Sunday, August 23, 2015

Still Learning: Creating Your Own Nail Art

Photo credit: Jason Setiawan

I'm happy to report that Astrid and Vicki are the winners of the recent Flattering50 Giveaway of  Designer Nails: Create Art at Your Fingertips, a new book by nail artist Ami Vega. This new book, filled with gorgeous photographs of nail art by Jason Setiawan (like the photo above), tips and resources, and lots of encouragement from Ami, recently inspired me to dip my toe, or rather fingernails, in nail art.

Following Ami’s suggestion, I ran out to a craft store and bought a set of very fine paint brushes. Next, I flipped through Ami's new book and settled on the Blue Moon design (p. 62) for my first attempt at nail art. It seemed less complicated than many of the other designs. For the polish, I chose a light blue for the base and then applied a navy blue for the half-moon of color at the nail base and for the stripe across the top of the nail. With the paint brush in my left-hand (I’m left-handed), I went to work on my right hand's nails. Was I successful? I would say 'marginally' (see photo below). That is, the results were neither great nor awful (though pretty close to awful). However, I went ahead and polished my right hand. My thinking: If my right hand came out better, I would redo my left hand.

Things got much worse, however, when I painted my left hand’s nails. There is very little I can do well with my right hand and nail polishing turned out to be particularly challenging. However, Ami warns readers that nail art may take practice, so I persevered.

For my next nail art attempt, I invented my own design, something that didn't require straight or uniform lines or mirrored shapes--in other words, something I thought I could handle. I chose a bright green and pale blue nail polishes. This attempt came out better on both right and left hand finger nails. However, it was far from perfect and the mistakes were rather glaring because of the contrast between the bright green and pale blue colors. 

After a little nail reflection, I came to the conclusion that beginner nail artists, like me, should:
  1. Beware of geometric designs. Drawing straight lines or repeating shapes takes practice, practice and practice! 
  2. Stick with organic designs and shapes—that is, designs or shapes that don't repeat or don't have look uniform.  
  3. Use subtle color combinations. Mistakes are much more noticeable with contrasting colors.
  4. Be patient and don't expect perfection right away. Even if my suggestions help, nail art is something that takes time to master.It's best to enjoy the process and appreciate each time you improve a little. 
For my most recent attempt, I used my own design again. However, this time, I used a pale blue base and a design in a pale green. The two pale colors blended well, creating a very subtle design. The look is still pretty wobbly, but I'll keep practicing.

Designer Nails provides directions for creating about 50 different nail art designs. Many of the designs look like they need some serious practice to perfect. However, others don't require you to draw straight lines or mirrored shapes, thus, making them a little easier to recreate.

Happy Polishing!