The Handful Project Grand Finale [interview with Anamaria Biro]

This is it! The year is done. What seemed like the longest challenge ever came to an end and we are all a little bit sad.

Last August Anamaria Biro – a professional economist and amateur doodler – came across the doodling platform CompulsiveDrawer on Facebook and spontaneously took up a laborious challenge to draw hand patterns every day for a whole year.

The hands have been posted and liked daily in a dedicated album that you can see if you click the external link below.

At the end of the road, we asked Anamaria the questions that where on everyone’s minds and she answered. Please find below a truly inspiring interview.

1. What made you take up the challenge?

It all started with a short video about the Compulsive Drawer website, a platform where anyone can submit their doodles. As I’ve always been doodling, I was so happy to find out that someone had this awesome idea and I decided to submit one drawing per day for an entire year. It was a very quick decision, I did not think too much at that moment.

2. A year day by day is a lot of time. Why a year?

Yes, indeed, one year is a lot of time but I only realized this while doing this project. I can say I am a lot more aware now of the limited amount of time we all have and how important it is to spend it in the best way possible. I decided to do this for a whole year so that I can change a bad habit I have of starting a lot of projects but finishing very few. And I thought making this commitment not only to myself but to the whole Compulsive Drawer community would help me stay focused for a longer period of time and hopefully get rid of this habit.

3. One could expect simpler patterns over the time, but that didn’t happen. How did you find your inspiration?

The inspiration came from my everyday life, the things I like or dislike, music, my feelings or other people’s feelings, happy or sad memories, books, movies, random thoughts or events. Some of the drawings are simply doodles, done while watching documentaries or talking to friends. I noticed there were days when ideas were pouring and I had to write them down so I wouldn’t forget them, but there were also days when I was struggling to find inspiration. I haven’t yet identified what triggers it. Some of the drawings were actually done while thinking about what to draw next.

4. Where there moments when you wanted to quit? What kept you going?

No, I never thought of quitting because I committed to this and really wanted to finish the project. Of course there were a few times when I said to myself: “What the hell were you thinking? A year?? That’s a loooot of time!” but I never thought of giving up. I realized I was actually discovering myself while doing these drawings and this also kept me motivated and curious to find out more. Some of the drawings surprised me a lot and made me think: “Wow, did I really do this?” Also the support I had from friends and other people who watched the project was a strong motivation.

5. How long did it take you to draw one hand and how did the challenge affect your everyday activities?

The time it took me to draw one hand varied a lot from 15 minutes to 5 – 6 hours or even more, depending on the theme but I would say it took me on an average, 2 to 3 hours to finish one drawing. In the beginning I did not spend too much time drawing but then, when the themes and patterns became more complicated I started to invest more and more time for each drawing. Being a perfectionist, I was always trying to find better ideas and to draw better. I used to carry the notebook with me all the time. In the beginning I drew a lot in the train, while going to work or on the way back home. But then, when the drawings became more complicated I started to wake up early in the morning (around 5:30, 6 o’clock) and finish in the evening, after work. But sometimes that was not enough either so, in order to finish in time, I started to draw on planes, in the airports, on the London underground, even Bucharest underground, on the buses, while visiting friends or waiting in queues, during lunch breaks at work.

6. What are the most important things you learned from this challenge?

Oh, I learned a lot from this project, here are the 10 most important:
• I learned I can do awesome things if I really want to.
• I learned time is extremely precious and I should really stop wasting it.
• I learned to be more confident, to trust more my own feelings, thoughts and intuition.
• I learned great projects require a lot of work, energy and time.
• As a master procrastinator I learned to be more disciplined and to prioritize. Changing a behavior is quite difficult, but not impossible.
• I learned it is ok to make mistakes and things don’t need to be perfect all the time. On the contrary imperfections can be even better.
• I learned there is some great creative potential there and I’m really looking forward to discovering and exploiting it.
• I learned to express my creativity without the fear or being judged or considered a weirdo.
• I learned doing what you love is indeed extremely rewarding!
• And last but not least I learned to be more tolerant with myself.

7. What will become of the drawings?

I have a lot of ideas in my head but nothing clear yet. I know I would really like to have them all in one book and maybe add even more hands. A lot of them would look really nice as prints so that could be another idea. Some can be used for textile prints or stationery.

8. Is this the end?

Not at all, it is only the beginning. I will still be drawing hands but it won’t be one drawing per day as I want to have more time for each idea. There will be a website/blog where I will post the hands. Also, starting September I will be doing a two-year Fine Art Course in London where I will be learning Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking. I decided to start this course because there were many times when I felt frustrated I did not have the skills to put on paper what was in my head and I really want to be able to better express my ideas and explore different techniques.

More info: Facebook