The Struggles of Drawing Hands

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Critiques' started by TheHappySpaceman, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. TheHappySpaceman

    TheHappySpaceman New Member

    Does anyone else have a hard time drawing hands like I do? I'm working on lineart of a character of mine reading, but I cannot draw her hands worth crap, or at least the hand that's holding the book.
    Any tips would be much appreciated.

  2. Rykhoteth


    have you tried drawing amputees? i find it helps a lot.

    Hands are one of those things with no real shortcut other than a photo reference. There's guides for construction methods for hands everywhere, but you'll have to do some studies to use them well.

    Right off the bat, I can see you haven't defined the volume of the palm, and you're treating the curve across the knuckles like a flat/linear object.
  3. Mandragoras

    Mandragoras Inept Abecedarian

    Yeah, the palm is pretty important to a hand looking and functioning like a hand. You ever had a cut on your palm? It's shit. Keep that in mind when drawing. Likewise, it's unclear how many fingers your character is supposed to have on each hand and whether or not it's the index finger or thumb supporting the far side of the book, which is particularly odd given how differently thumbs are positioned from the other fingers in animals with hands. (Fun fact: Possums have two of them!)

    I would also add that fabric tends not to conform that closely to female breasts even when tailored explicitly to accommodate them, but that's not so much a hand thing as a personal nitpick abut how people draw clothes in general. >->
  4. PlusThirtyOne

    PlusThirtyOne What DOES my username mean...?

    Much like any other part of the body, breaking the anatomy down to blocks/bubbles can go a long way to help you figure out how digits look in different positions and angles. Once you get those recurring shapes down, you'll be freehanding paws, mitts, hands and feet in no time. it's just a matter of understanding the natural shape of hands; not just fingers and palms, but blades and tops of hands.
    Avoiding hands is a terrible idea!! -Even if it is just a joke.
    Taking shortcuts and extra steps to avoid drawing hands and feet is going to ruin the body language of your characters. Hand gestures and arm placement are just as important to showing a character's emotional state as their face is. Hiding their hands behind themselves, objects or out of frame is a like covering the subject's emotions. Hands can express A LOT. Also, keep in mind more common ways people hold certain objects. Your book holding hand looks particularly off because she's holding the book in a strange way. Try holding a book yourself and observing how your fingers wrap around the uneven weight.

    Example of "blocking" fingers.
    Note the knuckles' and palm planned out. Also note the wrist and loose skin between the thumb and index finger.​

    Hands are one of the most complex and difficult things to draw and when it comes to comics, cartoons and stylized characters, their hands can define your entire art style. Fat bubbly gloved Mario/Sonic fingers will clash with a realistic or super hero comic style. Detailed, knuckled, hairy digits will distressingly stand out on a simplified cartoon figure. You can always find ways to avoid drawing hands or tone down their details but cutting too much fat would be doing the rest of your illustrations (and character) a disservice. Me, i like to keep my anatomy and proportions cartoony and (overly) simplistic so i only tend to draw individual fingers when they're absolutely necessary. (EXAMPLE) Unless the character is pointing with their index finger, giving a particular gesture or other utilizing their digits, i tend to stick with mitten-hands. -Mostly because i think they're cute. it's a stylistic choice that originally stemmed from a crutch. i feel i can draw hands, fingers and feet just fine. i just choose not to... least that excuse helps me sleep at night. :V
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
    Rykhoteth likes this.
  5. Xaroin

    Xaroin Sprsh

    @Alpine did this, but it might help you I think

    Attached Files:

  6. TheHappySpaceman

    TheHappySpaceman New Member

    Pfft, after this, I may just draw every character with Powerpuff Girls hands (e.g. no hands).
    Would it be cheating to hold up my own hand and model the drawing of this hand after mine?

    I was thinking that she would have four digits on each hand, though I may make it five if four proves too hard.
    Thanks. I'll work on it for future pics.

    I actually decided to do that for the picture. I'll upload the finished one soon.
  7. TheHappySpaceman

    TheHappySpaceman New Member

    I tried something. Let me know how it turned out!
  8. Rykhoteth


    That lighting, oh man. Gradients like that won't help you understand form/shape/volume etc. As a placeholder I highly recommend cell shading until then.

    Don't cheat on straight lines like I can see you did on the lamp. Consistently drawing straight lines you literally have to exercise like a muscle. Don't skip line-day. I can tell from the inconsistency of the lines you need to spend more time in the sketching phase. You're either very inexperienced with confident lines and/or skipping from construction to final outlines. Use thinner final outlines and don't be afraid to keep some descriptive lines from the sketchy phase on stuff like clothing.

    Lack of defined shadow for the lowest foot implies it's perfectly in contact with the plane of the floor, but the angle is wrong if that were the case. Some of the perspective in the rest of the environment construction is slightly off. This is like the hands, where you need practice to spot when things are wrong.

    The hand is a hell of a lot better and I can see you really tried with it, but you still need to do some studies and use thinner outlines and not use that gradient lighting. The next really big improvement you'll get in hands will be from the fact your lines and lighting is actually obscuring the finer form and detail of the hands.

    I want those slippers. They look comfy as hell.

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