Hands seem to be the most difficult part of the body, along with ears, to draw. They are often hidden as parts of a figurative piece that can be successfully circumvented, often because they are conveniently covered or just a part of the drawing that is relegated to the nonfocal areas, and, therefore, vaguely represented without detail. But, with a little patience and a breakdown of the relative lengths of the fingers and comparison of the palm size to finger length, the hand can become a manageable part of a drawing.
This first diagram shows the lengths of the fingers compared to the palm, the length of some fingertips relative to the joints in other fingers, and the general form of the hand when extended.
As you can see, except for the tip of the middle finger, the palm is half the length of the fingers. The bones are shown and the joints and knuckles emphasized so that the ends of the fingers relative to the joints can be visualized in the splayed hand. Notice that the tip of the thumb forms an arc that goes through the middle joint of each of the other fingers. Although hands are very individualistic between people, the forefinger is basically the same length as the fourth finger, and the joints of each of these fingers line up. The lengths of the forefinger and fourth finger are where the uniqueness of each hand appears the most. The fourth finger of my own hand is halfway between the tip of my forefinger and the tip of my middle finger, as it is in many people. The tip of the little finger comes up to the top joint of the fourth finger. And the knuckles form a smooth arc, and are not straight across.
Another drawing of the palm and outstretched fingers is shown below.
This drawing shows more of the skin. Note the fleshiness of the middle joints. Little puffs of skin are created by making rounded shapes circling the joints. I have left out the veins in this and other drawings of the hand in different poses so as to not interfere with the illustration of the metacarpal bones. Note the fleshy part of the palm to the right of the pinky finger’s metacarpal. Also note the placement of the wrist bone bump at the end of the ulna, which is on the pinky finger side.
Below is a slightly more complicated drawing of the hand in which a couple of fingers are crossed.
Note the tip of the fourth finger coming out from under the middle finger, a more realistic portrayal than just having one finger hidden under another. There is slight foreshortening of the fingers here, which brings up an important topic when drawing the hand. Most poses are of a simple flat hand, as have been portrayed so far. Usually, the drawings require a good measure of foreshortening as the fingers and palm take on different poses. Some of these are below:
The first shows the palm foreshortened as it points away from the viewer.
The next drawing shows hands with the index finger pointed toward the viewer. I have exaggerated the first drawing to show how foreshortening can create a fish eye view.
Another foreshortened drawing shows the thumb pointing at the viewer.
It is tempting to try and draw more or the thumb in, but using your own hand as subject matter, draw what you see, not what you think should be there.
The last drawing is of a fist with fingers towards the viewer.
Note how the finger joints do NOT form a straight line, but a slanting one. Practice making fists with fingers toward and away from the viewer. Note how knuckles and joints form slanting and curved lines.
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I also invite you to share, in the comments, the relative size of your index finger to your fourth finger. Is it shorter, longer, or the same size?