Hand Stretches for Artists
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Hello! My name is Liz Staley and I’m a long-time user of Clip Studio Paint (I started using the program back when it was known as Manga Studio 4!). I was a beta-tester on the Manga Studio 5 program and for Clip Studio Paint, and I have written three books and several video courses about the program. Many of you probably know my name from those books, in fact. I write weekly posts on Graphixly.com and on CSP Tips, so be sure to come back every week to learn more Clip Studio Tips and Tricks from me!
When you do a lot of drawing or other work with your arms and hands, it’s important to take care of them with stretches and other exercises. So while you’re working long hours creating comics or illustrations with Clip Studio Paint, remember these tips to keep your hands and wrists in great shape so that you can keep doing what you love to do!
In this article we will cover the following topics:
Before You Start Stretching
Extended Arm Stretch
Finger Lift Stretch with Table
Let’s do some stretching!
Before You Start Stretching…
If you are already having pain, please check with a medical professional to see what kind of stretches and exercises are right for you. This article is not medical advice (I am definitely not a doctor!) and is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical condition. This is intended to provide general advice.
Please listen to your body and stretch slowly. Stretches should not be painful! If you are having pain, please see a doctor to discover the cause of the discomfort and to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
The biggest reason to stretch your hands and wrists is to prevent pain before it starts. Using your hands for repetitive tasks, such as typing, drawing, and even playing video games, can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome usually causes numbness, tingling, pain, and burning in the fingers and wrist. This pain can also be shooting pain that radiates to the fingers.
If Carpal Tunnel gets bad enough, surgery may be needed, and in really bad cases you may never get all the use of your hands back.
Though Carpal Tunnel is unlikely to go away on its own, it doesn’t mean that surgery is needed in every case.
Of course the best way to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to do what you can not to get it in the first place! Which is why you should take frequent breaks while doing long sessions of drawing (about 10-15 minute break per hour), drink enough water, and also exercise your hands and wrists before and during repetitive tasks. Remember to sit with good posture when at a desk for a long time and to make your workspace as ergonomic as possible.
Do this stretch either while seated or standing. Place your hands with palms and fingers pressed together at the level of your face. Press your forearms together down to the elbows.
Continue with palms pressed together, spread your elbows and lower your hands to waist-level (or until you feel the stretch if you can’t get all the way to waist level!)
Hold for 30-60 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat 4-6 times.
Extended Arm Stretch
This stretch feels quite nice in the wrist and forearm! To start, hold one arm out in front of you with the palm facing the floor. Using your other hand, gently grab your fingers and pull them toward you so that your hand bends back. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then repeat with the other hand.
Next extend one arm with the palm facing toward the floor, as before. But this time use the opposite hand to pull the fingers down toward you, so that the hand is bent toward the floor. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then repeat with the opposite arm.
Repeat this set of stretches 4-6 times.
This simple stretch helps with mobility of the finger joints. Hold your hand in front of you with your palm facing you. Bend your fingers and thumb in so that your fingertips touch the base of each finger joint. Remember not to force the stretch - it’s okay if you can’t completely touch the base of your fingers right away!
Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 4-6 times for each hand.
This is another great stretch for finger mobility. To start, hold your hand out in front of you with your wrist straight. Touch your thumb and the tip of your first finger together to make an O shape. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then repeat with each finger on that hand.
Repeat with the other hand as well!
Finger Lift Stretch with Table
Place your hand flat with your palm on a table or your desk. Gently lift one finger and then lower it back to the table. Repeat with each finger. You can also lift all the fingers at once and get the same stretch.
Repeat 6-8 times on each hand.
I know how easy it is to get lost in the process of creation and all the sudden eight hours have passed and you haven’t moved at all. But for those who want to continue doing art long-term, remember to take care of your body - especially during long sessions of drawing!
For more information on CLIP Studio Paint, please visit https://www.clipstudio.net/en or https://graphixly.com