Non-dominant Hand Henna Practice Tips

Tonight I settled in to do a bit of non-dominant hand henna. I am so much more pleased with the results this time than the last time I most recently tried!

I was trying to figure out what I might attribute the huge difference in how these came out to. My best guess is that I cared a LOT more this time.

Attempt 2, tonight:

Non-dominant hand henna - symmetrical hand flower henna jewelry style

Non-dominant hand henna with one round of practice plus a lot more sense of purpose.


Attempt 1, 9 months ago:

First recent attempt at non-dominant hand henna

First recent attempt at non-dominant hand henna

In both cases, I stuck to elements that are simple to draw, and that I incorporate the most frequently into my designs. I did symmetrical designs with uniform finger treatments. They’re more Indian inspired than anything else, but decidedly fusion-y and non-traditional. They pretty much represent my henna design comfort zone!

The difference really was just in my mindset at the time of doing them, I think.

In the first try, I thought it would be fun and cute to try to do some henna with my left hand. I figured it would be a good experiment in forgiving myself for not being perfect, really. And indeed, I did have to forgive myself for being very imperfect!

In the second try, I started to see it as a bit of a life or death matter – or at least one directly related to my continued survival as a henna artist. I’ve been noticing that my forearm muscle on my right side, my dominant hand, has been really sore after marathon gigs. I’ve been icing it and massaging it and generally trying to be good to it as a result. But it really has me thinking about the fact that my livelihood is very, very much dependent on how well I am able to draw with the hands I’ve got. Currently that means just with my right hand. If anything does happen to it, I’d be in a very tough spot.

So when I approached this second attempt at non-dom hand henna, it was really to get in serious practice, and to see how far I could push myself. How nice could I make the design look? How perfect and even could I get things? I went a lot slower. It was a lot more deliberate. I was really concentrating. It was important to me that I start myself on the path to getting really good with my left hand, to the point where I could just switch to using it I ever needed to.

I’m pretty sure that the reason the second attempt was better was because I decided it was going to be. And then I just did it. It is a bit like this Kids Called Crazy show I was at once when I was in high school. They played a few songs that weren’t quite what they were hoping for. And then they announced “We’re Kids Called Crazy – and we are done sucking now.” And, amazingly, they were done sucking. It was like by proclaiming the way they wanted things to be, they made it so.

And now I hope to work that same magic with my non-dom henna work.

I hereby proclaim that my non-dom hand henna is done sucking now.

Now who would like to let me get in some left-handed practice on them? 🙂

Oh, and as the title of this post promises, here are some tips for when you practice your own non-dominant hand henna work!

  1. Decide that you will not suck. This is going to go awesome.
  2. Go Slow. You must go slowly to do a good job. Speed comes with time. Don’t rush it.
  3. Be extra aware of how you are holding your hand so as not to smudge what you already did. It doesn’t come quite as naturally as it seems to with the dominant hand, at least for me.
  4. Incorporate elements that you are pretty sure will work out well at first as you build up your confidence. Dots are your friend. Straight lines are surprisingly easy. Swirls are hard to get to look good. Maybe build up to some teardrops once you feel you’ve gotten things down.
  5. Don’t be afraid to use your whole arm to draw a shape, rather than just your fingers.
  6. Do something with lots of details! You can hide a lot of mistakes in details 🙂

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