How to Draw Hands: 35 Tutorials, How-To’s, Step-by-Steps, Videos, Studies, Poses and Photo References

110 Comments | October 19, 2009

I’ve found drawing hands one of the most challenging aspects of drawing the human figure. You can get away with quite a bit when rendering the human figure, but get the hand wrong and it sticks out like a sore thumb.  Once you start learning about the hand in greater depth, you’ll find it is truly amazing just how complex the hand is even though we see it everyday.  Perhaps the following tutorials can help you and I draw better hands. Enjoy.


Hands on TattooPort

Loads of (tattooed) hands on TattooPort



Tutorials, How-To’s and Step-by-Step’s

It’s often useful to have a step-by-step guide, tutorial, or “recipe” on how to accomplish a certain task.  I’ve found that following steps is good to grasp basic concepts before going on to experiment and expand one’s understanding.  Tutorials on drawing hands are no different, and the tutorials and how-to’s listed below should be a good starting point.

j Peffer - Hand Construction Methods

J. Peffer created some nice step-by-steps for about a handful of hand poses.

Ron Lemen - Drawing the Human Hand

Nice little tutorial by Ron Lemen.

Tom Richmond - Hands

Tom Richmond’s site is a must-go for any aspiring cartoonist and caricaturist and has a wealth of information.

Joumana Medlej - Drawing Hands

Joumana Medlev has a superb introduction on the anatomy of hands on DeviantArt; also check out her work on

Drawing Hands and Feet

Quick hands and feet tutorial on Scribd by unknown author.

Whyball - How to Draw a Classic Hand using a Graphics Tablet

This tutorial is a bit different in that it’s more focused on how to draw using a graphic tablet as opposed to a hand per se. Nonetheless, it’s never bad to learn two things at once, so check out Whyball’s “How to Draw a Classic Hand using a Graphics Tablet” over on GoMediaZine.

uchuucacahuate - How to Draw Hands

Short and sweet hand drawing tut by uchuucacahuate on deviantart.

nk-chan - Short Hand Tutorial

(Very) short but good tutorial by nk-chan on

alexds1 - Hand Tutorial

Excellent hand tutorial by alexds1 on – I really wish I could executive cartoon hands like that!

Vashs-Angel - Drawing Hands

Good step-by-step tutorial by vashs-angel on simple illustrations and descriptive text.
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Often it’s helpful to see someone else do something, not just in pictures, but in real-time.  Here are some videos that show hands being drawn:

For you all you manga heads out there, you wanna go check out Mark Crilley’s channel on YouTube on how to draw manga. Among those the video above on how to draw a hand holding a sword and how to just draw a hand.

Nice demonstration on how to draw a hand by cattusOK on YouTube.

Here we have another tutorial on how to draw female hands, also executed in Photoshop, via WonderHowTo.
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As one of the more complex instruments of the body, a sound understanding of underlying anatomy of hands can help considerably when trying to render realistic and convincing hands in your drawings.  Below are resources that should help you begin to understand how hands truly work.

Hand Anatomy Plate from Gray's Anatomy

The Wikimedia Commons continues to be a great place to find reference material, such as the hand anatomy plate from Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body pictured above.

victor Perard - Drawing and Anatomy

Drawing and Anatomy by Victor Perard has pretty in depth coverage of human anatomy even though the drawings aren’t the best I’ve seen.  Nonetheless, very useful for the artist seeking to deepen their understanding of anatomy.

Drawing Hands and Feet by JayD

A more comprehensive discussion on drawing hands and feet which (I believe) originated on WetCanvas by JayD and then ended up on document form on Scribd.

T Arthur Smith - Hand Tendons

Great mini-tutorial on hands by T. Arthur Smith on DeviantArt, looking to go beyond a tutorial on simply the idealized form of the hand.

Michael Hensley - Anatomical Hand

I’ve mentioned him before in the post on skulls, and I’ll mention him again here: check out Michael Hensley for some great anatomical drawings with a distinctive style.
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Drawing Dynamic Hands by Burne Hogarth

Perhaps the ultimate “tutorial” on drawing hands, “Drawing Dynamic Hands” by Burne Hogarth is a must-have reference book in your library. You can buy it here on Amazon.

burne Hogarth - Hand in Dynamic Anatomy

Mr. Hogarth has more hand material in that most amazing work, Dynamic Anatomy.  You can buy it here on Amazon.

Andrew Loomis - Drawing Heads and Hands

Thankfully there’s a copy of “Drawing Head and Hands” over at Scribd, by that other master of drawing, Andrew Loomis. The section on drawing hands isn’t as comprehensive as that on heads, but a great resource nonetheless, especially when trying to draw non-male hands (female, baby, etc.).

The Hand in Constructive Anatomy by George Bridgman

George Bridgman is the author of yet another treasure of a book on drawing.  Above you can see a plate from his the chapter on hands in the book Constructive Anatomy, available at the Internet Archive (or here via Scribd).
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Here’s a list of resources that display hands from many different angles.  It’s truly remarkable just how many poses the hand can be seen in.

Chrissy Fellmeth - Hand Poses

Useful collection of hand poses by Chrissy Fellmeth.

what-i-do-is-secret - Hand Sketches

More hand poses by what-i-do-is-secret on

how to Draw Female Hands by artrush73

A nice little collection of female hand poses by artrush73’s hub page.

les Clark - Mickey Mouse Hand Model Sheet

Mickey Mouse Hand Model Sheet by Les Clark

The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive has some true gems when it comes to old drawings, such as this hand model sheet of Mickey Mouse by Les Clark from 1932.  Lot of other great stuff too, check it out. Found via this post on Animopus.

Hogarth Hand Reference

Another hand model sheet can be found on the Ultimate Iron Giant website, this one in particular being of Hogarth’s hand.  There’re literally a ton of other drawings on sketches related to the Iron Giant, you’ll find the hands in about the middle of the page.

kelly - How to Draw Hands

Nice little reference on drawing animal hands/paws provided by Kelly on

jimmymcwicked - hand poses

Great study of the hand in its many incarnations – love the minimal style here.  By jimmymcwicked on
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Photo References

Although you’ve got a pair for easy reference, it can help to look at a photo of a real hand, especially for awkward angles.  Here are a few sites that should give you ample hand pose pictures for hours of hand-drawing fun.

Thomas A - Photo Reference

Nice collection of hand poses taken by Thomas A of Ander’s hands, via

Pose Maniacs - Hands for Drawing

This site is certainly something out of the ordinary: Hands for Drawing by Pose Maniacs allows you select various hand poses and then turn them in 3D (select one of the numbers in the right-hand menu).  Great when you can’t find a proper reference at just the right angle.

female Hand Reference

Nice collection of both male and female hands in various interesting poses.

WindsweptSummer - Left Hand Reference

Female left hands by WindsweptSummer on

dragyourstock - Hand Stock Reference Sheet

Hand holding pencil by dragyourstock on


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