Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994

Hands in Art: Common Threads

This project idea came from Mrs. Kramer
Art teacher at Los Cerros Middle School, Danville, California.


Drawing hands is very difficult for many middle school artists. We are using this unit as a means to study how we are all alike, while celebrating individual differences. Our handmade books will feature each student's hand drawing along with textile patterns from various cultures in the negative spaces. Each student will be asked to think about how he or she can spread "peace". They have all been alarmed by the recent violence in public schools across the nation. Students will be encouraged to explore different cultural symbols and meanings and will incorporate their own beliefs and values. The pages will have a ribbon drawing connecting each student drawing -- this ribbon tying all of us together.




See the drawings of hands from Los Cerros Middle School

Drawing Hands by M. C. Escher - M. C. Escher was a master of illusion. Also see Hand with Reflecting Sphere - a self portrait by Escher. Be sure to click on the pictures to see a larger image. Be sure to look at the detail images.


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Igor Stravinsky by Picasso - Look how the hands seem to be exaggerated in this contour drawing.

Carol Gray's hand portraits - Contemporary artist-- Watercolors and drawings of hands at work and play illustrating history and capturing life's memories.

Hand Studies: hand 1 and hand 2 (graphite) - hand 3 and hand 4 (oil studies) - images from Viola Fair site by Larry Tipton (see note below) - See "Fist" by Amy Rawson (Archive)

How to Draw Hands - some tips from (watch out for pop-up ads)

Digital photographs by Harold Olejarz - New Jersey middle school teacher's photography focusing on hands. See also this link.

Leonardo da Vinci - See how hand gestures were important in the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci and many other Renaissance artists would fill sketch books with studies of hands. See Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of hands. More drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.

Detail of hands from Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. Creation of Man - Sistine Chapel.

Praying Hands - Read the story about this famous drawing by Renaissance artist, Albrecht Durer. It will touch your heart. See a close-up of the hands.


Illustrations below are from "The Young Jesus with the Doctors" painting and hand studies, Albrecht Durer, 1506


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Use a Google image search to find textile images that appeal to you. Save the image onto your 3 ½" floppy disk. Right click -- save image as -- look in A drive -- save the image as the name of the culture for future reference. We will make a CD-ROM to share with the Family and Consumer Science classroom. Try these resources Andean Textiles - African Textiles - Chinese Textiles - Japanese Textiles - Kuna Indians - Native American - Textiles - Costumes through time.


You may also go to search engines and look up history of textiles (or name of culture you wish and textiles).

Learn about the history of hand made paper. Discover the art of book making.




Drawing Dynamic Hands. - A book on drawing hands using a revolutionary system for visualizing the hand in an almost infinite number of positions. The most comprehensive book ever published on drawing hands uses a system for visualizing the hand in an almost infinite number of positions.


Draw Real Hands!. - Step-by-step instructions reveal the key to drawing hands that are descriptive and life-like, with tips on making hands look old, young, feminine or masculine and ways to use light and shade to create depth and interest.


*Note on Viola Fair site. The images linked above were downloaded from the Viola Fair site by Larry Tipton. The site is no longer safe for student viewing as it has been hacked into. I will remove the hand studies from this site at the request of the artist. Artist may be Larry Tipton.



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