New Project for the New Year



  • Per Jake Parker, I've decided to take the plunge and create a project for myself: a collection of 100 things.

    In early 2018, I realized I needed to work on hands. Well, I really needed to work on all of my anatomy, but I had to start somewhere and hands seemed to be a sticking point for a lot of artists in particular--including me. So I took the plunge and decided to start learning how to digitally paint by using photo reference of hands.

    Over time, I amassed a collection of hands and arms, and they seemed to be the works that my family and friends connected to the most out of everything that I was drawing.

    Post-Christmas, I realized the best thing I could give as gifts for 2019's Christmas were pieces of my artwork instead of going out and buying stuff. And then it hit me--I could make a collection of 100 Things, practicing the hands of my family and friends instead of using stock imagery!! And then I could collect these images in a little booklet that I could give away for Christmas!! With their own hands in the book!!

    So I made a Facebook post about it, created a specific email account to collect them, and now my friends and family are sending in their images! I set up some parameters for their selfies--High Definition images, no gang signs or obscenity, and nothing that could be misconstrued as offensive. They could be holding something or gesturing, but it needed to be against relatively neutral background with adequate lighting. I felt they could handle that, and I was right! It's happening!!

    This project ticks off so many buttons for me--I can take my time over the entire year, I can begin and finish a project and have a physical product at the end, and the images can be scaled up or down in various sizes ranging from prints to flip books to coffee table books. I can potentially explore different methods of digital painting and styles, too, like amping up the colors or using unique brushes. My collection of hands that I already have can be included, and I've even used the images for the backs of my MOO business cards!

    Anyway, I wanted to share. I'm really excited about this and it actually seems to be working for me, so I thought it could be a good idea to suggest to others. I think friends and family are more likely to participate because it's not a portrait of their face, and it's so easy to take a selfie and email it.

    And it doesn't have to be about hands. It could be about pets or front doors or mailboxes or kitchen faucets or wedding rings or whatever! Whatever you feel you might need practice drawing. And because it's personal, you can even create prints of the digital images individually to give away as gifts , or if it's used as a fundraiser with exclusive or limited participation it could be as a "participation" gift.

    Maybe it's the desktop of each of your co-workers. Maybe it's the boots or shoes of your circle of girlfriends' kids. Maybe it's a flower or vegetable from their gardens, or their chimneys, or their cars. The possibilities are endless!

    I, for one, am making this my New Year's resolution: create and complete my project. 🙂
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  • Sounds exciting! Good luck and look forward to seeing progress if you decide to share. 🙂



  • Well, I have my first nine done and in the hopper! My sister and her husband (and his ex-wife) and a two former colleagues and my husband and an old friend from high school and her son... They all sent me hand-selfies. In return, I give them a link to a Dropbox where they can download their finished image and a speed paint video (set to music!) that I use on my Facebook page to share my progress. But I thought I'd make an update here, too. Every nine hands collected in a composite image is enough. 🙂

    I am particularly proud of the last image. I did it in a more graphic style, following the latest video of Marco Bucci (one of my Top Five favorite illustrators) and I think I may return to doing that style again. It's not something he usually does, and it's not his favorite way or painting, but I really had a good time doing it, and Procreate has a wonderful selection tool that just lends itself naturally to the whole process. I may have to explore doing more stuff like that. Anyway, thought I'd share an update!

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  • Second set of nine. These would be #35-43 out of 100... Whew, I have a long way to go. LOL!

    I'm beginning to think of these much more from a story perspective than I had been. As I've been posting these on my social media, I've had to give a brief explanation of who/what they are. I'm wondering if these hands need some descriptions. A poem? A short story? A song? I don't know. Should I write a paragraph or two about what each hand means to me, maybe? Or allude to what each hand does for a living, their age, a bit of life's ephemera? I think it might be interesting to have the image on one page, and have the narrative opposite of it on the facing page. Or, maybe, have the narrative on the flipside of each image so they see the image for what it is first, before reading anything about it... I dunno. There are lots of options.

    I'm imagining these books are smallish and square--6"x6" maybe, or not much bigger. It's a little coffee table book, for glancing through while waiting on someone else who is on the phone. Or making tea. Or idly passing time in their favorite cozy chair as a soft rain falls outside. I wonder if this would be something in a doctor's office waiting room. Or a coffee shop.

    Hm. Lots to think about.

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  • Such a cool, Interesting and thoughtful idea!

    I love how you are experimenting with different styles too.



  • Wow! I can see you're already getting better and more efficient. You are so going to get this!! I am on the verge of trying 100 kids.

    Do you know about the free app Handy? I find it a little limiting because I don't think hands really look like the models in the app, but it can be a good starting point. And since it's free, why not?



  • My third set of nine marks another departure toward a more "narrative" style of illustration. Not in a storytelling sense, but in a symbolic and iconographic sense.

    I'm using the stylistic inspiration of Rogerio Coelho to try to add more substance by expanding the illustration into something a bit larger. The hand is now a single element in a larger collection of imagery and textures. Each illustration is filled with iconography and symbolism that relates directly to the subject in an almost biographical or descriptive way.

    This idea isn't new--I'm just riffing off of other artists and illustrators that have done it far better than I. But I'm learning more and enjoying the composition challenge. And I've always enjoyed iconography. The finished piece probably speaks more to me and the subject more than anyone else.

    So I'll end up using this style for another 25 or so renderings, then probably switch to something different once again. These take substantially longer than the cell shaded hands, so I'll go a lot slower. But they're more substantive, and I think more interesting to look at. Thoughts?

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  • Great idea! It looks and sounds like it's going fantastically!



  • I finished my 4th set of 9 in my collection of 100 Hands of Friends and Family. Woot!!

    I had an epiphany the other day that it's possible to tell a story with the pose of the hand itself as well as allude to the personality of the person whose hand it actually is... And that's been a good thing. Not that you can notice much, but some of these are very rich in iconography and detail, and others are more about texture. I'm still using these to explore.

    Onward! 🙂

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  • Very cool set of drawings! I especially like the middle and lower right ones.


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