Halloween is right around the corner and it is almost time to start working on your Halloween (or even The Walking Dead) Zombie party invitations. In this tutorial I am going to show you how to draw a gruesome Zombie Hand in Illustrator.  I’ll show you some tricks to get a hand draw, cell shaded look even if you aren’t the best at drawing.  Let’s get started!

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Step 1: So, unless you have practiced a lot, hands are pretty hard to draw and since we want our zombie hand to be very expressive, you should save yourself some hassle and take a few reference images of a hand in various zombie poses.  Select your favorite one and place into Illustrator.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 2:  Lock your reference image layer and create a new layer above it.  I am going to start by drawing loosely around the hand.  Since this is a Zombie hand, I want to keep the lines a bit rough. I am using the brush tool so my lines aren’t perfectly straight as they would be if using the pen tool.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 3: Make a copy of the outline and paste it below in a new layer.  Remove the stroke and add a fill color. We will use this for the background of the hand when it comes time to color.  Name this layer “Hand Fill” then go ahead and hide this layer for now.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 4:  Back to the outline layer.  Zoom in and start filling in the lines of the hand.  Start with the thicker lines on the knuckles and the lines that divide up the fingers.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 5: Lower the stroke weight and fill in the smaller lines.  Turn off your reference image as you draw the smaller lines.  You can flip it on and off, but you will get a better zombie hand if you draw from your imagination.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 6: If you want, you can “gory up” the arm a little bit by adding in some wounds.  I am going to go with a bite mark.  Start by drawing out some teeth marks on the arm.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 7:  Draw a bunch of sketchy lines around the marks.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 8:  I think I am going to also cut off one of the fingers.  Select the original outlines layer and using the Scissor tool, cut the outline at one of the knuckles.  All you have to do is select the outline and click anywhere on the line with the scissor. 

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 9: Delete the outline for the tip of the finger and draw a bit of bone coming out.  Also make the outlines around the edge of the “cut” a little jagged.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 10: I’m also going to finish off the end of my arm with a bone just like the finger. Draw two jagged lines around where the end of the arm is going to be.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 11: Use the scissor tool again to cut the original outline layer at the ends of the jagged lines to finish off the arm.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 12: Draw the bone sticking out and add some more lines around the cut.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 13: Now that we are done with the outlines, it is time to start on the shading.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 14: Create a new layer below the outlines layer.  Before I start coloring, I like to set up my palette ahead of time.  The green is going to be for the main portion of the hand, the beige is for the bones and the red is for the blood.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 15: Go back to the fill layer you created in step 3 and turn it on.  Since I made some adjustments to the outline layer, I will need to adjust the fill shape.  This is simple to do, just use the scissor tool to cut the lines in the same place you did for the outline layer.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 16: Fill in the bone and the “bite” areas.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 17:  I am going to do some simple shading for this, which is super easy.  Just pull up your original image, turn off your fill layer and locate the darkest spots and use those areas as a starting point to build a couple levels of shading.  In this example I have outlined some of the areas that you would start from.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 18:  If you are having trouble locating where to draw your shading, you can use the live trace tool to help you find them.  Simply select your original image, click on the Live Trace Menu and change the mode to Grayscale and the max colors to 4-5.  This will help you decide where to put the shading.  Obviously it isn’t perfect, but it gives you an idea of where to start for those who need help.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 19:  Start by filling in the darkest areas.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 20: Use the darkest areas as a base to add a few more shades.  Remember, it is a zombie hand, so be messy with your shading.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

Step 21: I am going to add a black background, but I still want my outlines to pop.  Select everything in your drawing (outlines, fill, shading, etc).  Make a copy (Ctrl + C) and “Paste in Front” (Ctrl + F) on to a new layer below all the other layers.

Make sure your outlines are expanded and then through the Pathfinder, click on UNITE.

 Zombie Hand in Illustrator

 

 

Step 22:  With your new object still selected, change the color to the same off white as the main part of the bone #FCF7CE.   Go to Object > Path > Offset path and change the offset to a low number (2pt for my example).  You just want a little bit of an outline.

 zombie hand in illustrator

And there you go.  Your very own Zombie hand!

zombie hand in illustrator

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