Archive for May 16th, 2022



We’re focused on drawing here. For the sake of analogy, let’s consider other things people do that involve practice: dancing, tennis, fly-fishing, singing, playing the guitar, writing poetry, crosswords, scrabble, taking pictures, dressing well, thinking logically.

If you know anyone who is identified with such an activity, this is someone who LOVES doing this. The activity FEELS good.  This is a person who looks forward to spending time in this activity and plans his or her day to schedule time for it.  This time is called practice.

Let’s take dancing. People who dance, dance because they love to dance, and you can tell that they love to dance by just looking at their schedule.  Not being able to do a certain move drives them crazy. So, what do they do? Do they give up?  Do they just refuse to do that one particular move? Of course not. They practice till they get it.  After they’ve gotten it, they continue to practice it—to keep that thing in shape. Hello, they practice.

For people who love to draw, the hand is often such an item. How often have you heard a drawing student say “I can’t draw hands”?  How often have you seen otherwise competent figure drawings where the hand looks like a flipper, a hook or a garden rake?

In my drawing class I teach an approach to the hand that proceeds from the general to the pacific, i.e. from the overall shape—the general geometry–to the articulation of individual features-—the digits.  It’s about staying focused on this approach without thinking “OMG, A HAND! I’M DRAWING A HAND!”  It’s mainly a mental practice.  Pulling the graphite over paper will be the easy part.

A well-drawn hand is a joy to behold.  Drawing a hand is thrilling.  You know that as you practice, your rapport with the hand develops and you’ll be able to draw THE HAND convincingly, gracefully…and easily!

Students who show me their week’s practice pages present me with a gift, for which I am grateful.

Drawings of hands by Shweta.


All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.





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