Expressive Hands

I “borrowed” this lesson from one of the best drawing professors I ever had at the Maryland Institute, College of Art. His name is Abby Sangiamo and he taught me more about drawing than anyone before or since. I’ve hardly changed his original lesson plan on drawing hands because it continues to produce some of the most amazing and inspiring work. Thank you, Abby.

http://abbysangiamo.com/artistsNotes.html

Process: 

Select one of the options below.  Use Pen & Ink, Conté Crayon, or Soft Pastel or Oil Pastel.  You may choose color using realistic skin tones or crazy colors or B/W.  But be aware that drawing hands are THE most difficult part of the human body to draw. Many budding artists I know go to herculean lengths to avoid drawing them. They’re just so COMPLICATED and if anything is off, even a little bit, it’s painfully obvious. However, once you’ve mastered drawing hands, you can add that to your superpowers. Remember, “draw what you SEE, not what your brain thinks it should look like.”

hands

Also, look at the NEGATIVE SPACE between the fingers! Get those shapes right and you will also have drawn the hand correctly.

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Click HERE for an amazing website that provides hands poses that you can use for practice!

Option One:  1 GIANT hand-  at least 5 to 6 times larger than life 

Instructions: 

1.  The position of the hand must be “difficult”- fingers bent, slanted, foreshortened, etc.  No fists, open palms, etc.

2.  The hand may be holding something- but make it a significant object and it can’t be so large that it hides too much of the hand.

3.  Don’t forget about the negative space- the space around and behind the hand.  Put something in the background- a tone, a pattern, something!

4.  As always, contrast is important. 

Some of my AP Studio Art student’s examples of this option:

Option Two: 2 Big hands-  at least 2 times larger life 

Instructions: 

1.  Hands must be touching or interacting in some way.  They may overlap, interlock, clasp, snuggle, etc. If the hands don’t at least overlap, it will affect your grade.

2.  Use the positioning of the 2 hands to tell a story, show meaning or convey emotion.

3.  Consider contrasting expressions or character in the hands- tense vs. relaxed, active vs. passive, bony and angular vs. fleshy and round, rough vs. smooth, old vs. young, etc.

4.  Don’t forget about the negative space- the space around and behind the hands.  Put something in the background- a tone, a pattern, something!

5.  As always, contrast is important.

Some of my AP Studio Art student’s examples of this option:

 

Option Two: 5 hands- slightly larger life 

1.  Explore a variety of hand positions.  Draw each one from a very different angle and have each hand doing something very different.

2.  Create firm, solid forms with a clear sense of the structural anatomy and volume. Use block, cylinders, planes freely to help figure out the structure and firm-up forms.

3.  Explore different approaches and various degrees of finish.  There’s no need to draw them all the same way; a little variety is a good thing.

4.  Arrange the hands to compose the whole page in an aesthetically pleasing way. Composition is vital.

5.  Don’t forget about the negative space- the space around and behind the hands.  Put something in the background- a tone, a pattern, something!

6.  As always, contrast is important.

Some of my AP Studio Art student’s examples of this option:

VARSITY Option:  hands in action- size determined by # of hands

Instructions: 

 For this option you may include more of the arms and body to make the action clear. Objects may also be included.

Some of my AP Studio Art student’s examples of this option:

Some amazing hands paintings and drawings by the “Masters”

Some tutorials with tips and general guidelines for drawing hands:

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Tom-Richmond-Hands

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