Step-by-step: Draw and paint the hand of a skeleton
Start by creating a sketch of the skeleton hand. Make sure to include as much detail as possible in the sketch. When working with any part of a skeleton, it’s always better to have too much detail rather than too little detail. Then block in all the mid-tones for the bones. It’s important to note whenever you’re painting bones, the mid-tones aren’t white.
Continue to refine by pushing the range of values in the shadows. In many areas the darkest part of the shadow will be where the shadow and the mid-tone meet, also known as the core shadow. It’s the darkest shadow because it’s least affected by the bounce or reflected light. Then pop in a few highlights with a lighter tone, but be careful not to add too many.
The next step is to begin to block in the details of the bones. Start by adding the shadows, but make sure to not go too dark. If in doubt, it’s better at this phase to make the shadows too light. The shadows on a bone tend to have a fair amount of bounce light, which means the shadows have different levels of values because of the light bouncing around.
Continue to add subtle details to the bones. They’re not smooth, so it’s important to add bumps, pits and craters, making sure they follow the lighting. Next, add a dramatic shadow so that the hand doesn’t look like it’s floating in space. The shadows cast by the bones should be a bit lighter and softer than normal, because of the bounce light coming from the bones.