Visualise the hands as simple three-dimensional shapes – such as boxes – to get the volume right. Great examples of doodle art This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 107. Hands are quite tricky to paint or draw, and painting them when you’re a beginner can be an uphill struggle, to say the least. And finally, spend time observing hands: photos of hands, paintings of hands, or your own hands (or those of a friend) and try to paint them. This is the best way to achieve an expressive and personal style. It’s the only way to become better at painting one of the human body’s most complex elements. The key to success is to learn about their real shape (anatomy), to learn how to construct them in a painting (perspective) and how to render them (this is basically practice, practice and more practice). 03. Because humans use hands to express themselves, a character with well-painted hands can greatly improve any illustration. But once you get some practice it becomes much, much easier. Reference is not a bad word
Painting the bones over a photo of a hand (or over a painted hand) is a good exercise that will help you to understand how a hand works, because not only do the fingers move, but the palm also has bones (the metacarpal bones) and joints (carpometacarpal joints), and it changes its shape according to the fingers’ movements. They’re not just hands! Try to understand their shape and how they move. Reducing the hands to simple three-dimensional objects is a good way to not only to sketch a hand, but also to understand the volume of a hand. 02. Gather lots of references and study them closely. Hands and characterisation
Even if you don’t want to paint realistic hands and you want to develop a cartoony style, try to learn from real life using reference, and reinterpret the results. Words: Paco Rico Torres
Paco is an illustrator living in Spain who’s produced art for several card games, magazines, books and roleplaying games. Pay attention to the subtle shape of fingers (they’re thicker on the joints and are oriented in different directions), the wrinkles on the skin and the position of the knuckles. Put the groundwork in now, and reap the rewards later! Buy or borrow a good anatomy book and study the bones and joints of the hand and forearm. Painting two-dimensional hands may be easier and be something you can get away with for now, but you’ll have trouble painting them in perspective further on down the line.

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