Forms And Structures

The hand is not a flat, two-dimensional shape without volume. It is a dynamic, three* dimensional body form, energetic and complex, each of its forms and structures interrelated. In this chapter we will look at it from various angles in space and depth, noting its curves and rhythms and examining the bulk, sizes, shapes, and masses of its individual parts and their relation to the whole.

Arm Muscle


The main masses of the upper and lower ami are good example« of the principle of contraposition—one form being in opposition 10, or moving in a different direction from, another. For example, the shoulder mass thrusts upward. while ihe direction of the biceps and triceps is frontward and backward; ihc forearm repeats the up-and-down direction of the shoulder and is opposed by the horizontal angle of the hand- The upper sketch shows the retracted and extended arm positions, while the lower left sketch emphasizes form planes. Observe how the con-traposed masses shown in the lower right sketch produce an undulant, wave!ike rhythm of crests and troughs along the entire length of the extended arm.

Direction Arrows


These drawings also show the undulant rhythms produced by comraposed masses (direction indicated by arrows). In this sequence of varied movements of the upper and lower arm. note the tendency of the forearm to lift at the upper wrisi. The palm lakes a decided slope downward, depending on the natural flexion of the hand.


When the arm is brought up aixi extended forward, it curves under from armpit to elbow and from elbow to wrist. This never varies, no matter what position the entire arm may take. Note the reversed backward direction of the arm in the drawing at right. Even with the elbow raised» the double underarm curve is still present. At the end of the lower arm curvc, the palm intemJpts this movement with a decisive change of direction.

Dynamic Arm DrawingThicker Part The Palm The Hand


The wrist flattens at the end oi the forearm, and the palm thrusts out like a spatulate wedge, thick at the center and narrower at the front where the finger knuckles emerge. This palm wedge is the governing form of all the secondary hand structures.


In this rear view of the flexed forearm and hand, the paim wedge is seen from its top (dorsal) side. The tapered, flat wrist is joined to the spread palm, and these two forms remain consistent in any rotational direction the arm may take. Note that the flexed arm with forearm upraised and drawn inward permits the thumb to contact the shoulder (deltoid) muscle about midpoint on its upper bulge. Should the upper arm be raised vertically, the thumb would reach into the deep pit of the deltoid.

Cartoon Arm DrawingHypothenar Eminence Hand


The base of (he sp3tulate palm in thick vertically, but it spreads forward and flattens like a scoop or spade toward the front. The palmar side of the hand is hollow and dome-shaped; the dorsal side ts somewhat rounded also, but much Jess so than the palm side.

Andrew Loomis Head


The deep, concave palmar uriderptane contains three major structures; the large thc/utr eminence of the thumb base (A), the less developed hypothenar eminence of the little finger plateau fB), and the palm ridge knucklc pads closc to the deep hollow of the mid-palm (C).

Drawing The Hand Different Position


Three different views of the palm wedge also show the major undersiructurcs; the hail of ihc thumb (thenar eminence), the heel of the palm on the little finger side (h>pothenar eminence), and the palm ridge knuckle pads. Note how the forms rc^mble a triangle with its apex pointing upward toward the shaft of the arm.

Triangular Structure


The thumb emerges from (he palm wedge as a narrow triangular block supported from underneath by the fleshy, curved thenar eminence.


Two types of curves make up the palm wedge. The dorsal view of the hand at left shows the latitudinal arcs formed by the wrist, the palm knuckles, and the bones of the fingers. These form a sequence of ellipses, beginning at the point when; the wrist joins the lower arm and continuing to tte fingers. The cross section of the thick rear palm at right shows the concavc palm and the longitudinal curves running lengthwise from wrist to fingers.

Curves DrawingDrawing Dynamic Hands


As the fingers emerge from the palm knuckles, they develop three-pan rod and ball forms—finger shank and knuckle capsule—as shown in the enlarged detail at center right. The rod and ball device is an easy and effective method for sketching direct hand action. Finger movements can be developed from a tentative exploration to an integrated drawing. The sketches at bottom are examples of beginning explorations before arriving at a final drawing.

Hands Analysis Drawing


When the rod and bait forms are integrated, they exhibit the same type of crest and trough rhythm as noted earlier in the drawings of the contraposed arm masses. A decisive upswing occurs at the fingertips in a variety of elevated curves, depending on finger movement and hand position.


The hand is seen from a top and underside view here, and the arrows trace oui the symmetry of exparxJing (knuckles) and compressing (finger shanks) forms. This symmetry, however, would not be apparent from side views.

Human Muscle Drawings Comics

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