Before you can draw the hand realistically, you need to acquaint yourself with the underlying bone structure.

There are three types of bones in the hand; phalanges, metacarpals, and carpals.

Combined, these bones give the hand and fingers an extremely varied and wide range of motion, such that drawing the hand can become highly complicated.

You should not only have an anatomy book nearby when you draw, you should also develop your own reference sheets such as this drawing below.

Drawing the bones yourself forces you to visualize how the structure fits together, makes you focus on individual bone shapes, and will give you better recall when it comes time to make a finished drawing.

Knowing the bone structure will give you a better understanding of the exterior hand as well, because the shape of the bones help dictate the shape of the
hand. For instance, notice that the three phalange bones of each finger become gradually smaller and shorter as they extend up the fingers.

Because of that, the shape of the fingers are tapered from base to tip, and you can see lines from the back and front at the joints that divide the fingers into three nearly equal sections.


Because the metacarpal bone is more rounded than the phanlange bones, the knuckle made where those two join looks different from the outside than the
fairly squared off phalange joints.

And because of the way the thumb’s metacarpal is joined to the carpals, the thumb has wider range of motion than the fingers.

In addition to studying the bones, take time to examine the muscles and tendons. You can gain a good understanding by moving your own hand, flexing and twisting to see how the hand changes in different positions, but the key to improvement is actually drawing the hand over and over again from many different angles.

Draw from life or reference materials, and remember, it’s not easy. Don’t be disappointed if your first attempts aren’t successful; keep working and you will see improvement.

Hand Mastery

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