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One of the great frustrations of working with art media like graphite or charcoal is smudging. While you are focused on what is happening at the end of the pencil or charcoal stick, the friction of the rest of your hand against the paper may be ruining your previous work.
Unless your hand is clean and dry in a cool environment, you can have problems that fall into three categories:
- Transfer of what is on the paper to the hand
- Transfer of what is on the hand to the paper
- Pushing what is on the paper, across the paper (line smudging).
Contact with your hand on the paper causes even a clean hand to alter the chemistry and response of the surface of the paper itself, sometimes becoming slightly oily and darker (mostly sweat and oils). Just rub your average hand on a clean sheet for ten minutes and see what happens. This creates a secondary problem that may not even be visible until you try to draw there; because you have changed the paper. Everything becomes inconsistent, which can affect how dark the lines are, etc.
Additionally, this unwanted contact transfers material to the hand, amplifying the contamination transfer to the artwork by mixing that material with oils on the skin. This often happens when drawing material contaminates the hand and then deposits that material everywhere else on the piece.
An anti fouling glove is a traditional solution to these problems.
How does an Art Glove work?
Whether it is a graphite pencil or a tablet stylus for digital illustrations, most artists hold their drawing tool with the thumb and first two fingers of the dominant hand. This leaves the other two fingers and part of the palm resting on the drawing surface. The contact of this part of your hand helps stabilize your drawing instrument.
Unfortunately, those points of contact can also have negative effects on your art. Not only does the friction cause smudging in some media, but it can also make your hand motions a little less precise. Also, when using a stylus, microscopic oil deposits on a tablet can cause inconsistent skidding across the surface. This can be a major issue when you are working with digital media and trying to get pixels of color in just the right place on the screen.
An anti fouling glove fits like a standard glove, but it leaves your drawing fingers free. You can have a tactile connection with your drawing instrument while protecting your latest masterpiece. The fabric of the glove makes the amount of friction between your drawing surface and your hand more consistent and thus more dependable. You can increase the pressure on your palm and fingers without worrying about damaging your artwork.
Smudges in the Digital Age
Digital artists do not have the same issues with smudging as artists who work with traditional media. However, a digital glove is definitely a helpful item to have when you are doing intricate work. Your skin constantly produces natural oils that rub onto your screen. Even if you wash your hands repeatedly, these oils will make their way onto the surface wherever there is contact with your skin.
The collection of oil, sweat and dirt is less of a problem for artists on paper who change their drawing surface with each new artwork. Digital artists use the same screen every day. Over time, this can mean that oil buildup will make parts of your screen less responsive. Wearing a digital glove will prevent this problem before it starts. You will have a screen that reacts consistently throughout your art project.
Digital Gloves for Daily Use
Digital artists are not the only people who work with a stylus on a touchscreen. Some people prefer to take notes by hand with a note-taking application. Point-and-click types of games are also sometimes played with a stylus in hand. An art glove can be a helpful accessory when you are using your tablet for day-to-day applications. It will give you the precision you want while keeping your screen free from natural oils.
Other professions that sometimes use a tablet and stylus in the course of their work would be other "Creative" disciplines; - some of which include designers, photographers, editors, architects, directors and others in the film industry like location scouts, etc.
Another benefit of a digital glove is preventing unexpected interactions with the touchscreen. Especially when you are working near the edge of the screen, the fingertips of your pinky and ring finger can brush up against the navigation bar or toolbar of your program. This may accidentally trigger an unexpected effect or even exit the program. By eliminating the contact between your skin and the tablet surface, you can keep your focus on the task at hand.