Project 1: Second Skin

The first thing I did for this project was examine the hand and how it moves.  I did 9 sketches in total, 8 being done on tracing paper and the 9th on Bristol paper. I kept the lines of the hands simple and crisp so that they could be seen after all sheets were stacked onto each other. The sketch on the Bristol paper was the first one and my palm was facing up. Throughout the rest of the pages my hand slowly flipped over to have my palm facing down. Despite the fact that I darkened the bottom drawings, it was still hard to scan and capture all the hand movements. I did multiple scan but unfortunately these were the best ones that came out.

Next, I chose two animals that had mildly rough to hard skin.

Quince Monitor or Varanus melinus Lizard



Animals develop certain textures, colors, and patterns on their skin for many different reasons. It can help them camouflage from predators, can aid in mimicry so that they can adapt warning colors, can physical protect them, aid in temperature regulation, or represent their sexual status or gender. Sometimes they can use their colors to startle predators or cause “motion dazzle.”

Rhino skin is thick but very sensitive so they have to maintain it. It’s susceptible to irritation and dryness however the many layers of skin protect it from serious injury. Their skin is made of layers of collagen and its horn is made of  thick keratin hairs.

Lizards have scaly skin made from keratin and bone.

Every animal has a sense of touch however they might feel it in different ways. For example, the Monitor lizard sticks out its tongue and tastes different chemicals in the air that allow it to understand if food or predators are around. Rhinos use their horns as ways of communicating. They are used for intimidation, defense, courting, digging etc.

The Monitor lizards are being harvested and sold for their skin or as pets. Some animals have been adopted as pets in specific cultures and certain animals parts   have also become popular in decoration or fashion. For example the lizard skin could be used for handbags while a rhino’s horns can be sold off for decoration, medicine, or other uses.


I then made 6×12 inch posters about the animals I chose. I was required to have an image of the animals skin, the name of the animal, some facts about them, and patterns inspired by the animal skins. The patterns had to be continuous, meaning each shape had to change slightly to create another shape all in a seamless manner.


After that step, I started experimenting with paper folding. I was required to create six different 3D patterns with Bristol paper. My classmates and I could cut (score)the paper but we couldn’t take away any paper. It was a cut and fold process.







For the next part of the project, I was allowed to cut out pieces but then I had to put them together with string and/or wire. I had to choose two shapes to do these explorations with and then each shape had to be attached in three different ways: wire, thread, and both.


Wire and Thread



Thread and Wire


Between the Fold Reflection

I thought this film was very interesting in that fact that it examined different artists who fold paper. They each had different professions however they were all fascinated by the way paper could make such realistic, 3D creations. The most interesting artist was the man that made his own paper. He talked about how different shapes and figures would require unique types of paper. This artist used the example of a grasshopper. Because the animal itself is very fragile, with very thin, pointy arms, it would best be made with thin tissue paper. Honestly I wished the film had explored how he made the paper more. I know that would be a little off topic however I found it fascinating that an individual could make their own paper. I also liked learning about the man who essentially started origami and seeing the footage of him while he was still alive. Overall I really enjoyed the video and learning about the creative outlet of paper folding.

Then, I had to plot out our designs for the second skin on our hands.


Next, we had to start construction.









Next, I had to start working on the wooden hand that I would create to display my second skin.

I sketched out the position that I wanted my wooden hand to be in from the side angle on tracing paper.

I sketched my hand in the same position but looking at it from above. I then divided it into 1/2 inch sections.

On tracing paper, I drew each finger from the side angle. I mentally cut each drawing to a half inch from the above angle. Then I traced it onto a 2x2x0.5 inch piece of plywood.

I cut the fingers out and then sanded them.

I then used small spacers so the fingers weren’t right next to each other and so it would be easier to slide on the paper skin. I used wood glue to attach everything.

This was the final pieces with the second skin on the wooded hand.


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