How to Hold and Control Your Pencil

Are you tired of messy, wobbly lines? Tired
of not having any control of your pencil? Are you only capable of using a series of
short strokes? Well don’t throw in the towel just yet! Try drawing from the power of your
shoulder! With just a few short years of practice you can draw gestural, fluid lines like you’ve
always wanted. By using this patent-pending new arm motion we guarantee you’ll be able
to complete that curve with one beautiful stroke! Stay tuned to find out how you can
CHANGE YOUR LIFE! There are two common ways to hold your pencil
while drawing: Tripod Grip – Holding the pencil with your
thumb, index and middle fingers, like writing. This grip is more comfortable for using the
tip of the pencil. Not practical to use the side. It’s also comfortable to control with
your fingers to draw very small precise lines. So, it’s good for small strokes and thin
lines that are uniform in weight. Overhand Grip – Holding your hand over the
pencil. Your hand should be relaxed with the fingers and thumb lightly holding the pencil.
You can still use the tip of the pencil by one of two ways. If drawing on a horizontal
surface like a tabletop, simply bend the wrist forward a bit. If drawing on a vertical surface
such as a pad resting on your knees or an easel, you can flip your wrist upside down
to use the tip. Along with the tip, the overhand grip allows you to use the side, which is
much more versatile than the tip. You can get thick soft lines, thin lines, and a transition
between the two. Controlling the Pencil Since grade school we are accustomed to using
the pencil for writing. Since writing only requires our wrist, we have decades of muscles
memory developed for handling the pencil with our wrists. Though there’s nothing wrong
with using our wrist when it makes sense, we would be limiting ourselves if we didn’t
go beyond the wrist. The wrist serves well for small strokes and
details. The shoulder serves well for short AND long
strokes. It’s much better for steady lines and fluid gestural lines. Your shoulder provides a greater range of
motion than your wrist. So, when drawing larger shapes, curvy lines, use your shoulder. This
is especially useful for gesture drawing. Once you need to add some little details,
you can switch to the tripod grip. Again, it’s ok to use your wrist and hold the pencil
with the tripod grip for smaller details, but watch out for this… Since using your wrist doesn’t allow longer
strokes, we end up drawing a bunch of short lines to create one longer line. This can
get messy and you may end up with hairy lines. Using the Overhand Grip Holding the pencil overhand allows you to
use the side of the pencil. When sharpened correctly (as I explained in the pencil sharpening
video..) this allows you to get larger strokes of tone. If you press lightly and layer one
stroke over another, you can get soft gradations. You can roll the pencil forward or backward
to control the thickness and edge quality of the line. Use the area closer to the tip
for a thinner sharper line and use the middle for a thicker softer line. And everything
between.. Also, you can change the angle of your stroke
to control the line thickness. Stroking perpendicular to the length of the pencil creates a thick
line like I just showed. Pulling the pencil downward, parallel to the length of the pencil
creates a thin line. So you don’t need to use the tip, though you can.. With a slight
turn of the wrist while you’re pulling the stroke, you can create a line that changes
from thin to thick. This variation in line weight adds a good dynamic to our drawings.
It’s kind of like using a calligraphy pen instead of a ballpoint pen. The combination of an overhand grip and using
your shoulder allows for the widest range of motion and line type. Most of the drawing
can be done this way. Muscle Memory When we first start holding it like that it
feels weird because we don’t have good control of our shoulder. We’ve only practiced using
our wrists to write. We need to train our shoulder. It’s like playing sports. Repeat
the motion so many times that it becomes intuitive. Our friends at Wikipedia say Muscle memory
is “a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory
through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created
for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process
decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory
systems.” So, at first, drawing in this new way is a
distraction. Our mind has to focus on moving the shoulder correctly instead of making decisions
about the drawing. Fight the temptation to revert back to just using your wrist with
the tripod grip. Overtime as you develop the muscle memory you won’t need to think about
it and you’ll use the pencil like a Jedi master. Exercises Start training you shoulder by filling pages
of curves, circles and straight lines. Draw two dots and connect them with a straight
line to train your hand eye coordination. Or draw 4 dots and connect them with an ellipse.
Try “ghosting” the lines first by practicing the motion before making contact with the
paper. This is a great warm up before starting your drawing session. You can also practice controlling your line
weight by shifting your curves from thin to thick. Or if you struggle with filling in large areas
with clean tone, then draw a 6×6 inch square and fill it in with a clean tone. It helps
to shade only on the down strokes and lift the pencil off the paper on the way back up.
Focus on keeping the distance between each stroke consistent and using the same amount
of pressure each time. A very good exercises for hand-stability and pressure sensitivity.
If you end up with dark and light lines, it means either your stroke distance or pressure
is inconsistent. btw, a well sharpened pencil helps a lot… *** I think you should check out the premium courses.
Head over to for the full line up. You’ll find cool things like Portrait
Drawing, Figure drawing, Art Model Poses and a poster of Human Proportions. Whaaat?! If you like this video, share the wealth,
tell your friends. Post it on your favorite social network. Subscribe to the Proko newsletter
if you want to be updated about new videos. Buh Bye!


  • Kaelem S

    Lol I love when he demonstrates the technique😂

  • john chen

    So hard

  • Lora

    This is the first time that I actually knew why we would draw using our shoulder because you're right it was very uncomfortable and I wouldn't do it,but now that I know why, it makes more since. Thanks for the insight

  • billy jennings


  • Blueberry Poptart

    I hold my pencil between my middle and ring finger and I use a mechanical pencil. I don't think this'll help me much.

  • vijay raghul

    Is tiz a charcoal pencil?

  • Dhinex Van Halen

    Nice Smile Brother,,haha
    like Proko Chanel..👍💖👍
    Smart and Simple

    #INDONESIA watching

  • sugi ang

    This sounds like an ad

  • 秋木休NeGeX

    Do you use the side of the exposed lead in whole, or just part of it is actually touching I have different diameters for my 4B and 8B pencil, and I can't use the side of my 4B fully but it is still creates thicker lines.

  • Graphics Rex

    I swear, every time he mentions the short hairy lines (3:16), it's like the police just showed up at my door…waaahhh!!!

  • Alessandro Zir

    u ARE glorious!!!

  • gdwolf7


  • gdwolf7

    God so much to learn!

  • GreenBlazer 416

    Love the whole paid advertisement mood in the beginning

  • Ed balvin

    Your art models are not giving good poses .
    Try to improve that part first

  • GreenBlazer 416

    Lol "a few SHORT years"

  • ExoT3ch Gaming

    When you press your side against the paper, I cant help but feel like its gonna break and feel uneasy

  • Stewart Patrus

    This only took a few months for me to get good at…
    Not a few years

  • anna nguyen

    What if I am drawing digitally, can't hold the overhand grip though😫😫

  • monster coockie zero

    Is this applicable for holding a wacom digital pen?

  • Swamp Fox

    Holy shit! That intro was funny 👍👍👍😂😂😂😂😂

  • Dave FX

    What about with a tablet. There's no way I'm holding a stylus like that.

  • teody gaspar

    My friend hold pencil with his mouth…sometimes with his feed while drawing. I love it.

  • may thu

    Can you tell me what kind of pencil you used in this video?

  • Midnight The Jolteon

    I just noticed that I hold my pencil in a wrong way (after watching this video) so thats why very time I drew it ended up on the garbage bin. By the way thanks for the tips.

  • Jizhou Yang

    Great and informative video! Does the overhand grip work in digital art as well?

  • jon ye

    great video

  • عبد الواسع عثمان

    Could I use this technique for pencil or it's only for coal?

  • Megha Batra

    Which pencil do you use . Can uh tell me 😓

  • NylaTheWolf

    Thank you so much! I recently noticed that my pencil sometimes controls me more than i control it!

  • Axisquid f

    why I'm thinking of "Better call Saul"?

  • Shaider Riz

    Good, but you forgot to talk about pencil; is it 8H, 6H, 4H, 2H, H, 8B, 6B, 4B, 2B, or B or HB, graphite, carbon, lead?………is it important or any pencil can be used. thank you.

  • majid sadeghi


  • giovana314

    Does someone knows what kind of pencil is that?

  • Charles Glenn Gallardo


  • Basque Wasp

    Any particular type of pencil suggested?

  • Jonnyboi

    7:57 "Are you tired of Messi?"

  • Igor Prokhorko Gevonshyr

    You are so funny!!! Love your vids

  • Defal Hady

    His voice at opening sounds like adds

  • Herron Andrew Cagas

    You talk like you're indorsing a product. I was waiting for the "but wait, there's more" thing😂

  • Tris S.

    My arm feels like it's about to come off

  • I love lolis

    this is actually not right at all.

  • Alfie Solomon

    Yeah but what if you like to draw on A4 paper?

  • S Giminez

    😂 love the intro…

  • Dezalyn Navarro

    this is the best video it’s funny helpful and it’s nice to watch 🙂

  • Brandon Laxamana

    Thank for the advice

  • manasey relax

    you're show the very best and easiest way to the drawing i like you're drawing

  • Raavi D.

    Yeeeee & i am able to sharpen like u told & its easy to hold pencil… ur teachings are d best…. thank u so much sir…

  • Art CaFe

    He looks like james Moriarty…

  • Fake Name

    How convenient for me as a cellist.

  • Suxton

    Holy crap my man, ty for this <33333333333333

  • April Hale

    Can’t follow you mate, you’re way over my head 😐

  • pra besh

    What is the name of this pencil ? How can I get it in India ?

  • Malia Reynolds

    Bahahahahahaha…. That intro though 😂😅🤣

  • Steve S

    I am still looking for your video on how to sharpen the pencil.

  • Gab Ferrer

    This is so funny idk why. Informative tho 👍🏻

  • MrBubbles

    2 short years of practice you guarantee we will be able to complete a beautifully curved stroke?
    I'll see you in 2 years.

  • Blenderous

    Hey moriorty!!

  • Morbeez

    Draws one long straight line with overhand grip: *Does well*
    Draws one long straight line with tripod grip: *Also does well*

    I don't see the difference

  • Rasraj Arts & Calligraphy

    Thank you. A great help for beginners. By profession i m a teacher. I love art , painting, music, singing, games etc…but apart from that most of the time i devote calligraphy writing. I found you something different. Your tips will help me to tell my students the proper gripping. Thanks. You got me.

  • Chalk5oda2oy

    Can I use this with mechanical pencils?

  • Gabriel Fischer

    took me a few years to realizy that even in the overhand you touch the paper with your hand

  • Cam Williams

    Thank you so much for the tutorial!!!

  • javan napoli

    I think I've finally found the channel to learn from lol.

  • No Name

    I wish my parents supported my passion for art.

  • Robin Marwick

    Thanks Sam a really interesting video…starting my few short years of practice now.

  • enzito_sdf

    joke's on you, i already drew 250 FUCKING BOXES WITH THE DAMN SHOULDER
    i love the weird pencil grip tho, seems more natural and fluid

  • CoreMania

    it says few short years of practice, i think we all got the hang of it in 10 mins.

  • Christopher Walker

    Great little tutorial – thanks! And by the way, I loved you as Moriarty in Sherlock 🙂

  • Theodore Choi

    0:20 with just a few years-
    me a few years?!

  • 秋木休NeGeX

    Just some things that I noticed and I want to share:
    1) Pay attention to the distance between his thumb and his index finger, and between his index finger with the tip of the pencil, not too close and not too far away.
    2) Fix your wrist no matter what, even the smallest detail, just use your shoulders. (This is just a way to train your shoulders)

  • KG

    Great intro! 😂 You can afford the irony. 👍🏻

  • Kirill Belousov

    Very cool actually. I'm guessing this pencil is pretty soft then, since you getting very wide shading line?

  • Juan Carlos

    Man, I really have to say: this is an excellent channel!!!

  • Suresh Kumar N


  • Happy Cutter

    0:30 that made my day

  • Drawing class with kalyan

    Very nice and helpful for all art lovers

  • Jasper Saures

    I'm only watching this so that I can draw a circle.

  • shymickey6

    Lol the intro!

  • Bobby Bob

    Let me ask? How do I hold the pencil correctly when holding it overhand because everytime I hold the pencil overhand it does not seem to be perfect so can you show me how??

  • Duy Nguyễn


  • Fred Tap Arts

    Nice tips..;-)

  • Stephania F.A.


  • Razeen Mohammed

    "Decreases the need for attention" gonna suggest my ex to read more about muscle memory

  • Kino -Imsure1200q


  • BlueFlameXLover

    I’m Harry Potter

  • SpeedyTheSniper

    thank you stan prokopenko!

  • Wee Abdull

    Yes I'm tired lol

  • Karrueche Draws
    hey i have stopped to drawings since 8 years iam 23 y old now should i resume ? look my video and tell me 🙂

  • Keshawn Brown

    Handwriting of a pen levert lewis G Mail Com.sync date time.

  • Seafoam Serpent

    Okay so I can only draw from my shoulder if I use the overhand grip?

  • Saitama

    hey Proko, are you a cuber?? how the heck you understand muscle memory so good.
    thanks for the vid btw!

  • Bayek of Siwa

    Please halp! My pencil keeps walking away!

  • Peter

    Dont tell me what to do

  • Just Commenting

    But what if I want to draw digitally?
    Then the overhand grip is not useful…
    How do you draw with a Digital pen?

  • lyvii-o

    "I will not draw naked art models in class" HAS ME DEAD AKDJFJDKJDKDK 😂😂😂😂😂

  • Sup-Er-Man

    Whats that pencil?

  • Hector Rubio

    Thank you, I love your videos

  • Ali Almarri

    What I really want to know is what did you do to the pencil in the thumbnail?!

  • thisjointisloose

    Exactly like PC gaming. People usually only use the wrist when using a computer. But for gaming you need to use your arms and your shoulders because of the limited motion of the wrist.


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