Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Love & Heartbreak

I decided to get my Valentine's Day nail art out of the way early, since recent patterns have shown that I tend to completely miss/barely make it in time for a holiday. I'm usually pretty stumped for unique Valentine's Day nail art, so I'm going to go ahead and assume that this will be my only nail art for 2014. Luckily, I managed to meld some ideas together to create today's nail art! 

The words 'comic', 'pop art' and 'Roy Lichtenstein' have inhabited my very lengthy list of 'vague nail art themes without actual plans' for a good while now. I've always been interested in the comic/cartoon nail trend, but wanted to put my own spin on it. With love in the air I was reminded of images of heartbroken, teary-eyed females, in a classically retro Roy Lichtenstein-esque style. The resulting nail art contains Valentine's day motifs in a comic style, complete with its very own heartbroken lady- because what's love without heartbreak?

I used the following colours by American Apparel with striping brushes and small nail art brushes: T-Shirt, Hassid, Sunshine State, Coney Island, Flamingo, Angelique, French Lilac, Downtown LA, Summer Peach, and Santorini.

Let me know if you have any specific questions, and here's a little step-by-step for some of the designs if you'd like to try them for yourself:

Yours truly,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Inspired by Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant)

Hi there! After many days without anything interesting on my nails, I decided that I wanted to try something more technical and patience-requiring. To be honest, the soft, blurred strokes I've been doing for my animal nail art has allowed for me to be pretty sloppy. I haven't touched my striping brushes in what felt like ages (probably several months), so I knew it was time to brush up on my linework. I settled on these very graphic (also intimidating) Shepard Fairey/Obey Giant designs and worked away for a good three hours. I really like how cohesive Fairey's different pieces are in terms of colours and recurring themes, and his intricate designs looked like a good challenge.

Overall I am satisfied with how these turned out. Some of the lines are a bit off, and I had to redo a lot of the more detrimental mistakes that, thankfully, are now gone, especially with the Andre the Giant faces. I'm also quite happy with the proportions, though this curved nail shape still surprises me when I expect to be able to paint all the way to the corners of square nail shape.

I started off with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt. The designs were done with nail art and striping brushes using American Apparel Hassid and American Apparel Downtown LA.

I know this nail art won't please everyone, but I hope that some of you liked it, and thank you for reading either way! Stay warm and have a good day.

Yours truly,

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

3D Fish Inspired by Riusuke Fukahori

Happy new year to all of you! I've been quite busy over the holidays and with exams before that, but here I am to kick off 2014 with something new for you. These are inspired by the incredible resin works of Riusuke Fukahori and Keng Lye. These artists paint between layers of resin to result in a hyperrealistic, 3-dimensional image of fish mid-swim through water. If you have a spare moment I highly recommend checking out this link for more information, photos, and a video of the mind-boggling process. 

Here I tried to recreate the effect by sandwiching polish between layers of base coat. My version resulted in quite a different effect from the inspiration, but I'm satisfied overall and looking forward to developing this technique in the future. 

I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt. I used a small paintbrush to start painting the shadows with American Apparel Echo Park, diluted with acetone. After a layer of base coat I painted the base of the fish with American Apparel Rose Bowl and American Apparel Manila. After another layer of base coat I used American Apparel Downtown LA, American Apparel Sunshine State, and American Apparel T-Shirt. Another layer of base coat and finishing touches with American Apparel Mannequin, American Apparel Raccoon, and Essie As Gold As It Gets, all sealed with a final layer of topcoat. 

The branches and leaves followed the same process with additional polishes American Apparel MacArthur Park, American Apparel Hunter, and American Apparel Makeup.

Yours truly,

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Penguin Pals

The title for today's post is a little childish, but definitely accurate: we have two penguins who are obviously pals, so why not go for the alliteration? The whole scene reminds me of something you would see on a Christmas card, and the snowy backdrop is appropriate considering we've just received our first snowfall here.

I keep think that it's too early for Christmas, but November is almost halfway through! Time has been flying by so quickly, so I guess it's good that I'm actually getting a head-start on the festive nail art. Let me know if you have any suggestions or things you would like to see. I'm drawing a blank right now and could really use your help! :)

Since I painted two penguins, I decided to include both of them in today's step-by-step. I didn't go as crazy with the colours for these ones, and stuck with basic greys with blue and purple shades. The last two steps look quite similar, but in the last one I went back with the grey on the stomachs of the penguins to add more texture. Then I added a bit of white on top of that to soften things and give the penguins a fluffier look.

I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt. I used a small nail art brush to paint the penguins starting with American Apparel Santorini. I continued shading with American Apparel Echo Park, American Apparel L'Esprit, and American Apparel Factory Grey. I then did the darker parts of the penguins with American Apparel Imperial Purple. For the sky I used the watercolour technique with American Apparel L'Esprit and American Apparel Santorini. I did the same for the snow with American Apparel Echo Park, and then went over the whole scene with American Apparel T-Shirt to soften it up. I added snowflakes last with a dotting tool and a silver glitter polish.

As beautiful as snow may be, I know firsthand that it's not as nice to have to travel through it, so I hope the snow delays its arrival wherever you are! And to those of you who never get snow: I'm jealous! Please send good and warm vibes to the rest of us :) Take care and thanks for reading!


Cardinal in Snow

Hi everyone! I'm terribly sorry for being so inactive. I've been busy doing student-related things like being studious and not having a social life and the usual. I'm going to try to squeeze in a few Christmas manicures here and there, but my exam schedule is pretty hectic, so no promises. Otherwise, feel free to check out my past holiday manicures for some inspiration.

While searching for my own inspiration I stumbled upon a striking photo of a cardinal among snowy trees. I also saw similar photos with bluejays that looked really beautiful, so hopefully I can try that out too. For now here's my cardinal surrounded by  snow-covered branches and berries. Unfortunately, I don't have step-by-step photos for this one. I stopped photographing the process because I didn't think the design would work out- I had to go back and rework it a lot, making everything too complicated. The process was pretty much the same as my previous work though, starting with reds and shading with burgundy and brown, later highlighting with orange tones and white.

I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt. I used a small paint brush to start on the cardinal with American Apparel Pink Ladies. I shaded with American Apparel Poppy, American Apparel Downtown LA, American Apparel Port, American Apparel Makeup, and American Apparel Raccoon. I used the last two shades for the branches, and American Apparel Army Jacket and American Apparel Hunter for pine needles. I used a dotting tool and American Apparel Poppy for the berries, and added white to some of the branches for snow. Finally I added snowflakes with a dotting tool and a silver glitter polish, and went over the snow with China Glaze Snowglobe for added sparkle.

Thanks so much for your readership and best regards! :)


Friday, November 08, 2013

Elephant Walk

Hello! I'm terribly sorry that the last time I posted was over a month ago. University has been flying by with multiple tests and assignments every week. Luckily we have a small break next week, as well as a bit of a lull in terms of deadlines and pertinent work. Because of all this, the past month has consisted of solid coloured manicures for me, save for a simple Halloween look that I posted on Instagram. The benefit to this is that I've collected a lot of ideas while I was gone, so all I need is the time to paint them :)

Today's nail art features a baby elephant in a yellow-orange-red-purple colour scheme. The whole thing was inspired by those African sunset photos. You know the ones with the blazing red sky and the profiles of blackened animal silhouettes on the horizon? I drew a lot of inspiration from that but tried to change it up at the same time. The triangles are a favourite pattern of mine, but I painted them on top of a subtle watercolour base for added interest, instead of my usual solid white.

Here's the step-by-step for the elephant. As usual I started with the lighter colours first and worked my way down to the darker ones. I wish I could have used a little more red but I found it hard to incorporate. Also I wasn't sure about how to emulate the texture of elephant skin, so I find the painting to be a bit flat. I thought it would be easy because it wasn't fur, but I guess not!

I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt. I used a small nail art brush to paint the elephant using, in order: American Apparel Sunshine State, American Apparel Sunset Blvd, American Apparel Poppy, American Apparel Dynasty, and American Apparel Imperial Purple. I then did the water colour base (slightly counter-intuitive, I know) using nail polish remover and American Apparel Sunshine State, American Apparel French Lilac, and American Apparel Sunset Blvd. Again I used a small nail art brush for the triangles using the same colours that I used for the elephant, except with American Apparel Manila, a slightly darker yellow.

That's all for now. I hope you liked these and I'm hoping to post a little more regularly in the future! Take care and enjoy your weekend :)


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Pastel Unicorn

Hello! Today's nail art showcases yet another animal, but this time with a whimsical twist. An Instagram follower suggested I try painting a unicorn, so that's what I did! I've been using a lot of boring brown tones, so a unicorn seemed like the perfect opportunity to break out the pastels and have a bit of fun with colour. I'm pretty pleased with the finished result, and I'll be content wearing these for the next week, I think. I have a big midterm coming up that I am far from prepared for, plus Nuit Blanche is this Saturday! Are there any fellow Torontonians that are planning on checking out the art? :)

Moving back to the nail art, I was a little worried that the unicorn motif would read slightly too juvenile for a university student. I added 'realistic' florals on the bottom portion of my remaining nails to try to tone everything down. I think it helped out the situation, and I actually really like the florals on their own, especially the ones on my ring finger. I used a combination of roses, gardenias, lilacs, and hydrangeas for reference. 

Here is a series of progress photos that I took while painting the unicorn. I used a warm base of pastel yellow and pink, gradually adding cooler tones to shade. As you can see in the last step, I found that the jaw was way too skinny, so I simply painted over it and widened it out. Things change quite a bit while I'm working, but luckily I find that this style of painting is pretty forgiving and relatively easy to alter. 

I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt. I used the same order of colours for all of the major components: China Glaze Lemon Fizz, American Apparel Coney Island, American Apparel Flamingo, American Apparel French Lilac, American Apparel Santorini, American Apparel Violet Panache, and American Apparel Imperial Purple. For the gold details I used American Apparel Gold Flash. 

I know this is a little different from the norm, but I hope some aspects of this manicure appeal to everyone! Unicorn enthusiast or floral lover, I hope you enjoyed this nail art! See you next time!