Thursday, September 25, 2008

Imagelexia. How to draw with a misplaced thumb

Reversing numbers is a peculiarity we all share. Even reversing letters happens sometimes in our addled brains. If we do it often, we have a fancy name for this phenomenon…dyslexia. But what about artists who reverse images in their mind?

Lets call it imagelexia because it makes me feel much better to give a name to my mental defects. I don’t know how it happens, but every time I draw hands, toes…even faces they get reversed on paper. (In my head, they looked perfectly normal.) Luckily, my critique group has caught COUNTLESS paintings of poor people with their thumb on the wrong side of their hand. My image of the Changs for Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo? had gone through proofing and legal and all the other smart people who are supposed to catch mistakes, but no one had caught the reversed thumb except my faithful critique group.

One of my critique group members, Penny Weber always draws expressive, beautiful hands. She has inspired me to do better. No more excuses. No more laziness. I vow to improve my hands. (Toes are another matter because feet really gross me out) And you faithful readers of this blog (all 3 of you) should also share in my quest for better hands…

Here are some tools:

1. Here is a website with 206 images of hands in art. Pure hand inspiration.

2. Drawing Dynamic Hands by Burne Hogarth
This is one of my favorite books for drawing hands in motion.

3. Here is a short video from Matt's Illustration demonstrating how to draw better hands. Matt advises to draw the thumb last. Makes sense.

Let me know if you have other tools to get those digits looking pretty.

Quick Announcement...
I have been greatly neglecting this blog, but I do have some tutorials planned for the next couple of months. In the meantime, please stop by the Raucous Royals blog and get your weekly dose of rumors, scandals and facinating royalty. Your feedback is always appreciated.


Carmi Cimicata said...

THANKYOU!! For visiting my Napoleon blog..and leading me back to your blogs!
I am so enjoying your rumours!!! I have to set some time aside to read some of the older entries!

tim h said...

I use my hands enough that I know them... intimately. Of course, this makes it harder to draw them as I get ashamed just looking at them.

Lauren Kate said...

This is really interesting! I always take special note of hands whenever I look at a painting or drawing including them. I don't know why, but I love hands - and know how hard they are to depict right!

tim h said...

One of the few Peanuts strips I remember had Charlie Brown looking at a drawing Linus made. Charlie went off on a long spiel about how the humility and humanity of the subject was so effectively conveyed by Linus drawing the figure with hands folded behind the back. Linus blows up and shouts something along the lines of "I just can't draw hands!"

Bearded Lady said...

Lauren - hands are tough but I once heard an art director say that they looked at a person's hands to immediately determine if they could really draw. My hands always look like frog legs in the first tries.

Tim - that is funny about Charlie Brown. I think everyone is guilty of the whole hands behind the back trick at some point.

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