Tutorials and resources

Drawing realistic hands the quick and easy way

The hands of a character can be very expressive and add a lot of mood to an image. If you have trouble when drawing hands or you’re looking for a painless way to draw them, this tutorial is for you.
Let’s start!

Know the structure

You don’t need to know each bone, but be aware of their lenght and joints.
Each finger is made of 3 falanges, connected to the palm. The palm can be delimited by drawing a square.

drawing_hands_02Fingers lenght

The fingers do not have the same lenght. The proportional lenght of fingers in the same hand is different by person, so you don’t need to be really precise.
These simple points will do:

  1. Index and ring finger share the same lenght.
  2. The middle finger is half-falange longer.
  3. Pinkie is at least half-falange shorter than index and ring finger.
  4. The fingers area is equal to the palm’s area.

The finger’s joints are not aligned and will form two arcs.

drawing_hands_03Cubes and volumes

When lenghts are alright and you are happy with your structure, you can start to define the volume with cubes, then round up lines where necessary to make it look organic and fleshy.
Beware of rotation and perspective.
Keep control of the finger’s top surface. It will tell you where to place the nail, which will occupy half of the last falange.

drawing_hands_04The palm

The palm can be described with a few strokes.

Refine with shadows and colors

Shadowing and colouring can have a great impact, expecially where joings bend and on the hand’s top tendons.
You’re painting two kind of skins: the thin one covering joints and the soft, fleshy one.

Get a step further

Practice until you’re confortable with drawing basic hands in different positions.
Then, focus on details like folds, shape of the nails and how the skin reacts differently in each zone.
Use references, you also have your own couple of hands to pose and examine at will!

Some close-ups of hands from my last project “Lineage of Elysium”.

Some close-ups of hands from my last project “Lineage of Elysium”.

What’s your experience and pitfalls when drawing hands?

Similar articles