Hey Art Nerd,
Why is it so hard to draw hands?
Oh, Christ, hands. Hands are hard to draw because in order to draw them, an artist must sacrifice their firstborn to the ancient God of Art: Pretenciozan. And then, only then, will they achieve true power.
Okay, so hands are absolutely terrible to draw for a number of reasons. To see the first one, take a good look at your hand. Put it into a number of different positions, and spin it around. Now think of the bones moving around as you do so, and how your muscles flex inside of your hand. How the skin folds on it as you twist and turn it around.
Hands are extremely expressive and complex. In order to make a hand look good, it typically takes a lot of time and effort to try and get the exact dimensions of each hand down correctly. And then it takes even more effort to try and keep those dimensions intact when someone draws a hand doing anything, from drawing a gun to pulling sheets to flipping off that jerk that cut you off. So not only are hands complex, they’re also rude.
Then there’s the way that the hand fits onto an arm. The hand can’t seem to be melting into the forearm of a person, because that would look terrible. It can’t be too thin a connection between a forearm and a hand either, because then that just makes it look like the darn thing’s about to snap off.
And these are just anatomical issues. I haven’t even started with discussing how putting the hand into a three-dimensional space adds an additional set of challenges. There has to be accounting for how the hand would look when perspective is applied, and how the complex shape of a hand has to be adjusted over and over again in 3D space. It’s a mess, and it’s no wonder that trying to draw hands makes artists swear loudly, throw their sketchbooks, and cry in a corner.
That said, it can still be mastered. Like anything else in art, it just takes a fair amount of practice to get it down. After all, you already have a reference right in front of you, so what’s stopping you from trying to simplify the hand and throw a skin on it?
The Art Nerd
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