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Banes at 12:00AM, March 30, 2017

They say that how hands are drawn is a good indicator of the technical expertise of the artist.
Makes sense!

Hands are definitely the most varied parts of the body, capable of the most diverse configurations. Add in the always-challenging angles and forshortening and you have a very difficult hill to climb!

My own hand-drawing is not strong, but the few times I've gone the extra mile, constructed the extremity and/or used a photo reference or two, the results have been very satisfying. Every so often I work on it. A bit at a time.

After working on drawing eyes for the past few weeks, I'm looking at hands more and more. I'm sure strangers are uncomfortable with the way I stare at their hands all the time.

They're BIGGER than I've tended to draw them, I notice. That's the main thing I've seen…

I may have more work to do.

What do you say? Are hands the toughest part of drawing people? How do you grab ahold of this challenge?

And for your efforts, give yourself a…yeah. Y'know.



PaulEberhardt at 6:20AM, April 2, 2017

@oz: A boob special would be a good idea. Drawing them isn't all about instinct either even if it may be tempting to think so. ;)

PaulEberhardt at 6:14AM, April 2, 2017

Hands are hard and feet even more so, since they tend to be as prehensile as overlooked and are not the most pleasant body parts to look at in any case. I often spend a lot more time on hands and feet and the way they're used in body language than on, say, faces. This said, I find that my best hands and feet are those I do without any aid other than my instincts, tolerating minor mistakes. In very difficult cases I used to use my own hands in front of a mirror for reference, but I found that's not always a good idea. It kind of kills the spontaneity. Paws are generally easier, but even there devoting some time to them can often be quite rewarding.

meemjar at 12:17AM, April 2, 2017

Funny, but comic artist Steve Ditko of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange fame did VERY expressive hand gestures. But the rest of his anatomy could be pretty off sometimes.

Ironscarf at 6:27AM, March 31, 2017

I don't have too much of a problem with hands anymore. Feet on the other hand(!) are hard. Even when they're exactly right, they can look totally wrong. Worse still, people usually keep them covered up and will look at you weird if you ask them to take their shoes off.

ozoneocean at 9:13PM, March 30, 2017

There's a Quackcast in this I think...

ozoneocean at 7:56PM, March 30, 2017

Do your next special on boobs (especially when covered!). And noses! These things have a lot in common: protuberances from the front of the body, often drawn front on and foreshortened. People often simplify them because they're deceptively hard to get right but very easy when you stylise them.

VinoMas at 3:40PM, March 30, 2017

"They say that how hands are drawn is a good indicator of the technical expertise of the artist. Makes sense!" NOOOOOOO!!!! Hands are sooo hard! Don't call me out like that! lol

hansrickheit at 12:56PM, March 30, 2017

When I was a kid back in the eighties, whenever I met a professional cartoonist, they'd always stress the importance of being able to draw hands. It's frequently the barometer used to judge an amateur's work. "You draw hands really well." I cannot agree more strongly about the importance of being able to draw hands. I've spend the last two decades fixating on how best to render them. I still get it wrong frequently, but I am reasonably confident about drawing hands these days. Although drawing from real life and photos is crucial, if you want to look at excellent DRAWINGS of hands, I can think of no better source than Steve Ditko. Although his fingers are kind of exaggerated-looking, his drawings are a superb example of breaking the forms down into two-dimensional images. Myself, I usually begin by first drawing the thumb and the large muscle of the palm it's connected to. From that reference point, I can easily work out the relative positions of the remaining fingers.

stinger9 at 12:49PM, March 30, 2017

I fit into the category of "Can't draw them, even with a reference"! Heck, I think there have been maybe 2 times I've used a reference and thought it was even a slight improvement. I have always found though, unless they're particularly prominent in a panel, or massively off, they rarely seem noticeable in others work. When I'm spending a whole day trying to get a finger looking even remotely the way I want, it's a completely different story!

Zaptoid56 at 11:33AM, March 30, 2017

I have more trouble with feet.. hammertoes, blisters, bunions, corns and calluses, heel spurs, claw and mallet toes, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, and athlete’s foot...there's only so much you can convey to a character.. ( I'm just joking here..forgive me Banes.)

usedbooks at 7:12AM, March 30, 2017

I have a lot of photos on my camera that are close-ups of my hands or a friend's hands in various positions

cdmalcolm1 at 6:56AM, March 30, 2017

One of the best ways to master hand angles is to do them over and over again. Find a clean version and copy it. Then try and draw it repeatedly. I do what Jim Lee said to do. You're not sure always use references.

KAM at 6:13AM, March 30, 2017

Kim, there's a Disney ad with Mickey having the thumb on the wrong side of his hand, so it's a mistake EVERY artist makes at some point. ;-)

KimLuster at 4:54AM, March 30, 2017

Yep, absolutely the hardest thing! People that can draw good hands without pics or a mirror are masters. As for me, sometimes I can - sometimes I can't (I've even put the thumb on the wrong side a few times :D)

MOrgan at 1:50AM, March 30, 2017

Hands are weird. They're the same size as a person's face, but when drawing them I usually make them too small in relation to a character's face, or I draw them too big. I think the only times they look the right size is when I use the scaling tool in PhotoShop. ;-)

MOrgan at 1:44AM, March 30, 2017

Should those of us who do cartoony hands give ourselves a High Four? ;-)

Gunwallace at 12:30AM, March 30, 2017

As Spike Milligan once scribbled down: "Who wrote me these legs?" Writing legs is just as hard as drawing hands. Maybe.

area5_1 at 12:25AM, March 30, 2017

I use a mixture of mirror and copying cartoon examples I find on the web. Definitely the most difficult thing to draw though.

ozoneocean at 12:22AM, March 30, 2017

Hands are hardest to draw from your imagination! With a mirror that all changes, but from imagination it causes too many issues! Reference makes this task so much easier...

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