I’ve had ongoing problems with my right thumb for years now – I am predominantly right handed, and whenever I would have a flare up I would use my left hand to do everything. Over 5 years ago was when I first hit a wall and I couldn’t use my hand properly for a good 6 months. Doctors told me it was a tendonitis thing, and to help with healing I received a cortisone injection into my thumb joint – that hurt like hell let me tell you and I sure as hell wont be doing that again!! During those months of pain and frustration I started teaching myself how to write and draw with my left hand. It is hard and it is still slow but it can be done and I was determined! During those months I painted just a couple of commission portraits for clients. I was happy I could at least do that to keep on doing the art that I love.
I have learnt to manage my hand pain since that first episode, its never fully gone away, its always there. My job as a tattooer was always testing me and I had to learn to slow down which was always difficult when everyone wants to be tattooed! When I wasn’t tattooing I was home drawing up for tattoos and I love to crochet too in what spare time I can find so all that stress on my hand took its toll and I hit a wall again recently. Now I have stopped tattooing, perhaps for good, I don’t know! I’ve been resting my hand for months now, and even though I am doing somewhat better right now I am still very aware of the pain and how easy it is to irritate it. Finally my specialist has advised surgery so I am just around the corner of going under now, I am hoping for a good outcome. Of course my problem is not just a straight forward diagnosis, instead I’ve been told I’m a difficult case because they cant pin point exactly what the issue is but all symptoms point to similarities of trigger thumb – but I don’t get the locking. So I will be having just a simple operation that will release my thumb tendon and hopefully release the pain and fix the issues I have!
So when my right hand flared up again in August this year I picked up my pencil and did some sketches with my left hand. Seems to be when I’m having the most pain with it, is when all I want to do is draw!! I’ve been working on another small piece over the last couple of months all left handed and I look forward to sharing that in the future also. So here is my sketch of Mittens the Cat, apparently he has an extra digit but I failed to capture that (photo sourced from PMP site). Have you ever tested yourself and tried drawing or writing with your other hand?