Drawing Hands

Drawing Hands

Drawing Hands : Simplified

Drawing hands can seem pretty hard. They are, after all, the most pliable and adjustable part of the body. You do have an advantage though. You own two!

The hands can be the most sexy and the most expressive part of the body if you know how to draw them correctly. They can also stand alone by themselves as portraits!

The hands work with little conscious thought which may be why little thought is given to them when drawing.



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Study your own hand

Study your own hand first. Pick up different objects and watch how your hand adjust and conforms to the object. You will begin to notice:


1. The joints are not in straight lines, they fall on arches across the hand


2. The fingers have a slight bend to them. They are not straight. Hold up your hand and really look at it. You will see each finger is not straight up and down.


3. The Drag Lines ( where the fingers connect to the palm) always fall away from the middle finger. This is a little more stressed when drawing hands. This is especially evident when drawing cartoon hands.

hand drawing

The most important part to observe is the hand is hollow on the palm side and convex on the top.

This means that the hand is almost like a small bowl. When drawing hands it will not look natural or able to grasp if the hollow of the hand is not understood.

Tip: Study the contours of the objects you pick up. This will help you understand how the "hollow" of the hand influences the overall shape of the hand when grasping objects. [/text] [/tab_data]

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The Proportions

Some knowledge of how to draw a face will come in handy when drawing hands. Most people draw the hands too small.

If you put your hand up to you face you will notice that the middle finger reaches from the start of your hair line and the bottom of the palm extends to the bottom of the chin. This will give you a good idea of how big to draw the hand in relationship to other objects.

hand drawing


Middle finger:

The easiest point to start at when drawing hands is with the general shape but the length of the hand will be determined by the middle finger. From it's knuckle on the back of the hand to the tip, it is over 1/2 the length of the hand.


Index Finger:

The index finger just about reaches the fingernail of the middle finger


The Third Finger:

The third finger is about equal to the index finger in length


Little Finger:

The little finger just reaches the top knuckle of the third finger


Thumb and Joints:

The thumb from the outside of the hand is equal to the middle finger in length and it is on a 90 degree angle to the other fingers. Think of all of the fingers that are directly connected to the palm as "ball joints". The second row of knuckles is limited to 90 degree angles. The last row is around half at 45 degrees or less.


The lengths and limitation of the joints are important to keep in mind when drawing hands as they will give the hand it's own character and realism. Now these are just basic guidelines but I am willing to bet that most of the hands out there will fall into those proportions.[/text] [/tab_data]

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Drawing the Hand

Now that you have probably skipped all of the above text and jumped straight to this section you can start getting into the fun part of drawing hands!

Trace your own

Put your hand firmly on the paper and trace it as closely as you can. This will give you a good outline of where the knuckles are positioned and allow you to see the layout of a real hand instead of looking at a diagram.

Study where the knuckles are and start drawing in the fingernails. Notice the arches that the knuckles fall on and the length of each finger. Descriptions are great but actually seeing the image of your own hand will help drive the proportions and layout home.

hand drawing

After studying your own hand you should have a good grasp of the basic proportions and the way the hand works. Now it is time to break that into workable bits that will allow you to draw a hand in any position.

The Action of the Hand

The easiest way to start off is to determine the action of the hand. What this means is determine the placement and action the hand will be performing. Is it pointing? It is closed in a fist? Is it just hanging down naturally?

"It is easiest to draw an action line for the main finger and sketch in rough planes and shapes of the hand"

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The Fingers

Some may find It is often easier to think of the fingers as cylinders. Think of each knuckle breaking down into a cylinder to create the finger. This in my opinion helps with shading more than anything.

If the fingers them selves are cylinders then it would make sense that the fingernails are also not flat. They will wrap around the cylinders. The finger nails can add a lot of detail and believability to the hand.

drawing handsAlways Remember - "A hand that does not look like it is capable of clasping is badly drawn"

Hopefully that will give you a good start with drawing hands. Having the basics pointed out will definitely help but there is no substitute for studying your own and how it works.

The hand is as unique as any face and while the basic proportions are helpful, knowing some anatomy will help with drawing them. As always KEEP IT SIMPLE! [/text] [/tab_data]


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