The Explaining Hand — A Cartoonists’ Obsession

I was chatting with some cartoonists and we were talking about the over-reliance on this gesture. Once you start looking for it, you see it a lot. A character is talking, usually some kinda expository dialogue, and the cartoonist draws him/her with this hand out, palm out “explaining hand” gesture.

Above, kind and sweet syndicated cartoonist Stephanie Piro and slob magazine cartoonist Mike Lynch demonstrate the technique used.

There are some other choices, more interesting choices that the cartoonist could have made, but the explaining hand is old reliable. Here are examples from 6 syndicated features dated March 29:

I see it a lot and it’s getting cliched. Or maybe I’m the only one seeing it. Maybe I’m the only one obsessing over it. Maybe I need to get out of my Brooklyn apartment and live life. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? It’s gorgeous out there today, but blogging about all things cartoony must continue! I apologize for mentioning the outside world. Let’s get another cup of coffee and continue to ruin our posture hunched over the computer. Onward!

The king of the gesture’s gotta be the new strip GIRLS AND SPORTS, using the EH a dozen times in the 5 strips below.

And I’m guilty of it too …

Glad that’s outta my system. Maybe you’ll all start obsessing about it now. Yeah, that’s it! If I passed my obsession on to you, then this has all been worth it!