Interested in the Art-form of Henna, but don't know how to get started? Look no further!
Origins: Henna is believed to have originated in Egypt and was used for embellishments(sort of like jewelry today) and was used as a sign of respect before mummy burial. Today, henna is used in many different cultures during important celebrations and is used to preserve tradition.
African henna tends to include more geometric shapes, Indian henna(aka Mehendi) focuses on floral patterns, and Arabic henna tends to space out designs only across the palms.
How Henna is Created: The henna paste that is used for the designs is created from the Henna plant(Lawsonia Inermis). After being ground, lemon juice and water are added until the consistency is thick, viscous but still easily pliable.
The easiest way to find henna is just to buy a premade cone from a local Indian/middle-eastern bazaar. There are also plenty that you can buy online!
Alright, let's get into how you can start creating masterpieces like this:
Well, it's fair to say that one can't start with all of these complicated designs and techniques, but here are some exercises that you can try that will strengthen your skills!
1) Straight-line worksheets
For this, just use a piece of binder paper, or even make your own straight lines on a piece of paper. Make sure that you are holding the cone in a way such that the henna flows with ease(At a slight angle from the ground). Once you begin consistently creating straight lines, you're ready to move ahead with more complex skills!
2) Circle Practice
And now we change from straight lines to circles. For this exercise, try two different kinds. First, make the outline of a circle and do not fill in this outline. Continually practice this outline until your circles are close to perfect. Then, fill in your circles with henna. Way to go! Once you master the circles, we can move on to the next skill
3) Simple floral patterns
Hindu henna focuses on floral designs, so if you are interested in this style, make sure to understand the technique of different petals. I recommend sketching a floral design that you are interested in on a piece of paper, and use this sketch as an outline for henna, and practice the motions of placing the henna on your outline.
Well Done! Now you can try the below image. As you may notice, the pattern may look complicated, but it is all based on the above skills of circles and petals.
If you've made the pattern successfully: Great job! With continued practice, you can improve and eventually create more complex and intricate designs.
If you made a mistake or it didn't go as you hoped: Great job! It's good that you tried. All it takes is more practice, but with that practice comes amazing designs and an outlet for creativity.
Have fun on your henna journey!