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Draw Like a Beast – Basic Hands Tutorial

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A lot of people find hands intimidating to draw. And in a way they are. I had always avoided them in my drawings. They would be in pockets, or just outside of the viewer’s eyesight. As time went on, however, I decided to deal with them. When considering all the areas of intricacy in the human body, the hands are one of the most complicated sections to draw.

So how do we deal with this? Do we draw them with mitts on? No, of course not. We come up with a solution that helps us deal with the complexity.

Now to be perfectly clear, these drawing tips have been passed on from drawing masters to students from generation to generation. I do not take credit for any of what I am about to share. I just hope it can help you through your journey to becoming a Drawing Beast!

So when something of immense complexity rears its ugly head, the best way to deal with it is to break it apart. That is exactly what we do here.

Look at your hand and see if you can break it apart into basic shapes. This technique is a valuable tool for drawing anything, not just hands. To keep things simple let’s just use cubes and rectangles. As you can see in the first image, we can break the hand apart into 6 basic shapes (not including the arm). The palm and the five digits. In the second drawing, you can go even further and break apart the digits into 3 sections as well.

So why do we take this step? It is a lot easier for our minds to think about these shapes within a 3D environment. Twisting and turning cubes and rectangles becomes less complicated. And that’s exactly what we want.

Now let’s move ahead. Take our shapes and outline the silhouette and add the basic forms. No details yet. I find this step crucial when trying to make your drawings readable.

Feel free to tweak your drawings at this point. If the fingers seem too chubby, lean them up. If the thumb seems too short, make it bigger.

Think about where the muscle and fat are. Again look at your own hand. Keep an eye on where muscle and bone meet up. How they interact. Grab some of that form detail and add it to your drawing.

The third and final step is my favorite. Adding detail. This is where your drawings really come to life. There is never, and I’ll repeat this, NEVER EVER too much detail. The more you want to add the better. Follow the contours of your hand. See where they start and where they end up. Add some wrinkles and folds. Define some of the muscle mass and fat. Each section of detail you add gives form and definition to your drawing.

Learning these basic techniques will help you tackle much more than just hands. You can use these same techniques for other body parts. As a matter of fact, anything can be drawn by using basic shapes. Of course, there is a lot more to learn.  But for now, draw some hands. A whole mess of them. Try different angles and poses. And if you feel like sharing, send them here. I’ll make a follow-up post and share some of the examples I receive.  Good Luck!

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