Hand map portrait

Here’s a project we can all do together. It’s a portrait of sorts but you don’t have to worry about proportions, likeness etc.

This is part of a project I’m working on at the moment. I’m creating an artist book with my friend Claudia. I’m embarrassed to say we started this several years back as one of my college projects and I didn’t finish it so we started up again last year and we might actually get there now!

The book has several artworks and one of them is a hand map portrait. I took prints of Claudia’s hands and then described her personality, her likes and dislikes etc as annotations, using her hand as a landscape.

So here’s how:

Start with a print of the hand of the person you want to depict – your ‘sitter.’ Of course this can be a self-portrait in which case you’re both the artist and the sitter.

1 Make a print by painting a thin coat of paint on the palm then press firmly down on to a sheet of paper. If you don’t have paint, you can draw around the hand instead.

2 Now interview your sitter. Ask lots of questions about their likes and dislikes. What kind of music do they like, what’s their favourite food etc etc. Grown-ups can discover more about themselves by doing an indication test like the Myers-Briggs at 16 Personalities.

3 Make a shortlist of the personality traits you would like to feature and see where they fit best on the hand print. Write them on neatly.


• You can make a hand portrait for everyone in your household and make a family tree, like this one from It’s Always Autumn.

• Little ones can make a handprint and add eyes and nose etc to turn it into mummy or daddy or even the family pet

• If you are drawing around a hand rather than printing, create your own landscape of squirls and squiggles inside that print 

Don’t forget the share in our facebook group.

And, of course, keep washing those hands.

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