We draw in Photoshop a declaration of love in sign language

What will you create

Love is … all encompassing.

Learn how to create a drawing using a graphics tablet and Adobe Photoshop, inspired by the American Sign Language alphabet (Amslain, ASL) in this lesson. I’ll tell you how to draw each hand from scratch, before moving on to work with blending modes and everything else.

In the course of creating this tutorial, I worked with brushes with acrylic and gouache textures to make the drawing more realistic. And cool brushes (for a fee) can be found on Envanto.

Collection of references

I loved to draw Amneslen since childhood. This is a good way to practice human anatomy while learning this beautiful form of communication.

Of course, we want to make a drawing according to all the rules of the language, and therefore we will need samples of each hand. Quickly look on the Internet for pictures on the theme of the Amslena alphabet to get to know it better (keywords: asl alphabet).

If in doubt, take your own photos.

In order to avoid problems with copyright, I took pictures of my hands and the hands of my partner in the appropriate positions so that the word “love” (love) was formed. This will not only make the drawing more personal, but also give me the opportunity to add many incredible details, focusing on real hands.


Remember that to create a drawing you will need a graphics tablet, which will open up the opportunity for us to use the pen pressure settings. In order to better cover the topic, we will draw hands with different skin color – with this we want to say that love is comprehensive.

1. How to draw a hand

Step 1

Create a new document in Photoshop. The size of the final picture is 3000 by 1350 pixels, the resolution is 300 pixels per inch, but you can easily draw your hands in separate documents, if you prefer.

Choose a tool Brush (Brush) (B), namely a rigid round brush, with the regulation of opacity by pressing to start drawing the first hand in the shape of the letter “L”. Be sure to check the option Pen Pressure for Opacity (opacity adjustment by push) has been enabled. Then create a new layer and repeat the steps described below.

  1. Start with two polygons – this will be the palm and fingers.
  2. Draw the lines that separate the fingers, and then draw the index finger.
  3. Draw your thumb, splitting it into three separate shapes.
  4. Complete the sketch by erasing the auxiliary lines by adding nails and wrinkles to the skin.

Step 2

Now go to the letter “O”. It will not be easy, so it’s worth keeping the sample handy. Create a new layer.

  1. Draw tilted lines to show the angle at which the arm and wrist are bent.
  2. Draw the palm, then add rounded shapes that will help shape the “O”.
  3. Draw a big burn with curved lines, and then draw auxiliary lines for the thumb, middle and ring fingers.
  4. Lightly erase the auxiliary lines before making the pattern more neat and add creases and nails.

Step 3

Getting down to the letter “V”. Create a new layer.

  1. Start by drawing a quadrilateral — this will be the palm of your hand, then add auxiliary lines for the ring finger and the little finger.
  2. Add your thumb, dividing it into three three-dimensional shapes.
  3. Draw the middle and index finger, each dividing into three cylinder-like shapes.
  4. Erase the auxiliary lines and complete the sketch by adding lines of folds and nails.

Step 4

And finally, draw the last letter – “E”. Create a new layer.

  1. Start with several quadrangles — future palms and phalanges of the fingers.
  2. Add your thumb, dividing it into three three-dimensional shapes.
  3. Quickly draw a pair of lines separating the fingers.
  4. Erase the auxiliary lines and complete the hand drawing by adding skin folds and nails.

Step 5

Here are such sketches. It’s time to think about the composition.

Although I like the idea of ​​placing the hands under each other, I still decided to put them in a row.

Before we get down to color, it is important to organize our layers. Create groups for each letter and place the appropriate layers with sketches in them.

2. How to add primary colors

Step 1

Working with color is a big part of drawing on the tablet, so let’s start our drawing by adding primary colors. Lower Opacity (opacity) of each layer with a draft of approximately 50%.

  1. Create a new layer called base (basis) in each group.
  2. With a hard round brush (Hardness (hardness) 100%) paint each hand in one color.
  3. Letter color L – # 623e36, # 693f39 and #bc7168 is the color of the letter O, # b0837d for the letter Vand # 82554c – the color of the letter E.

Step 2

I will fill the background with a dark color with a warm center – so I will emphasize all the colors of the skin, as well as add a cinematic effect. Select a background layer and use the tool. Rectangular marquee (Rectangular area) (M) and then Paint Bucket (Fill) (G) to highlight the background, and then fill it with brown (# 2f1b0d) and black.

Black color should be located along the edges – in the future, it will help us make a smooth transition at the base of the hands.

3. How to shade hands

To shade each hand, I will use a combination of blending modes and clipping masks.

Step 1

Let’s work in order, starting with the letter L.

Change the blending mode of the outline to Overlay (Overlap) or Soft Light (Soft light) depending on how it will blend with the skin, and then click on it with the right mouse button to cut it over the layer with the main color (this will need to be done in each group). Then change the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication).

Start drawing shadows on your hand with a soft round brush (stiffness – 0%) with an opacity of 40-60%.

Use the same the color of the hand as before (# 623e36) to arrange the shadows, concentrating the dark color along the outer edge of the palm and fingers.

Step 2

Repeat the same steps for each hand. To draw a shadow on the letter “O”, you will need exactly the same the color as the base color (# 693f39). This is a very good method, since the blend mode Multiply (Multiplication) allows you, by drawing the same color, to create a darker shadow on a separate layer.

You may have noticed that the letter O looks different than other hands. Winnie Harlow (https://www.instagram.com/winnieharlow/?hl=en) and many other people living with vitiligo inspired to make her just that. Concentrate the shadow along the edges of the hand to create a realistic effect.

Step 3

Repeat the same steps for letters V and E.

This time use a mix of # 693f39 and bright yellow # c2a285 colors when working with V (blending mode Multiply (Multiplication)). Below you will see the drawing before and after changing the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication). See how realistic it looks? But this is just one layer of shadow!

Repeat the same thing with the letter E.

Draw shadow the same color (# 82554c) as the base with a soft round brush.

Step 4

In the process of shading, we must gradually apply color, so add a new layer, trimmed by the previous one (clipping mask) with blending mode Multiply (Multiplication). Switch to a brush with tougher edges, like the original hard brush with opacity adjustment using pressure, the hardness of which will be 100%, which will help us draw hard lines.

Step 5

One way to achieve a realistic effect is to add reddish colors to the pattern, which depicts blood that runs through the veins and is seen through the skin. We do this with the help of blending modes.

Cut a new layer above the layer with shadows over the layer with the main color (make it a clipping mask). Paint gently with # a17f70 and # 4a2c25 on your palm and fingers. Change the blending mode to Soft Light (Soft light).

Before and after changing the blending mode to SoftLight (Soft light)

Keeping in mind the same theory, repeat these steps for the letters O, V and E.

First, darken the O hand a little on the layers with the blend mode Multiply (Multiplication).

Note: here I have brightened the original skin color to #c98c84. You can do this with Hueand Saturation(Hue and Saturation).

Then create a new layer and change its blending mode to Screen (Screen) for the letter V, and then color # b98b82 draw soft highlights in the center of the palm.

And finally, create a new layer with the blend mode. Screen (Screen) for the letter E, and then gently add the color # a77d70 to the center of the palm and fingers.

4. How to adjust the color of hands

Step 1

I admit, drawing in the wrong tones sometimes scares. Therefore, I want to reduce the intensity of the red color, which appears through the skin quite a bit. To do this, for each group we will create a new adjustment layer. Color Lookup (Search for Colors) and make them with clipping masks.

Change the 3DLUT file to FuturisticBleak.3DL. Change the blending mode to Saturation (Saturation) and lower Opacity (opacity) up to 45%.

Start with the letter L.

Step 2

Go to the letter O. Use the same layer settings as in the previous step.

Do the same with the letters V and E.

5. How to draw hands more realistic

Step 1

To enhance the effect of realism, let’s first deal with the atmosphere. Draw a shadow on the background, making a couple of simple actions.

Start with L.

  1. Select a layer with a base color. L, and then clickControlJ, to duplicate it. Then a layer with a copy will appear above the original layer; Now select the original layer with the main color and lower its saturation. Click Image > Adjustments > HueandSaturation(Image> Correction> Hue / Saturation) and lower the parameter Lightness(Brightness) to -85.
  2. Take advantage of FreeTransform (Free Transform) (ControlT) to adjust the size and perspective of the shadow, and then place it on the left side of the palm.
  3. Select a layer with a shadow and click Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur) and make the shadow blur by changing the parameter Radius (Radius) by 20 pixels.

Do the same with O, V, and E.

Step 2

(Note: background color has changed to darker brown (# 201209))

Now add a layer of warmth to each hand. We will need to draw over the previous layers, so it will be more convenient if you rearrange them.

Create a new layer above the adjustment layer. Color Lookup (Search color) outside each group. Change its blending mode to Overlay (Overlap) and using a soft round brush with 40-50% opacity, draw on the hand.

Do the same with the letters O, V and E.

Step 3

Now I like the colors! Next, let’s adjust the picture a little.

Now it is important to devote new layers to create more clear details. I advise you to use a brush with 60-70% opacity in the following steps.

Start with the letter L.

  1. With a set of acrylic and gouache brushes, add more highlights and textures. Choose a brush Gouache_Wet_Stroke_Artistmef (Wet gouache) to paint bright highlights in color #eecfbe.
  2. Make the highlights softer with the tool Eraser(Eraser) (E) – so you reduce the intensity of color. Then, with a stiff round brush, gently draw the edges and folds.

Do the same with O, V, and E. For each hand, select a suitable highlight color. Let your hands shine from the bright light, which also emphasizes the folds.

Step 4

The more colors you add to your hands, the more realistic they will look.

Add shades of blue, green, and yellow to O, V, and E. Make your skin more tanned by painting with brown shades that match each skin color. Experiment with different values ​​to create interesting reflexes around the edges of each palm. All hard colors soften tool Eraser (Eraser) (E).

6. How to create atmosphere and lighting

Step 1

Let’s make the drawing even better!

I want to achieve the effect of a highly illuminated pattern with an atmosphere of romanticism.

Create a new layer above all others and start painting with black with a soft round brush along the edges. Try to achieve the effect of a vignette, like in the movies.

Step 2

Otherwise, I prefer to draw on new layers, which I place on top of all the others. To save disk space, you can merge layers.

Increase your drawing with a very stiff brush (80-100% opacity) to make it even clearer. Work through the details as well as you can by quickly drawing lines of folds.

You can take a closer look at L and O.

But V and E.

Create shine by painting highlights nearly white color. Then swipe the tool Eraser (Eraser) (E) on too highlighted areas to soften edges.

Step 3

Mix the surrounding colors of the scene so that they seamlessly blend into the background.

Now the hands look too dark. To make the skin color more varied, we need to draw out cold tones in the case of O and V hands. Press Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Lookup (Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Search). Change the 3DLut file to Crisp_Winter, and then lower Opacity (opacity) layer up to 42%.

The color search adjustment layer is the best way to quickly change colors.

That’s all! Below you can see the final result.


Here you can see the final image in good quality and get a better look at the details. Click on image to enlarge.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Carefully study your samples, paying attention to small details – they add realism. Even if it seems to you that it is too realistic to go, keep adding soft highlights to emphasize the natural shine of the skin.

Feel free to show your work, as well as leave comments below.

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