Workshop Wednesdays--Progressive Bail Designs

Today's Workshop Wednesday is an interesting one.  Instead of something happening at our workshop, instead, we will show you how to progressively add details to a design.  These designs are actual designs we apply on our clients.  To give you an idea for pricing, we will label each design as A, B, C, or D.  You can set these prices to whatever you want, but for our reference, our pricing is set to $3.00, $5.00, $7.00, and $10.00.

Just an FYI... These drawing tutorials will be available for purchase in our e-book:  Progressive Designs (available for sale November 15th, 2012 on our website:

Let's start with an empty template.  We will be working with two different designs at the same time.  This just goes to show how each step can be done on any design, no matter what your base is.  The designs shown today are common designs that we apply on our wedding party guests.  These are common designs because they are fast to do, and follow the modern "bail" pattern.  A bail is a design that starts at the wrist and comes down towards the finger.  Bail designs are common at mehndi parties and wedding celebrations because they are done quickly and each guest is able to get a little bit of henna done.  Bail designs normally take no more than 10 minutes to complete. 

Then we will lay out a design that is basic and very open.  This is design A.  If we were to do a design like this on a client, we would charge just $3.00.  This design is a basic, flower-paisley design.  It starts with a flower on top.  Add some swirls and curves to the top of the flower to give the design a finished look.  The flower is then bordered by a paisley.  On both sides, the paisley is attached to another flower.  The right image has smaller paisleys whereas the design on the left has a larger paisley.  

Continue the flowers and paisleys until you get to the pointer finger.  In this sample we are using the pointer finger (as it is a common design in modern party henna application).  However, you can bring the design down to any finger that you want.  When you cannot fit a paisley into the design, draw a small flower and end your design with curls and swirls similar to what you did at the start of the design. 

 This completes your base design.  The design is very empty and open, allowing you to add more details for an increased value, or to leave it just as, and charge less.  As mentioned before, when we do a design as open as this, we would charge about $3.00.

Now, we will add details onto the design.  Being Design B, we will fill in the empty paisleys from above.  Paisleys can be filled with any type of design.  On the left design, we have filled the paisleys with a swirl design.  On the right design, we have filled the paisley with shading and overlap swirl, as well as a bold swirl design.  You will also note that where applicable (left design), we have shaded in the flowers.  This makes your henna design look fuller and gives it more of an Indo-Arabic appeal. 

Moving on....we have added more details on design C.  On both designs, we have added details to the paisley design.  By adding flower petals and dots, the paisley designs become larger, and thereby, fill up the space on the hands more.  This is minimal effort for maximum result.  Just by adding the string of flower petals on the paisley, the design looks full and more intricate.  We have also shaded in the flower petals we added in order to make the design more complete and coherent.

In addition to flower petals as an addition to the paisleys, we have also added a similar curl and swirl motif in empty spaces.  When filling in the design with swirls and curls, look for spaces that create a "nook" or a V shaped opening.  Adding a small motif, such as the curls and swirls helps fill in the empty V space, while making the design seem wider.  Again, we are applying minimal effort for maximum results.

For the design on the left, we have also added a collection of small flowers in the nook created by the paisley and flower.  The collection of the small flowers helps balance the design out.  You will notice that the design on the left has two large paisleys and two large flowers.  The addition of the small flowers adds the intricate details that the base design lacked, and helps fill in the hand.  Maximum amount of time spent on drawing the collection of henna flowers:  2 minutes.  Results.... Add a value of $2.00 to $4.00 onto your base design.  While we would charge a simple $7.00 for design C, you can probably get away with charging 20-60% more.

Finally, all we have done on these designs is added a finger design to the empty spaces.  This completely helps to fill up the hand, making the design full, intricate, and affordable.  On both sides, just the addition of the finger design helps fill up the whole hand.  An alternate detail which can be added (we chose not to add it on this progression) is a series of disappearing dots.  These dots start at one end of the design and go in a curving fashion while the dots get progressively smaller, thereby, "dis-appearing"

This design is design D, where we would charge approximately $10.00-$15.00. 

POINT OF REFERENCE:  If you are charging by the hour, make sure that these designs should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.  A fair, maximum price point for the designs would be $18.00, although we would recommend setting it at no more than $15.00.  Keep practicing!

Stay tuned to our Workshop Wednesdays to learn more about henna body art, mehndi designs, efficient application techniques and so much more.  Until then... Happy Henna-ing!