Hand Drawing Reference - 100 Free Photos in Various Poses - (2024)

Are you an artist in need of some hand drawing reference photos? Well, you have come to the right place. Below is a free PDF of 100 photos of hands. The photo references include many different angles of hands in a variety of poses. As well, the photos are of a few different models, ranging from young to old.

Sometimes artists can get stuck in a rut drawing the same hand positions over and over. These photo references provide some great ideas of interesting hand poses to draw. Artists can use them to help improve their art. Another idea for artists is to save these references for later and come back to them when looking for reference of a specific pose.

Furthermore, artists can use these references to avoid poorly drawn hands and getting accused of being an AI artist. We have all drawn a wonky hand (or two hundred), but anyone can improve with a little practice. So, if you struggle with drawing hands use these photos to bust out a few studies right away, and level up your art.

Get the Photos

Why Would Anyone Want a Bunch of Hand Drawing References?

Well, hands can sometimes be hard to draw without reference. After all, they are a complex form to depict. Having reference photos makes it easier for artists who have not drawn many hands yet. Likewise, it makes it easier for artists struggling to envision the right forms of the hand or to come up with interesting poses.

Using reference photos helps artists of all levels to practice and get better at drawing hands.

Additionally, having a PDF of 100 hand drawing references is a great resource for artists to keep on hand. It can be time consuming to search online for a bunch of high resolution, free photos of hands. Many hand photos online are too dark, too blurry, too small, not for public use, behind a paywall, or require attribution.

But the PDF of hand photos offered here includes a plentiful amount of quality images. As well, it is free for artists to use without fear of copyright.

Related content: How to Draw Hands – Learn the Secrets of the 3 P’s

Types of Hand Drawing References Included

Wondering what types of photos are included? The hand drawing reference photos are diverse in their poses. For example, there are poses including foreshortening of the fingers and palm. Additionally, there are photos of hands holding objects, such as a pencil, a mug, and a ball. Other poses included are hands pointing, holding, reaching, counting, and making a fist.

As well, the variety of photos included provides artists many different things to study. For example, artists can do studies that focus on how the light and shadows vary in each photo. Additionally, the references are all in full color, so artists can practice how to color or paint hands. As well, the various poses included are great for artists trying to study the volumes of the fingers and palm.

Hand Drawing Reference - 100 Free Photos in Various Poses - (1)

Terms of Use

This PDF of hand drawing references is free so that artists can have a good resource for making art or practicing to get better at art. However, there are a few terms of use.

Artists may use these hand photos as reference for artistic purposes. They may reference, trace, or distort the images however they like. Additionally, artists may use the references for art and monetize it.

Giving credit or attribution for these photos is completely optional. Nonetheless, it helps other artists discover this free resource and improve their art as well. So giving credit is very much appreciated. To give credit, please share the link to this article (gabriellabalagna.com/hand-drawing-reference) or tag me on Twitter or Instagram.

Furthermore, please do not redistribute or publish these photos on another site. Similarly, do not sell the hand drawing references PDF as a printed or digital book. However, as mentioned previously, sharing about this PDF is welcomed.

Hand Drawing Reference - 100 Free Photos in Various Poses - (2)

Ideas for How to Use the References

There are many different uses for these free drawing references. Here are a few ideas of how artists can use the references:

  • Use the references to improve the hands you draw for illustrations or comics.
  • Study the volumes of the hands. Try and block out the shapes of the hand. If you find your lines are too sketchy, try using a pen or marker so you stop second guessing yourself. This exercise is not about making things pretty. Just focus on understanding and memorizing the forms of the hand.
  • Study the contours of the hands. Use one single line to establish the positive and negative space of the hands. With this exercise, do not worry about the details in the middle of the hands.
  • Practice using stylization when drawing hands. For example, trying emphasizing the straights and curves of the hand. Or try to exaggerate a pose.
  • Practice your line work. Try to improve your confidence in your brushstrokes as you draw the hands.
  • Study the colors of the hands. Do some digital or traditional painting to focus on the hues, saturation, brightness, and contrast of hands.
  • Try to improve your imaginative drawing of hands. To do so, first draw with the references. Then, test your memory, and draw again without the references. Also, try to take mental notes to help you improve drawing hands without reference.
  • Do a drawing challenge and try to draw all 100 hands. You could draw ten each day or try to draw them all by a certain deadline.
  • Draw the hands to help fill up space in your sketchbook or finish it up.
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A Big Thank You

Finally, I just want to leave a thank you for my hand models. They did a great job posing in random positions, even if it seemed silly. And it was very kind of them to offer their time free of charge. Because of them, artists can have access to a good free resource for drawing hands. So let’s not let their efforts go to waste. Be sure to draw a few of these poses or let other artists know about this handy resource.

Get the Photos

How Will You Use These Hand Drawing Reference Photos?

Are you going to make art using these photos as reference? Are you thinking about sketching all 100 of the hand drawing reference photos for practice? Either way, tag me on Twitter or Instagram so I can see what you create.

Also, be sure to subscribe for more content like this. For example, my how to draw hands tutorial.

Interested in my art? Start reading my comic, Kindred Not.

Hand Drawing Reference - 100 Free Photos in Various Poses - (2024)


Where can I find reference photos for drawings? ›

FREE Reference Photo Websites for Artists
  • The Artist Reference Image Library. Go to the Image Library. ...
  • Pixabay.
  • Unsplash.
  • Flickr. Not all photos are Creative Commons, be sure the ones you choose are free.
  • Dreamstime. Both free and paid images are available on this website. ...
  • Jason Morgan.
  • Morguefile.
  • Paint My Photo.

Where can I find poses for drawing? ›

The best free pose references for artists
  • Sketch Daily. Sketch Daily is one of the first websites that come mind for practicing or getting some pose inspiration. ...
  • Jen (Jookpub Stock) ...
  • Pose My Art. ...
  • The Pose Archives. ...
  • Pose Maniacs. ...
  • Pinterest.
Mar 11, 2024

Is it OK to reference poses from art? ›

As long as you use the reference for information and inspiration, and don't copy, it's all good.

How do artists find poses? ›

Draw from life.

Make your drawings look more realistic by using real-life references. Photo references are a great resource. A search on Behance or Adobe Stock can unearth new and different poses to sketch. If you can't find the exact pose you're looking for, you can always create your own reference image.

Where can I get free art pictures? ›

Where to Find Free Printable Wall Art
  • Pixabay. Pixabay offers millions of images you can download and use for free. ...
  • Library of Congress. The Library of Congress has a digital collection of images that are free to use. ...
  • NASA. ...
  • National Gallery of Art. ...
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library. ...
  • Old Book Illustrations. ...
  • Unsplash. ...
  • Morguefile.
Mar 25, 2021

Do professional artists use reference photos? ›

Yes, if it was their own photo reference or if it was painted from life.

What is the app for art poses? ›

Magic Poser is the leading app for posing 3D characters, creating 3D scenes and setting up stunning lighting effects. 12+ million artists use our app to draw better and faster. Start creating poses within minutes on your mobile devices today! Magic Poser is extremely user-friendly and powerful.

Is Magic Poser free? ›

Magic Poser offers three tiers of pricing for the three versions of our app - Free, Pro and Master.

What is Posemyart? ›

PoseMy. Art | Free tool to create reference poses with 3D models.

Is tracing art illegal? ›

If you trace over your own existing design, it would not be considered copyright infringement, as you are the owner of the original work. However, if the original design was inspired or influenced by someone else's work, there could still be potential issues with plagiarism or derivative work.

Is tracing cheating in drawing? ›

It's not cheating. If you want to develop your artistic ability, then use whatever you can to get there.

How to figure out what pose to draw? ›

Try out Some Thumbnail Sketches

Try drawing some thumbnail sketches next to the others – these will help you work out what sort of pose you're after in an instant. Maybe she's looking forwards? Or, how about a pose where Alice is looking over her shoulder at us?

What is the image recognition app for art? ›

Smartify: Arts and Culture 12+

Where do you find reference for figure drawings? ›

Pinterest is an excellent website to use for figure drawing reference because you can find others who have pinned specific images, like Jordan Gribble's pins, or you can create your own board from your favorite images that you find online either on Pinterest or other websites.

How do you take good reference photos for drawing? ›

  1. Sketch ideas and visualize your final composition. ...
  2. Have balance and harmony in mind, always. ...
  3. Make sure you are taking high resolution photos. ...
  4. Try to always use natural lighting (if you don't have special photography lights set up) ...
  5. Think: What angle will suit this object best? ...
  6. Consider background colors.

Where can I find images to cite? ›

Here are some sites that we recommend:
  1. Openverse, formerly Creative Commons Search. A meta-search tool that searches across more than 300 million images (and soon also audio and video). ...
  2. Flickr Creative Commons Search. ...
  3. Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash. ...
  4. Wikimedia Commons.
Oct 26, 2022

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