Thanks to the wonderful world of Instagram I was lucky to be part of this incredible collaboration with Dino Tomic @dinotomic, Vince Okerman @vexx_art, Jonna Lamminaho @scandy_girl, Elia Pellegrini @elia_pelle and Jonas Jödicke @jojoesart. If you don't already know about them then you are seriously missing out, they are all immensely talented and produce stunning artwork.
The concept was to have six artists each draw a hand with a pencil in it pointing towards the world. For each of us art is our way of life and we use it to make the world a little better, art has the power to bring people together to share a feeling of community and happiness. Whether you enjoy creating yourself or prefer to admire the art of others, either way you will no doubt recognise that emotion of wonder you get when you stumble across artwork that connects with you. We were able to show how varying art can be and maybe open people's eyes to a new style.
Now I was the last person to add to the piece so I felt unusually nervous, in fact it was the most anxious I have ever felt about starting a collaboration! When you have this massive original in front of you with five pieces of mind blowing contributions, the pressure is on to NOT RUIN IT!
The process to create the final design involved first drawing the hand outline - this was not my strong point. After lots of sketching I eventually took a photo of my hand and used that as a template - I won't show you my first attempt at drawing a hand but let's just say it didn't look right at all (maybe one day I will post a picture of the hand so you can all have a laugh haha!)
Just so that I could guarantee I would be happy with the final outcome I then actually practiced mini concepts. Below you can see those practice designs - I haven't ever worked on something that required this level of dimension so it was a case of creating a concept that included my style without losing the form of the individual fingers. I played around with floral designs, dotwork and linework. At the bottom you can see the design I went with in the end - I tried to use a combination of styles so it felt like an evolution of patterns.
The only way I could get the shading and dimension right on the hand would be to use basic linework. Below you can see the sort of pattern that is incorporated close up. As with all my pieces, I always challenge myself not to just repeat the same patterns, this makes it more fun for me and more visually interesting. By using a sort of ribbed design that followed the form of the hand with a slight curve to each one I was able to give it more dimension. Although a lot of this detail gets lost when looking at the piece as a whole, I think it's nice that anyone looking at the original will be able to see all the tiny details.
Next up was the shading of the hand, this was vital to get right so that you could really see the fingers in the background. You can see below the difference shading makes where the hand and wrist meet - I hadn't added any shading to the wrist at this stage and it looked very two dimensional in comparison.
Once the hand was complete I could really get stuck into the wrist where there was more room for experimenting and no need to worry about form as much. I stuck roughly to the design from my initial concept and just tweaked a few little bit as I went along. The floral part had to flow nicely from the pattern above it so I used small leaves to transition between the two styles. You can see below that there is no harsh line where the two styles meet, instead I drew the leaves in a random-like fashion so it looked more organic and free flowing.
I tend to draw a pencil outline of any floral design first so I can get the flowers right. Then it is just a case of colouring in the black bits in between and adding the detail and shading. The beauty of the floral pattern was that I could let the design end organically with a few little leaves scattered for a nice effect.
And here is the final design! In the end I was really happy with how it came out and it taught me a really big lesson in terms of my art: push your boundaries and see what you can achieve. As you can see from my process above it took me a long time to get to the end product so if you think something is not your "natural talent" then just keep practicing and progressing, I promise you will see big changes.
Collaborating is my absolute favourite thing to do, adding other people into the mix challenges your practice and you end up making new friends in the process. I felt especially grateful after this collab because these are artists who I admire greatly myself, to be part of a piece with them was an absolute privilege and hopefully there will be more to come!
The final piece got a mental reaction online from people all over the world with so many people entering the giveaway, which was a nice way for us to give something back after all the amazing support we are given. I hope you all liked it and feel free as always to leave your thoughts as a comment. Thanks for reading!