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What is the path you walked to get where you are today in your creative life? We are all on a journey and our paths start, well, they start at the very beginning! Our influences can stem from family members, early childhood experiences, books we’ve read, and a thousand different places.
Today we’re making a “memories in your hand map,” and we’re going to be tracing back all the way to each of our artistic beginnings. I’m a fan of making maps to illustrate my life (as seen here and here) and so thought this would be a great prompt for our Creative Play Challenge. And, as life would have it after I came up with this prompt, I stumbled across a book all about making maps for your personal life at the library. It’s called, Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking, and it’s full of prompts and ideas that allow you to map your story. I love how each method also introduces the reader to new techniques and ideas. (I had never thought to make a map on copper foil before, but now I really want to try!)
For our prompt today, we’re going to make a memories in your hand map. This is a great activity for a rainy day when it’s too dreary to go out anyway. Put on some music, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy this process. And by the way, this is a great activity for your art journal. That’s exactly where mine resides. :)
I’ll share what I did, and you can take it from there!
How to Make a Memories in Your Hand Map
Mixed media paper
Watercolors for background
Alternately, you can collage the interior parts of the hand rather than draw them in. The sky is the limit when it comes to what kinds of mediums you want to use for this project.
First, I traced my hand with a colored pencil. I used to use a pencil to sketch designs first so I could easily erase it but have lately been playing around with using colored pencils since they usually leave a nice shadow behind. (You’ll see below that this theory didn’t quite hold for this project, but that’s okay.)
Then I thought through how I wanted my hand to represent my artistic journey. I decided to start at my pinky finger and make that my childhood, working to the right to make my thumb present day. (This is completely arbitrary; you do whatever works for you!) There are obviously thousands of memories in our lives that are influential, but I chose just a few key moments and thoughts that represent different time periods.
You could ask yourself:
When was the first time you made something? Who taught you? Did you like making things when you were little? What were some of your early projects?
Move through your life, answering questions as to who or what influenced you, noting periods where you stopped creating or created prolifically, and if there were specific mediums or kinds of crafts you enjoyed.
Sketch, paint, or collage the answers to these questions inside of the hand you traced.
After I finished my initial sketch, I used watercolors to paint around the hand. I also sprinkled on table salt over the entire surface because I love how the salt soaks up the paint and creates an interesting texture.
Once the blue paint was dry, I painted the interior with bright pink paint. And then I instantly regretted it because the contrast felt off. Oh, well, live and learn. Also, I had drawn my outlines so lightly I couldn’t see them through the watercolors. If you think this will be a problem for you, write out a list of the things you’ll be drawing on a separate piece of paper so you can reference it.
I used gel pens and paint pens to fill in my story. In my initial sketch, I filled the whole hand with designs but ended up keeping the palm part empty for the final piece. You can do either.
This is a great way to remember your artistic journey and would be a fun activity to do with a group as well. I’d love to see the variety of “memories in your hand” maps that a group would create.
Have you ever made something like this?