Drawing Hands

If there’s anything that any artist has troubles with when he or she first
starts drawing, a large amount of them would have to say
“Hands.”  And with good reasoning–the hands look different from
almost every angle, and are so technical.   Luckily, you and I have two
good models to pose for you when drawing, your left and right hand.  (If
you don’t have two hands and you’re drawing, more power to you.)
Although for most people, drawing and looking at their hands at the same time
is pretty hard.  If you have a simple digital camera you can use that, or
you can look for the pose you’re trying to draw on Google.

of the Hand

handbig.jpg (23691 bytes)

The hand is a bit complicated in that each finger moves in
3 joints.  But even with the fingers straight, it’s a bit
complicated.  The following is an example of one of my early drawings
and what I had to overcome in only 2 years.

bad.jpg (14178 bytes) ß

Granted, that’s in pen, and my example to the left is in pencil, I have
learned many things over the years.  It is stuff that is so obvious, you
normally wouldn’t think about it when drawing.

First off, where the palm of the hand ends, and where the fingers begin is
normally the halfway point, when the bottom of the palm and the top of the
middle finger is the whole object.  So, the middle finger is about as
tall as the palm.

Secondly, each finger is a different size.  It tends to be that the
middle finger is the largest, and the pinky is the smallest.  However,
the ring finger and the index finger are different sizes depending on the
gender.  If the person is male, the ring finger is larger, though if the
person is female, her index finger is the larger.

And finally, take some time on the hands.  Try to make the fingers
look realistic.   If they look too fat, then take the time to make them
look right.  Partly, the hands take time and practice to draw right, but
that hard work really pays off.

Step by Step

When you draw hands, it’s easier to use models as your reference.
Models can be found anywhere from internet searches to your own two
hands.  The references I use below come from Wynd‘s gallery of hands.
(Thanks for letting me use it.)

Step Easy Example Harder Example
Step 1:

Find a reference to work off of.  It can be a photo, somebody else,
or even your own hands.  Pictures are generally easier to find and
easier to use.

Step 2:

Stake out the grounds.  Create the basic shape of the hand.
Don’t try for detail, but rather, proportions and size.

Step 3:

Using the sticks drawn in the previous step, extend the lines to
approximately their boundaries.

Step 4:

Build off of the base you created.  Pay close attention to the detail
of every line in the actual source and try to recreate them.  You may
end up erasing every original line, but that’s a good sign.  Spend
most of your time on this step.

Step 5:

Work off of that rough sketch.  Ink it, color it, whatever.


Take your time, and you’ll get where you want to go.  It takes a lot of
skill and years of practice to become good enough to not need a reference.
No tutorial will help you with that.  Just doodle hands every chance you
get and you’ll learn enough about hands to draw them with ease.  Just keep
a big eraser nereby.

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