Manga Monday: Drawing Hands with Mark Crilley

In the first Mastering Manga book by Mark Crilley, he showed us these great poses to reference when drawing hands.


This time in Mastering Manga 2, he gives a step-by-step tutorial. You wanted it, you got it! Hands are definitely not the easiest thing to draw. I know it’s something I struggle with whenever I sketch. Sometimes I just block the hands in and don’t fully sketch them. It’s a terrible habit. With Mark Crilley’s help we can all master the skill of drawing hands though! He breaks it down into basic steps so you can see the structure of the hand. If you follow this equation for drawing hands, it will get much easier. After that it’s all about practice, practice, practice!


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Step One: Build your frame

Draw two boxes, perfectly square, one atop the other. Make the squares at least two inches on each side so as to allow for details later on.

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Step Two: 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.

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Step Three: 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.

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Step Four: 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.

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Step Five: 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.

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Step Six: 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.

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Step Seven: Finish It

Ink the drawing, taking care not to ink any of the early guidelines you needed only for line placement. Let it dry, then erase the pencil lines.

Add some color and you’re done!

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Now hands don’t seem so hard, right? Check out Mastering Manga and then pre-order your copy of Mastering Manga 2 by Mark Crilley. You’ll be a true master in no time!



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