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26th Apr 2019

I spent an entire day trying to do that viral hand drawing and now the light in my life has gone out

Fuck, and I cannot stress this enough, that.

Ciara Knight

Drawing stuff is hard, a memoir

There’s a video going viral at the moment which makes the seemingly simple task of drawing a hand look somewhat achievable.

In case you haven’t seen it, please enlighten yourself:

Firstly wow and secondly, sure, that seems like something anyone can do, right? Probably.

So I decided to spend the entire workday trying to figure out how to draw a hand using the above video.

Why? Honestly, it’s been a quiet week. Plus, this is an important life skill that I’d like to add to my repertoire alongside being able to juggle three items at once and also doing a pretty convincing Welsh accent.

Here’s how I got during what I’m comfortably deeming to be The Worst Day Of My Entire Life.

10.00am – Skills Test

Before I got to work on drawing the hand in the video, I wanted to check where my ability level was at. Simply, I tasked myself with drawing a hand from memory, without looking at my own because that would be cheating. Behold the deeply troubling results.

Now the whole thing makes sense, doesn’t it? Now we can see why this is being done. I, evidently, cannot draw for shit. Something is missing in my brain, the part that connects knowing what something looks like to actually translating that down onto paper. It’s similar to that episode of Sabrina The Teenage Witch when she learns that a hereditary disorder means that once she consumes even the tiniest sliver of a pancake, she will be unable to stop, descending into an uncontrollable binge until all pancakes on earth have been consumed. In that same way, when I try to draw something, I cannot stop myself from making it shit. My brain malfunctions. Chaos ensues. Pancakes become a safer alternative.

At this point, it’s clear that a mammoth task lies ahead. Look how large that middle finger is, look at the varying levels of thickness. LOOK AT THE THUMB. Things are going to be difficult and this is going to be a long and incredibly stressful day. Just ten minutes into the process, I began to hate myself more so than usual and wanted to stop this ridiculous task. But I persevered because journalism needs this. We all, in these increasingly stressful times, need this.

11.00am – Studying Commences

Rather than diving straight into the process, given that this is supposed to take all day, I decided to take my time with things. I aimed to watch the hypnotic video sixty-six times because I read somewhere that it takes 66 days of repeating something before it becomes a habit. Another study suggested that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a habit to form, but that’s potentially a very long time so I disregarded it immediately upon reading.

You learn a lot about yourself when you watch something 66 times. First, you question every life choice that’s led you to that exact point, then have a mild existential crisis, then make peace with it, then get bored and angry, then settle into a mindless place where you simply sit still and accept your fate. All of those stages happened during my first viewing of the video. I watched it three more times, trying to take notes but mostly sitting agape at how impressive the art of drawing actually is. It’s an impressive piece of work. I felt scared and almost certain that I could never achieve the dizzying heights of being able to draw a distinguishable hand by the end of the day. Four viewings of the video secured, it was time to get to work.

12.00pm – First Attempt

Starting and stopping the video like some kind of police detective trying to pinpoint the exact moment in which a murderer snapped, I got a fresh sheet of paper and went about drawing a hand using the method that the video shows. On paper, ironically, it seemed achievable by taking things slow and really concentrating. I put on the song that helps me to concentrate the most (Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5) and began my quest.

Evidently, once again, this is going to be a difficult task. I drew what appears to be the hand of a car door accident victim, whereby he/she got their paw caught in the car door, then the car caught fire, they suffered severe burns, endured dozens of reconstructive surgery attempts and was eventually left with a five-fingered dildo for a hand, each finger more chillingly shaped than the other. It’s a mess. This was a terrible idea. I will never draw a convincing hand. I quit.

1.00pm – Lunch Break

As I ate my sad and pathetic lunch, things got introspective. I had only done one attempt at drawing the hand, but I still felt like a failure. There were no redeeming qualities to the image, which I stared intently at throughout my break. Colleagues tried to make conversation, but I only had eyes and an attention span for this misshaped hand. I began to look at my own hands, ridiculing myself for being unable to simply look at them and then replicate their appearance using a pencil and some paper. Sure, they facilitated ramming food into my gob, but not much else.

After eating, I walked to the shop and bought some Chocolate Fingers biscuits. They don’t even look like fingers, but I felt it was an appropriate choice. As I crunched my way through, let’s be honest, most of the packet, I realised something. Fingers all look the same, but they’re also very different. The overall shape is basically uniform, but they can have different quirks. Some fingers are little chubby boys, while others are long spindly lads. All I needed to do was replicate something similar to either of those formats, or failing that, find a real job. Enthusiasm renewed and belly sufficiently filled, I asked my secretary (I do not have a secretary) to cancel my afternoon meetings (I did not have any meetings) and hold all my calls (I never get any calls).

2.00pm – Renewed Enthusiasm

Back to the very literal drawing board and giddy at the prospect of success, I got to work. Flipping over the memories of the previous attempt, a less-than-sufficiently-sharpened pencil in hand, it was time to have another go at it. Without thinking, I just launched myself into the task. No music this time, all I had for company was my thoughts and the weight of my desire not to fail. For conviction, I hummed the national anthem as I worked.

Unfortunately, as we can see very clearly, this attempt was just complete and utter dog shit. Even a few corrections along the way couldn’t salvage this monstrosity. It looks like the hand belonging to a doll that the dog has been bothering with, intermittently humping it and then chewing it to a pulp. Then the doll hand was glued back together by a blind person, put in a very quick cycle machine wash at a temperature far higher than the manufacturer recommended, then wedged into a very tight space and ironed out for good measure. I have invented a new spacial dimension, flatter than 1D and 2D, landing somewhere in the realm of -4D.

3.00pm – Temper Tantrum

Yeah, fuck it. This is all just a big joke, isn’t it? The whole point of the video is to make people think that drawing a hand is simple, then they try it themselves and realise that it is an unattainable pipe dream, there to taunt you and make life even more difficult than it already is. They’re making fun of us, the people that put together this video. They know we’ll try and fail, then write 2,000 words on the whole thing. Who cares. This is bullshit. I’mma still try tho.

This time I stared at the video the entire time I was drawing, my eyes never left the screen. It was an act of defiance, kind of a ‘fuck you’ to the system which is designed to prevent anyone from thriving. As is evident, this strategy really didn’t help in any way. In fact, it made things a lot worse. It looks like the number 9 has been possessed four times and its soul is actively leaving its frail little body. It is ascending to heaven, where it will swiftly be denied entry and forced to descend right down into the bowels of hell. On the way down, the numbers will flip to reveal 666 and a spare 6 just in case one gets lost. Coincidence?

4.00pm – Inevitable Cheating

At this point, I was in crisis mode. I had decided to spend an entire day on this seemingly simple task, but over halfway through I was still no closer to the intended result. I enlisted the help of a colleague, who kindly agreed to pose in the same manner as the hand in the video after a small bit of persuasion and a large amount of explanation followed by a concluding statement of “What even is your job?”. We arranged her hand into the correct shape and I got her to hold still while I drew it.

Was there any improvement using a real-life model compared to the video? Clearly, no. Things were on a similar if not worse level of poor. This all boils down to one very key issue. I cannot draw for shit. We knew that going into this, we know it now and we will certainly know it at the end. Look at the state of that drawing. It looks like a very chubby baby’s hand, but the baby is actually a hen and it has suffered a sprain on one of its fingers from birth. It has no wrists, soul or future. It is an abomination. At this point, I was livid. Going into my final hour of this bananas task, I expected an embarrassing outcome.

5.00pm – Eureka

Surprisingly, towards the end of the day, things just clicked into place. I realised that whatever the outcome, I needed to properly invest in the job at hand, pun intended. Life is about trying new things and learning from your experiences. Whatever happened, I didn’t want to finish the day on a downer. I knew that I wasn’t the same person I was before I started this dumb project. Too much had happened for me to ever go back to that carefree soul I once was at 10am this morning. Determined to succeed, I put pencil to paper once more. From the outset, I had high hopes for this trial.

Wow. Look at that. Goodness me, wow. I have nailed it. Wow.

It just goes to show that if you work hard and follow your dreams, you will succeed. Namaste.

Just kidding. I cheated. I fucking cheated. I cheated so hard, it’s shameful. I printed out the original image and then traced over it. I don’t care anymore. That video is a joke. This task was never going to have any outcome other than this. Society is trash. The internet is a lie. Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams.

Move on, live your life, be free.