Yes, you read it correctly. Hands. The first nightmare for all artists. At some point in our artistic journey, we’ve all been afraid of drawing hands. We’ve all struggled, made mistakes, and even avoided them altogether. If you’ve experienced this, don’t worry! Today, I’ll guide you through the process of learning how to draw hands. By the end of this article, you’ll feel more confident and empowered!
What You’ll Learn in this Guide
- The proportions and structure of a hand
- How fingers work
- Drawing hands from different angles
- Drawing and shading hands from scratch
Materials Needed for this Tutorial
- A piece of paper
- A graphite pencil (HB and 4B)
- Blending tool
All the Steps in this Guide
See below for all the steps outlined in one image:
Section 1: The Proportions and Structure of a Hand
For this section, gather a piece of paper, a soft graphite pencil (HB to 2B), and an eraser.
Every hand is unique, but they generally follow the same proportions. The length from the top of the finger to the middle knuckle should be approximately the same as the palm of the hand.
2. Understanding the Fingers
To understand the correct finger placement, find the middle point of the base of the hand and draw five lines representing the fingers. The basic shape of the hand also includes a small triangle on top to depict the height difference between the fingers. Additionally, remember that hands are not perfectly rectangular. Customize the shape based on the type of hand you want to draw.
3. Drawing the Thumb
To draw the thumb, add a small triangle to the side of the structure. From the triangle’s border, draw an angled line to represent the thumb.
4. Shaping the Palm
Convert the structure lines into shapes to form the palm. Consider the specific type of hand you want to draw, such as chubby or skinny. The structure works for both, but the appearance will differ.
How to Draw Fingers
1. Building the Fingers
Before adding any shapes, locate the position of the knuckles. Drawing three curved lines and marking the knuckle positions at the intersections is a helpful technique, especially for beginners. Then, use cylindrical shapes to form the basic shape of each finger.
2. Shaping the Thumb – Part 2
Observe the skin folds around the thumb and the unique palm lines. Avoid mistaking the thumb’s skin folds for palm lines. The thumb folds change with movement, while the palm lines remain constant.
3. Understanding the Fingers – Part 3
The fingers consist of phalanges and knuckles. There is a small knuckle between each phalanx and a larger one between the phalanges and metacarpal bones. When transitioning from basic shapes to organic forms, remember that fingers have flesh on the inside. Represent the knuckles on the back of the hand with small bumps for a more accurate depiction.
4. Understanding the Fingers – Part 4
The knuckles are the thickest part of the finger, especially in bony hands. Ensure the knuckles stand out in your drawings.
5. Understanding the Fingers – Final Part
When the fingers are relaxed, they tend to bend inward. However, as the most frequently used part of our body, fingers can also be stretched back and pressed together with force. Additionally, the divisions in our fingers change with movement. Pay attention to these details and avoid placing the lines incorrectly.
6. Applying the Structure – Part 1
Take a random hand and break it down into basic shapes to understand how it works. Use the palm as a guide, and then locate the fingers accordingly.
7. Applying the Structure – Part 2
Once you have the basic palm shape, adding the fingers becomes easier.
8. Applying the Structure – Part 3
Now, include the thumb in your drawing. Observe how the thumb moves and try to imitate the movement with your own hand.
How to Draw Hands from Different Angles
When drawing hands from different angles, perspective is crucial. Start with a basic box shape as a guide, as it is easier to draw a rectangle in perspective than a whole hand. Use the rectangle as a foundation and build the hand structure around it.
2. Finger Placement
Similar to earlier steps, draw lines from the middle of the palm’s base to help position the phalanges accurately and maintain proportional hand size.
3. Shaping the Thumb
Begin by drawing a triangle, then build the shape of the thumb beneath it. Place the thumb’s phalanges according to your desired position.
4. Constructing the Hand
First, shape the fingers, then draw the hand. Although this sounds easy, a deeper understanding of flesh and muscle outlines for each pose and angle is necessary. This guide provides a solid foundation for further exploration.
Learning to draw hands takes time and practice. Don’t expect to master it in an hour or even a day. However, here’s a helpful tip: when using references, start by identifying the palm’s rectangle structure and the first phalange you see. Build the hand around those two points, and you’ll soon be able to draw hands from any pose, angle, or shape with confidence!
How to Draw and Shade a Hand from Scratch
Now, let’s draw a hand together, step by step. Get your graphite pencils, eraser, and ruler ready.
Step 1: Draw a Rectangle
As simple as it sounds, draw a rectangle that represents the size of the hand you want to draw.
Step 2: Split the Rectangle in Half
Measure the exact midpoint of the rectangle and draw a soft line to cut it in half.
Step 3: Draw the Palm Structure Shape
Refer back to the structure section of this article if you’re unsure. Make the shape dynamic by cutting a portion of the rectangle near the pinky position and an even smaller portion near the thumb. Add a small triangle on top.
Step 4: Add the Thumb Structure Shape
Include a small triangle for the thumb. Adjust the width based on how far you want the thumb to extend.
Step 5: Set the Base for the Fingers
Locate the middle point of the palm and draw a curved line on top, making sure not to go over the rectangle.
Step 6: Locate the Knuckles and Set the Thumb’s Structure
Mark the knuckles softly by evenly dividing the finger sections. Draw the lines for the thumb in your desired position.
Step 7: Build the Fingers
Take it slowly and build each finger section using cylindrical shapes, as explained earlier.
Step 8: Add the Knuckles
Mark the knuckles as diamond-like shapes, with the upper knuckles smaller than the lower ones.
Step 9: Build the Flesh
Erase the guidelines and start building the flesh around the hand. Use soft, curvy lines to outline the hand, considering the knuckles and skin folds.
Step 10: Draw the Nails
Add nails to the fingers using two curved vertical lines and one curved horizontal line.
Step 11: Draw the Knuckle’s Skin
Add soft details to represent the skin folds on the knuckles and metacarpal bones. These hints will guide your shading later.
Step 12: Shade the Hand
Apply soft shading around the fingers to create the illusion of volume and depth. Shade beneath the knuckles, considering the shape you previously outlined. Blend your shading and erase any excess graphite.
Final Step: Enhance Shadows and Add Details
Consider the direction of light and deepen the shadows accordingly. Instead of using a blending tool, use soft, circular movements to create texture and a more realistic appearance.
And that’s it! I hope you’ve gained a better understanding of drawing hands through this tutorial. Remember to practice regularly, and thank you for accompanying me on this hand-drawing journey!