Anatomy Wednesdays: Hands
As Wednesday is anatomy day in my schedule, I decided to do studies of something I haven't explicitly studied in the past having always intuitively been able to get to a fair representation, granted with a bit of effort and the old tongue poking out. So what better time to bite the bullet and lessen that effort with some hand studies.
Hands are one of the most expressive parts of the body, second only to the face; probably first if you're Italian.
For an illustrator dynamic expressive hands are essential to being able to give added cues to the emotional state of your characters. They also need them to wield large guns, and hang from the nostrils of dragons and cast spells bewitching hapless heroes and so forth. They are always an area of focus that can cause difficulties so they are deserving of some attention.
I don't want to turn this blog into a tutorial because for one there are much better resources out there doing just that. However for me the key trick lies in knowing the large general shapes that make up the hand and working from that down to the individual fingers. The general shape I still use to start with in my head is a mit. No not myself, an actual mit; it simplifies things down before you start thinking about individual digits. Loomis's technique of using simple planes can get you further...after that knowing the anatomy is essential to add realism.
As the cliche beret wearing master french painter mentor in my head says, "You cannot zust look at ze hand! You must hear it's pulse, you must feel ze tendons pulling and ze skin stretching over bone, ze muscles flexing and ze fat pads zey bulge...you must feel ze grip of my hand on your throat if you draw another rubbish clawed monstrosity."
ermm ok so with that scary dip into my head here are some studies working from the bones out. I used several anatomy books aimed at artists to study from by Gottfried Bammes, Loomis and Burne Hogarth. Bridgeman is of course fantastic as well, but one can only do so much.
PS. this stuff takes longer than I expected and I haven't really hit my routine as well as planned. I am already thinking about re-jigging my daily work schedule, not in total hours but in how I split it up.
Also I have been thinking about adding a list of the resources I always end up going to for studies, reference, inspiration etc down the side...holler in the comments if you'd find it useful.