When I finished drawing ACE OF BEASTS Volume 2 for my then-latest Kickstarter, my hand had never hurt so much in my life.
My wrists were killing me, my elbows shot... and yet the first thing I did that late night was pick up my PS4 controller and pop in Monster Hunter World to hunt a High Rank Legiana.
It did not help the hand-wrist-pain situation lmao. I was just happy to be done with another big comic volume (and could you blame me? It was over a year in the making!).
I thought I could sleep it off and after a few days of rest I'd be fine...
When I went back to coloring MEN+MONSTERS #2, my arms were still in a lot of pain.
What happened?? I slept didn't I? I didn't have to do any work that involved my wrists or hands other than the occasional video game (of which I don't usually play for that long). What gives?
I was worried that I had developed a sprain or something because of the long hours at the drawing tablet and with the mouse, so I looked up stretches for carpal tunnel syndrome.
The stretches I did undid all of that pain I was feeling a hundred times better than regular sleep did. I couldn't believe it.
While sleep is important, using your hands and wrists are using those tendons and muscles too, so just like any workout it is best to stretch before and after you use them!
It seems obvious, but how many of you specifically stretch your hands and wrists before you write or draw? Given the amount of complaints I've seen about strained hands after drawing digitally for some years, I'd bet not many.
It's never too late to start! And hey it could help with discomfort you might have now.
I'd like to share some stretches I like to do while I work~
TIP: Try to stretch your hands every hour you work if possible!
NOTE: I'm not responsible for anything happening if these stretches are done incorrectly! Please take this as general advice and not as a medical guide.
Extend your arms outward and put your thumbs over your palms.
Rest the rest of your fingers in a light grip over your thumbs.
Gently tilt your fists downward. Hold for 8-10 seconds.
This is good to do before you work to stretch your tendons - what you should be feeling is a light not-quite-pain of your thumb/arm tendon, stretching it out from the slight tilt of your wrist.
Extend one arm outwards. Place palm downward onto a flat surface (your fingers should be pointing downward).
Gently 'pull' your thumb upward (NOT backward!) while still resting on the surface. You should feel a stretch from your thumb to your elbow. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
Extend one arm to your side, palm towards an imaginary 'wall' (as if your palm is on the wall)
Very slightly tilt your head and palms away from each other in this pose.
After a few seconds you should feel a stretching not-quite-pain feeling of your neck all the way to your forefinger. Hold for 30 seconds for each arm.
Next time I will talk about creating an ergonomic workspace - Posture makes perfect (comfort that is~)! I will also be talking about productivity tips for working from home.
Thanks for reading!