Creativity at Your Fingertips

When was the last time you just had fun with your art? If you work on your art often, it’s easy to get bogged down and start taking yourself too seriously. For a little respite, go back to your artistic roots and try finger painting.

A fan of fingerprints

You can create individual prints or wild background patterns by applying a glaze of paint—in one color or more—over various body parts and then pressing them on paper. Hands and feet are easiest, but ears will also make interesting patterns. (I’d be willing to bet that you don’t really even know the shape of your own ears until you see them in print.)


Anytime you’re applying art materials to skin you’ll want to make sure they’re nontoxic. (Children’s paints are a good bet.) You’ll also want to have some basic cleaning materials nearby. When doing feet prints I usually carry my art materials to the nearest bathtub and sit on the edge while making the prints. This is particularly helpful if you’re doing multiple prints. At the very least, keep a supply of baby wipes at hand.

The rainbow of my foot

In addition to making fun backgrounds for your work, these prints can be used as the basis for new designs. Remember the games you played in school where you took a basic shape and then turned it into something else (for example, a circle might become a face)? You can use your fingers, toes, arms and other body parts to create the basis for new designs. Give it a try and see what you can make of it!

Loraine Crouch is associate editor for The Artist?s Magazine.

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