How to draw hands

Drawing the hands right is essential for a good-looking fashion sketch and illustration. This step by step tutorial will help you understand the basics of drawing hands and will show you how to create unique and interesting hands positions for your models. Follow the steps and say goodbye to drawing the hands behind the back once and for all!

Time, Tools and Difficulty:

Time to complete the tutorial: 7min
Tools you’ll need: drawing paper, a pencil, and an eraser
Difficulty level: 6.5/10

How to draw hands in 8 steps:

Step 1: Wrist and hand base

From the “How to draw arms” tutorial you already know how to reach the point of the wrist. Indicate it by drawing a horizontal ellipse and right underneath place a trapezoid for the palm.
The size of the trapezoid is about half of the face length.
Make sure that the palm shape is greater in length than in width – hands in fashion sketches are long and delicate.


 Step 2: The thumb

Draw a guideline for the thumb. This line should start a bit below the top of the trapezoid and end below its base. Try not to draw the thumb too close or too far away from the palm.


Step 3: Big knuckles

Transform the palm base: lift the corner next to the thumb down and the corner away from the thumb up.
Draw 4 circles over the new line to indicate the knuckles. They should fill the palm width from one end to another.

The knuckles will be always inclined from the thumb towards the little finger.


Step 4: Fingers guideline

To mark the fingers draw inverted trapezoid under the knuckles. This one should be the same size and the palm, but the bottom end will be heavily bent (almost like a triangle).

The palm + fingers length is about the same as the face of your model.


Step 5: Middle knuckles

Starting from the big knuckles draw 4 straight lines to mark the fingers. Make sure they fit in the narrowed trapezoid shape and that the little finger is shorter than the index finger. The middle finger should be the longest one.
Find the halfway of the finger lines and draw 4 circles to indicate the middle knuckles. Note that they are not aligned, but rather placed on a curve.


Step 6: Draw the fingertips

The fingertips are one of the most tricky parts of drawing the hands. Make sure that they look like the letter “U” and are not spiky or too thin.
The same applies to the thumb.
Double-check if all the fingers are with different lengths and the thumb reaches just below the big knuckles.
Mark the half of the distance between the fingertips and the middle knuckles. This is the place for the little knuckles.

You won’t actually draw the little knuckles, but the marking will help you keep the right proportions when moving the hand in different positions.


Step 7: Finish the outlines

Now it’s time to finish the outlines of the hand. One of the things you should keep in mind is to stop the line every time you reach a knuckle (even the little knuckles that we marked only via a curved line).
Also, it is important to draw the joint between the fingers nicely curved, not pointy. This joint is right next to the big knuckles.


Step 8: Details

Erase all the unnecessary lines and add the details. Hint ever so slightly the knuckles with short lines and draw the nails.
Note that only half of the thumb fingernail is visible because it’s twisted to the side. Always  mind the little gap between the finger outlines and the nails (check Common mistakes below)


Hopefully, this tutorial succeeded to give you a better understanding of how to draw hands and their structure. Now you can play and draw different hands angles and positions and make your fashion sketches really stand out!

Drawing hands in different poses step by step tutorial

It doesn’t look right! Common mistakes:

How to draw hands common error 1: the fingers are too pointy
How to draw hands error 1 fixed - thi fingers are in the right proportion

Mistake 1: Make sure the fingertips are not too pointy. Nor should be the place where fingers meet – at the big knuckles.

How to draw hands common error 2: the fingers are all of the same lenght
How to draw hands error 2 fixed - thi fingers are in different sizes, as they should be

Mistake 2: The fingers are all the same length and it looks like Mickey Mouse hand. The middle finger should be the longest one and the pinkie- shorter than the index finger.

How to draw hands common error 3 the nails are not drawn right
How to draw hands error 3 fixed - the nails are looking natural and more appropriate for a fashion sketch

Mistake 3: Drawing a simple arch isn’t enough to mark the nails. Leave a tiny bit of space between the finger outlines and the nail, so that it looks more natural.

Now that you understood the structure of the hand let’s have some fun with different hand poses that will work nicely for fashion sketches:

Learn the logic of drawing hands and apply it to different view angles in your fashion sketches and illustrations

1. You can tilt the palm and the fingers in all the directions you like.
2. Try to bend the fingers in the middle knuckle.
3. Cut the trapezoids in half and you can easily create side view for your model’s hand.
4. Feel free to separate the little finger from the rest. It looks elegant and very fashion.
5. Drawing the hands on the waist is no longer a problem. The index is pointing up, while the rest of the fingers are resting. Be careful with the proportions between the fingers.

If you found this tutorial useful, check out my full course on ‘How to Draw Hands‘. It will show you all secrets of drawing beautiful hands!

CC-BY-NC 4.0. Share and re-use for non-commercial purposes only.
Always give attribution and a link to I Draw Fashion.


  1. I really love your tutorial so much beccause i love drawing fashion clothes. But i really never write any drawing at all. I love fashion and i want to try it and wanted to become a designer. Right now i am 27 and do you think i will be become a very good fashion designer, if i start a new career.

  2. Studying fashion design and I found this site ever so useful. Thank you so very much!!

  3. Oh, Jean!

    This is the sweetest thing to read. Ever! Thank you so much for your words – they mean a lot. So glad that you find inspiration and joy in my blog.
    Fashion and drawing have been inside of you for all these years and I’m happy they’re awaken again!
    Wishing you tons of inspiration and lovely designs!


  4. I Just LOVE your tutorials!! I’m so glad that I found your site. I studied Fashion Illustration in the late 70s (I’m really aging myself)….I decided on a different career choice and put my love for illustrating fashion on hold for many years….Now some 30+ years later I decided to try my hands at it again…..I knew all the basics of drawing fashion figures, But your site has shown me things that I didn’t learn in school! Guess you can still teach an old dog new tricks (I’m almost 60)!! Keep up the Amazing work and I look forward to learning more from you. P.S.- Happy New Year!!

  5. Thanks for the great tutorials, they’ve helped me a lot. I was just wondering if you could please make a tutorial or explain how to draw the palm of a hand. Sometimes there are angles where you need to know how to do the palms as well and I’m struggling with that.

    Thanks again.

  6. :lol: :lol: :lol: aaaah I’m soooo happy! to draw hands, usually I spent about an hour! hahahahhaa thank u sooo much for a simple guidance for drawing hands!

  7. I wanted to ask if you would be posting design templates from the back view. It’d be really helpful!

    Hands down my favorite site on fashion drawing…thanks u for this :)))))))

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