In 2013, I found myself in a henna rut! Same motifs, same layouts – it was killing me! I decided that the only way to get out of this rut was to force myself to learn a new style of henna designs. I’ve always loved the Gulf/Khaleeji designs mixed with traditional Indian style, and decided that mastering this Indo-Gulf style would be the next milestone in my henna journey.

I went back to the basics and did a ton of browsing on Flickr/Facebook/Pinterest and what have you. I would literally spend hours together going through various designs, trying to figure out in my head how the artist must have come up with the idea and executed the design, piece by piece. I’d then use the original photo as a reference and try to replicate the design. When I looked at my practice attempts, they always seemed to be missing “life” – my designs were merely a combination of motifs in a certain layout, not a design springing to life on someone’s hand!

My approach right now is to incessantly practice and sketch small elements and motifs that are typical to this style. My goal is to come up with a design layout on-the-go and just draw from my head, as opposed to copying a design line by line. I am far from mastering this style, but one thing is for sure – going back to the basics has pulled me out of the rut! Yay :)

Some of my attempts and practice sketches below — thanks for reading to the end!

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