We draw realistic hands in Photoshop

What is your least favorite part of the body in drawing? Perhaps for me it is a hand. But for all the time I worked, I learned that the best way to learn how to draw a human body correctly is to practice.

In this lesson we will try to curb our fears by drawing two hands together. We will start by examining suitable photos, and then proceed directly to drawing hands.

1. We study a photo

Choose a high-quality shot of the hand with the most convenient for drawing position. When you become better acquainted with the structure of the hand, gradually accustom yourself to more complex angles.

In this tutorial I will use this photo.

We will only paint with a brush, so we don’t need part of the hand below the elbow.

2. Draw a sketch

Step 1

In order to draw a hand correctly, I made a schematic sketch of the main bends. You can draw by breaking your hand into individual bones, but personally I like the method with lines, because it allows me to immediately transfer what I want to paint to the working canvas.

We draw guide lines that will help us better understand and analyze the curves of the arm.

Step 2

Using the drawn lines, we begin to draw the full contour of the hand with the help of a rigid round brush (B). We start with the external elements and contours, then draw the details.

Double check the length of each finger, comparing them to each other. The finished sketch should look something like this:

3. Create a base layer

Step 1

Fill the background layer with a light blue color that will contrast with the skin color. Then use a large soft round brush to draw a white spot in the center of the document to create a radial gradient.

Step 2

Next, take a round hard brush with Hardness (Hardness) 100%, create a new layer under the sketch and fill the hand with a light brown color. When finished, change the blending mode of the layer to draft on Soft light (Soft light), above the layer with the brown fill, add a new one and transform it into a clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G).

Later on this layer we will apply the shadows.

4. Draw shadows

I like to draw shadows using blending modes. Take Eyedropper tool (I) (Pipette) and in the picture we select a suitable shade for the skin. Then create a new layer, change its blend mode to Multiply (Multiplication) and apply shadows. We work with a round soft brush.

This method will allow us to draw shadows, without being distracted by the selection of shades on the color palette. We continue to shade the hand, guided by the original photo.

As you study the human body, you will find that some areas of the skin are redder than others. This is especially noticeable on the hands, because the veins shine through the skin, giving it red and blue hues. To transfer this property, we will create a new layer above the shadow and set its blend mode to Overlay (Overlap). Orange paint over the areas marked below, adding warm hues to the skin.

Do not overdo it with brightness, the colors should look realistic.

Do not paint the whole hand, experiment, until you get the desired result.

5. Draw highlights and texture

Step 1

Do not be discouraged if at this stage the picture does not look like you wanted. To achieve maximum realism, you need to gradually refine the drawing step by step.

Now let’s add highlights. Create a new layer in blend mode. Linear dodge(Add) (Linear Dodge). We use Eyedropper tool (I) (Pipette) to choose the color suitable for the flare from the ones we used in the image. Thanks to the blending mode, the color will be much lighter when applied.

Apply glare on the palm and fingertips.

We continue to paint highlights until we are satisfied with the result, then move on.

Step 2

Next, add some texture. In nature, there is nothing perfectly smooth, especially skin. We take the Triangle Pastel brush from the standard Photoshop set and with a light shade we begin to draw the texture on the hand. I can also advise you to use any grainy brush from this set.

Notice how realistic the picture has become after applying the texture. You can add more texture, but note that we will have to smooth out some areas with texture later.

6. Detailing the hand

Step 1

At this stage, I see that all elements and colors look harmonious, so further work will be concluded in detail. Let’s start by adjusting the colors.

Move on Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves (Layer – New adjustment layer – Curves). Adjust the curves first for the RGB channel, then for the Red (Red) to make the drawing lighter and more pleasant.

Step 2

Next, create a new layer and set its blend mode to Multiply (Multiplication). Use a round hard brush (B) to draw deep wrinkles on the arm. If in some places the texture overlaps the shadow, then edit the texture layer to remove the excess.

Step 3

Brush strokes leave rough edges and often look very unattractive. Therefore a tool Smudge tool (O) (finger) with Strength (Intensity) 50% we finish rough smears on the skin.

Carefully examine the photo to detect the smallest changes in skin tones. We refine the texture and skin, then we clean the edges with a round hard brush with Hardness (Stiffness) 100%.

Step 4

The brightest highlights are applied at the last stage of drawing. We draw a glow in places where the most light falls, reflected from the background or emanating from a light source.

Incorrect glare can spoil your drawing. Therefore, learn the basics of ambient lighting to draw realistic and beautiful illustrations.

We continue to refine the hand and put light accents on the folds, fingers and nails. Due to this we will remove excessive blurring. This is what a completed drawing looks like.

7. Draw a hand without stock photo

Do not like stock images? Do not worry, I have a great solution for you!

Studying images of real objects is a good way to prepare yourself for drawing from memory. If you have not forgotten what you learned in the previous section, then I assure you that drawing a hand from scratch without any auxiliary photos is much easier than it seems. Therefore, in this part of the lesson we will draw another hand and begin, as usual, with a sketch.

In order to have no problems with anatomy in the course of work, I decided to draw a regular straightened palm without any complicated bends. One of the ways to do without stock photos is to use yourself as a model.

Keep your palm straight in front of you and apply maximum effort to redraw it. We round the main elements with a round stiff brush, using simple shapes. In the figure below, the arm is broken up into several components with a large square that represents the palm. With fingers it will be more difficult. Each of them, except the big one, is divided into three blocks.

Simple geometric shapes will help you better understand the anatomy of the arm.

Do not forget to draw nails and folds on the fingers.

8. Create a background

Step 1

I always try to draw the background as early as possible. The easiest way is to draw a radial gradient. Click the right button on the background layer and select Blending options (Overlay options). Choose a layer style Gradient overlay (Overlay gradient) and customize it.

On this background, the hand will look quite contrasting.

Step 2

Structured layers, as in the first section of the lesson. Under the sketch, create a layer for the main color and translate the layer with the sketch into a clipping mask (Ctrl + Alt + G). Add a layer for the shadows between the sketch and the color layer. I chose light brown as the main color for my hand.

After adding new layers, make sure that everything is in place and the clipping masks are not turned off.

9. Draw shadows

Step 1

Set the layer blending mode to draft on Soft light (Soft light) so that it blends beautifully with the background. Next, we check that the main color of the hand on the toolbar was set as the foreground color. The great advantage of this layer structure is that we don’t need to worry about the extra touches that can go beyond the limits of the hand.

Next, take a round soft brush and on a new layer in blend mode Multiply (Multiply) apply the first layer of shadows.

Reduce the size of the brush to draw shadows on both sides of each finger. Note that the lighting on the arm will depend on the lighting in the room in which you draw, provided that you draw from your own hand.

Since in my case the light source is in the upper left corner, I drew shadows on the right side of my hand.

If at this stage the picture is too dark (as in the picture above), do not worry, later we will make it lighter.

Step 2

Warm undertones are clearly visible on my hand, so it is necessary to add warm shades and in the figure so that it looks more realistic. Create a new layer and lightly paint the hand with the color with which we drew the base of the hand. Set the blending mode of this layer to Overlay (Overlap) to see the result of the manipulations. As you can see, the hand already looks brighter.

Step 3

Let’s add more shades. Take Gradient tool (G) (Gradient), choose a gradient from color to transparency, set Opacity (Opacity) by 50%. Choose a light pink color and drag the cursor down to fill the hand with a linear gradient. Set the blending mode of this layer to Overlay (Overlap). In the next section, we will apply highlights.

10. Draw highlights and texture

Step 1

Create a new layer in blend mode. Color dodge (Lightening the basics). White color causes glare on the left side of the hand, where the most light falls.

Step 2

So far, with glare, everything continues to draw a texture. Take the Triangle Pastel brush from the previous section and draw a clear white texture. If the texture is too bright, reduce it. Opacity (Opacity) up to 60%.

Step 3

Before applying the brightest highlights, we must smooth the skin with a soft round brush. I usually use a hard brush in drawing, so anti-aliasing takes a lot of time. But within the framework of the lesson I decided not to spend a lot of time and in the process I changed the rigidity of the brush in the range of 0-30%.

We continue to mix shades to achieve a very smooth skin!

Step 4

Let’s add more highlights to show the smallest changes in semitones. Via Eyedropper tool (I) (Pipette) select the appropriate light brown shade. Then open the window Color picker (Color selection), activate the parameter under the letter B, which is responsible for the brightness of the color, and move the slider up to increase the brightness of the selected hue. We use this method at any time when we need to choose shades for highlights.

I hope you still look at your hand in the process of drawing! Remember, splitting your fingers into three blocks is a key point in drawing realistic hands. The upper and lower blocks, as a rule, will be lighter, and the middle one – several tones darker.

Before and after. Pay attention to how noticeable the difference is before and after the glare!

Finishing glare, do not forget about nails. Smooth the base, then add the white details at the base of the nail and on the tip. After that, on the left side we put a strip of glare.

Also do not forget to add highlights on the knuckles.

11. Final touches

Step 1

We have almost finished drawing, it remains only to modify the shadows and draw small folds on the joints.

Rigid round brush to refine the edges on the fingers and palms. Also on the folds and on the sides of the fingers with white color we add saturation to the highlights, so that the hand contrasts well with the background.

Step 2

We can also adjust the colors of the image using corrective layers. Despite the fact that my skin on the hand has warmer tones, I want to add bluish shades. Move on Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Color Balance) and edit Highlights (Bright tones) and Midtones (Mid Tones).

Edit the settings of the adjustment layer until the result satisfies us. Make sure that changes in color are not too catchy, otherwise it can spoil all the work. Here is my result!

Congratulations, you did it! You can shake your hand!

The secret to mastering anatomy is constant practice. Do not be discouraged if the first results do not look the way you expected. Constant practice helps to train the mind and muscle memory, which will translate images from the head into an incredibly realistic picture.

Having mastered the first drawing of simple parts of the body, you can move on to more complex ones, such as faces and hair.

I hope my advice has given you confidence and enhanced your skills in digital drawing.

Like this post? Please share to your friends: