Thursday, October 04, 2007

I guess I need advice

Anyone else (caricaturists) have shoulder problems? Or HAD them? What did you do? I've met some guys who have had surgery, but that's not financially viable for me. Heck, even going to a doctor for a simple visit seems too expensive, because, I'm thinking, what's he gonna say? "Stop doing that which is causing the problem." That's what.
I don't know. Man, last night I went to work, all positive and happy, and had a fairly steady evening after a slow start, and I was careful, and then, afterwards, as I very lightly reached forward **CRACK** went my shoulder, and a shooting pain nearly floored me. I wasn't holding anything, touching anything, nothing, just reaching forward a few inches, and BAM! Wow.
I've been reading a little about shoulder injuries. Sounds like I have a rotator cuff tear. Has anyone else had this? Is this what caricaturing does? Or is it something else? I have the impression that it WILL continue to get worse if I don't stop drawing the way I'm drawing, that is, hours of reaching to a vertical plane (the easel). But how long do I have? A few months? A year? I'm trying to draw much more slowly, unless I get busy. ...If it were up to me, I'd use a drawing table. I would no longer need to LIFT my arm with my shoulder, as my drawing hand/arm/shoulder would be largely supported by the table. I've heard guys say they LOVE their drawing tables after years of using an easel. But that's not possible for me. It's not in my control. Oh, well.
...I have some decisions to make. Any advice would be valuable. Thanks all.


KeelanParham said...

In the very beginning, after the first two years or so of doing caricatures, I had regular shoulder, neck, trapezius, and wrist pain. I went to a doctor and he gave me really good advice. For the wrist, start wearing a brace when I draw. For everything else, start changing the angle of the drawing surface, and start exercising more (particularly shoulder workouts). I did those things, and added semiregular trips to a chiropractor (whom I can recommend), and I am much, much better. The pain hasn't progressed, and in fact has mostly disappearred, in all of those areas in the ensuing years.

Back then, we only had old iron easels that you absolutely couldn't change the angle on. However, all of CC's easels have some moveability (AK less than the rest), and some have a lot of it. The tabletops are basically like French easels, which is what I use on gigs all the time. And I change my angle on them CONSTANTLY when I'm working, if you'll notice the next time we work together. Working on different angles does take some getting used to, but it's worth it.
Also, I often put the paper/drawing board in my lap to draw, then put it up on the easel to color/finish it up, and so guests/customers can see it. Not quite as good a "show", but does work quite well.

Try these things. And if you need the number of that chiropractor, or my massage therapist (from my old weightlifting injury a couple of years ago), you know how to get ahold of me!

Tim Gardner said...

Wow, thanks Keelan. I should have talked to you MONTHS ago. Excellent advice. I'm definitely going to start drawing some in my lap, and changing the angle on the table easels. Thanks again.

Esly Carrero said...

For me it was always my posture that made my whole body hurt after drawing caricatures all day.

I still have that problem.. but I've been working on it. Keep your back straight while you draw!