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Friday, May 3, 2013

Keep up your skills!

We all "know" how important it is to practice, but do we really *know*? When you've been doing something as long as the HC team has been doing henna, you can get comfortable and forget that your basics still need constant training. Just like an athlete trains everyday, we as Henna Artists have to train every day to keep our skills up.

Last fall, we waived goodbye to the youngest McQueen sister as she jetted off to London to start a Master of Arts in Children's Literature. She's been an important team member since Henna Caravan was founded and worked full time in the warehouse from 2010 to 2012. She is infamous among our professional friends for never wanting to wear henna herself, but has a gorgeous style in her work and loves to create new designs. You may have seen her Sudanese or Art Deco-inspired design books. However, after not touching a cone for over 6 months, she was surprised to find out her muscles just did NOT remember how to do the work!

Take a look at some of her designs from the last year, and her latest attempts after an extended break from the medium.

New Orleans Jazz Fest 2012 ©CMcQueen

Spring 2012 ©CMcQueen

Custom Design, ©CMcQueen

Art Nouveau Thistle Design ©CMcQueen 2012

One year later, and after a full 7 months of NO henna at all:

Mandala, April 2013 ©CMcQueen

Lines and balance are off and Carissa struggled to do even this small simple design. We forgive her, though, as she has dedicated the fall and winter to her education and fabulous life in London, England.

We know a lot of you like to take the winter slow, and may not be ready for the henna season. So, here's a little 4 day bootcamp for all of you getting back into the swing of things this May!

Day 1) Basic Shapes

Dots, s-swirls, small leaves/sprouts, spirals and basic M-shaped petals. Do 50 of each of the basic 5 shapes by themselves. Then do 10 one-minute designs that combine two elements.

Day 2)

Start with doing 10 each of the basic 5 shapes. Then do 10 one-minute designs that combine 2 elements. Finally, do 10 three-minute designs that use 3-5 of the basic shapes.

Day 3)

Start again with 10 each of the basic 5 shapes as warm up. Do 5 one-minute designs using 3 elements. Now that you're warmed up, it is time to go over the larger foundational shapes.

Paisley, Mandala, Hearts, 5-Petal Flower and basic Arabesque. Practice one page of each of these 5 foundational elements.

Day 4)

Warm up with your 5 basic shapes. Then start with your foundational elements (Paisley, etc) and spend 5 minutes with each reviewing their shape ad formation. Last, choose 3 elements and create 3 less-than-five-minute designs with them.

This should take less than an hour each day, and will jumpstart your muscle memory and your creativity. By limiting your shapes and elements, you'll become a more resourceful artist. By working on the VERY basics, you'll remind your muscles how to work with the medium and you will gain speed and confidence. Pick up these exercises anytime you think you're getting rusty, or just want a little direction in your henna journey.

Henna weather is here, so let's get the season started off right!

UPDATE: After we posted this, we thought "Why not create a tutorial for you  all to download?" Well, here it is. Scroll down to Boot Camp Basics for your free PDF and get your henna on!

1 comment:

Christina said...

These are beautiful! I've never tried henna but have always wanted to! :)