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I've been posting some video tutorials to teach aspiring artists my drawing techniques, but I think it's very important to learn from my mistakes as well.

I'm 25 right now, and I've been drawing all my life. I started drawing a lot more and professionally when I was about 19-20. I drew all the time and didn't think much about it. I would draw until I'm in pain, from sitting too long, from not eating because I was in the flow and didn't want to stop. I would get terrible back pains and even heart palpitations from sitting in the same position drawing for so long.

That's when the nails on my right hand started to get weird and lumpy. At first I thought it was a dietary thing, so I took vitamins, went to the doctors, exercised, changed things up but it was too late. It's been years now and 3 doctors later they couldn't fix it.

If it were just ugly nails, I wouldn't really care, but the nails are just the tip of how bad I've been treating my body. One time during a particularly hardcore drawing marathon, my right hand swelled up for a week. Nowadays I try to take it easy and take long breaks in between but the damage that has already been done can't be undone. I can only draw for so many hours in a day before I have to stop or I will get pains from my entire hand, arm, and shoulder.

Now I have a standing desk, ergonomic mouse, hand brace, and all that. I wish I had done these things sooner so I can keep drawing without restraint. I used to update my comics more frequently, but I can't realistically sustain that speed without hurting myself. (Hence I plan on doing a Patreon in the future so I can hire helpers to do some of the comic's background drawings)

In those speed paint tutorials where I paint within 1-2 hours, it may seem like I have it made, dishing out art in hours, but after those hours I have to massage my hand and arm. I can't draw for more than a few hours a day now without hurting.

When I was in college all I could think about is how to improve my skills, practice endlessly, and all that hard work has paid off in some ways but not in others. So please take care of your hands, and your general health. It seems obvious in retrospect but I never thought about it when I was younger that, hey maybe, just maybe, if you overwork and break your body, you won't be able to draw and create all you want anymore.

Take breaks, don't grip too hard, do hand exercises, do general exercises, get ergonomic mouse and a standing desk if you can (I just piled a bunch of books on my regular desk until it was tall enough) These are some of the few ways you can help your hand last in the long run :)

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Basil-The-Bunny Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad you shared this information because as a young artist, only 12 lol, I still have a lot to learn and I kinda draw all day most times. I mean the worst I have right now is thicker skin where the pencil sits, partly from school,  and my nail is flat on one side, also from school, but I will calm down drawing and still practice but not to the point where it hurts which luckily hasn't happened yet!
Luciux Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
hey, I hope you are good and has less pain or at last not any pain anymore

I remember this post from de 2015 and always think about your words

Bets regards, best wishes and all the heealth the world can provide you <3
littlescreechowl Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2018  Professional General Artist
I feel your pain. I tattooed full hours a day 7 days a week for 20+ years and then part time for another 17. The hand I held my machine in is now a painful wreck. My elbow and shoulder are arthritic too. 
Take care of your body youngsters. Suffering for your art is a given, but crying from real pain as you work is the pits.
00BlacKBerrY00 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
As someone who suffers from kyphosis i can totally relate. I tend to skip exercise and eating because how how much i'm caught up with drawing. I know it will get worse but i can't really pull myself to make a strict schedule. Every time there is something that completely turns everything upside down and destroys my routine..sigh. 
OmegaTitan29 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2017
It's a good thing I came across this just now. I'm already starting to feel pain in my right wrist, and I've been drawing since elementary. It's been like this for almost a week now. I really hope it isn't CTS.

Thank you for sharing this and take good care. I definitely will take better care of my hand and wrist like you said.
HazelRose3637 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Take extra good care of yourself! It's never worth suffering from pain or hunger or fatigue! Hug  
Golden-Angel-Dragon Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2017  Professional General Artist
I want to share this experience into :icontips4you:
KeetaBeeta Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017   Digital Artist
thank u so much for sharing your experience. I am in PT right now for CTS and RSI (for the past 3 months) and I've totally jacked my hands up as well. I had to cancel cons and go on a recovery break.
I plan on starting again this Jan. And u are not alone, I have the 'puff' tips too....
But, yeah, frequent breaks and smart working makes a diff
FlamingReaperComic Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You know what? I wonder how those manga artists do it. People that go to work and draw. How do they do it five days a week for 8 hours?
zebnemma Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016
I used to draw for hours each day when I was a kid because back then that was my biggest interest, and I had no other interests. Nowadays making just 1 proper finished drawing is too exhausting for me so I hardly draw that often anymore. I usually just make like 1 proper drawing a month! I miss the good old days when I just drew for fun and didn't judge myself so hard. Now it gotta be perfect or not at all! I wonder if that childish exitement I got from drawing will ever return.
Depardokai Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2016  Hobbyist
Quality information. I know first hand (no pun intended) the same goes for video gaming. EAT! Sit up straight! Take breaks! Stand up, exercise a little, stay hydrated, learn some hand yoga and do it! I have lumps and callouses on my hands from the way I grip my controller that have developed from years of playing various games. Luckily I started doing these things before it got out of hand (okay maybe that one was a little pun intended). It is real, take care of yourself everyone!
Elfoiskatel Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2016
Can I get this text, translate and post on =)
kchov Featured By Owner Edited Jul 17, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Well... I get back pains that wont go away. My posture when drawing is terrible plus I draw about 6 hours a day (Summer is great.). my back sometimes cracks when I inhale.... still not stopping though. :)
Zypex117 Featured By Owner Edited Jul 16, 2016
This reminds me of how screwed up my body is after staying up until like 1am in the morning for the last 3 years.
OPFreak34 Featured By Owner Edited Jul 4, 2016
Maybe you should ask your doc if it's psoriasis. It can happen because of your genes, stress or infections, though my book says, that it isn't known for sure, the actual cause is still pretty unknown. If you have more skin dandruffs than usual, you could ask him. I don't know wether it can also happen because you gripped the pen too much/tight, but the 'deformed' part looks like the picture in the book. Might be wrong, after all (would be kinda unusual if it was only on one hand) :)
But I just wanted to let you know, in case it is.
AnonamusChicken Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016   Artist
Too late! My ring finger on my right hand is oddly deformed because I have a weird way of holding pencils (plus I press on them pretty hard). :P :D
Dorian-Harker Featured By Owner Edited May 26, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
After 25 body starts decaying, like, generally. No more Wolverine regeneration powers from the teenage years. 
I wasn't drawing for 10 years and I recently started to draw more or less every day - so my hand hurts like a bitch. After only a mouth or two.

So yeah. We're all gonna die.
lapedas Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
dis comment made my day :lol
Zypex117 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2016
well fuck
TheBakerofCupcakes Featured By Owner May 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
WAIT. so i wrote a lot of stuff by hand in like elementary and junior high because I didn't have a computer handy, and my left ring finger was all lumpy for like three years. Would that have caused that?
spartan1010101 Featured By Owner May 14, 2016  Student
m-my nails are the same on my right ring and pinkey finger; it's a lot more subtle but I never knew it was from drawing/writing.  
satoruu Featured By Owner May 20, 2016
If you bite your nails it also causes it. If you do it just take breaks more often, don't be scared to hold a pencil.
spartan1010101 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2016  Student
I actually never bit my nails, but I found out it can also be caused by eczema which I have a mild version as well. So maybe it's both? idk, I don't intend to stop drawing though lol.
weehawk99 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2016  Hobbyist
Thanks for sharing this. As another commenter mentioned, some people are very fortunate to be resistant to these problems, but those are few. Everyone breaks down eventually.  
So everyone take care. 
AliceSacco Featured By Owner Edited Apr 5, 2016   Digital Artist
I draw all the time, with wrong pengrip, but I never had the problem you have.
Is also true that I can draw with both hands, is also true that my hands are quite resistant to fatigue (when it comes about drawing). I had bad pain to my right hand twice and I just switched to the left for the following weeks, so I could keep drawing while letting my hand rest
I wasn't aware about also nails getting deformed. I have a more prominent artist bump on my right hand because I have a more correct grip in the left, but my hands still look normal.

You may train your left hand. You may either find this a difficult task that takes months or years to learn, or you will discover you have some innate ambidexterity (this happened to me) and in a matter of days you will be able not only to draw just like how you draw with the right, but also to do everything else.

I would suggest you to give chanches to your left hand, so whenever you fell tired, you can switch.
Also when you draw traditionally, you can paint double handed.
xXAelita-ChanXx Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2016
Oh no, I am really sorry to what had happened to you. Thank you for sharing, take care of yourself!
I have a bad habit of biting my nails ever since I was five years old, it's really hard to stop.
KOA15 Featured By Owner Edited Apr 3, 2016  Student Writer
I want to watch your videos,It would be great to learn from someone who draws in a long time basis.I will take care of my hands,I promise

Edit:Just to make it clear,I didn't mean to be douchy up there,I swear.I just wanna learn.
ZNsnowbell4 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2016  Student General Artist
she has a youtube channel...
VirdisDrachen Featured By Owner Edited Apr 3, 2016  Student General Artist
thank you for sharing, this is good to know but it's unfortunate that it has happened to you. I hope it doesn't get any worse, take care.
amayaangeline Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow I just knew that you can damage your hand just from  drawing. I've been drawing since little too but I never had this kind of problem. Thanks for sharing! :hug:
Phoenix-Wing-Art Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Sometimes whenever I draw my left hand cramps up because I have a bad habit of putting too much pressure on the paper. But it's really nothing that a good stretch can't fix. I really love drawing, I do but sometimes I have to stop drawing the way I usually do and go into the digital media just so I can take some shortcuts that paper just doesn't have.
TheLeoNamedGeo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
...I just developed arthritis in my hand a few days ago because of drawing too much... and now it ain't gonna go... ever...

I'm such an idiot. 😅
paulibus2001 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I also suffered a repetitive stress injury.  For 3 months I went to PT 3 times a week.  I could not use a computer, play video games, drive, or hold a book.  During the night, I slept on a recliner.  Fortunately, I had a prescription that would help me relax and sleep.

Now I am better, but will never be 100%.
Coffee-Write-Repeat Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
My Uncle did the same thing and now he has stopped drawing altogether, it's the saddest thing. I hope you are able to figure this out! 
mooneawolfdog Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2016
I feel the same way since I have  or did have scoliosis ( now I have a rod in my spine ) but I cant sit for long periods of time or else my feet will fall asleep and or swell up... Sighs I wish I could sit for hours and draw im glad you are taking your time dear its hard as an artist my mom does the same thing when she was a kid and drew all the time. I sat for hours at a time oh I love it .. but sometimes its worth it to be in pain to finish a drawing and feel accomplished ~ I hope you get well
Chronorust Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, I understand this. It's easy for someone like me to easily forget the amount of time I've spent doing something, especially as someone with ADHD. I really need to find a way to invest in an elevated stand or something; just anything basic to make the stages a breeze. Be careful everyone! ;)
DemonMinx Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OMG! O.o I don't mean to be a bitch when I ask this, but how tight did you grip your pen?
tenshi-chaos Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2016
I experience pain in my hand and arm after drawing or typing fora couple of hours. Same with back pain as well as pain in my shoulders, from siting and laying down when drawing. My nails aren't like yours but I my have arthritis. Have been to a doctor yet so it may be nothing. So much for wanting to be a massage therapist.
Narialla Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
After reading this I realized just how easy it was to forget stuff like this. I sit down for such long periods of time to draw that I often end up aching all over, forgetting to eat/drink, all these problems because I felt so inspired and never wanted to stop.
This has made me realize if I don't take care of myself right...I might not be able to do art in the future.

Thank you so much for this. :D
VampireQueenEffeffia Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
My hand hurts just looking at that! I sure hope you're doing better now!
SonicMasterHero Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016
O_O *mimics the 5th scream*…
Stitchthebest36 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016
Just shows what bad body alignment can do to people. 
TheDailyKagamine Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for this, because I am a younger artist and I started using a tablet roughly a year ago. I think most of my longer drawings take me four hours, while my worst has been eight hours. But ever since I saw this, I've actually kept more care to my nails, considering I am a nail biter. (It especially sucks when I'm in the middle of drawing or typing.)
nelm2010 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful warning -- and the pictures make it much more real! I do most of my art on the computer, thankfully, but I have a chronic condition that makes my hands swell up and ache, and I find using the touchpad on my laptop a lot makes it worse. Typing of course, is problematic sometimes. I'm going to be looking into Dragon Dictation to help with the writing and teaching tasks, because I can see it coming that I can use my hands less and less. Not good for a writer!
Tr1nks1e Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016  Professional General Artist
AMEN to this, I hope many see this! Carpal tunnel incidences is very high in people working with computers/doing art, also we tend to neglect our well being when we get immersed in our work. I sometimes work for 10 hours, on and off, because I am developing arthritis in my hand, especially my thumb. Also I have been treated for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. We as artists really need to take care of ourselves and our instruments - in other words OUR HANDS - otherwise we won't have them anymore!!
aquamareinex Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
same in my left thumb
aquamareinex Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
SuperJordanBlast Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
the only time I draw by hand is at school, in to mornings, morning tea and lunch
cristalg Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing this ... I'm currently having problems with my right hand... I'll have to visit the doctor... It's so frustrating, sometimes it hurts so much that I have to stop inmediatly... T-T Why hand?? Why ??? Bear Emoji-33 (Sad) [V2] 

Anyway Thanks! Kao Emoji-43(Sad waving) [V3] 
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