Further corrections made to my hand positioning using a pencil. I took a cue from working more with chopsticks. While splitting a meal of sushi at the Korean place next to the convention center for Staple, I bobbled my way through using chopsticks. Then, when I went to my big brother and sister in law's anniversary dinner I watched the people in the restaurant, who used a completely different technique than I had seen before. So I made adjustments, and the outcome was 10000-fold improved.
My point is that you may be used to using a certain style of holding the pencil, but what is known may not be what is comfortable for your skill level. Looking back, one of the major hindrances to my getting drawings to look the way they were in my head was because of how I held a pencil. As I've mentioned before, I fought off my 2nd and 3rd grade teachers and their ridiculous rubber pencil grip-guides. This also may have led to what appeared to be the onset of tendonitis my senior year of high school (you need to see some of my portfolio from back then, easily 1000's of lines on just a section of each drawing), but I have been careful to watch out for my wrists, thus the search for a better grip began. It's an art in itself. People don't pay attention to it, and I can't stress enough how much it changes the outcome of a line.
If you've seen Erik Larsen draw, you can definitely see the large variety of ways to hold the pencil!
Depending on what kind of a day I'm having, I find it easier to get the hold I need, and sometimes it's insanely tough (days that I work out, rainy days) like when my arm muscles are strained. So I've been working on different ways to hold for specific types of days.
This may seem crazy, or too much effort spent on something trivial, but I've found that my production level has jumped up a lot! With less frustration I don't leave as many drawings unfinished, and I'm able to work for longer periods of time. Part of that too goes to a better style of living that I've been working on. As a comic artist, more than many other professions, you wouldn't believe how important it is to take care of your body. I'm creeping back from a really horrible level of inactivity and into a very active day to day life. It's actually helped with my art in a lot of ways from general confidence to ability to produce. My arm can sustain a greater range of movement and achieve better line variation. I can actually paint again without my back getting sore and having to hunch all the time.
Everything works together, and ultimately improves your work. Art is life, life is art, there's a sense of equilibrium necessary for everything to work together, and no one part is independent.
These are the little things we take for granted, and ultimately the things that can lead to many issues. I also stress if at all possible, regular trips to the doctor, it's something that I hated for so long, but I'm so glad that I keep up with it. There are so many artists that didn't have insurance and let things slip by that have passed away far too early from treatable ailments.
Done preaching, go ahead and check out the sketch!