How to Draw Hands: 35 Tutorials, How-To’s, Step-by-Steps, Videos, Studies, Poses and Photo References
81 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.
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 created some nice step-by-steps for about a handful of hand poses.
Nice little tutorial by Ron Lemen.
Tom Richmond’s site is a must-go for any aspiring cartoonist and caricaturist and has a wealth of information.
Quick hands and feet tutorial on Scribd by unknown author.
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.
Short and sweet hand drawing tut by uchuucacahuate on deviantart.
(Very) short but good tutorial by nk-chan on deviantart.com.
Excellent hand tutorial by alexds1 on deviantart.com – I really wish I could executive cartoon hands like that!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
Useful collection of hand poses by Chrissy Fellmeth.
More hand poses by what-i-do-is-secret on deviantart.com.
A nice little collection of female hand poses by artrush73’s hub page.
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.
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.
Nice little reference on drawing animal hands/paws provided by Kelly on drawfurry.com.
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.
Nice collection of hand poses taken by Thomas A of Ander’s hands, via elfwood.com.
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.
Nice collection of both male and female hands in various interesting poses.
Female left hands by WindsweptSummer on deviantart.com.
Hand holding pencil by dragyourstock on deviantart.com.