Hand Studies

Recently I’ve spoken to a few people about their life drawing, and one thing that’s kept coming up is hands, feet, and faces. It’s really clear when I look at work that has these things missing. They’re tough to draw – don’t I know it! Sadly, they will still be difficult to draw if you avoid drawing them.

What I like to do is spend drawing time focusing solely on hands, or feet, or faces. It’s great to do this in life drawing sessions, but I’d recommend using sites like Line of Action (free) and Bodies in Motion to practice. Start with 30 second gestures, treating each hand or foot or face like you would a whole body pose. Do longer studies of five minutes or more, plus everything in between. Once you’ve done this a few times it will be so much easier to sketch these details in life drawing. Keep it up, and you might even start enjoying to draw them!

They don’t have to be particularly good drawings: the ones above are cherry-picked as the best of three or four times this number. Bad drawings can be more helpful in the end, as you will consider what’s not working.

Taking hand studies a step further, I saw this tweet over the weekend:

This is an area I struggle with – working on Klaus helped a lot, but I’ve found it hard to apply to my own work. So this week’s challenge was to draw some hand studies and then simplify them, like Arthur Blavier’s drawings above.

Here are some of the results! I really enjoyed this exercise. I haven’t really thought about pushing the pose of a hand before. There’s still a tendency for me to add detail, but it’s a step in the right direction. I want to try a lot more of this kind of thing, not only with hands but with full body poses.

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