While I’m waiting for the highlights in my General Lee painting to dry, I’ve started on three slightly caricaturish portraits.  I have two of the drawings finished.  Here’s the first–a drawing of Athanasius.

I based the drawing on this icon.

I get confused with the religious art hand signals, and I can’t find any information on what they mean.  I did a search and found one article that seems to be written in a journal for hand surgeons.  You have to pay to read it.  I didn’t read it.  I initially gave Athanasius what I think might be the sign for “I love you.”  Some friends lovingly pointed out that it seems pretty close to the sign heavy metal fans make while they bob their heads and/or stick out their tongues.  Anyway, in order to be safe I changed it to the drawing.  The old scan is below.  If anybody knows what the gestures mean or knows a hand surgeon who knows what they mean please leave me a comment, thanks.


Published by Zach

I'm a writer and illustrator living in Creedmoor NC.

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  1. I know very little about hand gestures. That is why I try to use them as little as possible, for fear I am unwittingly signaling to a gang, or the Mafia, or making a gesture that would not be appropriate for Athanasius or any other man of God to make.
    Sorry Zach, that probably doesn’t help does it?

  2. Once a friend who’s in med school told me that houndreds years ago, there was a bishop who always made a similar gesture, the pinky and the ring finger folded and the others extended (or with the thumb holding the ones down)… the thing is he had this condition in his hand with the ligaments or tendons, and he couldnt raise the pinky nor the ring finger. So he was basically trying to wave to the people but he couldnt so he did that, and since then everyone did it because they thought that was the way it should be done.

    they called that condition “bishop hand” or something like that, at least in spanish. i really don’t remember much detail, but maybe it can help you on your research.

    anyway, you’ll always find that hand gesture on catholic paraphernalia. some variations, but pinky always down.

    by the way, awesome art 🙂

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