Hand Gestures with sketch and 3D models




Hi, it's Nadia!

In this tutorial I'll explain hand anatomy and how I draw it or drawing using Clip Studio 3D material!

Hand anatomy and construction

I like to keep in mind how is the hand structure, so it's easiest for me to draw hands! Here is an example of the bones:

(1), (2) and (3) are the phalanges, that are part of the fingers.

As you can see the thumb has just the (1) distal and (3) proximal phalange and not the middle one.

(4) is the metacarpal bones and the little circle (carpal bones) are part of the palm of the hand.

In this following image, I show how to draw a hand, but it seems flat, isn't it?

That's because you need to think about the hand as a 3D object as it is.

So when you start drawing, instead of a flat square, draw a 3D parallelepiped for the palm and cylinders for fingers. It will seems more realistc! Then when you improve, you don't need to draw the 3D structure, because it's already in your mind! ^^


Also, this is where 3D Clip Studio Paint models are really helpful! If you just started drawing, using 3D models will help a lot so you can concentrate with the shapes and meanwhile study the perspective! (I'll explain this later in another section ^^)

How to draw the palm and fingers

Fingers and fingernails

The fingers: index, middle, ring and little finger are the same to draw. They only have different heights!

You just need to think about the cylinder as a base shape and then think about the skin and a bit of fat under it so you make it more realistic:

(1) Here you can see the cylinder with bones in it. Follow the shapes of the bones to create the finger.

More pronounced is the shape of the finger, more it seems chubby! This is perferct for drawing children hands or chibis hands or chubby person's hands, because they have a bit more fat on fingers and you should draw it to make it beliveble ^^

This is the same for thin hands! To make them looking slim, draw the end of the bones more pronounced, so it seems to have less fat on it!


In column (2) and (3) you can see how fingernails are shaped.

They are not perfectly straight, and as you can see there are square nails and more rounded nails.

Usually men has squared nails meanwhile women has rounded nails, but it can be viceversa!

Also, sometimes men has the ring finger longer (or equal) to the index.

And women has the index longer (or equal) to the ring finger.

  • Here you can see a fingernails more detailed. I usually draw just the shape of the nails, but if I want to make the hands more realistic, I add more details! ^^


(4) This is an example seen from in front. You see the nails it's not straight, but it follows the shape of the finger.


(5) Also, the nails grow naturally in a curved shapes, but sometimes fake nails (that are glued on top of the real nail) are more straight.


(6) And lastly, I just wanted to remember that nails has thickness as well, so if you draw it really close, remember to make it visible ^^

Palm of the hand

The palm of the hand it's basically just three shapes. Practice on drawing them in different poses and then add those purple lines that are the skin! ^^

The (1) shape is where the fingers: index, middle, ring and little finger are positioned.


The (2) shape is just under the little finger.


The (3) shape is where the thumb is positioned.


The (3) shape, is like a rounded cone, where at the point will be the thumb.

You can draw the proximal phalange as a cylinder and then the distal phalange as a two curves! ^^

And this is the same if you draw it from the side! Just remember to draw the cone base rounded and that the circle shape for thumb will change because it follows the perspective ^^

To draw the thumbs you need to remember that they are opposable thumbs.

Thumbs go in the opposite way of the other fingers for this is a way so the hand can grab things firmly.


Draw the shape of the palm and use the circle (or just half circle, a curved line) so you know where to draw the thumb!

As you can see in (1) and (2) the curved line is in (1) diagonal; and then in (2) almost vertical


In (3) you can see the circle because the thumbs go forward when they fold to touch the little finger.


And you see that in (4) and (5) the thumbs can fold differently!

How fingers fold

Here there are some examples on how fingers can fold:

As you can see, they overlap on each other. This is an important note. You don't need to draw completely all the fingers! Just hide some part to make them realistic!

Here there are some examples on how you can apply the tips of overlap:

In (1) you can't see the ring finger, although it seems it's there, because you know that exist! ^^


In (2) the fist is almost closed and later completely close.You can see that more fingers get hidden because of the position the hand has been drawn!


(3) Here you can see just the distal phalange of the index and for others fingers just distal and middle phalanges!


(4) Index and middles fingers are almost hidden.


(5) Here as well you can see few part of distal phalanges.


(6) Here there is the little finger completely hidden


(7) Here can see few part of distal phalanges of ring and little fingers!


(8) And lastly, here you see really few parts of middle, ring and little fingers!

These are other examples of hands. I've done chubby hands, average hands, thin hands:

Different ways to draw hands

Keeping in mind the 3D model of a hand, you can draw bases of hands in different ways:

(1) Bones: draw a square for the palm and then lines for fingers;

(2) Shapes: draw quick shapes of the hand to see where fingers can be drawn;

(3) Silhouette: drawing the silhouette, helps me when I do digital painting;

(4) Shapes detailed: you can draw more shapes, adding where the knuckles are so you can see better the overlap of fingers.


After that, low the opacity of the layer, create another layer on top of that one and fix the sketch, keeping in mind the bones and skin of the hand!


About silhouette, it's really important that you give a pose to you character that can be understandable.


To do that, after you have done a sketch, create another layer and fill all the drawing with one color so you don't see the line anymore and leave just the silhouette:

As you can see, hands are the same but looking in the silhouette the hand (1) it's confused and you can barely see the little finger, while the hand (2) it's more clear and you can see it very well!

If you prefer, you can first draw silhouette and after that do on top of that the sketch!


It's a nice exercise to do quick sketches, make studies of poses and mood!

Or, you can draw a little silhouette and keep it near to use it as a reference!

3D Clip Studio models

If you are new on drawing hands, I highly recommend to use the 3D models.

Because as you saw in the previous examples, you need to follow a perspective for each finger!


Using the 3D model, you'll have a great base (that also has lines guides!) so when you have found the pose you like, uou can study directly the perspective on the models!

Scroll down the "Material" bar.


You will find the 3D folder > click and it opens > select the "Hands" folder

Hold one image and drag it on the canvas

It will appear a body with the hand image you choose:

Now on the toolbar, select the object tool.

With this tool you can select the 3D model and move it as you wish!

The blue icons on top of the figure, are the "camera". With this you can move the camera (or the object with the square icons) as you desire!

The bar on the bottom are all options you can do with the 3D model, but for this example I'll usejust the last icon of this.

Move and set 3D hand

Click on the last icon, and a new window will appear:

When you click "Pose" it will appear the setting of the hands

When you click on one hand with the "object" tool it will appear some curved line. Moving them, it will let you to adjust the hand as you wish.


Now look on the image of the hand in the window:


( Note: when clicking just a hand, it will modify just it and not the other one. If you want both hands be the same, just deselect the one hand. )


(1) All these chains let you block each finger when you have found the pose you want;

(2) move this cross around and you'll see that the hand open and close;

(3) this are the base hand the model has. Just select one and you'll see that is the base when you bring the cross all down.

This is an example with the index close like the base hand closed, then I've locked it with the chain and moved the cross:

If you like a pose of the hand, but not much a finger, click on a phalange and you'll able to modify it as you wish! ^^

Using 3D model example

I've used "Hand gesture 014"of Clip Studio preset and I've set the camera to make the thumb overlap la litte on the little finger:

I low the opacity of the 3D model layer (when you are on it, it doesn't seems the opacity has been lowered. But when you go to another layer, you'll see that is more light ^^)


In a new layer a draw on top of it details to create a realistic hand. I try to remember the anatomy and I follow the shapes ot the fingers.

The guide lines of the 3D model, helps me draw details! ^^

Another awesome thing of using 3D models, is that you can draw on top of that in different styles and create any style you want!


Like here, I've done a more stylized version of the hand:

Or here, I've done a skinny hand:

And here a chubby hand:

Or like here, where I've tried different style or details!

(1) a sharp style

(2) more like manga style

(3) a really cartoon style

(4) or just adding details of a creature! ^^

Inked 3D examples

And here there are the examples done with 3D model ^^

Thank you for have read until here! I hope this was helpful ^^



New Official Articles