Original Post: 3/21/2010
If you find yourself using a 'death-grip' on your pencil or your pencil strokes are tight, try holding your pencil under-handed with the back of the pencil resting on your little finger. Do not flex at the wrist but create your pencil stroke using your whole arm. Also do not rest your hand on the paper.
It takes a bit practice to learn to control your pencil stroke, but it's much more fluid than the writing position. Anytime you find yourself tightening or using the death grip on your pencil, force yourself to change the position to under hand.