If you are searching for hands for drawing reference, we have some great suggestions. Hands are something that many artists find tricky to draw, so regular practice using good quality reference photos or your own hands is well worth doing. If you use your own hands, you can practice drawing your non-dominant hand from life too.
As with any drawing reference, if you intend to use the images commercially, please check for any copyright restrictions or attribution requirements.
1. Hand for Drawing Reference pdf
We’ve put together a pdf with 100 royalty-free hand reference photos to draw. Just enter your email below, to sign up for our newsletter and get the free hand reference pdf.
2. Draw your own hands
One of the simplest ways of drawing lots of different hand poses is to use your own hand. There are so many positions you can put your non-drawing hand in to draw. But if you find it difficult to hold your hand in position, photograph your hands, or the hands of family and friends instead. Probably one of the easiest ways to do this is to stick your phone on a mini tripod and then set the timer. That way you can take reference shots of both hands together. Use natural light from the sun or a couple of desk lamps to make sure your hands are well lit.
One of the great things about taking your own photos is you can get exactly the pose you want. For instance, if you are drawing a character and want its hands to be in a certain position, you can use your own for reference.
However, if your photography is not that hot, or your fingernails are chewed like mine, you might prefer to use ready-made hand images.
3. Google Images of Hands
The obvious place to look for hand images is Google Images. Just search for hand reference photos and you will see a large selection of photos to draw. Bear in mind though, that many of these images may have copyright restrictions, but if you are just using them for drawing practice and not for commercial use it doesn’t matter.
On Pinterest, it’s easy to find a large selection of hand references, both photographic and drawn. You will also find some Pinterest Boards dedicated to hand reference. Just like Google, be aware that these images will have copyright restrictions if used commercially
5. Proko (paid)
Proko is an amazing drawing website with content and courses for artists. Proko also has some pose reference model packs that you can purchase. One of the packs features 1500 hand poses that you can draw. At the time of writing this, the pack is $16.50
6. Deviant Art Hand Reference (free)
It never ceases to amaze me what you can find on Deviant Art. For a start it’s an amazing gallery of artists images, but it’s also a great resource for artists too. Just search for hand reference and you will find lots of images you can download and draw. For example a set of male hands in different positions and a set of female hand photos. The images may not be professionally shot, but are adequate for drawing practice. Most images require attribution if you are going to share your drawings publicly.
7. Art station (paid)
Art station is a site geared towards digital artists. You will find digital art tutorials and resources, jobs and you can also buy prints of digital arts. Amongst the resources, you’ll find a selection of image packs that can be used by artists, both traditional and digital for art reference. Hand reference photo packs are one of those many resources. The packs mostly cost under $10 for a standard license.
8. Art Prof on Flickr (free)
The Art Prof website itself is a place for learning visual arts. However, they also have a selection of reference photos for artists that you can find on Flickr. You can find a collection of hand references to draw here.
9. Reference Pictures – Hand pack (small fee $3)
This is a site that creates reference images for artists. There is a mixture of paid and free resources and subjects from people to landscapes. They have a hand reference pack download pack with 523 images. At the time of writing the pack cost $3. The photos are good quality. The only negative I would say about them is that they are shot on a black background. So they will work great if you are looking for hands nicely lit to paint, but a white background may have been better for simple black and white sketch practice.
10. Line of Action – hand and feet reference images(free)
Line of action is a great site, purposefully created for artists to practice quick sketching. One of the subjects available to draw is hands and feet. First, choose if you want to draw both hand and feet, or one or the other. Then choose whether you want to draw male or female hands, or both. Then you can choose the time interval you want the hand photos to be shown for. This can be anything from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. You can also choose class mode which starts you off with quick gesture drawings and then moves on to longer poses.
11. Quick Pose (free)
Quick Pose is very similar to Line of Action. Start by choosing hands as your subject. Then choose either male or female hands or both. Next choose the time you want to see each image for and finally the number of images you want to draw.
12. Sketch Daily hand poses (free)
Sketch Daily is similar to Quick Pose and Line of Action. First choose hands, then male or female. But something a bit different here is that you have the option for the type of view eg. front, side etc. You can also choose the time each image is shown to you, or choose class mode where the time interval increases.
13. Freepik Royalty Free Images (free with attribution)
Freepik is a royalty-free image site with a lot of decent hand reference images. You can use many of the images for free with attribution. Optionally you can opt for premium for more images with no attribution required.
Free Royalty Free Image Websites
There are a lot of free royalty free image websites. From the ones I researched, the two below feature the best hand images I could find.
14. Unsplash (free)
Unsplash is another well known free royalty free image site with a good selection of hand images to draw. In my opinion Unsplash has some of the best quality photos for a free royalty free website.
15. Pexels (free)
Pexels has a good selection of free, royalty free hand photos that you can draw.
Hand Reference Apps for Artists and Designers
There are a couple of hand reference apps that you might want to look into. Although I wouldn’t suggest them for hand drawing practice as the hands are 3D models, they could be useful for character drawing.
16. Handy Art Reference Tool (Free and Paid)
The Handy Art Reference Tool is an app that lets you pose a 3D hand in different positions.
From the website – “If you’re an artist and ever wanted to use decent hand reference without having to awkwardly pose your hand in front of a mirror, this app is for you! HANDY is an artist’s reference tool consisting of a rotatable 3D lit hand with a variety of poses useful for drawing. It also includes several heads you can rotate and custom light– great for getting basic lighting or angle reference!
17. Hand Draw 3D Pose Tool
I haven’t tested the Hand Draw 3D Pose Tool, but it looks very similar to the Handy app. See the video below to see basic functionality.
Please note that this post includes affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something via our link, we will get a commission, which helps us towards the cost of running Kick in the Creatives, and it doesn’t cost you a penny more. Thank you so much for your support.