How to Draw Manga Hands and Feet for Beginners

Three young friends side by side in store, looking at manga-style comic books
PhotoAlto/Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

Many Manga styles are based on quite natural drawing, so you need to start off by drawing quite realistically. Once you're confident with drawing hands and feet, you can adjust the style - making it more realistic or simplified as needed. We're going to use the wireframe method to draw realistic hands. You can adapt these drawings to suit your pose, using photographs or your own hands as a reference.

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How to Draw Manga Hands - A Simple Wireframe

P. Stone

At left are the beginnings of three different hand poses. Go ahead and draw these shapes to the left, remembering to keep it light to begin with – I’ve just drawing it dark so you can see the lines.

Next, from the wrist to the knuckles, draw a guideline, and continue those guidelines out to the point you want the fingertips to be (as shown in each example). If needed, you can use a dot to help place each joint, as I’ve done with the thumb.

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How to Draw Manga Hands - Drawing the Outline

P. Stone, licensed to, Inc.

Next, develop the outline with flowing lines. This takes some practice, but you’ll get it eventually by using your own hand or pictures of hands as references until you know the structure like the back of your… well, you get the idea.

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How to Draw Manga Hands - Finishing the Drawing

P. Stone, licensed to, Inc.

Go ahead and erase the guidelines in the hand and shade and detail the hand using your hand or another person’s hand as a reference. I usually like to shade in the knuckles and add detail like fingernails. By the way, don’t be afraid of adding fingernails, it’s one of those things in drawing that always looks wrong when you start but once your finished looks good. Just keep them light, not overworked – sometimes a small suggestion of a line is all you need.

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How to Draw Manga Hands - Observing

P Stone, licensed to, Inc.

There are a few things with hands I want to point out before we move on. The front and back may have the same outline but there are various parts to each that are essential to making it look like the front or the back of the hand.

You can see the webbed skin from the back of the hand and not the front, where it just looks like a curve. There are fingernails and knuckles (these are important ones) on the back side.The knuckles in the middle of the finger have wrinkles in the backside and lines on the front.

The palm of the hand in its simplest form has three sections made by folds in the hand. Ever hear a palm reader say you have a long life line? Well, those lines are the separations of the sections I’m talking about. Look at your own palm and move your fingers all down at once. The fold this makes is one section. Now make your hand flat again and move just your thumb in. That’s another section and the part that didn’t fold either time is the third section.

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How to Draw Manga Feet - Begin with the Structure

P. Stone, licensed to, Inc.

Now let’s take a look at the feet. Just like with the hands the feet begin as a few simple shapes in wireframe and then we add the guidelines for the toes beginning at the ankle and going out to the tips of the toes. The shapes we are using are essentially simplified suggestions of the bone structure – you’ll find that making sure you have the heel bone sketched in this way really helps with the foot structure.

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How to Draw Manga Feet - Draw the Outline

P. Stone, licsensed to, Inc.

Draw the outline of the foot using your frame structure as a guide. Observation is very useful when drawing something as complex as the feet – use your own feet as a model.

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How to Draw Manga Feet - Completing the Drawing

P. Stone, licensed to, Inc.

Lastly, erase your guidelines and add shading (if you wish) and detail. Using a very light touch to begin with makes it easier to make changes at this stage.