Making a classic hand drawing in Photoshop

Hi, my name is Whyball, I’m a graphic designer. Since childhood, I loved to draw; At first I sketched everything that I got in the books – especially I loved drawing animals! After some time, I began to create unusual drawings.

A few years ago, I found out about digital graphics and was amazed at the ease of use of a graphics tablet. Soon, I combined these two ways of drawing: copying and applying imagination.

I recommend that you use this copying technique for anything, as this will help you save some time in the work process or will allow you to achieve better quality. For example, if you need to draw a hand in a certain position, and you are unsure that you can draw as you imagine, I suggest you take a camera and capture the position and shape of the hand. It is very useful to use the timer function, then you can easily take a picture of your own hand.
Here is an example of some wings that I drew from this technique.

In this tutorial, I want to show you how I draw a hand using the finished image plus a bit of fantasy.
I use this drawing technique to make art work. In my opinion, the effect of the drawn hand is better applied to the Gothic ornaments from animals. Another feature of this style is that you can create a great piece using just one color.


Step 1: Find the source image
The first step is to get a hand image. You can use the same image that I used for this tutorial, it is already installed opacity (opacity) by 30%, so it is exactly the same with which I started this step.

Step 2: Sketching
After that, you need to sketch out how you see the image in the future. In this case, I increased the size of the nails and created a white area in the middle of the arm, where I want to place a small brain. Just determine its location now, but make the contour a little smaller than the size of the brain, which will be in reality. Therefore, draw so that the hand is tight to the brain, and that there are no gaps between them. You can also draw a few flowing drops. Place them between your fingers and on one side of your hand, as I did. You need to sketch all this on a separate layer.

Now that everything is in place, you can start drawing your hand.

Step 3: Contouring
The size of the document that I use is somewhere around 50×50 cm and 70×70 cm with a resolution of 300 dpi. Go to the settings of your tablet and configure it properly. See the settings I usually use for the brush. These settings apply well to the size of the document that I use: I advise you to apply and test them.

For drawing use dark brown or gray (approximately the same as this 3f311d), not black. Black has too much contrast with a white background, which makes your work with lines look too sharp. Therefore, I propose to use these colors for the brush. And if you want to use black for the brush, you can change the background color to light cream or gray, then everything will look good.

Start by creating a new layer, where we’ll draw the outline, it should look like this. You will also draw those lines that will help you in the next step (the first level of shadows), find thicker and darker lines on the image and also draw them.

After the outline is ready, you can start creating shadows, but for a start I drew a red dotted line that follows the shape of a hand. You should always keep in mind a similar dotted line when you start shading, thus you can reproduce the volume correctly.

Another thing I recommend before starting is to apply contrast to the image so that it looks like the one below. This will help you see where to draw more important shadows, and where to make them darker. You will see that after this first level of shadows that we made, the subject will look good.

Step 4: Shading
Now, when you start the shading, don’t forget to create a new layer. I advise you to always create a new layer when you are painting something new or different from what you are painting, or you are not sure how it will look.

We all know how to work badly on the wrong layer …. :)

Now your drawing should look something like this. The hatching is created from overlapping lines of different directions and different lengths, so where you want to make the areas darker, draw thicker lines. In bright areas, leave only a few lines, and you can make them thinner to create a brighter tone.

Strokes should look something like these. Here you can see how the bottom left is different from the rest. All this because of the many intersecting lines. If you reduce them, you will see the effect I want to get; It looks like a textured gradient.

Step 5: Adding Details
After you are done with the dark tones, create another layer and start working through the details. You should not do too much detail, or at least not too small, because you cannot see them when the drawing is printed.
To make sure that you have enough details drawn, look at the image on the scale in which it will be printed, see how it looks. Or better yet, take a look at the finished image in the preview window before printing.

Brain drawing
Now, in case you didn’t draw brains before, find an image of a brain and try to imitate the texture you see on it. Pay attention to the light source while drawing the “convolutions” of the brain. This will help you make your brain look more like a real one.
It’s time to merge the layers you created in the process of drawing a hand. As soon as you merge the layers, apply the effect to the resulting layer. ColorOverlay (Overlay color) applying red color. Now you see the parts of the hand that need to be erased, the areas where the arm and brain intersect.
Now you will more clearly understand why I used to say that it is necessary to make a place for the location of the brain a little less than the brain itself. So it is easier to erase everything that remains behind the brain.

You can now remove the effect. ColorOverlay (Overlay color) and get rid of unnecessary layers if you have them. If you decide to color the drawing later, you can leave the arm and brain on separate layers.

Finishing touches
Step 6: Add More Shadows
Finally, add some shadow around the brain, as you think is right. But do not forget about the direction of the light source while adding shadow.
And now you can merge all the layers together, and … done!
You can use this technique to create T-shirt designs, illustrations, posters, and anything else. I will say from my own experience, this technique will be appreciated.

Step 7: Adding Texture to the Final Work
If you want the picture to make a proper impression on the client, I recommend that you replace the white background with something more “artistic”. I usually use a combination of different textures and images of old paper that looks like this:

Here are some details of the picture and some examples that I created using this technique.

More examples with this technique.

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