December 21, 2011

This week: Your hand doesn't bend here.

So, it came up several times this last week with several coworkers, who in my case are artists, that they didn't realize the bones in your hand don't bend in the location illustrated in the title. I can sort of see why someone might think it, so I'm just gonna toss this out there for people. In fact, your bones don't bend at either that line, nor the line seperating the palm from the fingers. The pad at the top of your palm actually comes both a little above and a little below your knuckles. Your knuckles are roughly in the middle of the pad, as you can see in the illustration:

So when you bend your fingers down, the pad, which makes the bones in your palm appear longer than they are, gets bent down. This makes the palm seem to shorten and makes it look like the palm bones themselves must be bending. The phonomenon is easier to understand from the side:

If you really want to prove it to yourself, fold your hand while looking at the back. You will see that the back does not change in length at all.

Knowing that the pad comes above and below the knuckles also helps you draw palm lines more accurately. I can't tell you how many students I've seen draw a hand with the top fold line in line with the knuckles, who then try to fit the lines of the palm onto a palm that's too small to fit them into. It's especially a problem for young artists who draw "realistically", meaning they hatch and shade too much and observe too little. It is a problem 100% of the time for those guys who seem to know how to draw every single gun known to man, in perspective, but can't draw a back three quarter view of a head or a garment that hangs naturally to save their lives. Those of you who have been to art school know the ones I mean.

Oh, and check out this recipe comic from Laura Park! Isn't she the best? That's a rhetorical question, obviously she is, duh.

See you next week!

No comments: