Last year for Christmas, my wife bought me one of the best gifts I’ve received in a long time. A simple little web cam. No, not for uploading my wonderful likeness to Avatars around the internet, but rather so I could learn to draw hands better. A lot of people will say they use small mirrors but for me having a handy web cam sitting on my monitor has helped me conquer drawing hands.
I’ve seen many an artist complain about learning to draw hands. Yeah, yeah, practice makes perfect, so the first step is to simply draw hands. But if you draw your own hands, they’re always drawn from the backside, an angle rarely used in comics. So, a mirror will work well to, but you have to keep looking back at the mirror and holding your hands in that pose while trying to draw. Not an easy task (at least for me).
So, I turn on my web cam, point the camera at my hands, strike a pose (cue Madonna) and click the image. Now I have a reference that won’t move or change and it’s on my desktop along with my drawing. For me, this was the easiest and best way to learn to draw hands. If it is in front of me, I can usually draw it.
Today, after a year of using the web cam, there are only certain poses I will need help on and I can quickly sketch out most common hand poses in no time at all. See! Practice does help! The only trouble I have at times is when I need both hands in the shot at the same time. I don’t have a free hand to click the “take image” button with my mouse. So, I’ve also gotten very adept at clicking the left mouse button with my foot. I have a wireless mouse and I just place it on the floor for easy clicking with my big toe.
So, scrap those tiny mirrors and go out and buy yourself a cheap web cam. Then you can conquer drawing hands as well! Plus, you can put your face up on Avatars all over the web. Who knew?
For the naturally inquisitive types… I draw with an Intuos 3 WACOM tablet using Manga Studio EX4 software. My web cam is a simple, cheap Logitech model that cost less then $50.