How to Draw Hands in 4 Steps With Photoshop

Are you having difficulties learning how to draw hands? Don't worry, you are not alone. Since hands are part of a crucial part of the human body for displaying emotions, this guide will show a few key concepts through hand drawings to help understand what to look for in this subject.

One of the best ways to start off learning how to draw hands is just by simply studying it. Medical books are excellent resources to look at the anatomy locations of the tendons and general muscle mass. This will help prepare you for visualizing the hand as you begin drawing it.

Of course, the hand can't be drawn without any form of foreshortening. Once you have an idea of its structure, dynamic movement and poses are only possible when you understand a good method of perspective that works for you.

Then, there is are techniques to draw in the intricate details like wrinkles. We will go over these key concepts so you have an idea of what to focus on when learning how to draw hands. First, let's go over proportions and pivot points.

How to draw hands: proportions and pivots

The proportions can be divided into four quadrants. Starting from the wrists, the length of the palm is roughly the same as the longest finger. The palm itself is a share that can fit in any of those quadrants while the thumb and the pinky divides the lower half of the palm.

For the joints, each finger joint can be further divided into a series of arches. The thumb is one joint elevation lower than the other four fingers. Once you have this idea visually burned in your mind, the next step is to look at how the hand pivots around.

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With some exceptions, natural pivot points found on the hand will rarely exceed 90 degrees. The pivot points you need to study would be the wrist, thumb, knuckles, finger joints, and palm. Carefully observe these angles and mirror it with your own hands.

Learning these points will help you decipher how foreshortening will work when you start drawing the hands. The next step would be be to practice creating simple gesture sketches of the hand in various poses. Compare it with your own hands to see how close you are to your sketches.

How to draw hands: foreshortening

Drawing foreshortened hands is necessary to your progression as an artist because the hand will always contain some form of foreshortening in any pose. While it may look difficult, creating flow lines can ease the learning process.

From the section on proportions, encompassing these lines can help to snap the finger joints into place so you can build the rest of the hand. Focus on circular shapes of the joints and create a cylindrical hose connecting each joint as it snaps on each flow line.

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Other tricks to help with drawing the hand would be to build the palm first. Think of the palm as a flat square brick that you draw in one perspective. You can then build up the cylindrical fingers and thumbs from it so long as you know where to divide the palm for those key proportions.

When including objects, also think about pressure. When that happens, you must study how the fingers will bend in a fashion to exhibit pressure created from flat or round surfaces. The same can be said for holding objects. Make sure the object and the hand have the proper perspective vanishing points.

How to draw hands: variations

Age plays a very important part in how hands are shaped. From childhood to adulthood, drawing hands in each of these stages will gradually require a good understanding of anatomy and muscle groups as one ages.

In the beginning of life, a baby's hands require very little detail due to the fat surrounding it. Drawing a baby's hand will be focused on creating thick muscles around the skin to high bone structures like the knuckles and wrists.

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Between a male and a female hand, sometimes it can be hard to distinguish. However, you can emphasis the femininity of a hand simply by focusing on the long slender fingers. Specifically, you would want to slim down the ends of the fingers as much as possible.

When it comes to old age, though, this is where your knowledge of anatomy really shines. Due to sagging skin, tendons and veins are more apparent. The trick is to draw in veins using a light color over a neutral tone to emphasis the anatomy underneath.

How to draw hands: interactions

To turn your gesture drawing into a realistic hand, break it down into several parts. First, as usual, start with a gesture sketch. After that smudge it together to get rid of the lines. From there, block in details of the fingers. Finally, add in shading.

If we are only concerned with drawing hands by itself, then all we are worried about is perspective, foreshortening, and creating realism. However, when dealing with hands holding objects or even another hand, then we have to introduce overlapping.

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Interlocking fingers is a good way to look at overlapping. To interlock fingers, it's best to think about drawing hands as its own piece. That is, draw both the hands in its entirety on separate layers. Then, align where the fingers should be and erase into the gesture lines to show interlocking areas.

The prayer position takes interlocking fingers a bit further in that it introduces folding. In this pose, you are now showing how the fingers will collapse on to the other hand. The key here is to make sure there is enough space in between each finger to allow the fingers of the other hand to seep through.

Another common pose is the standard handshake. This position is focused on inserting all four fingers into the palm area. The difficulty here is drawing collapsed fingers as a group, the interlocking thumbs, and the angle in winch the wrists will swivel.

Finally, one more variation of the handshake would be a palm lock. This time, the goal would be to focus on collapsed fingers from both hands as well as the angle of the hands. In this scenario, the interaction of both hands will create a triangle.

There is definitely a lot to take in but breaking this complex subject matter into manageable chunks is the best way to learn it. I hope these examples of learning how to draw hands is helpful to you as they were for me.