Scribbling to Sketching
I learned to sketch from a master. He first taught me how to scribble (yes, scribble!) by holding the pencil a different way, sometimes called the violin bow grip (I call it the sketch way.) Start out by scribbling to loosen up, then move on to sketching. Hold the pencil vertically with the tips of your fingers, as if it is an extension of your thumb, so gently that it’s about to slide through your fingers. This is because if you squeeze the pencil, the fingers, hand and wrist become taught and tense; this in turn causes your lines to be very dark and difficult to erase. Also, with a tightly held pencil you have little control. Holding the pencil this very gentle way, you can now rest a knuckle or the end of your little finger on the paper to keep your hand steady. Another benefit of scribbling/sketching this way is you will increase the area you can cover in a single stroke.
Learning to sketch softly is not difficult to learn. It’s all about holding the pencil very softly and drawing with your whole arm. My students hear me say, over and over, “Don’t squeeze the pencil!”