Tips for Drawing: Hands 101

Drawing hands is one of the toughest challenges an artist faces, and thanks to human’s familiarity with them it’s easy for people to point out the slightest mistake. Here is a quick, visual guide to get you through a few of the pitfalls that can pop up when drawing hands.

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By following these simple formulas and tips you can achieve well crafted hand drawings in any position, even difficult foreshortened shots!

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Don’t think of the inside of the fingers like a V shape necessarily, think of the fingers as individual shapes connected to the base, then put “webbing” between them. This is something that took me a long time to fully get. This way, you’ll feel free to let the fingers do their thing. Then you just connect them with the web that can stretch or squash accordingly, but they are not connected to each other.

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Above all, practice! And if you need any direct help one on one, check out www.Drawniversity.com!

Update: Looking for more tips on drawing hands? Check out the featured article Drawing Hands 102!

Joshua Taback is a 16 year veteran Director, Animator, and Character Layout Artist. He has worked for many years on The Simpsons television show, as well as Family Guy. Currently, he is a Director on Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja for Disney, and a personal mentor for artists via Drawniversity.com.

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Pattie K.

Wow I never saw hands explained like that! What a great tip with the lines coming out from one spot and across the corners! Ive always struggled with hand drawing and this could be really helpful to me. I have one question which is what if the fingers are curved? Is it the same or does that change the lines coming out along the top part?

joshtbck

Hi Pattie,

The same rules apply if the fingers are curved, only, it’s more apparent when looking at just the base segment of the fingers, the part that doesn’t curve. The rest of the curved finger moves that way also, it’s just harder to see. One trick/truth, is that your curved fingers always point inwards, pretty much back to the same point at the bottom of the hand that the fingers started fanning out from.

If you look at your hand, palm facing you and fingers together, then curve your fingers, then spread them out as wide as they go. You’ll see they all point in, this shows you how the first rule still applies and gives you another little tool on how the hand works when the fingers are bent. I hope that helps!

Stop by http://www.drawniversity.com for personalized lessons that work directly with your own drawings.

joshtbck

Hi Pattie,

I just posted a few more pages in reference to my response. It’s 4 new pages at the bottom of the Hand Drawing lesson – http://drawniversity.blogspot.com/p/sample-lessons.html

Dennis

This is a fantastic article. Thanks!

catplanet

I always get screwed up on fingernails because they make my hands look like claws and I don’t know what i’m doing wrong.

joshtbck

Hey catplanet,

I would think on cat planet, everyone would HAVE claws, but I’ll do my best to address your question…. Don’t think of it as putting the fingernails ON the finger, think of it as the nail being part of the finger – enclosed in the shape. Once you draw the finger’s shape, just indicate where the edges of the nail are. Also, the line does not need to be totally enclosed. Look at the banner image on drawniversity.com, the final cleaned up drawing has hands with nails, but they are part of the finger shape.

Women’s nails are a bit different, they also should not necessarily be PUT ON either, but rather an extension of the finger. The top of the finger to be more precise. Then the fleshy tip of the finger would just end where the nail (top) continues. You can then maybe add a small curve to the top of the nail to make it a bit more rounded, but that may be part of what is making it feel like a claw.

If you want the finger tip to be closer to the tip of the nail, and still look more feminine, try lengthening the last segment of the finger a bit, this could keep the feminine feel without the claw like nail. If the finger looks too long, try shortening the other parts of the finger to compensate.

I hope all that helps!

Stop by http://www.drawniversity.com for personalized lessons that work directly with your own drawings.

louis v

Wow thats awesome, thanks!

Vishal Desai

Great article awesome , thanks

Hunter

I bookmarked it. This sort of thing you can never have too much of when you’re drawing.

joshtbck

Hey guys, I’m glad the article was helpful. I’ll put some follow up lessons that address your comments as soon as I can. Also, you can stop by http://www.drawniversity.com for personalized lessons that work directly with your own drawings.

corky

I think this is a real great article. Thanks again. Much obliged.

Phillip Sims

Really thank you! Much obliged.

celine

Great series!

Michael S.

Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many Thanx!!

Sylvia

I would love some tips on the digits themselves, I have such a hard time getting the tips of fingers and toes to look natural.

Austin Jose

Thanks for such a piece of information. I wonder how you get these tips for hand drawing. I read many articles and this was the simple one, which helped me to learn new tips.