Can you give me some help with paint­ing ex­pres­sive hands?

ImagineFX - - Your Questions Answered... -

Rebecca Hol­gate, Canada An­swer Mélanie replies

Hands are prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult anatomy el­e­ment to paint, even more so when they have to con­vey an emo­tion. And if they’re not well ex­e­cuted they can ruin a paint­ing. Hands can ex­press ev­ery­thing from sad­ness to joy, but what­ever the emo­tion I’m aim­ing for, I al­ways start with sketches to find out ex­actly what I want to ex­press. I don’t care if the anatomy isn’t cor­rect – I just try to fo­cus on the emo­tion and/or story that I want to tell with my char­ac­ter.

Once I have a clear idea of the com­po­si­tion, the next thing I do is to gather ref­er­ences, to help get the hands right. When I have to paint some com­plex-look­ing hands I usu­ally use my­self as a model. This helps to avoid any anatomy mis­take and also it’s a great way to find the per­fect hand po­si­tion. Pos­ing in front of a mir­ror will help you to cap­ture the emo­tion that you’re af­ter.

Your cho­sen light­ing scheme can also help to in­crease the emo­tion of a scene. A soft light will go very well with del­i­cate hands, while a strong light with con­trasted shad­ows will be per­fect for stressed-look­ing hands. You can also play with anatomy de­tails such as veins if you want to achieve an even more in­tense emo­tion.

I some­times use a spe­cific colour scheme to en­hance the feel­ing of an im­age. If the char­ac­ter is sad then I’ll pick pale, gen­tle colours. But if my char­ac­ter’s meant to be happy then the colour scheme will be more sat­u­rated, with in­tense colours on show.

The more you add vol­ume to the hand, the more it’ll look real and so the emo­tion will be easy to con­vey.

To paint a hand, think of it as a box and cylin­ders when you do the line art sketch. It’s more easy to vi­su­alise and add light to th­ese kinds of geo­met­ric shapes.

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