Day 3 – Arms and Hands

I saw this little quote about happiness being in our hands, and I couldn’t resist sharing it. I’m going to revise it a bit though and say that happiness is drawing hands. Please, don’t cringe at the thought. Read on.

Hands are sometimes considered one of the most difficult parts of the body to draw and paint — with good reason. They are difficult! Fortunately for fashion illustrators, the hands aren’t too essential. We’re focusing on the fashion, not the fingers. A few simple strokes of a pen or pencil and we have believable hands for our long-legged models.

Here’s a simple how-to from Master Fashion Sketches in 9 Days:

And so, you see, it’s not so bad after all. Yes, maybe happiness is found in our hands, especially the ones we’re able to draw.

But, back to fashion illustration.

I’m now on Day 3 of this 9-Day illustration course, and I am very much enjoying the book. The daily lessons offer just the right amount of practice, I think — not so much that I feel overwhelmed, but enough for a good practice session.

Day 1 you might recall was all about the torso. Day 2 was legs. Now, on Day 3, I’m working on arms and hands. As you can tell from the illustration I’ve provided, the “how-to” information is easy to follow.

So, I’ve managed to draw hands — good enough for fashion illustration — but I have to attach those hands to arms, and I have to attach the arms to the torso, and for me, it’s the arms that give me the most trouble in figure drawing. I tend to make arms that are too thick or arms that are too thin. When I draw arms, they’re sometimes much too short; other times, they’re far too long.

So, it’s good to have some guidelines, and the book’s author provides another illustration. This definitely helps with arm length.

As for how thick or thin the arms should be, I’m still on my own there, so that’s where I’m putting my attention in today’s practice.

I did browse a bit and came across this very helpful online tutorial from Teya Bozhilova:

How To Draw Arms

She teaches a “stick figure” method, first representing the arms with straight center lines and then “fleshing out” for a more realistic look.

This brings up a good point we should always keep in mind when we’re learning something new. There’s rarely ever a single “right way” to do anything. Different instructors will have different methods, some of which will be easier for us than others. So if you’re ever stuck in the learning process, it might not be you. It might not be the teacher. It might be just that his or her method isn’t the right one for you. In this modern era of internet technology, we can always find additional instructions, different ways to approach a drawing, and different methods to try.

So, no matter what you might find difficult to draw — in fashion illustration or any other area — don’t write yourself off too quickly. Look around a little. Do a few online searches and see what you come up with. If one method isn’t working for you, find another!

Now, I’m ready for Day 4, where I’ll be putting it all together to create my own fashion model. I really am having fun, and if fashion illustration is something you’d like to try, I’ll again recommend Master Fashion Sketches in 9 Days.




  1. oh i loathe drawing hands..especially when i attend figure drawing…i always manage to pick just the spot that ends up where the model decides to position his/her hands in some ungodly fashion. But, i keep at it..i have a whole book about drawing hands..its looks good except for the instructions that must have been written for a mathmetician. i’ll stick to the

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    1. Hands can be tricky for sure. At least with fashion illustration I don’t have to focus too much on them! I’ve been drawing a lot of models with hands behind their backs too. 🙂 That’s an easy way around it.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I practiced drawing hands when I was in the hospital years ago. I got pretty good at it. I had my friend model her hands in different positions so I could draw them. It’s hard to draw hands that don’t look weird in the end.

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