Don’t Have a Steady Hand for Drawing? Don’t Let That Stop You!

If you are an artist (or a frustrated artist) who lacks a steady hand, fear not: you can still draw even without a perfectly controlled hand! How do I know that? Because you’re not the only one who has difficulty with this–many artists do! And it’s not something that should stop you forever; it is something that can be mastered, often with just a shift in your thinking.

Lack of Confidence in Art Skill -> Shaking Hand -> Lack of Confidence in Art Skill

I used to believe that I was a terrible artist, because of one thing: my trembling hand. Unsteady hands have plagued me for as long as I can remember–I can remember even before entering kindergarten, I had a hard time drawing a perfectly straight line, even when I concentrated really, really hard.

My experience in subsequent art classes in elementary school only confirmed what I already knew: I couldn’t draw anything well, because my lines weren’t clean and sharp-looking like I wanted them to be. I could only sit and marvel at my classmates who could produce beautiful visuals without shaky lines everywhere.

But there was a slight problem with my thinking, as I discovered much later on. Well, let me rephrase that: there was a HUGE problem with my thinking. I considered myself a terrible artist because of my unsteady hand, so I was not confident while I held the pencil or pen; because I was not confident, I always concentrated way too hard when I drew, and ended up with–guess what?–shaking, quivering lines. A vicious cycle!

Though part of my trembling hands may be heredity, I certainly wasn’t helping matters when I focused so hard on trying to draw a straight line. I kept noticing that whenever I was just dashing off a quick little doodle, a drawing I didn’t care about, my lines WERE clean and sharp. It seemed like the less I cared about “getting it right,” the more often I in fact did “get it right!”

A Possible Cure: Just Draw, Don’t Worry

For anyone else who’s struggling with an unsteady drawing hand, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to just draw. Act as if whatever you’re working on is just a carefree doodle, just a random little piece of art rather than something that has to be absolutely positively right. (I found that thinking this way helped get rid of a lot of my hand’s quivering, because I wasn’t holding the pencil SO HARD trying to get everything right.)

Having confidence in your skill, even when you think you’re not “good enough” to be observed yet, is important for any art, not just drawing. Keeping your judgment separate from the creative process is key. Don’t worry about how it looks on the page, don’t worry if that line looks out of place–just draw for the sheer joy of the art. Reshaping your thinking can be the first step toward becoming a better artist!

Additional Help for Unsteady Hands

If your confidence in your drawing skill is fine, but you’re still having a little trembling getting in the way, check out the advice on this thread over at From moving your shoulder and entire when you draw (instead of just your wrist and hand), to practicing large cursive handwriting to improve coordination (not kidding, it helps!), these artists give a lot of ideas on how to steady your lines!

3 thoughts on “Don’t Have a Steady Hand for Drawing? Don’t Let That Stop You!”

  1. Its not the hands that decide if you are a good artist or not, Its the drawing obviously. I laughed when i read that you think you are a bad artist because of your shaky hand xD

  2. I don’t actually have any problem with my “confidence”. While I’ve not ever been to a doctor, I have some sort of hand jittering problem that is basically physical. I can’t hold on my hands out straight without them shaking. It’s not hugely terrible, but it does affect my drawing (especially on a graphics tablet).

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