Hand Reference For Drawing

Drawing a human hand is difficult, that’s why a reference to draw your first couple hands is very useful to get the perspective and proportions correct. Below you’ll find some great references to use!

Anyone who has ever tried to draw the human body knows that hands are the hardest body parts to draw. That is why having a hand reference for drawing is always a great idea.

Drawing hands can be so difficult that many people who are new to drawing avoid tackling them. There are many ways to avoid drawing hands, for instance, having your subject keep his or her hands in their pockets or behind their backs.

Image source: Pixabay

But the best way to learn how to draw hands is to actually start as soon as possible. If you avoid drawing hands and, instead, focus on other body parts. If you think about it, there are very few body parts that we have more reference to than hands.

After all, hands are pretty much always on show. So, observing hands (ours and other people’s) could not be easier. And you can do this from all different angles just by using a small mirror.

If there are so easily observable, then why are hands so notoriously hard to draw? Hands are so difficult to draw well because of their extreme complexity. But learning to draw hands is not an impossible pursuit. If you can draw all other body parts, there is no reason that you should not be able to learn to draw hands well.

Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. – Salvador Dali

In this article, we will show you how to draw hands. The best way to do so is by becoming closely familiar with all the different components of the hand so you can put them all back together when you draw a hand.

What Are The Basic Parts of the Hand?

Learning to draw hands successfully takes some time. If you want to get good at it, you would need to be prepared to spend some time and learn how hands work.

Image source: Wikipedia

The first step is to become acquainted with the hand’s bone structure. Hands have eight carpal bones, 14 phalanges, and five metacarpal bones.

However, you do not need to focus on all of these bone because most of them do not actually work. You can simplify the complex bone structure just into the parts that move and those that do not.

If you do so, you will notice that the base of the each of the five fingers is lower than they appear to be. If you move your fingers and look at them from different angles, you will see that they are flaps of skins that are formed below the actual joints. This is an important detail if you want to draw bending fingers.

Just knowing these basics, you will be able to begin drawing hands. Focus on the palm by drawing a flat shape (thinking of a think steak might help), and make sure that the angles are very rounded. Once you have drawn the palm shape, you can attach the five fingers to it.

How to Draw Fingers

The fingers can be hard to draw. But if you break down all their components you can get there relatively easily.

Again, it helps to think of the components as shapes. In this case, picture three cylinders in your mind and then draw them. The three cylinders need to be stacked one on top of the other. Why should you think of fingers as stacks of three cylinders? Because cylinders are easy to draw from all the possible different angles. You can fold the cylinders as necessary to imitate the folding of actual fingers because the bases of those cylinders coincide with the places where the joint folds happen.

You can tilt the two cylinders on top slightly forward to form the shape of a finger bending as if imitating a hook.

If you draw a whole hand, you would need to make sure that the joints of the four fingers that are right next to each other are not aligned. If you can draw a straight line through the joints, then you are not doing it right. There needs to be a slight bend in the fingers so that they look more natural.

When it comes to fingernails, it is up to you whether you draw them on or not. This is totally up to you but if you choose to draw bare hands closely, then you will need to draw fingernails on.

Drawing convincing fingernails does not need to be difficult but there are a few things that you need to take into consideration if you want to succeed.

Image source: Wikipedia

Always draw fingernails from the halfway up the joint at the top of every finger. Then, think about where you want to place the point at which the fingernail detaches from the flesh because this varies from person to person. For some people, the fingernails detach at the very edge of the flesh, while others do not. For some people, fingernails are wider than long and for others, it is exactly the opposite. Just decide what you want your subject’s fingernails to look like and keep them consistent.

Another thing to bear in mind is that fingernails are not flat but curved. It is helpful to think of them as having the shape of roof tiles. Even though the way they curve is not the same on every finger, you do not need to be concerned yourself with that level of realistic detail.

Portions are hugely important. And to get them right, you would need to use the forefinger as your base unit. And then have a maximum opening between the thumb and the forefinger of 1.5; just 1 between the forefinger and the ring finger; 1 between the ring finger and the LF; and the maximum angle between thumb and the forefinger should be 90 degrees from the base of the thump’s articulation.

Then, add details like the folds and lines to add more realism and then you would have it!

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