Drawing My Own Hand with a Fountain Pen
How to draw a hand
Drawing hands was one of the things I used to fear most when it came to drawing. And I am pretty sure I was not the only one! So I decided to tackle the issue with various projects involving the drawing of hands (and, believe me, you will not see the half of it in this blog!):
In today’s project, I simply used a very handy model (pun intended) – my own hand.
I took a picture of my hand holding my fountain pen. I sketched it first with pencil, before working on it with the same black fountain pen. Let’s see how it went!
Step 1 – drawing a hand with pencil
First, I sketched the hand with pencil. My method for sketching remains mostly the same as I have described before. It is very much a trial and error process, in three steps:
I look intently at a small part of the reference photo, as if it were some abstract shape.
I try to reproduce it on paper, looking back and forth a lot between the photo and the drawing. Do the shapes look the same? Yes: keep it. No: erase and repeat.
Then I look at my drawing again, not as geometrical shapes but as the thing it is meant to look like. Does it look like my hand? Yes: keep it. No: erase and repeat.
to shorten by proportionately contracting in the direction of depth so that an illusion of projection or extension in space is obtained (Merriam–Webster)
The difficult thing in this drawing was the perspective. I had to draw the hand with a little of what we call in French a raccourci, or foreshortening. It is when parts of the body have to be drawn shorter because they are seen in perspective. (I had the same issue here).
In the short video above, this runs from 00:00 to 02:11. It actually took me 17 minutes.
Step 2 – outline the sketch with ink
The second step of the project was pretty straightforward: outlining the sketch with ink. I used my trusted fountain pen, as I often do when it comes to ink.
Those who are not familiar with the way I draw with a fountain pen, you may notice in other videos that I sometimes use the fountain pen upside down: I have always done that, for as long as I can remember, since I was a child writing with a fountain pen at school. I turn my fountain pen when I want to draw tiny details (or write smaller). I think not all fountain pens allow that – I prefer fountain pens with a round tip.
In the short video above, this runs from 02:11 to 02:33. It actually took me 2 minutes.
Step 3 – add volume with hatching
Hatching, in art, is an old word (from the 17th century, according to Merriam–Webster) that comes from engraving techniques. It was the most common way for engravers to add volume or darkness to a drawing. Merriam–Webster defines the word this way today: ‘the engraving or drawing of fine lines in close proximity especially to give an effect of shading; also: the pattern so made’.
Sometimes, hatching is very regular (and I love it, by the way); sometimes it is far messier, as in this project.
In the short video above, this runs from 02:33 to 04:06. It actually took me 14 minutes.
And voilà! A page that took me around half an hour and helped tame my fear of drawing hands! You can keep it as a great page for your sketchbook or frame it as a nice addition to a minimalist home décor (or not minimalist at all – you do you!).
I hope you have enjoyed this post. As always, I do not pretend to be a teacher, a seasoned artist or an expert in anything. I am just a very motivated learner who finds a deep joy in regular art practice.
If you liked this post, you will almost certainly like some of these other projects about hands. Enjoy!