Saturday, October 07, 2006

When It Hurts to Draw

Drawing creates similar inuries as keyboarding ...

"Drawing is not usually thought of as a high-risk occupation. Calluses, dirty fingernails, stained clothes, and the occasional paper cut are usually the worst that can happen. But for many artists, particularly those who have been drawing for years, the simple act of using a pencil can yield painful and devastating results over time.

Blame it on devotion, but many artists—chiefly those for whom pencils are the instruments of choice—experience a repetitive strain injury (RSI) at some point in their careers. Repetitive strain injuries, as the name suggests, come from repeated stressing and flexing of certain muscles and joints. For most, pain associated with RSI is located in the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulders, neck, or even the lower back. The bad news: for many, the pain is chronic and often interferes severely
with their passion for drawing. The good news: everyone can benefit easily from preventative and restorative measures.

Tennis Elbow & Ergonomics
Tennis elbow—or, as Allison Fagan, a signature member of the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA), calls it, “pencil elbow”—is a common complaint among those who spend long hours drawing. Says colored pencil artist Helen Passey, “My tennis elbow is definitely a direct result of colored pencil work on a show deadline.” Leslie Arwin, a doctor who practices occupational medicine and a member of the CPSA, says her struggle with both tennis and golfer’s elbow (lateral and medial epicondylitis, respectively) has been frustrating and has also forced her to re-evaluate the way she draws. “It is important to have an ergonomic evaluation of your work space,” says Arwin. “For artists, that isn’t always easy.” If you don’t have an ergonomic evaluator at your disposal, here are some basic improvements you can make on your own."    (Continued via American Artist)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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