Figure Drawing Part II – The Hands

Like many artists I find drawing hands a little tricky at times. At life drawing classes I found myself spending too much time on this part of the anatomy, getting frustrated when the results were not good enough and often running out of time to complete the full composition.

So when I bought Andrew Loomis’ book titled, “Drawing the Head and Hands” I was pleased to read that Loomis too recognises the difficulty artists encounter when drawing hands. He writes, “No aspect of drawing is accompanied by more confusion” and instead of looking for material to study, he recommends we study and draw our own hands. This is because drawing hands must be largely self taught.

In this book, Loomis once again provides lots of examples for artists, through his own sketches. There are scores of beautifully drawn, male, female, young and old hands to inspect and from which to learn. All accompanied by Loomis’ relaxed writing tone. The areas he covers include:

  • Anatomy of the hand
  • Proportions of the hand
  • Construction of the hand
  • The hollow of the palm
  • Foreshortening in drawing hands
  • The hand in action
  • Knuckles
  • Babies hands
  • The hand ages.

But his clear message throughout this section of the book is, draw your own hand and then draw it again – in different positions, during different actions and from different angles. In addition to lots of drawing, Loomis urges artists to master the construction and proportions of the hand too and these two elements together are the key to successfully drawing hands of all types.