Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Tu Tor Plus, Tutorials


Hand StudyNext to carving eyes and next to carving the human face, carving hands can be a challenge to carvers.  Hiding hands in a pocket is the easy way out and the quickest way to produce a boring carving.  Like any other carving project, carving hands is a matter of first taking a good look at hands, studying hands and then practice carving hands on a scrap piece of wood.  These “scrapper” lessons are beneficial in the long run.

Place your own hand flat on a table top in order to study the position of the thumb in relation to the four fingers.  Notice the length of each finger and the thumb along with the alignment of the knuckles. The thumb is no longer than the middle row of knuckles.  The thumb’s middle knuckle is in line with the large knuckles.  Lift the hand up and gently coil the hand around an imaginary round object in order to notice the planes and angles of the fingers and the back of the hand as it joins the wrist.  Turn the hand over to see the inside of the palm and inside of fingers and thumb.  Notice the wrinkles and ballooning of the flesh and muscles of the hand.

Hand StudyHand StudyHand StudyHand Study

Next, wrap the hand around an object to see how the hand looks as it holds an object.  Place hands together to form “praying hands” or any other combination of hand positions.  All of these observation exercises will help in being able to see with the carver’s inner eye while being guided in the carving of a hand.

Carve the hand as one mass object like a mitten with flat angles and planes. Carve fingers by dividing the mass of the mitten-ed hand in half and then each half can be divided in half to form the separation of the four fingers.  The hint of a finger nail can be accomplished by slicing a facet chip of wood on the top side of the end of each finger.  That facet will catch the light to reflect the appearance of a finger nail.  Carving wrinkles at the bends of the knuckles on the back of the hand will create more interest than a smooth looking dowel of a finger.

Sometimes having a hand in a pocket adds to the pose of the figure.  Exposing the thumb as hanging over the opening of the pocket while the rest of the hand is in the pocket adds movement and interest.

The diagram of drawings of hands at the beginning of this posting can be studied to aid in developing one’s own mental diagram of the various postions of the hand.

It still remains that the surest way to learn to carve hands is to try one’s hand at carving hands because “Would be Carvers Would Be Carvers If They Would Carve Wood.”


This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 at 9:56 am and is filed under Tu Tor Plus, Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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