Hands can be intimidating to draw. Learning how to draw a hand is an essential skill if you want to draw people. There are a lot of ways to draw hands, but we’ll break down how to draw a hand with an easy guideline tutorial from Mastering Manga 2 by Mark Crilley.
How to Draw a Hand
For the vast majority of us, drawing the hand is a huge challenge. The complexity of its structure results in an infinite variety of possible poses and configurations. It is worth drawing your own hand, palm facing forward, to help you memorize the length of each finger in comparison with the thumb and the rest of the hand. For this step-by-step lesson on how to draw a hand, I have chosen one of the most common poses—that of the hand at rest when the arm is relaxed.
Step 1: Build Your Frame
Draw two square boxes, one on top the other. Make the squares at least two inches on each side to allow for details later on.
Step 2: Rough In the Palm
Draw the rough shape of the palm. It is an unusual shape, so take your time and use the grid structure to help you see where the lines go. The curved line at the bottom will be where you add the fingers later on.
Step 3: Sketch the Wrist and Thumb
Add lines for the wrist and for the thumb. If you have made the palm shape accurately, the wrist line on the left will be near the middle of the top square, but slightly closer to the left edge. The thumb is divided into two subsections—an indication of the palm at the top, and the thumb itself below. Take care to observe both the length and width of the thumb. It is about one-quarter as wide as the squares in step 1.
Step 4: Draw the First Two Fingers
Add the first two fingers. The second one touches the bottom line of the grid. The first one (the index finger) is slightly shorter. Look at your own hand as reference for their difference in length. Each finger has joints that divide it into three subsections of roughly equal length.
Step 5: Add the Other Fingers
Draw the other two fingers. The one on the left is about the same length as the index finger. The pinkie is noticeably shorter. Again, examining your own hand will allow you to study and eventually memorize the lengths of the various fingers.
Step 6: Add Details
Add wrinkles to the wrist, the palm and the joint of the thumb. You can add a few wrinkles at the thumb knuckle if you like. The thumbnail is plainly visible from this point of view. A simple line at the joints of each finger completes the drawing.
Step 7: Finish It
Ink the drawing, taking care not to ink any of the early guidelines you needed only for line placement. Let the ink dry, then erase the pencil lines.
Add color and you’re done! You’ve learned how to draw a hand. Now you can take this drawing technique and apply it to other poses, ages or genders. Find reference photos and practice how to break down the shapes using the same guideline system.
A Variety of Hands
A baby’s hands are small and more rounded than a grown-up’s hands. The fingers are a bit stubby, and the fingernails are quite tiny.
In addition to the obvious hairiness, the hand of this hardened tough guy has very pronounced knuckles and indications of musculature.
An older character’s hands reveal their age by way of wrinkles and bone structure. The knuckles can become very wrinkly, and veins may crisscross the back of the hand.