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Do You Need To Lift Your Wrist Off The Paper?

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I've been doing calligraphy for about a year now and ever since I've always had this frustration about my very tremorous hands. I've been trying to implant lifting my wrist off of the paper when I do my capitals and big flourishes but it's always so shaky that I just need to carry the stroke all the way without lifting...


So I have a question, is it really important to lift the wrist off of the paper? And if the answer is no, I would still like advice from people who also suffer from very tremorous hands of how you manage to control your stroke and how you train your hand to be smooth...

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  • Jhet


  • Rednaxela


  • ac12


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One of the reasons to lift your wrist is to better be able to glide across the paper with your whole hand.


There are many penmanship drills that can't seem to be done any other way. You freeze your hand and your fingers and let your arm do the work, with all mustles as relaxed as possible. When I do this myself, I seem to loose control a little, but I guess that's a matter of training. The strokes themselves end up looking cleaner than when I would draw them slowly and carefully.


This short video shows the idea.



Does he lift his wrist? In my view not overly so, but just enough to make the movements he is showing.


Not sure if this helps. I don't have very tremorous hands myself. However relaxing seems for me to be the key to cleaner lines. And, as I am discovering currently, body position. Bending from the hip, straight back and shoulders, not leaning on the writing arm etc.

~ Alexander

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Couple ideas:

1 - Put a piece of paper under your wrist. The idea is your hand will stick to the piece of paper, and the piece of paper would slide on your writing paper.

2 - Lift your wrist by pushing down on your last 2 fingers, so that the weight of your hand is supported by the last 2 fingers, and gliding on the finger nails of those last 2 fingers.


Another thing is the speed of your strokes. I was taught and found that if my stroke is too slow, my hand will wobble, and I will have a wobbly line. I was taught that a stroke needs to be done at a certain minimum speed to make it a clean stroke. So, you may have to speed up the stroke. But remember that I said 'stroke,' not the entire letter or word. A letter is made up of multiple strokes, and you can pause between strokes.

Edited by ac12

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California


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I have read all your replies and I have to try all of these out! I'll practice this straight for a week and come back for the results! Thank you to the both of you!

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