Articles, Blog

How to Draw Cartoon Hands (Comic, Cartoon, and Mickey Mouse)

How to Draw Cartoon Hands (Comic, Cartoon, and Mickey Mouse)

Hey my name is Stan Prokopenko, welcome to Proko! In this video, I’ll show you how to draw 3
styles of cartoon hands. There’s the super simple Mickey Mouse Hands,
the less simple yet highly stylized Cartoon Hands, and the less simple and less stylized
Comic Book Hands. In my previous hands lessons, I went over
the anatomy of hands, a bunch of detail for realistic hands, like fingernails, skin creases,
fat pads, veins and I gave you guys a general process for drawing and inventing hands from
imagination. Watching those will definitely help you fully
understand how to draw hands, even cartoon hands. Cartoons are just exaggerations of reality. To exaggerate the hand, it helps to know the
hand. Let me remind you of the procedure and the
forms of the hand we already learned. We start with the box of the palm. Add the gesture and cylinders of the fingers. The triangular base of the thumb. The rest of the thumb. And then any details. This process will be the same no matter what
style you’re drawing in. Let’s start with Mickey Mouse Hands. The 3-fingered glove with sausage fingers. Mickey isn’t the only one with this hand. But he is the most famous. The animators at Disney wanted to create a
hand that was super expressive (and easy to draw thousands of times). Animation is all about movement and telling
a story. To design a hand that is all about movement
and telling a story, it makes sense to remove a lot of the structure and detail and keep
mostly the gesture. Remember, gesture is what tells the story. The hand still has structure, but the forms
are soft and simple. They could be bent, stretched, squashed, twisted
and basically distorted in any way, in favor of the gesture. The first thing you’ll probably notice is
that Mickey Mouse has three fingers and a thumb. They chopped a finger to save time and money
while drawing thousands and thousands of frames. The lack of the fourth finger doesn’t hurt
the ability to tell a story or to be expressive. In fact Walt Disney thought it looked better
that way. “Five digits are too many for a mouse, it
would look like a bunch of bananas. During WWII, Mickey even lost his tail as
the result of an executive decision to save even more time and money.” The fingers and palm are round and puffy. The hands are generally bigger and easier
to see. The white glove helps with that too. In a cartoon the parts of the body that are
most expressive are generally bigger. In a pose like this where we see the whole
body it’s hard to see the hands because they’re so small. So we make the body smaller, the head and
hands bigger, and voila! The more expressive parts of the body have
more real estate. Mickey Mouse has circle palms. If you’re drawing more of a side view, you
want to squish that circle into an oval. But you can use a square or even a triangle
for your character. It doesn’t matter much. Remember, with cartoon hands, it’s the gesture
we’re mostly concerned with. You have much more room to play with the structure. Generally the fingers and palm follow a 1:1
ratio. Start with a mitten shape for the group of
fingers to identify the overall shape and then split up that shape into the individual
sausages. Sometimes one of the fingers might be separate
from the group. That makes it look a little more interesting. Keep the forms simple and think of the gesture. Don’t show all the knuckles. Most of the knuckles are softened to continue
the gesture. Sometimes you’ll want to show a sharp bend
if the bend is an important part of the expression. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of curvy sausages. In a fist or other poses that need to have
some tension, an indication of a knuckle helps. The thumb is similar, but it’s just a little
more complicated. Remember that trowel shape at the end of the
thumb. Mickey’s hand has some of that, but much more
bubbly. Skinny along the shaft and then fat at the
end. Don’t make the end symmetrical. That’ll just look like it got smashed by a
door. Straighter on one side, curvier on the other
makes for more dynamic shape. Old versions of Mickey had the palm as a simple
circle. Later on, he got upgraded with the addition
of hand butts. Hand butts are from the two round masses on
the palm of the hand. The drumstick muscle of the thumb, and another
flatter one along the pinky side. Not all poses will need a really obvious butt
crack. It depends on the angle and the position of
the thumb. If the thumb is stretching away a small and more subtle line might be a better option. If the thumb and pinky are getting squeezed together, the butt crack will be obvious. And if we’re looking at it from 3/4 or almost
side view, the butt crack overlap helps to show the depth. Now, to put a glove on that hand, add the
rubber hose arm and a bracelet around the wrist where the end of the glove is. If you’re drawing the back of the hand, don’t
forget the 3 decorative lines, or “points”. When you’re happy with the rough sketch, I
clean it up in another layer. What separates a cartoon hand from a real
hand is that the characteristics and expression are drawn in a humorously exaggerated way. Exaggeration is the key word here. Not all cartoon characters have the 3 fingered
glove. Many are more complex, and highly stylized. For example there’s the brilliant Glen Keane
with movies like Tarzan, Tangled, and Beauty and the Beast. To draw these types of cartoon hands, anatomy
becomes a little more important because the exaggerations are designed based on the anatomy. Out of the 3 styles I’m showing in this video,
I think this one is the hardest, and personally I think it looks the best. It’s hardest because you have the most artistic
freedom to push things how you like. You have to really feel the gesture and make
exaggeration decisions that help support the story. The shapes are more complex and are designed
based on the specific pose. Masterful exaggeration in the right areas
is what makes these cartoon hands look so dynamic and awesome. The forms and proportions can be changed a
lot to fit the character. For beefy hands, think of meatballs instead
of sausages. For slender hands, think of worms, or pencils
or. I dunno anything skinny. Look at hands from your favorite cartoons. They’re a goldmine of reference. Pause the movie and study the way the artist
drew that hand. Why did they push the exaggeration this way? How did they change the forms to make the
hand fit the character? Alright, let’s draw a cartoon hand! I’ll work from a photo so that you guys can
see what I’m basing my exaggerations from. I’m gonna start with a square shaped palm. But I’m not drawing a perfect square. I want it to moving. I’m using subtle curves and tapering the square
thinner at the bottom. It’s a square, but a more interesting square. I really like how I can see that step down
to the hand at the wrist. So, I’ll exaggerate the way those form lock
together. The thumb is already pretty dynamic in the
photo, but I want to take it 10 steps further. Go as far as I can with a crazy dynamic shape
without breaking the form. It should still look like a thumb. With cartoons, you can go pretty far though. I’m designing these shapes based on my knowledge
of anatomy though. There’s the thenar eminence muscle mass peeking
out here. Then a strong straight through the metacarpal
bone, a fold in the skin to exaggerate the bend, and the big trowel shaped top of the
thumb. Don’t be afraid to push and pull the shapes. Experiment and try out various options. If you’re too timid and stick to the reference
too much, it’ll probably end up boring. Try to design dynamic and interesting shapes. Have fun! For the fingers, I’m going with a design that’s
skinny at the base and fat at the tips. And large squared nails. In this pose, the tendons on the back of the
hand are important to show the tension. A few strokes is enough to show that. I’ll also add some width at the knuckles to
make the finger shapes more interesting. Ok, the sketch is done. I’ll create a new layer, choose my “Sexy Sumi-E”
brush by Kyle Webster, and ink on top of it. If you guys are interested in Kyle’s brushes
I have a link to him over at and also in the description below. I love his brushes. The blue pencil I used for the sketch is also
his. It’s called the “Animator’s Pencil” and it’s
supposed to mimic the Blackwing pencil that a lot of artists loved. And then there’s the comic books. Marvel, DC, and Japanese Manga hands don’t
usually take much liberty with exaggeration. The proportions and forms are very close to
what you’d see in real hands. So, all you guys that want to learn how to
draw really awesome Anime or Comic Book hands, you’re just gonna have to learn how to draw
hands. And I taught that already. So, check out my previous hand lessons, parts
1, 2 and 3. Since, anime hands are pretty much just real
hands as silhouettes with flat shading, I’m gonna take one of my previous hand drawings
and make it into an anime style. The details are usually removed, so imagine
drawing one of those mannikins at the mall. Realistic proportions without details. I got the silhouette, now I’ll fill the background
with a color and fill the hand with another color. If I want to be fancy I can give it a subtle
gradation and rim light. Let’s be even more fancy and give the rim
light a glow. Change the color of the outline in that area
and the glow feels stronger. Yay! Anime hands. Of course there’s a wide variety of comic
book and anime styles. Not all are simple silhouettes with flat shading. Some are highly rendered, especially the cover
art. What I showed here is just a typical anime
style hand. See ya real soon! You’re gonna love the videos in the premium section. You’ll get more drawing demos, extended lessons, printable ebooks, and 3d models that you can spin around, study, and draw from any angle. If you don’t want your drawing to look like this, go to

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

100 thoughts on “How to Draw Cartoon Hands (Comic, Cartoon, and Mickey Mouse)

  1. Oh Lawd…."hand butts"? I'll never look at my hands the same way again. 🙂 :). Great tutorial – thanks for sharing.

  2. I don't know why, but I expected an animated Proko in the three different styles he was talking about…..just me? Okay. Anyhow fantastic tutorial once more, Proko! The quality just keeps rising with each new video you upload. 😀

  3. funnily enough the drawing at the end that we dont want our drawings to turn out like is what sells for 1000s in abstract gallery shows 😕

  4. When Proko says"If you don`t want your drawings look like this" and thn shows the picture of nonanatomical person I always think "That`s a pasterpiece, like Picasso`s drawings"

  5. i would really like to see a tutorial for how to construct successful hands and feet gesture like the bean for torso, since drawing a good hands or feet is useless without gesture

  6. 10 years of art school and I still struggled with hands but 10 mins with this video and I've finally got it ! Thank you

  7. Q: Cartoon creators are all seem to be different? Do i need to learn all anatomy or a little bit of its knowledge is enough for drawing cartoon?

  8. you just made me draw something in two minutes I thought would take me ages to learn…… you'r the best

  9. hello Proko, i don't know if you will read this comment or not, but maybe it will be a good idea to make short video on how to draw simple shape and some exercices to help improve very basic skills, like drawin straight line, circles etc…

  10. Hi Stan, at first hand I would like to thank you for all this videos. I have been sudyng most of your video lessons as well in various Anatomy books for artists and I havent found any detailed information about lower limbs or pelvic muscles yet. I would love to see videos that adress to that second half of the body as well as feet with all that exmples, metaphores, geometrical simplifacations, incertion points and boney landmarks tips that you give. You have helped me a lot and It would be amazing lo lern from you about this topics. Thanks

  11. And people say anime and manga isn't art. Or that it requires little to no skill. Well I'm just gonna continue in the style I like. I'll do my best with anatomy. Regardless of whether people look down on it cuz it's anime-like.

  12. man even the simple mickey mouse hands are so hard.. getting each finger size and proportion right

  13. you should say rubber hose hands FELIX THE CAT AND OSWALD AND MINOR CHARACTERS (forgot Popeye and Bettie Boop but u get the general idea)like KOKO THE CLOWN ALSO GO INTO THAT SECTION JUST BECAUSE THEY WERENT AS SUCCESFUL DOESNT MEAN THEY SHOULD BE FORGOTTEN (also other characters like Donald duck Goofy flip the frog etc..)

  14. Am having trouble finding Kyle’s brush mentioned in the video. Is there any direct link to download it? By the way is there any way I can import it in procreate? Cheers

  15. I always see long fingers while mine are super short, should I use my fingers as reference or not. Because at this point my main character has short fingers

  16. And my friends still dont get my drawing gestures and style of drawing they say

    ThaT hAs A bIG hEaD anD bIG eYes AnD bIG hANDs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *