Welcome to The Helpful Art Teacher, an interdisciplinary website linking visual arts to math, social studies, science and language arts.

Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

Please contact me at thehelpfulartteacher@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

HOW TO DRAW HANDS

Adam touching the hand of God, Michelangelo, ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

 Start by copying a simple picture of a hand. Note that the arm angles in at the wrists and then widens out at the beginning of the hand. Most beginners forget to narrow the arm at the wrist and try to draw the fingers coming straight out of the arm. It is helpful to lightly draw a mitten shape first to get the overall shape of the hand and then erase it later after you have added the fingers 
In order to accurately draw hands, it is necessary to understand the concept of foreshortening. The fingers appear to be shorter in the second picture because you are looking at them from the side view and they are moving away from you in space.

 I took the two photographs above of the exact same hand from the exact same distance. Yet the fingers in the second hand appear to be much shorter. They also appear to get narrower towards the tips. This is the optical illusion known as perspective.



Think of the fingers on a human hand as very narrow cylindrical forms. Imagine that each joint of each finger is actually the same shape as this soda can.

It's easy to see how the cylindrical shape of the soda can gets narrower as it gets farther away from the viewers eye. It also appears shorter in the second photo because it is angled away from the viewer. Think of fingers as three dimensional cylindrical forms moving through space and you've got it!!

Assignment: Practice drawing your non-dominant hand. Start out by drawing the front and back of the hand flat on the table. Then try drawing it from different angles. Try copying photographs of hands before you attempt to do some of the more complex foreshortened views from life. Use the sketches below by famous artists as a reference.



From the sketchbook of Albrecht Durer


From the Sketchbook of Leonardo Da Vinci


From the Sketchbook of Leonardo Da Vinci


From the Sketchbook of Leonardo Da Vinci

Antoine Watteau, Three studies of open hands, a drawing, British Museum



From the Skechbook of John Singer Sargent
Collection of Harvard University


From the Sketchbook of Vincent Van Gogh

Andreas Vesalius
From the sketchbook of Antonio Pisano

Close up of Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

From the sketchbook of Albrecht Durer

From the Sketchbook of Leonardo Da Vinci

From the sketchbook of Vincent Van Gogh

From the sketchbook of Albrecht Durer


From the Sketchbook of Leonardo Da Vinci


From the Sketchbook of Leonardo Da Vinci

Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer



MC Escher





From the Sketchbook of John Singer Sargent
Collection of Harvard University

From the Sketchbook of John Singer Sargent
Collection of Harvard University

From the sketchbook of Vincent Van Gogh
From the sketchbook of John Singer Sargent


From Animal Locomotion by Eadweard Muybridge, 1887
Adam touching the hand of God, Michelangelo,
 ceiling of the Sistine Chapel




PRINTABLE WORKSHEETS
BY RACHEL WINTEMBERG
(THE HELPFUL ART TEACHER)





20 comments:

  1. Thanks Rachel
    This is a very instructive site

    I thought I was a pretty talented artist , but now...(?)
    after realising slightly belatedly in life how far famous artists like Da Vinci Durer and Van Gogh went in their efforts to understand the underlying structure of surfaces...I' ve understood that I'm perhaps not all that correct in having mainly intuited so far...

    Cordially
    Harriet Leeck

    ReplyDelete
  2. Btw
    check out my site at picasaweb sometime
    it would please me if you' d leave a comment or two( helpful perhaps?)

    Harriet

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  3. Glad I ran across this site. Thank you for posting and John Singer Sargent's drawings or paintings of hands always amaze me.

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    1. you are the best thank u soooooo much now i know how to draw hands and i never knew how to before :} XxXxXxXxXxXx.

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  12. wow i have never been able to draw a hand before and now i have just sold 2 pictures of peoples hands it is amazing thank you.

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    1. Wow! Wonderful! Did you take pictures? I would LOVE to see before and after photos!

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    2. ok i will try get a picture for u i will put it up on facebook my name is emma murray im the one with the one direction picture. :}xx

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    1. You are very welcome. If you have any requests for tutorials please let me know.

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  14. Emma, The Helpful Art Teacher has a FaceBook page. The link is at the top of this page right below the blog's welcome message. All you have to do is click 'like' there and you can share your photos on the wall. Or you could email them to me at thehelpfulartteacher@gmail.com and, if you have no objection, I will post them on the helpful art teacher's FB page ( with credit to you of course).

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