Drafting table ergonomics (or 'why does sketching hurt?')

Hello all, I’ve recently started using a hand-me-down drafting table while sketching, and I was wondering if anyone had input/resources on correct setup or posture when using it. I notice that after about an 40min of using it my neck, upper back and shoulder start hurting. I’m trying to hold my head up fairly straight rather than hunching over the drawing, but it feels like it’s harder to see what I’m doing that way.

I also had a question about pen pressure and line weight- should I use my shoulder at all to modulate line weight, or just let the full weight of my arm rest on the heel of my palm whether I’m ghosting over a line or drawing heavy?

Any advice/links would be greatly appreciated!

It’s probably not your drafting table, but your sitting posture. Naturally it has to be different from that of drawing on a flat surface. I’d think that drafting table that’s tilted up at like a 15 or 20 degree angle would actually prevent hunching. Are you using the drafting table for drafting, or just sketching? Try just doing it on a flat table. If the problems recur, it’s probably your sitting posture.

I use forearm muscles to push down on the pen when I’m putting down heavy line weight. The shoulder rarely comes into use for line weight.

Remember seating ergonomics: lumbar and neck support go a long way.


Try raising your seat/table. Having your legs dangle creates a more natural angle (akin to standing) while you’re working. It’s supposed to relieve stuff.

Simple Google searches go a long way.

Or you could just try getting up and stretching every 30 minutes.