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"Haaaands", One week ago, 4:57 PM #1
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Let’s talk about drawing hands. Why is it so hard? If it’s not hard for you, why is it so easy to you? And what do they look like as of now? Here are some hands I drew recently as an example:



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One week ago, 7:37 PM #2
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My advice for hands is to cheat. Cheat hard. Cheat constantly. Nobody knows what hands look like nobody HAS hands. I mean look at your arms, and look at where hands would be. There’s nothing there. Nothing to reference. No way to know what they look like. That means nobody can tell you how you draw hands is wrong. It’s the perfect crime.

But really there’s rules for drawing hands, but all rules are simplifications. Even renaissance masters who paint hands don’t make them look like the real deal, (if you put your own hand up against them you’ll see a lot of difference) but the impression they paint is immaculate. I find the square base construction easiest for me but I don’t even follow it very much.

My characters are all weird cartoon furries so their hands are bulky with chunky digits. It took me a very long time to have any kind of hands I felt were half ok, and they’re not even human which I think should be harder.



Hands are luckily receptive to practice, but they take some work to start getting really good at them. I still feel like an amateur with my hands.. every panel I have to draw hands I feel like I’m stumbling over it a lot. I’ll very often just pass some I say “good enough!!!!!!” to even when I can see the imperfections to them.
If anyone says they’re easy uhhhhh they’re either lying or they already did the many of work that makes it easy
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One week ago, 7:44 PM #3
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I use a lot of references. If I can't find anything that looks right, I take a picture of mine. Feet are not a lot easier, anyway.
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One week ago, 7:50 PM #4
loved birds way before they were the word
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I have no shame about tracing over a reference photo or 3D model for difficult poses. Luckily I have a stylized art method, which lets me get away with not having 100% accuracy. But references are your friend, for real. It’s hard to know exactly what a hand looks like when performing specific activities unless you study them. There’s so many finicky little angles in every finger.
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One week ago, 8:28 PM #5
😽😺Death is upon us😻😸
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I like hands. They are weird shapes and are fun to draw.

I take pictures of my own hand for quick reference. Like this one (I'm posting on mobile so I have no idea if this image is gigantic)


Need a right hand but you can only take a picture of your left? Flip the pic. Ez
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One week ago, 8:33 PM #6
Taking Names & Spitting Images
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If I may:



Basically, as long as you can visualize what you want a hand (or a whole body) to be doing in a particular panel or scene, there are resources and tricks out there that you can use to get them just so. The more you draw using these tools, the more you'll come to understand hands over time.

This is my favorite un-referenced, straight-from-the-brain hand that I've drawn recently. It's probably imperfect, but it feels fine. Couldn't've gotten it at all if it weren't for all of the stubborn, heavily-referenced prior attempts



I actually enjoy drawing hands; they are very expressive and carry a lot of emotion. I think I express myself with my hands a lot as a person
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One week ago, 8:57 PM #7
Blimpmaster
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I love hands! They're cute, squishy, expressive lil guys! While I don't find them easy, I don't find them as hard as I used to, but I've been drawing hands for ~10 years now so I've got used to how they work. Better artists than me have techniques to get good at drawing hands much faster than that!

I draw hands with one less finger, for a cartoony style and because it's easier to further simplify the shape, and also it's fun.

Some hands I drew a while ago that I liked at the time and still enjoy now:
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Good lil grabbers


I use photo reference (usually taking pictures of my own hands):
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And I also look at how other cartoons do the hands:
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One week ago, 9:20 PM #8
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I am also on Team Reference. I especially take my own reference for hands! I've got two of them attached right to me so why shouldn't I.

Here's a funny one:



Wanted to do that "middle fingers grouped together" pose but my hands cannot actually do that so I had to hold them together with my other hand lol


This one took a little bit of set-up since my two usual MOs wouldn't work (computer webcam couldn't capture the angle and I couldn't snap a quick pic with my phone because this one required both my hands and I don't have any sort of phone stand) so I ended up propping up my iPad on a stack of pillows:



The paper was to make sure I got my hands in frame lol. That's not the exact pic I used for that panel but I'm sharing that one because you can also see the lovely decorative egg I used as a prop for the Weird Stone from that same page.

rocket:This is my favorite un-referenced, straight-from-the-brain hand that I've drawn recently. It's probably imperfect, but it feels fine. Couldn't've gotten it at all if it weren't for all of the stubborn, heavily-referenced prior attempts


^This! The more you study from life the more you add to your "visual library"
I needed less and less reference as the prologue went on of Merrythought holding her staff because I had to draw that so many times lmao.
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One week ago, 9:25 PM #9
Blimpmaster
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andygruba:Wanted to do that "middle fingers grouped together" pose but my hands cannot actually do that so I had to hold them together with my other hand lol

Oh you reminded me! I've learned that there are certain pitfalls to using myself as a reference, because I'm slightly double-jointed so my fingers and wrists can bend a bit further than they really should, and I forget that not everyone's hands are like this, so sometimes my characters' hands look weird because my hands are just weird lol
One week ago, 9:34 PM #10
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Actually, sometimes I look at my own hands if the hands that I’m drawing are in a tricky position.
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One week ago, 9:49 PM #11
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Mel Cormac:Oh you reminded me! I've learned that there are certain pitfalls to using myself as a reference, because I'm slightly double-jointed so my fingers and wrists can bend a bit further than they really should, and I forget that not everyone's hands are like this, so sometimes my characters' hands look weird because my hands are just weird lol


Yes I know exactly what you mean but in the opposite way lol!! There's actually a lot of poses my own hands can't do for reasons unknown to me. I can't do the Spiderman webslinging hand pose or the hang loose pose, for instance.

Also (humblebrag incoming) I have very lovely long nail beds and I have to make sure I account for that and shorten the nails on my characters. Sadly, not everyone can have as beautiful nails as me ~*~* <3 lol
Similarly, I don't really ever use my own feet for reference because they are so not nice looking normal people feet 3: I have CREEPY LONG TOES (a burden I must bear in exchange for having lovely long fingers I guess) and like NOOO arches. I don't wish my feet on any of my characters )-:

Also there's a lot of weird quirks that humans have that are actually genetic traits or whatever. Like the way you fold your arms; not everyone folds theirs the same way and it's really uncomfortable to try and force it whichever way isn't natural to you. Not something most people would notice or care about but I decided it matters to me I guess so I try to make sure my characters don't all fold their arms the same way that I do

Actually, bringing this back to The Topic At Hand (hands), I was talking about this kind of stuff recently with the nice folks at Spiderforest because they hosted a hand gesture drawing session!
I don't know if this is the exact website they used but it was something similar:
https://quickposes.com/en/gestures/timed
That was really fun and I recommend trying it out to anyone who wants more practice with hands!

Here's some of the hands I sketched during that:
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"…as long as I don’t have to foreshorten the damn things", One week ago, 10:06 PM #12
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Having to draw hands so many times over the years forced me to find a style I was comfortable with. I wouldn’t say I got good at it, but I did settle into a groove.
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One week ago, 10:15 PM #13
Taking Names & Spitting Images
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andygruba:Also there's a lot of weird quirks that humans have that are actually genetic traits or whatever. Like the way you fold your arms; not everyone folds theirs the same way and it's really uncomfortable to try and force it whichever way isn't natural to you. Not something most people would notice or care about but I decided it matters to me I guess so I try to make sure my characters don't all fold their arms the same way that I do


OH INTERESTING I actually *did* notice this b/c of my tendency to search for ref pics online before I take my own because I'm lazy :B

The stock image/visual vocabulary I got into my head for crossed arms is actually NOT the way I cross my own arms. When drawing, I lean into the arm-crossing in which one or both hands is dramatically clutching a bicep. But I do a kind of fold with both hands sort of weakly pinned and out of sight (with my pale, icy digits wriggling toward a warm armpit, no doubt). I was (somewhat recently, actually) thrown for a major loop one day when I thought, "I'll make this pose look REALLY sharp by taking an actual reference photo this time," and my arms, just, wouldn't easily go into what I thought was the right position. And then they'd just fall out of the position if I relaxed.

I started wondering if all the google search stock photos were so workshopped that none of them were accurate, lol. But no! It makes sense that it's a genetic variation; I am going to start paying attention to this now b/c it's a fairly recent epiphany
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One week ago, 10:43 PM #14
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I can do hands without references but I'm usually pretty lazy about building up the proper shape


Me being good and building up the sketch properly:

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Me being an insufferably lazy artist:

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References are helpful if I'm struggling to visualize or if I'm struggling with blank canvas syndrome, but generally it feels like it slows me down looking for a photo and there's no way I'm going to get my lazy butt to upload a photo onto my computer just to reference.

((((Within my normal flow. I DO occasionally do study drawings where I do heavy tracing/referencing/still life to help me learn how render shape/color reflections/texture. I do this with other people' art too, less frequently, but if I'm fascinated with a way that people draw- say noses, I'll do a trace study to try and reverse engineer their process. Then I take those lessons and apply them in my general process)))))

But like I have really strong hyperphantasia so technically I'm using my imagination for a reference so idk if that counts or not???


Anyways, I have no strong opinions one way or the other on whether people should use references. It just bogs up my process so I usually skip that stage.



andygruba:Also there's a lot of weird quirks that humans have that are actually genetic traits or whatever. Like the way you fold your arms; not everyone folds theirs the same way and it's really uncomfortable to try and force it whichever way isn't natural to you. Not something most people would notice or care about but I decided it matters to me I guess so I try to make sure my characters don't all fold their arms the same way that I do


This is my favorite aspect of character design!!! Like how Eloise bites her lip, plays with her hair, and how her eyes have that lower lid dimple thing meanwhile Fearnot has this broad, crookend smile that rarely leaves his face and the finger gunssssss ahhhhh
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One week ago, 10:47 PM #15
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callmerocket:OH INTERESTING I actually *did* notice this b/c of my tendency to search for ref pics online before I take my own because I'm lazy :B

The stock image/visual vocabulary I got into my head for crossed arms is actually NOT the way I cross my own arms. When drawing, I lean into the arm-crossing in which one or both hands is dramatically clutching a bicep. But I do a kind of fold with both hands sort of weakly pinned and out of sight (with my pale, icy digits wriggling toward a warm armpit, no doubt). I was (somewhat recently, actually) thrown for a major loop one day when I thought, "I'll make this pose look REALLY sharp by taking an actual reference photo this time," and my arms, just, wouldn't easily go into what I thought was the right position. And then they'd just fall out of the position if I relaxed.

I started wondering if all the google search stock photos were so workshopped that none of them were accurate, lol. But no! It makes sense that it's a genetic variation; I am going to start paying attention to this now b/c it's a fairly recent epiphany


Yeah, how you naturally place your hand(s) is part of it but also which arm/hand is in front/on top!

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Same with clasping your hands which that also illustrates^
(A) Right-thumb-top and (B) Left-thumb-top. Arm folding: (C) Right-arm-top and and (D) Left-arm-top.

It's kind of hard to explain but the hand clasping thing is more than which thumb is on top, it's the whole hand
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6 days ago, 12:05 AM #16
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YES I LOVE HANDS
They are the body part, other than the brain or face, that makes us "human" more than anything.
They're really difficult to draw but they make for a fun challenge. Hands are just as expressive as the face. That's why we were able to make an entire freaking language using nothing but them.

I try to give my characters distinct hands, as they're a body part that varies in look wildly from person to person. There's one or two hand closeups in my comic I used my non drawing hand for. the best thing about drawing hands is you always have 2 references (hopefully) right there!

Here's a couple of my characters mitts:

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6 days ago, 12:23 AM #17
loved birds way before they were the word
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For the sake of sharing images, here are some hands from KNM that I liked. Fingernails exist in this universe, but I don't draw them in detail anymore because they look incredibly weird with my art style. I only draw them when someone has painted nails, or if a character has claws.
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Contributing to the arm-folding discussion: I tried to replicate Gideon's arm-folding posture and I realized that I literally cannot fold my arms the same direction he does lol. My right arm always folds underneath my left, with my right hand clutching my left bicep. It's impossible for me to do it the other way around and it's so weird to think about.

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6 days ago, 12:26 AM #18
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^Andy encouraged me to try switching and I *can* fold my arms either way but my brain does the dyslexic twitchy sensation when I try to do the opposite way. I have to lead with my writing hand because my other hand is just incompetent in all things
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6 days ago, 12:29 AM #19
loved birds way before they were the word
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@kokoneos
I actually figured out how to do it since my last post, but it took wayyyy too much effort and it felt so unnatural that I had to stop lol.
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6 days ago, 12:33 AM #20
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I tried to cross my arms, but thanks to some weird sensory stuff because of my autism, it’s more like I’m in that casket pose, neither of my hands are comfortable going under my arms.
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