How to Draw Baby Hands in Soft Pastel

See a drawing demo on how to draw baby hands. They are tricky to draw. Their anatomy is totally different from an adult’s hand!

Tips for how to capture the volume and form of a baby hand, as well as how to articulate the lighting on the hand are explained. Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Jordan McCracken-Foster.

45 min. video

Video Walkthrough

  • Babies are very challenging to draw, their proportions are completely different from the proportions of an adult.
  • Especially in art history, paintings of babies often portray them like little old men.
  • On a baby’s hand there is pretty much no indication of bone anywhere.
  • Areas where you would see bone on an adult hand, like the knuckles, appear as dimples on a baby’s hand.
  • Look for where the fat in a baby’s hand overlap, what form is in front of another?
  • Adding wrinkles to a drawing of a baby’s hand often is too much.
  • Downplaying the wrinkles in your drawing, or even skipping the wrinkles altogether is a way to handle this.
  • Working on toned paper for soft pastel is a good way to get started. You won’t have any white grain in your drawing like when using white paper.
  • Blocking in big areas of color with the side of the soft pastel is a good way to establish tone in the drawing.
  • Everyone has a totally different way of learning, so it’s a good idea to learn from many different teachers.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

In general, the hands/feet/head are chronically ignored by everybody in a short gesture drawing. We all (myself included) like to use the “I didn’t have time” excuse to explain why we didn’t include those parts, but really, it’s about having a placeholder for where the hands and feet will eventually be.

So even the crappiest 2 min drawing should, in theory, have a light mark to approximate where a head or foot will be. I think people get really hung up on likeness with figure drawing, so it often feels like something isn’t worth drawing unless we have sufficient time to make it recognizable.

Baby Hand #7
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