid lines right away, even straight ones. The problem is to gain the muscular control to determine your start and end point.
Therefore I put together a few known exercises that helps you reach this control. They are fit for digital and traditional linework. You got to exercise like this on a regular basis to get better. This videos demonstrates these very exercises: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvXO13… / www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6tmUJ… ( Sycra / Sinixdesign)
Exercises to train straight lines between point A and point B
1) Parallels: Just start with a straight line and do more below. Try to keep the following lines as parallel as possible and maintain an equal distance between the lines while you work your way to the bottom of the sheet. Remember to vary the angle on the paper between exercises to gain the ability to do straights in any orientation.
2) Actually draw two points on a blank sheet of paper. They should be far enough apart to justify shoulder movement. Now foreshadow the stroke you're about to do with your arm, but hover your hand and pencil over the sheet without actually drawing the line. When you got a feel for the necessary movement, try to connect them in a decisive but loose pencil stroke. Repeat and use sets of dots that demand you to do it in different angles.
To train Curves:
Instead of two points, use three. The third point somewhat in between the first two dots but above the straight they hint at. Then - to project a curve through them in your mind - do the foreshadowing as described in the last exercise. When you found the proper movement, draw the curve in a swift move.
To train Circles:
Helpful to sensitize the response of your shoulder muscles: draw considerably sized circles in one fluid stroke. Try to maintain an even diameter and close the circle in the very same motion you started it. Do different sizes, immediately move on to the next try, there is no success or fail. Fill the page with what i assume will be cracked eggs at first (see my poor demo), but you will get to the circles eventually.
Alternatively you can continue the stroke and double and triple the lines of the circle - you will get circular shapes even sooner, but messy linework. This should enable you to draw somewhat even circles pretty soon, what can be useful for the construction of human figures and other objects in a swift manner.
"Cube" Warmup Exercise: www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL3…
A captivating exercise.
Riverbed / Sediment Exercise: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohcSwO…
It's a combination of eye-hand / eye-shoulder coordination, since you got to learn to bring drawing from the hand and drawing from the shoulder together. Funny, I used to draw the very same thing all over my notebooks during boring class. This exercise can be warmup and will take about 10 minutes.
Free Drafting & Sense of Form Combined Exercises: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQYoVX…
That is it for now, but this digression into the physical aspects of drawing is open for extension. There is no need to submit any exercise you do along these suggestions to the groups gallery.