Introduction: Drawing Hands--The Simple Way

About: I like drawing. Feel free to ask questions!

Hi everyone! This instructable's purpose is to make drawing hands less troublesome. I know that lots of people have a hard time drawing hands, so hopefully this tutorial will help you!

When I was a kid, I used to slap ten jagged lines onto a rough circle-shape and call it a hand. I had a lot of trouble with hands, but after studying them and practicing, hands have become one of my favorite things to draw. I hope sharing some of my insights with you will be helpful (you know, to avoid sticking ten fingers on one hand and all that).


1. Sharpened pencil (Mechanical pencils are easy to use)

2. Pencil sharpener

3. Paper (I normally use regular printer paper, but you can experiment and see what kind of paper you favor)

4. Good eraser (Make sure it doesn't leave streaks when you erase, they can be frustrating!)

5. (Optional) Hand references (Pictures from the internet or your own hand works well)

Remember: drawing takes time, so try to be a little patient with yourself! If you aren't satisfied with the end result, try and try again! Practice makes perfect.

Step 1: Start With a Box....

...and wrist-line, respectively. You can think of this step as the square-shaped lollipop step, if you wish. For this step, you don't need to worry about the fingers, just the shape of the palm.

Handy tips: there are no straight lines to a hand, so try to keep the box a little curvy. Additionally, try to keep your pencil marks light, as you will need to erase later. The lighter your pencil marks are, the easier it will be to erase them.

Step 2: Add the Knuckles

The thumb is fatter at the base than the rest of the four fingers, so try to make it a larger oval-shape. For this hand position with the straight palm, the knuckles are spaced evenly apart (more or less).

Try not to put the thumb knuckle too high or too low on the palm, as the thumb usually marks the bottom line of the palm.

Step 3: Draw the Finger Lines

It's important to make the fingers proportional to the palm (i.e. not making the fingers too long or too short. None of the fingers are the same length as the palm, but the middle one is close).

I use the index finger as the 'normal finger length' and then I follow these 'rules' (which is the easiest way for me to explain the finger lengths):

Rule 1. The middle finger is the longest finger, so it's okay if it looks a little too long.

Rule 2. I make the ring finger longer than the index, but shorter than the middle (but if you want to change it, that's fine).

Rule 3. The pinkie is the shortest, and can usually be measured by a little more than half the middle finger length.

For the thumb, it may be easier to draw the slight bumpiness. However, since the real bumpiness comes from the knuckles, you can probably get away with making a straight line for the thumb guideline.

Step 4: Mitten Up!

It might be easier to draw the fingers with a guide, so the mitten part can help. There should be a gentle peak where the top of the middle finger will be, and a small, slight slope down until you can connect the mitten part with the palm.

For the thumb, there are two bumps connecting three curved lines. The inside line of the thumb should be equidistant from the outside line of the thumb, and it should get slightly fatter at the end where it connects to the palm. The thumb is about the same thickness as the other fingers (except the pinkie).

Handy tips: fingers don't have pointed tips, so try to curve the tops of the fingers.

Step 5: Mitten Down!

Start off by dividing the 'mitten' part into four roughly equal parts. The index, middle and ring finger are the same thickness, so it may be easier to eyeball the spaces between the fingers before slightly shrinking the pinkie. Again, try to make the tips of the fingers curvy.

Step 6: Clean Up

The tip of the thumb is about in line with the space between the fingers. Each finger is about equally thick, and in this position, the four fingers width is about equal the palm's width.

This is also where you can erase the guidelines you made, the circular knuckles, the palm-box and wrist-line. To make the palm even more palm-like, extend the inside of the thumb's curve to about the wrist-line. This will give the thumb some shape.

Step 7: Rinse and Repeat

Following the previous steps, you can draw hands more easily. The less steps you need to follow, the better. Of course, these hands are not completely realistic, but it'll get easier as you practice. For this particular hand, it's important to note the spaces between the fingers, the fingernails (which don't need to be anything more than a simple line near the tips of the fingers, honestly).

Handy tips: use easy to erase pencil lines. Additionally, as long as hands don't have any straight lines, there are no sharp points either. Try to round out the tips of the fingers and knuckles so they don't look too pointy.

Step 8: Keep in Mind...

...not all hands are equal. For this hand position, take into account the size of the palm. At an angle, the palm appears to be much narrower, and the thumb and index finger are the stars of the show. If you're unsure about the natural curve or positions of a finger, it's easiest to use your own hand as reference.

When you draw a hand, if the position looks completely unrealistic, try to see if you yourself can make that exact pose, or have someone model it for you. It's easier to catch awkward hand poses early on.

Handy tips: Unless you're aiming for a photo-realistic hand, you don't need to add every wrinkle or curve. It's better if you decide how detailed you'd like your hand to be. For example, the thumb in this picture has the inner line slightly extend into the palm, because it's a very simplistic version of the wrinkle.

Last Handy Tip of the day: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Practice and you'll see the results of your hard work.

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