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How to Draw a Hand Puppet on Your Hand with a Marker

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For Me, It All Started with General Garcia

Before I begin with this tutorial, I have to cite a favorite scene of mine in the 1979 motion picture titled, "The In-Laws" starring Peter Falk and Alan Arkin. There is a scene in that movie where Vince (Peter Falk) and Sheldon (Alan Arkin) are meeting a very eccentric Central American general/dictator for the first time. The general is expertly played by Richard Libertini.

As General Garcia (Libertini) answers opens the door to meet Sheldon (Arkin) and Vince (Falk), he goes through some dialog and then introduces his "little friend" - a hand puppet drawn on his hand. The general converses with the hand puppet, even asking it questions and speaking with a high-pitched voice to imitate the hand puppets side of the conversation. The General actually pours water into the hand puppets mouth (through his hand) because it claims to be thirsty. If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend viewing it.

But I digress. On to the Tutorial on How to Draw a Hand Puppet on Your Hand with a Marker...

(BTW, I actually have a hilarious story about drawing a puppet on my hand in a client meeting years ago. Be sure to read all about it at the end of this article.)



Step 1: Assume the Position

The first thing you want to do if you haven't seen the General Garcia scene in the motion picture The In-Laws is get your hand in just the right position.

First, bend your wrist downward until it is in a position similar to the hand in the illustration to the right.

Next, position the thumb straight across with the tip of your thumb resting on the side of your forefinger, as shown.

Practice moving the thumb up and down while keeping the thumb connected to the forefinger. This will be the mouth of your hand puppet. You should try to match the words you are saying with the opening and closing of the hand puppet's mouth (thumb).



Step 2: Draw Some Eyes

Any pen will work for this but the absolute best is a broad tip Sharpie® or similar type marker.

To draw the eyes of your hand puppet, simply make a mark as indicated in the illustration.

One simple mark on the left, one on the right.

Next, ad some eyebrows - again, just simple lines. You can make any expression for your hand puppet by changing the eyebrows. For example, you can make it look angry, surprised or whatever.


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Step 3: Add the Mouth

For my hand puppet, I've decided to make his eyebrows with a bit of a surprised look.

Next, find a red Sharpie® and add a sort of "heart" shape on the top and bottom of the hand puppet's mouth - the side of your hand and your thumb.

The red makes a very brightly-colored mouth.

Practice moving your thumb up and down to simulate speaking.

How does your hand puppet look?


A Conference Room, Salesman and a Hand Puppet

OK, so here's the funny story I promised.

A few years ago, as an owner of a semi-prosperous advertising agency with not much to do, I decided to bring a little life to an otherwise boring day. Having viewed the motion picture The In-Laws just the night before, I decided to re-create the scene between Vince, Sheldon and the rather eccentric General Garcia. I quickly scribbled a pair of eyes and a bright red mouth on my left hand (as shown above) .

My next meeting was with a printing salesman I had known for some time. When he came to the office, we entered the conference room and sat next to one another at the conference table with the salesman to my right and my left hand on my lap. About 10 minutes into the meeting, I decided to introduce my "little friend" to the salesman. I needed to wait for the salesman to ask a question.

The salesman asked me about the type of paper we would be needing for a particular upcoming project. I paused, not knowing if I should raise my left hand. It seemed like a very long pause and it must have been awhile because he asked the question a second time. I decided to do it and raised my left hand into position, pointing to it with my right hand.

I looked at the hand puppet and addressed it with a similar question, "Señor Francisco, what paper do you think we should use?" Then, in a high-pitched voice, I answered the question while moving the hand puppet's mouth, "Ahh! I like the blue paper!" The salesman went stiff and the expression on his face was priceless. He wasn't sure what was going on - totally speechless.

I abruptly jumped in, "Dan, I'm so sorry! I haven't introduced you to my little friend. Dan, this is Señor Francisco." There was a long pause so I just waited for Dan's response. Not knowing what to do, Dan jumped right back into his presentation. I decided to raise the stakes a bit and waited for the next opening. It was then that I asked, "Señor Francisco, would you like to give this man a kiss?" Excitedly, Señor Francisco responded, "Ahh! Si, si! very much!"

At this point, Dan was sitting there with that deer-caught-in-the-headlights look on his face. As I moved Señor Francisco closer for a kiss, Dan bolted upright, turned and ran from the conference room. I would have gone after him only I was laughing too hard.

I explained the whole thing to Dan several days later when he finally returned my phone call. We continued to do business after that, but I always got the feeling that somehow, Dan just wasn't really ever comfortable with me again - especially in meetings.



Simeon on January 31, 2020:

If you had any historical knowledge, you’d know this style of hand puppet was popularized by Senior Wences on the Ed Sullivan Show in the ‘60s!

Katy Preen from Manchester, UK on April 22, 2017:

Tee hee! This is delightful!

MKayo (author) from Texas on January 31, 2015:

Savateuse - so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the read and comment! M

savateuse on January 31, 2015:

Love it!

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