How to draw the human figure - How to draw hands




Looking at Hands

Many people say that the hardest thing for them to draw is people. The thing they have trouble with the most is the face and the second most troublesome area for them is hands and feet. I've seen very well executed figure drawings with very poorly drawn hands and feet. They shade and add copious detail to the parts of the figure they like to draw, and leave the hands and feet with no shading or detail.

We've all seen hands drawn something like this.

I think the issue is that the poorly drawn hand looks like a rubber glove filled with water, there's no structure to it. The other issue is that the fingers are not the correct length. For example, in the first hand on the left, the pinky finger is actually longer than the index finger. Are these hands right or left hands? Because of the lack of detail, you don't know if you're looking at the back of a right hand or the palm of a left hand. So let's look at hands a little more closely.

First lets look at the fingers and how they relate to the hand. When the hand is laid flat like so, it can be enclosed by an oval. The oval can give you a general idea of how tall the fingers are on the hand. It can also help in drawing the hand. If you draw an oval at the top of the wrist, you can get a rough idea of where the fingertips will be.

The middle finger is the tallest finger on the average hand. The fourth, or ring finger, is the second tallest finger. This is a mistake some artists make when drawing hands - they depict the middle and fourth fingers as being the same height.

Another common error - which finger is shorter - the thumb or pinky? Trick Question! They're about the same length!

Another question: Which finger is longer - the index finger or pinky? Ok, that one is easy - the index finger. BUT - the pinky is only about half a fingernail shorter. It's not as short as many people imagine it to be.

Another common error is to draw the knuckles in a straight line across the hand. That's not how they are laid out on the hand. They're on a curve that follows the top of the palm.

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