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Does Pencil Grip Matter?


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We often associate our handwriting and drawing to the way we hold our pencil and pen. But does that make any difference? Does pencil grip matter?

Hold tight, don’t let go and get a grip on it, are some of the phrases that we throw around often to hold onto something. Some of the very first things that we hold are a spoon, rattle, and a pencil. Remember the time when your parents and kindergarten teacher taught you how to keep a pencil and write your first letters?

Yeah, we are here to discuss some very primary things. The way we clutch our pencils. You might remember your teacher telling you or some other kid, that “this is not the way you hold a pencil” or “that is the wrong way of holding a pencil.” But is there a “right way” to hold a pencil? Does the pencil grip matter?

Children are often given crayons and asked to color shapes. They are told to color “inside” the borders. This is a hand exercise to develop control over your pencil. Then they are also asked to write over the already carved letters and numbers to develop strokes.

Does the pencil grip matter? Yes, it does. Read on to know the details.

Before we get into the discussion does pencil grip matter or not, let’s get some technical mumbo jumbo clear.

Types of Pencil Grips

These are the grips used for writing.

The Primitive or Palmar grip

Image courtesy- ilslearningcorner

The children have this grip when they first hold a pencil or crayons. The little ones fist the entire pen, hold it with all their five fingers against the palm. The primitive grip later develops into the following four mature grips.

  1. Dynamic Tripod
Image courtesy- kidzoccupationaltherapy

This is the most common pencil grip, along with being the most encouraged type of pencil grip. In the dynamic tripod, you clench a pencil betwixt your thumb and index finger and use the middle finger for supporting the pencil. This is what the teachers teach you. This does not mean that it is the “correct” way or the only way to grasp your pencil.

The tripod is perfect for using the tip of the pencil for drawing. It, however, allows limited small, limited strokes and is usually used for precision.

  1. Dynamic Quadruped
Image courtesy- handwritinghelpforkids

In this grip, the pencil is pinched between the thumb and the other three fingers and uses little finger for support.

  1. Lateral Tripod
Image courtesy- Pinterest

It is similar to the dynamic tripod. This is the second most common grip. Unlike the magnetic tripod, the thumb crosses the index finger and even juts out a little.

  1. Lateral Quadruped
Image courtesy- tspace.library.utoronto

Again this is similar to the dynamic quadruped with some subtle difference. Here, the thumb wraps around the pencil, and the pencil is based on the ring finger.

Grips used for Drawing and Sketching

The grips used for drawing are different than the ones for writing. The tripod grip is common to both.

  1. The Overhand
Image courtesy- Pinterest

For the overhand, you hold the pencil between the index finger and the thumb and then use the middle finger to tilt the pencil at whatever angle you want. The ring finger and the little finger are used for support. It can be used on canvases as well as drawing books.

2. The Underhand

Image courtesy- thesprucecrafts

The underhand grip is used to draw when you don’t want to use your fingers and keep your wrist steady. The underhand grip gives a broader range than the tripod grip. It uses the entire arm. The underhand facilitates the use of the side of the pencil for shading. The ball of your palm is a natural compass and can be used to draw arcs.

You can create thick or thin lines or a combo of both as needed with the side of your pencil.

3. Brush grip

Image courtesy- Pinterest

The Brush Grip is similar to the tripod grip, but the pencil is gripped at the middle or even more backward to create light strokes. This grip provides ease of motion, less precision, and a broader range.

So, does a pencil grip matter?

Now for the actual question, does pencil grip matter?

Yes. Pencil grip matters. But there is no specific or recommended way to hold your pencil. The pencil (or pen) should feel comfortable in your hands. Your hand should be flexible while the base remains firm. The outer part of your hand is to balance the movements that your fingers make. Sure, the grip matters until you learn to write effectively.

Eventually, there is no right or wrong way to hold a pencil. The only thing that matters is that your hand does not ache or get exhausted while writing or drawing. The grasp on your pencil should enable you to write effortlessly without compromising the speed.

Children must be taught to get the right grip on the pencil because it gets challenging to correct the grip later as they age. The primitive grip or the palmar grasp then develops into one of the above-matured writing grips.

No grip is better than the other. There is no scientific proof that shows that sure grips yield better handwriting or speed.

Now, there are commercial pencil grips available in the market. Teachers, as well as handwriting experts, recommend it. It especially helps with children who have weaker hands.

Image courtesy- ebay

Here is all you need to know about correcting a pencil grip for young kids. Click here.

Some tips to keep in mind

Image courtesy- pinclipart

If you are thinking does pencil grip matter if you want to improve your drawing skills, it does. So if you want to improve your drawing skills and learn the new kind of strokes, here are some tips to help you out.

  • Unleash the power of your shoulder. We only limit our range by using the wrists. Wrists can be ideal for small strokes, arms for medium strokes, and shoulder for long strokes.
  • Use the wrists for details and precision.
  • Shoulders and arms should be used for large shapes, long strokes, arcs, and lines.
  • You can switch between the grips according to your need.
  • You can change the angle to control the thickness of your lines.
  • With pressure, you can make your lines lighter or darker.
  • You need to practice drawing using your shoulders and arms to adapt your brain to the function. With daily practice, you will develop the right muscle memory for the task.
  • If you have to write or draw for a long duration, then you should try out some finger and hand exercises.
  • Always get a pencil (or any other writing or drawing tool) that has the right weight. Some like lightweight pencils or pens while others prefer a certain amount of weight.

Find out what your handwriting says about your personality. Click here.

So does pencil grip matter to your young ones? Do write your views in the comment section.

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  1. Children today have weaker hands due to smartphones. But to counter the issue, ergonomic pencil grips are a useful invention.


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