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Most of us have drawn on our hands at some point in our lives, whether it was to create a unique temporary tattoo or just to occupy ourselves during a boring class. If you are ever stuck wondering what to draw, are looking for some easy tattoos to draw with a pen, or simply using a pen as a creative outlet to pass the time, read on to explore our list of things to draw on hands to inspire your next creation!
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Draw on Your Hand?
- 2 What to Draw on Your Hand?
- 3 What Pens Can You Use to Draw on Your Hands?
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Why Draw on Your Hand?
There are many reasons why people draw on their hands. You may want to draw your future tattoo on your hands to see if you like its placement and size, you might prefer the creative freedom that drawn temporary tattoos offer over permanent tattoos, or you might just enjoy using drawing on your hand to hone your drawing skills and pass the time. Whatever your reason, creating drawings on hands with a pen is very different from drawing on paper or canvas.
Skin moves easily and dirt and oils can affect how well ink and pen sticks to your skin.
Your hands in particular are also different to draw on compared to other parts of the body as they come into contact with many things and are often washed multiple times a day compared to other areas of the body that might only get washed once a day in the shower. There are also very few flat surfaces on your hands, meaning that the consistency of your ink or paint cannot be too thin as it will pool or run.
What to Draw on Your Hand?
Whether you are looking for inspiration for your next henna design or some easy tattoos to draw with pen before you commit to the real thing, we have compiled a list of things to draw on hands. These drawing ideas range from simple patterns and shapes to more complex figures to suit all experience levels.
Abstract Shapes and Patterns
Abstract and geometric patterns are very easy things to draw on your hand whether you are doodling to pass the time or trying to cover your whole hand. These drawings are made of simple shapes and lines; however, you can make them harder by introducing shading to give your shapes and patterns some dimension. You can draw a variety of things such as swirls, circles, hearts, bows, ribbons, and stars, and experiment with different arrangements and combinations of them. Choose from a simple repeating pattern, alternating patterns, or combine different patterns together.
You can even try using different pen or brush sizes to give the same pattern an alternative look.
Calligraphy and Ambigrams
Calligraphy is more than just an interesting form of handwriting; it has become an art form all its own. Using the signature arcs and loops you can write out many words and phrases including your name or that of your family and friends, in a way that is striking and beautiful. You can also write out special places or words that remind you of positive memories on your hands. You can also just take random words and write them in cool ways or incorporate them into your other drawings.
Aside from calligraphy, ambigrams are also easy things to draw on your hand.
Ambigrams are words that have the same meaning when read from multiple different directions or angles. They can either be drawn so that the word reads the same both up-side down and right-side up, or even read the same backwards and forwards. You can try your hand at making your own ambigrams, which can really get your brain working.
Get Inspired by Nature
You can also use nature to inspire your drawings by sketching different plants, trees, and flowers. You can draw the whole plant or smaller interesting parts such as fern leaves, pinecones, or individual petals. Your favorite houseplants can also make fantastic drawings, from small and cute succulents to big and bold monsteras. Flowers also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which make them fun and interesting to draw on your hand.
You can draw a bouquet of roses or a single dandelion spreading in the wind.
Have a look in your fridge or pantry and draw any fruits and vegetables you find inside. Strawberries, mushrooms, tomatoes, bananas, and cucumbers are all popular things to draw on hands. Carved pumpkins can also be fun to draw during October to get yourself into the spooky season.
Different types of water can also be easy things to draw on your hand. Ponds, rivers, oceans, and even the sky serve as cool ideas to draw. Raindrops, rainbows, clouds, and snowflakes are fun and easy to draw, or you can draw interesting ocean waves using swirls and spirals. You can take inspiration from the plants and animals that live in and around the water as well. Ponds and lakes have lily pads, frogs, fish, canoes, and even crocodiles, while oceans are home to starfish, seahorses, seashells, seaweed, turtles, coral, dolphins, whales, and sharks to name a few. You can even draw the different types of sailboats and ships or the large variety of seabirds and seagulls that fill the water and shores.
If you are looking for some easy things to draw on your hand, a simple anchor, compass, or even a message in a bottle makes for quick and satisfying sketches.
Your favorite animals make fantastic drawings for your hands. You can easily vary the difficulty of these drawings from simplistic line art to more complex and even lifelike depictions of animals. Drawing different paw prints, animal tracks, or horseshoes are also great additions to your drawings, or you could use them on their own if you want something more subtle. Draw different pets such as your cat, dog, bunny, guinea pig, rat, or goldfish, or try your hand at wild animals like lions, wolves, foxes, hedgehogs, or even a cute koala bear hugging your finger. We already talked about seabirds, however, there are many other species of birds that make excellent drawings on your hands.
Peacocks, robins, hummingbirds, crows, ravens, eagles, and owls are all striking birds that have unique profiles that are easy to identify even when drawn on your hands. If drawing the birds themselves is too intimidating, try drawing their silhouettes or even just their feathers.
Do not forget about reptiles and snakes as they also make for cool subjects. Snakes in particular are great as you can draw them wrapped around the different crevices of your hands and fingers to create a really interesting and unique design. You can also draw various insects such as butterflies, dragonflies, and ladybugs or arachnids like spiders and scorpions.
The World Around You
Aside from natural landscapes, you can also take inspiration from the built world around you. If you live in a city, have a look at the different buildings, cars, traffic lights, lampposts, roads, shops, buses, motorbikes, bicycles, trains, pigeons, and other everyday things for some quick inspiration. You can also look to the sky and draw any planes you might see, or possibly even a blimp or hot air balloon. If you are closer to fields and farmlands then trackers and other farming equipment, trucks, houses, or even hay bales can make interesting subjects.
Farm animals and livestock are also fun to draw including cows, horses, goats, sheep, or even the odd alpaca.
Do not forget about the cute baby animals such as chicks, lambs, ducklings, or little piglets. Apart from what is outside your window, you can even draw famous landmarks from around the world. The pyramids of Egypt, the Eiffel Tower in France, the Statue of Liberty in the United States or even Big Ben in England are all well-known landmarks that are cool and interesting to draw on your hand.
Space and Galaxy
Stepping out of our world, space offers many fun things to draw. Stars, suns, moons, and the huge variety of planets can all easily be drawn on your hand. Saturn’s rings, astronauts, rockets, or even UFOs and aliens can all make for quick and simple drawings. You could even draw characters and elements from your favorite sci-fi show or book such as a lightsaber or Darth Vader’s helmet from Star Wars, or a tiny baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Fantasy Characters and Creatures
Fantastical creatures from stories and myths are also great options if you are wondering what to draw on your hand. Mermaids, fairies, gnomes, unicorns, witches, ghosts, or even griffins are good choices, as they have key features that are easy to identify even when on a smaller scale. Dragons are also very fun to experiment with as you can draw them wrapped in between and around your fingers. You can also draw fictional characters and creatures from your favorite book, movie, or series.
If you are looking for a challenge, try turning your own hands into something from fantasy with beautiful scales, feathers, or fur. Work with highlights and shading to try to get them appear as three-dimensional as possible.
Food is part of our everyday lives, so it makes easy inspiration for doodling. Breakfast foods such as eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee, or meals like burgers, sandwiches, chips, and soda are delicious options. If you are looking for a more colorful option, sweets and desserts such as doughnuts, chocolates, ice cream cones, and cake are good treats to try. You can try arranging your food in aesthetic bento boxes or add cute little faces to your food for a fun twist.
Everyday items also make great drawings on hands, as they tend to be small and readily available for reference. Objects around your home can include tools like a wrench or hammer, crockery like bowls or mugs, and cutlery like knives or spoons. Office items like a paperclip, stapler, ruler, or even a paper plane are also good options. You can get inspired by your hobbies and draw instruments like drums, violins, trumpets, or music notes, ballet shoes, balls, bow and arrow, fishing hooks, and much more.
Technology such as robots, laptops, radios, cameras, speakers, or phones can also be fun to draw, and you can even do popular brands and logos like Apple or Google.
Figures and Faces
People can be some of the hardest things to draw on your hands, however, you can keep it simple with smiley faces and stick figures or make them more complex with mini portraits and realistic figures. Experiment with having figures in different positions or focus on individual parts of the body. You could even draw other hands or fingers on your hands, grasping your fingers, or making different hand gestures and signs.
Skulls, bones, and other anatomy like eyes or realistic hearts also make for interesting drawings.
Perspective drawings are all about drawing objects from uncommon angles and perspectives. Try drawing the view outside a plane window, a canopy of trees from the forest floor reaching for the sky, or even just the underside of a flower. You can even include different subjects in unusual poses like a fox doing a handstand or two planets having a tea party.
Look Online for Inspiration
If you are still struggling to decide what to draw on your hand, you can make use of an online drawing generator website. These websites generate endless randomized ideas for you to draw at the click of a button. You could also have a look at social media or even your own camera roll on your phone for inspiration.
What Pens Can You Use to Draw on Your Hands?
There are a few things to consider when creating drawings on hands with a pen. Some pens give your DIY tattoos more staying power, while others can have adverse effects on your skin. Although the amount of ink in pens is not enough to cause any toxicity from drawing on your skin, there are many ingredients that can still cause irritation to your skin. Your everyday ballpoint pen is great for drawing on your hands, although it can smudge if it is not allowed to dry completely. Avoid your regular permanent marker pens as these often contain a substance called xylene, which can have some adverse effects with continued use.
Metallic pens and those with additives such as glitter are also more likely to cause skin problems, as these ingredients can create micro-abrasions on your skin. When shopping for pens to use on your hands, opt for non-toxic, water-based, or xylene-free markers as these are the least irritating to your skin.
The pen you use will also depend on how long you want the drawing to last. Ballpoint ink will wash off in one to three days while permanent markers can sometimes take more than a week to fade completely. Washing more often will make it fade faster but avoid excessive scrubbing or harsh soaps as this can irritate your skin. If you have any wounds, broken skin, or skin conditions such as eczema, do not draw over these areas as you will be at greater risk of developing an infection or other skin irritations. Pens made especially for writing on skin like body markers or tattoo pens are the best pens to use as they are least likely to cause irritation.
Additionally, you can draw on your hand with cosmetic pens such as liquid eyeliner or lip pens as these are certified skin-safe, and sometimes even waterproof. Whichever pen you decide to use, it is helpful to start with the basic outline or background of your drawing and then add in simple details afterward. This is because the drawing area on your hands is very small, so overly detailed works can easily become muddy and unclear. You might find it helpful to use color pens to draw the background and then use black pen to add details on top once it has dried.
Using Paint to Draw on Your Hands
If you are looking for a more temporary option but with much more color payoff, paints and paint pens may be a better option to draw on your skin with. Water-based paints are excellent options for drawing on your skin as they do not stain as much as pen ink, are often non-toxic, and do not use any harsh solvents. Acrylic paints and watercolors are great options depending on the look you are hoping to achieve, however, the best option is to use a body paint.
Paints also make it easier to blend and mix colors allowing you to achieve more complex colors shading and textures than possible with pens.
Whether you are passing the time with simple doodles, honing your skills on the go, or trying out some ideas before committing to that final tattoo, we hope we have provided you with some fun and unique ideas to draw on your hand!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can You Use to Draw on Your Hand?
You can draw on your hand with regular ballpoint ink pens or other water-based ink pens. These pens are the least likely to cause any skin irritation and do not contain any ingredients that can harm or poison you. Be sure to check that your pen is non-toxic and xylene-free and avoid regular permanent markers as these usually contain harsh solvents, alcohols, and xylene. Cosmetic pens such as eyeliner and lipliner are also great for drawing on skin as they are certified safe, and often come in pencil and liquid varieties. If you want something that is easy to wash off and has great color, water-based paints are another alternative to creating drawings on hands with pen. You can use acrylic or watercolor paints; however, body paint will give you the most consistent results.
What to Draw on Your Hand?
When drawing on your hand, it is best to keep your designs simple, as too much detail and shading could easily become smudged and muddy. Therefore, the best things to draw on your hand include geometric or abstract shapes and patterns, as well as line art, which are simplistic designs with distinct outlines and little to no shading. If you are working with a finer pen or covering a larger area, you can experiment with adding more details and shading to your drawing.
Megan is a writer and researcher who graduated from the University of Cape Town with a degree in Social Sciences, specializing in Psychology and Environmental Science. Her passion for knowledge and leaving a positive impact has fueled her current work in conscious and sustainable growth in Southern Africa. Megan’s love of nature has also led her to train as an animal behaviorist. She works part-time training and rehabilitating dogs. Megan is interested in the physical and psychological effects of colors in our environment on our mood and well-being. In addition, she is concerned with how art and creativity have been an integral part of human society. Megan van Schoor has been writing blog posts on the topics of painting, drawing, and color theory for acrylgiessen since 2021.