Name Change: “HMW Art” to “LONDON HENNA” !

Well hello there !

I hope you don’t mind, but there’s a change that I want to make to this blog; something that I have been thinking about for a while.  … I want to return this blog to its initial form … I want to make this a pure henna blog again.

Some of you may know that this blog began as a henna and all things related blog; but about a year ago I changed its name and its purpose.  I changed the name to HMW Art and I had let you all know that I was now going to post about my art and design work as well.  From what I have learned in the past year, however, it is clear that combining these two very different art fields have had a negative impact on my growth.  It confused people as to what my intentions were; and a lot of people decided to leave/unfollow because they simply wanted to see either henna or art – but not both.

It’s taken me a while, but here I am, back to where I started.  I will no longer post about my art here.  Instead, you can see my art on my Instagram account (@HMWArt), or my YouTube channel (Shahema Tafader); and for those who want to see my henna, please stay following this blog, as well as following my Instagram page (@LondonHenna) where you can see me post stuff like this:


and this:


And of course, my YouTube channel (Shahema Tafader) also contains henna tutorials and more !

I could go on, but I don’t want to annoy you :-).

So that’s it.  I hope you’ll enjoy this change and look forward to my new content.

Oh, and one more thing – to purchase your Eid natural henna cones, please email me here:

… See you next time ! ❤




My Inking Journey (Week 1)

Hi All !

Today I want to tell you about a new project that I’m embarking on … my inking journey.

For those of you who are familiar with the term “inking”, you’ll know that it’s commonly associated with illustrators, comic book and manga artists.  It’s a term used to describe mainly the outlining of an image with ink (usually in black).  Sounds simple enough and probably a form of amateur art in some people’s eyes, but in my first week of taking inking seriously I have realised just how much skill is required to do this “simple” and “amateur” task.

On Thursday 10th of March (yes, very precise, because I like to document my memories with accuracy), I received my dip pen and nib set through the post.  Having wondered endlessly about what my YouTube video for the next day could be, I felt the answer was given to me when the set arrived a week in advance.  Feeling like a miracle was about to unfold, I immediately set up my equipment to tape the video, pre-drew a pencil outline of Light Yagami from Death Note, ready to ink, and did a little practise using the G-Pen nib on a scrap piece of paper.  … Thin lines, followed by thick lines, followed by some line variations to see how the nib worked … yep, perfect – seemed fine ! … It wasn’t.

My inking session started with some awkward line strokes; suddenly the practise lines felt like they had been done by a completely different hand.  The nib was out of my control and the line variations were pretty much non-existent.  Course, I wasn’t going to give up because a miracle was meant to unfold, for sure !  I don’t know what miracle I was looking for but it certainly wasn’t my hand knocking the ink bottle over to spill black India ink all over my table, bedspread and carpet.  By that point I had become so frustrated with the downhill path that my day was taking that I barely reacted to the ink spill.  I simply looked at it, cleaned it, then went back to inking … I wasn’t done believing in the miracle just yet.

I turned the studio lights back on, focussed my camera and went back to inking … and when I accidentally inked Light’s eyebrow directly above his left eye to give him a ludicrously skewed expression, I realised the game was over.  Nope, no miracle today; just a bad end to what was otherwise a good day.

My first attempt at inking a drawing - Light Yagami from Death Note | Copyright © 2016 Shahema Tafader

My first attempt at inking a drawing – Light Yagami from Death Note | Copyright © 2016 Shahema Tafader

Folks, that’s a lesson that we often need to learn through life no matter how many times we have learned it before – that you’re not always going to get it right the first time.  For me, it seems to always be the case that once I become pretty decent at doing something, I forget that there is a learning process of getting things wrong, and when I finally start something new, I always seem to get a shock from my mistakes.  … Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it … it’s too bad I keep forgetting that saying.

Putting aside my errors a few hours later, I had taken the path I should have from the beginning – I started from basics.  I covered a couple of pages in my scrapbook of simply lines, lots of them; and, above all, I tested all the nibs in the set to see which ones I preferred, rather than which ones other people preferred (yes, that’s right you G-Pen nib, I’m talking about you).  I had taken long breaks in-between which allowed my mind to assess my flaws and how to rectify them, before coming back and practising some more … a week later, I taped my second attempt at inking and ultimately did a much better job; and that’s how I reached the end of my first week of inking.


My second attempt at inking a drawing - the character is made up | Copyright © 2016 Shahema Tafader

My second attempt at inking a drawing – the character is made up | Copyright © 2016 Shahema Tafader


A very long story I know, but I want to document the process of me learning how to ink not just to show myself that I come from mistakes, but I want people to see how the start does not always determine the end.  In other words, I have constantly noticed how people often comment under inking videos on YouTube about how terrible they are at inking and how wonderful the YouTuber is at it; almost as though they don’t believe they will ever get to the standard of the YouTuber.  But what a lot of these individuals don’t realise is that these YouTubers started off having the same beginner problems: they all had to experiment with nibs to see which ones worked for them; they all had to make terrible inked drawings to learn how to be better; and they all had to put hours and hours of practise in to get to their current standard.

My hope is that by documenting my hopeful development, people will see that if we simply persevere through the mistakes then we can get to a better ending … and my goal is to get to a better ending.

… So that’s it for my first post on my inking journey.  I hope you will check out my YouTube video on my second attempt at inking and please sub while you’re there.  Also, let me know what you all use to ink, if you do indeed ink; and if you don’t, let me know who your favourite illustrator, comic book or manga artist is below.

Until next time, take care !

My First Copyright Infringement Story

Hi All !

So in my last post I mentioned that there were low moments in the last couple of weeks as well as the high Beyoncé henna moments.  I guess it’s true to say that good can’t come without the bad.  A couple of days after the Coldplay video came out, I got a message from my friend, Amirah (YouTuber: Beleza Artistica), informing me that a YouTube account had uploaded one of my videos on their channel.  I immediately went to take a look and I was pretty shocked, not because I didn’t expect this to happen at some point, but because seeing it in reality for the first time has a definite effect … you know, such as the loss in faith in human decency.

This channel had uploaded my most popular YouTube video onto their account (“white henna design for beginners”: ); but they hadn’t just done that.  They also changed my royalty free background music to a copyrighted track, before uploading the video onto their account – twice – and then monetising.  There was nothing unintentional about this especially when you consider the actions required to get my video re-uploaded with a different track in the first place.  There is no way, in my opinion, that anyone would have gone through that process thinking – yep, I’m doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Copyright © 2016 Shahema Tafader

Screenshot of the first account to infringe my copyright | Copyright © 2016 Shahema Tafader

Naturally, the first thing I did was issue a copyright infringement notice with YouTube, which is technically the start of the legal process.  I also left a message asking them to remove the video before YouTube does it for them (a courtesy on my part which they did not deserve, because it would allow the account holder to avoid a copyright strike on their account by removing it before YouTube notices).  I received no response from this channel owner, but it didn’t matter, because within hours YouTube had removed the videos.

The next day my instinct took over and I felt the need to do a simple search on YouTube for beginners’ henna designs.  Sure enough, on the first page of the results there was a video tutorial of one of my most favourite henna designs.  This user had recreated my henna design, which I already had a YouTube tutorial on, and then uploaded the design on their channel as their own.  This video had 4,000 more views than mine did, which naturally would have taken away from the views on my own video.

Second infringement by another henna artist and YouTuber !  Copyright © 2016 Shahema Tafader

Screenshot of the second infringement by another henna artist and YouTuber ! Copyright © 2016 Shahema Tafader

This copyright infringement was so much worse though because, firstly, the YouTuber was a henna artist who had about 27,000 subscribers compared to my measly 1,500.  I’d imagine that if you are a content creator, that you would understand how wrong it is to infringe copyright, especially like that, because the same could easily happen to you.  Secondly, this user didn’t just re-upload my video, which would have made it easier to identify a copyright infringement simply by comparing the videos; instead she recreated my design on her hand and then uploaded it as a video.  The description under the tutorial stated that the video had a pretty heart henna design … with no mention of me whatsoever.  As far as I’m concerned, her actions were completely intentional.

Again, I immediately issued a copyright infringement notice through YouTube and – courtesy that she did not deserve – left a message asking her to remove the video as it infringed my copyright.  Within a couple of hours she removed the video before YouTube could see it. … If I’m honest with you, I had half a mind to not let her know that I had issued the notice, that way YouTube would see the video, will remove it and will add a strike on her account. … On this occasion, however, I chose not to; but I will be keeping an eye on this account !

I think it’s fair to say that I have officially begun to make headway with this YouTube business, because as terrible as it is to have someone claim your design as their own and then earn money off of it, it’s also a sign that I’m doing something right.

If I can give any advice from this experience I will say that you should never – ever – be afraid of another infringing your copyright, because this is one of the major reasons why people don’t share their work online !  If, however, you don’t share your work then you won’t get the recognition you deserve for your talent and your business will not thrive as well as it could.  It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t decision, so if you’re damned either way – you may as well share your work ;-p !

The second advice I will give is, use whatever medium you have to issue a complaint against the person who has infringed your copyright.  Do this before giving the person notice to remove the infringing material, because often this person will block you if you complain against them, making it harder for you to get the work taken down.  If you’re on Instagram, that would mean reporting the person by clicking on the three dots on the bottom right hand corner of the picture.  On YouTube, that means filling in this complaints form here: .

I hope this blog post will have helped you in some way even though, if anything, it was more a rant on my part.  Please comment below what you would have done in my position, I would love to know how you would have handled these situations !

So that’s it – thank you for reading and I will speak to you next time …

Beyoncé Inspired Henna Design

Hi All !

So the last two weeks have represented both ups and downs.  In this post, let’s deal with the positives. …

I think it’s fair to say that we all know Beyoncé has featured in Coldplay’s song and music video: “Hymn for the Weekend”.  In this video Beyoncé was wearing traditional and less than traditional Indian gear which ended up sparking a huge cultural appropriation debate.  Putting that aside, I’m sure that you all will have noticed something else making an appearance on the Queen – her henna of course !

The Hymn for the Weekend video debuted at about 4 or 5 o’clock, UK time (may be even later), and naturally, the Instagram posts started flooding in on the henna accounts.  I happened to look in on my account a couple of hours later and realised that I could either post a Beyoncé henna pic later than everyone else, orrrrrrrr do what I love to do, which is be original and – more importantly – the first.  Yes, I’m not gonna lie; my competitive streak took over and an inspired Beyoncé henna design popped into my head. I taped the design and by 10pm I had a picture of my design up on Instagram making me the first to post an actual henna design with anything to do with Beyoncé’s current henna.

I probably sound really petty, lol, for being happy about being the first; but I have a definite competitive streak and I think that’s what keeps me wanting to improve.  If I didn’t have others who are better than me, I just wouldn’t feel the need to be better myself.  So yes, a little petty competitiveness – which is probably only in my head – going on here 🙂 .

My design itself got a lot of positive reviews on the Facebook Henna Pages and under my Instagram pics., which was probably fuelled by the negative response to the actual henna on Beyoncé.  Now that is another post in itself, but suffice it to say that there was a lot of jealousy and negativity amongst the henna community. However, whether people genuinely liked my design, or whether their positive feedback was more to emphasise the negative opinion’s on Beyoncé’s henna, doesn’t bother me, because regardless, I’m genuinely proud of my design.  So without further ado – here are the pictures and YouTube video of my design.

YouTube Tutorial: Beyoncé Inspired Henna Design:


So that’s it for this post.  Please look forward to my next post which will be on my experiences of my first YouTube copyright infringement cases, i.e. the “downs” of the last couple of weeks.  Let me know what you think of my Beyoncé inspired henna design and, as always, I’ll see you next time !

Want a Picture Feature on my YouTube Channel ?

When I began my henna journey last year, which then led to me rediscovering my passion for art and design, I always had one major goal in mind – to help !  I always wanted to work my way up into a position where I could begin to help others achieve their goals.  Don’t ask me why that is, it’s just an internal driving force that I seem to have.

Recently, I feel like I’m just beginning to get to the point where I can help others.  This is because, and these may not seem like such a big deal considering how much better other people are doing than me, but my Instagram account has just reached over 500 followers; but more importantly, my YouTube channel has officially reached over 500 subscribers.


Copyright © 2015 Shahema Tafader |

YouTube Channel: Copyright © 2015 Shahema Tafader |

As a result of this, I’m finally in a position to start helping others get some recognition for their work.  How, you ask ?  It’s simple – via YouTube Picture Features !

So what’s a Picture Feature ?  It’s when I show a picture of something artistic/creative which you guys have tagged me in, at the beginning of each of my YouTube videos.  My first feature has already gone up, and so I’m definitely underway with this concept.  My post today is, therefore, an attempt at getting you guys involved with my Picture Features.

To have a chance of getting your creative work featured at the start of my next YouTube video, all you have to do is:

a) post a picture on Instagram of something creative.  It doesn’t have to be henna related, it can be anything creative.  Further, and this is the part that I  like the most, it doesn’t have to be a perfect piece of work.  In fact, you can tag pictures that your nieces and nephews etc have drawn, if you want to;

b) tag your picture with #HMWArt so that I can see it; and

c) sit back and wait to see if you are featured :-).

So that’s it for this post.  I hope you guys will get involved and, if you haven’t already, please do subscribe to my YouTube channel.  I plan on doing a goody giveaway if I can get to 1k subscribers.

When instinct opposes logic – which do you choose ?

Have you ever thought to yourself … I need to be less logical ?

See, for a large proportion of my life, I believed that as long as I calculated, observed, analysed and concluded, that I could figure out how to succeed at anything.  That there were winning formulas out there that people have used to help themselves succeed; and for a long time, I tried to achieve heights using these well researched rules and regulations.  Ironically, however, I always met with defeat.  I always failed. … How ?  How could I fail when I assessed every possible outcome and had a solution to it all ?  How could I keep failing when I’m using the same method that others had succeeded with ? … The answer, I found, was that I was being too logical.

I noticed a pattern in my life which, at its simplest, goes like this … I analyse, risk assess and problem solve with my logical mind – I fail; I ignore my conscious thinking and run with my instinct – I win. … Yes, you read right.  My past experience showed me that my instinct is far more intelligent than my logical mind.  But why ?  How could something that relies on factors to make its decisions that I could not possibly measure or understand, get one over on my logical mind so easily ?  …  That’s not something that I could possibly ever answer; hell, I don’t think even science has advanced far enough to understand this … this in-explainable feeling that tells me to do something without the voice in my head saying – “do it” … like an invisible pull on your body that you choose to follow.

Strange as it may seem, but there have been times where my logical mind has been completely tuned out while I chose to follow this “pull”, and a few hours later, I have a new henna design; or a new piece of artwork that I never planned to have by the end of the day … and I loved them – I loved every single thing that I had ever created or done whilst conceding to the “pull”.

So what’s my message to you, dear reader ? … Simply, if you find that attempting to be logical and calculated in order to succeed hasn’t been working for you, then may be – just may be – it’s time to give in to the pull and switch that conscious mind off. … We may never understand where that gut feeling comes from; that feeling that saves us from walking down a pathway where a murder was about to be committed; that feeling that tells us to turn left, when the map says turn right; but I will say one thing: learning to ignore my logical mind and just go with my gut – like I once did as a child – is the best illogical decision that I have ever made !


What’s New in the World of Pretenna (i.e. “White Henna”)?

Time flies when you’re working – zoooooom !

So what’s been happening in the world of henna since I last posted on here ? … Well, we all know that “white henna” is officially becoming infamous; glitter henna has taken a leap downwards on the popularity scale and Rihanna’s hand tattoo seems to make an appearance in Jagua and “white henna” designs all over the world !  It all seems like fun and games, right ?  Wrong !

This post is about to take a dark turn guys, because I’m sharing something that I’m concerned about, specifically in the “white henna” world.  Let’s begin by clarifying what we all – I’m sure – know by now, that “white henna” is not henna.  Ye ye, you’ve heard that like the billionth time already and I know that.  So why am I so hell bent on making that point again ?  Well folks, I feel I need to, because of YouTube messages that I received from a large chemical henna manufacturer two weeks ago.

I won’t mention the name of this company, but suffice it to say that if you entered an Indian grocery store and picked up a cone of henna, the likelihood is that you just bought a product that this company manufactures.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to say that you should stay away from chemical henna and only use the natural stuff.  That self-righteous, know-it-all, attitude can stay on Instagram where it shouldn’t belong, but somehow does.  As a consumer, you can buy whatever takes your fancy.  My personal belief, however, is that before an individual can really consent to a product which they are buying, they need to be aware of the nature of this product.  That means full disclosure on the ingredients used, and an accurate explanation of what the product is.  There needs to be, in a word – transparency. … As long as those two elements are available, then as a competent consumer, you are free to purchase and use whatever you like.  My problem, however, is when transparency is not available.

The message that I received from the manufacturer – three times (yes, apparently I’m a target for false advertising) – directed me to their new product with a clear intent for me to purchase it.  They wanted me to bulk buy their “white henna”.  Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link and I was not happy with the description given of this product.

Firstly, their site stated that their white cones contain natural henna.  You know exactly what I’m going to say now right ?  Yep, that “white henna” is not henna.  Period !  So why has this company taken a very popular product and advertised it as something which it is not … I think the answer was in the question – because they want to capitalise on a very “popular” product.  That is my opinion, in any event.  This is not, however, the part of the description which worried me, because I’m sure people can figure out that this statement is clearly untrue.  No, what worried me was the second part of the description.

The site then states that the white cones work by leaving a white stain on the skin which deepens in colour with time.  In other words, they’re claiming that this white body art paint (which is what Pretenna should be) is capable of working like henna to stain your skin, and then to go though a “stain progression” stage like natural henna does.  The best case scenario here is that this is, again, false advertising. … I really hope that this is false advertising … because the worst case scenario is that they have included something dangerous in the product which will literally make your skin turn white.  I think we can all use our imaginations to think of what can be used to turn our skin white.  If I am wrong, however, then I would like the company to list its ingredients which, surprise surprise, it does not do.

Guys, I can’t think of a natural product which could stain the skin white, so if this claim is true, then I am worried about what this product contains and what the consequences of using it can be.  Far be it for me to tell you guys what you can or cannot use; but I hope that this blog might allow you to make a far more considered decision as to whether you want to buy any Pretenna cones which may appear in your Indian grocery.

Ok, this was long, but important.  I hope you guys found it useful, and below I have included my YouTube video where I also talked about this issue.  Please subscribe, if you haven’t already – and feel free to request videos 🙂

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time …

COLLAB: Henna Swap Challenge with Beleza Artistica | #hennaswapchallenge

Hi everybody !

Today I have what I hope is a special treat for you all.  I have collaborated with Amirah, a fellow YouTuber (search Beleza Artistica), to bring you a henna challenge video.   Amirah asked me to collaborate with her two weeks ago, and after some hard work in between our other obligations, we have brought you the #hennaswapchallenge … yes that’s right – we’re hash tagging !

The concept is simple.  Re-create the other artist’s design.  Amirah was partially inspired by @mehndikajoey on Instagram to come up with this challenge, specifically from a post where @mehndikajoey had asked henna artists to come up with a design outside of their comfort zone.  Therefore, the point behind this challenge was to do something that we do not usually create.  For me, I had the opportunity to finally try a design which uses thicker lines and design elements.  Amirah got to try the opposite.  Boy did we learn some serious respect for the other’s craft !

The henna designs in this challenge were created new especially for the other artist, and each have their own story behind it.  If you would like to know Amirah’s design inspiration, please watch the video.

We would, very much so, like to get a hashtag going for this collaboration and the concept behind it.  So please go on Instagram and twitter and tag 2 artists that you would like to see collaborate to re-create the other artist’s design, and hashtag this with #hennaswapchallenge !

Finally, please please please share this video, and Amirah’s, and subscribe to show us that our videos are worth watching.  I know that I, personally, find it helpful when people subscribe because I realise that there are people who would like for me to continue making videos.

So, without further ado, here are the collab videos:

My Video:

Amirah’s video:

Vine – the Untapped Henna Market

So I have been a “viner” for about four weeks now and I can honestly say that I haven’t enjoyed myself more on social media.  Considering I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and a blog, I feel like I’ve been around enough social media to know when I’ve come across something worth trying.  Vine is just such a thing.

The main reason why I am writing this post is because I want every henna artist to join Vine and help add to the art available for viewing on it.  Let me explain why.  When I first joined Vine, I went in search of great henna videos, and I found very few.  In fact, so few henna videos are uploaded that a week later, my first video was still around the fourth upload if you searched the tag #henna.  This led me to believe that Vine has an untapped market for mehndi lovers.

However, although I want henna artists to join Vine, there does seem to be a catch on the types of videos which get lots of views and which do not.  My videos which are an actual mini-tutorial of a full design, rather than just a six second video of me doing some henna, get more views (“loops”) quicker.  This makes me believe that a full tutorial is far more interesting for Vine users, than just a video showcasing finished henna works or doing small sections of a design.

The key on Vine is how many times a person sticks around to view your video, and that will only happen if the video is interesting enough to be viewed more than once.  Unless you’ve used a mesmerizing time-lapse effect, it’s unlikely that a person will be so hooked on a 6 second teaser of us doing henna that they’ll stick around for more than one view.  Therefore, from what I have seen, the full mini-tutorials do better on Vine.

Just imagine though, how wonderful would it be if video after video was another henna tutorial which you could watch again if you liked, but if you didn’t then you haven’t wasted much time before moving on … six seconds to be precise.  Well that doesn’t exist right now.  In fact, from what I have seen, the vast majority of videos are just clips of people doing a small section of henna.  I would love to see the number of quality henna tutorial videos going up (and I’m really hoping my videos are of quality).

I’m not going to go into detail as to why you should all try it out, but I will say that Vine is a unique app that has a completely different viewing experience which makes it worthwhile.  Plus, there are certain benefits to it for new henna artists in that, if you tag your video, people searching that tag will find it.  On YouTube, even if people search your exact title, the popular YouTubers get priority.  I for one, absolutely love that Vine offers a far better opportunity for new video creators to bloom.  We are on equal footing with those YouTubers who began making videos years ago.

I urge you to try it and if you do, please let me know what you think in the comments below.  Thank you for reading !

2014 in review

I like to keep track of achievements, so even though I had only started to blog a few months back and my stats are building very slowly, I’ve decided to share the annual report for this blog.  I’m hoping that I’ll see an improvement next year.  Thank you to everyone who has followed me this year, and I hope you’ll stick around for the new henna designs that I wish to bring to you in 2015 …

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 230 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.