Put your hands up in the air!


My hand profile: they look like the hands of an eighty year old. Probably shouldn't have made this the first drawing of the day.

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!


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!


Number 1Drawing 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.


Number Two

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.


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.)

Number 3


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).

See more numbered hands

2 thoughts on “Put your hands up in the air!

  1. I will have to read this again next time I have to draw a hand! Interesting post and great sketches, welcome to EDM, you have found the right group if you want a friendly breath of fresh air!

    1. Thanks Cathy! I cant wait to start EDM, I went out and bought some sketch books today. I feel like a kid in a candy store again!!

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