In drawing the gesture of a hand, start with the arm and wrist. These lines should have the same basic freedom in approach that you use in drawing the rest of the figure. These drawings look simple, but in reality this is the most difficult stage in the drawing and the most critical, since everything else follows from this first step. Take some time to look at the drawings of hands by the old masters and in particular the quick preliminary sketches done from imagination, without models. Draw your own hands using a mirror to get a variety of angles. Don’t spend more than a minute on each one. Force yourself to put down your impressions of what the hands are doing.
By Glenn Vilppu
This article was taken from the first lesson in the Vilppu Drawing Hands and Feet Manual and is the first in a series dedicated to teaching how to draw the hands and feet. Glenn Vilppu teaches life drawing at the American Animation Institute, the Masters program of the UCLA Animation Dept., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Rhythm & Hues Studios. Vilppu has also worked in the Animation industry for 18 years as a layout, storyboard and presentation artist, most of this time was spent working at Disney. His drawing manual and video tapes are being used worldwide as course materials for animation students. Glenn Vilppu has, in effect, either through teaching them directly or teaching their teachers, trained an entire generation of professional animators.