For anyone who is interested, I have started a flickr account with my Everyday Matters offerings. Plus I’ve started a food & garden journal too. And if the gods are smiling down on me an Illustration Friday set will follow. So click here if you want to check it out.
Will get around to drawing some more hands soon. Going away for four days on band camp with Taikoz. So I will be coming back with some drumming, fluting and other interesting hand material. Can’t wait!
This is one of three [maybe more if I feel it is a constructive enough excercise] step by step breakdowns of drawing hands. I had some notes I wrote to accompany this, but I cant find them. So hopefully it will all come back to me.
Anyway, I will be doing a series of hands holding objects. As that can be a double tricky, if you refer to my theory of using the vertical lines to help you construct the entire drawing it will lessen the stress for you.
Aah! My new best friend – the pen. Sorry about the wonky dissolves – George Lucas would fire me on the spot! 😛
Some easy tips I’d like to give people on shading:
1. If you have very strong shadows on your object, especially anything spherical/cylindrical, don’t shade right to the edge. You can see on my drawn fingers that the shaded areas are a millimetre or so away from the outer edge. It is one part illustrator’s technique and one part truth.
If you have a really strong source of light you can see that a whisper of light appears next to the darkest area of your subject matter. That’s what gives an object definition and shape. Most purists would agree with this and completely omit “definite” drawn lines altogether from their work – “there are no lines in the real world, just shadows”.
Well, poo poo to that.
2. If you notice all my shading is coralled within a shape and then filled in with cross hatches. It’s something my life drawing teacher taught me ages ago. It’s a quick and easy way to deal with shading.
You lightly draw in the shape the shadow has created on your subject matter and then just fill it in. The trick is making sure all your cross-hatching is evenly spaced and tonally consistent, ie dont draw thick, thin, thick, medium, thin.
If you have three or four levels of shade in your drawing, apply the same approach but just make sure your cross hatching lines go in a different angle OR are either more compact or widely spaced. I will try and do a series on cross hatching to explain this a little better.
My blog’s main objective is to help people draw hands – in different angles or positions, of different ages and in various forms of action. They are an endless source of visual material.
Of course I’m not an expert, I just love to draw!
[INSERT CORNY HAND PUN HERE]
The human figure is without doubt the most interesting subject matter for any artist. It’s expressive, it’s emotional. It can be singular or grouped. You can study it as a whole or focus on a particular part, like me.
I love hands. Like everyone else, my hands were drawn behind the body or tucked in pockets. Or if I worked out how to draw hands in a certain position, ALL my figures had the same hands (so there was a lot of pointing going on). But the more I drew and challenged myself the better I got!
I CAN’T DRAW HANDS!
Drawing hands is all in your head, unfortunately. My theory is that we draw from memory rather than trust what we see in front of us. So attempts at drawing hands can go a bit haywire. Have you ever drawn a picture of someone you know and it didn’t work out? Whereas if it was someone you didn’t know the results were better? That’s because you were approaching the latter as a random object. Meaning: as you had no collective memory of this person you had to trust what was in front of you.
So, drawing hands… Stop thinking that they are difficult and complicated and instead understand them. How? Look at them! These have a structure. They don’t fly off in different angles, there aren’t an infinite number of bones or knuckles in one finger nor do they disappear into each other when clenched.
The great thing about hands is that they come with built-in grid lines. Look at all the wonderful vertical lines they have on both sides. This will help you with proportioning, direction and angles a lot.
If you look at each finger it’s made up of only three sections, two if you’re a thumb. Fingers will only ever curve inwards (unless it’s dislocated or you’re one of those weird-arse contortionists). They also taper down towards the fingertips. It should be like drawing a family of lumpy caterpillars.
Still confused? Think of the mechanical claws in arcade games that you supposedly “win” prizes from. They are designed after of our own hands – same shape, same structure. But as they are designed to do only one thing they are very basic. However, the claws do curve in and taper off like our own. Despite the myriad of positions we can manipulate our hands into, the skeletal structure is a relatively simple, yet sublime design.
DON’T DRAW WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE
It’s like drawing a four-legged animal – you don’t have to draw all four legs for people to comprehend that it is an four-legged animal. I know kids can think that way, but they grow out of it, just like the two left feet syndrome. So if you can’t see all the fingers on a hand then don’t draw them in.
The first rule of drawing is you do not talk about drawing… Sorry, I mean, the first rule of drawing is be confident. Anyone whose profession is public speaking/performance will tell you no matter how nervous you are, or how little you know, be confident in your action. Conviction is the key.
Don’t worry about making a mistake with your linework. Explore, just let it happen, enjoy, make a mark, make a thousand marks. But be confident. If you’re going to kill a tree for paper – make it worthwhile. (Visit Australian Conservation Foundation for donations.)
At the moment I love dip pen and black ink. I like strong lines and it suits my personality. However, don’t email me about what the best nibs, ink etc are as I wouldn’t have the foggiest. For the last eight years I’ve struggled with a dip pen that refused to work. This was because it was clogged with ink filth and I was using plain old tap water to clean it with, which is apparently a big no-no. So I’m still learning the essentials of good pen care (my mind says, “yes, you need to know these things”, my heart says “you know what you’re like – you’ll never learn”). But I do prefer W&N Black Indian Ink.
However, I also use felt pens (anything from Artlines to Sakura Microns) or biros (complimentary hotel pens, schoolbook pens etc).