Monday, September 23, 2013

King of the Jungle

Happy Monday, everyone! Here's to the start of a great work week, and a wonderful first official day of autumn as well! I know most people are sad to say goodbye to summer, but personally, I'm more than ready to embrace cozy knits, boots, and tights. I love the changing hues of leaves melting into sunsets, or contrasting against a bright blue sky before colouring the ground. I drew inspiration from these golden browns and purple shadows to create today's nail art. After not being too particularly happy with tiger nail art, I tried my luck at another furry, majestic creature: the lion.

When I started planning out this nail art I wasn't sure if I should paint the lion's face -and- mane on one nail. I settled on keeping the face as the central focus, with the mane on the adjacent nails. I was unsure if everything would align properly for photos, but I think it worked out quite nicely! I kept it simple for the rest of the nails with branches and small bits of greenery. I like the white background behind the design, as I think it adds a nice bit of contrast.

As always, here are the progress shots of the lion's face. For reference, this one nail took about an hour to paint. I always find fur the hardest texture to emulate, but I think I'm getting better. I think my technique is also becoming pretty solid and consistent now. I work mostly on just building shadows until everything is distinct.

I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt on all of my nails. Following the progress photo, I started painting the lion with a small paint brush and American Apparel Palm Springs. I continued to add detail and shadow with American Apparel Makeup, American Apparel Dynasty, and American Apparel Raccoon. I then added highlights with American Apparel T-Shirt, American Apparel California Trooper, and American Apparel Manila. For the branches I used the same colours, and the leaves were done in American Apparel Army Jacket, followed by American Apparel Hunter.

I'll leave you with a closeup shot of the finished look. Thank you so much for reading, and feel free to leave any suggestions for more animal nails!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Hi everyone! I'm finding that I have very little time to paint my nails with any regularity, so when I do paint them, I try to do something that I'll actually enjoy wearing for up to a week. These more realistic designs that I've been doing are pretty time-consuming, but I truly love the finished results and I'm happy to wear them for several days. I also find that freehand nail art like this lasts extremely long. Since there's only about two full coats of white polish on my nails, my manicure isn't as prone to chipping and tip wear. Interesting, huh? :)

For this nail art I decided to paint some more birds. This time I went for hummingbirds in teal with a peach/orange underlying base. I then added some orange/brown florals for contrast. Overall I'm pretty happy with the look, but I wish I did a little more research for the hummingbirds. I felt like I made them up as I went along, and so they're not as hummingbird-esque as I would have liked.

Here's a step-by-step for one of the hummingbirds that I posted on Instagram. I'm really enjoying playing with strange colour combinations, can you tell? :) For these nails I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt. I used a small paint brush to paint the hummingbirds with these colours: American Apparel Summer Peach, American Apparel Office, American Apparel Malibu Green, American Apparel Peacock, and American Apparel Hunter. For the flowers I started with American Apparel Summer Peach, followed by American Apparel Sunset Blvd, American Apparel Makeup, and American Apparel Raccoon.

I hope you have an easy rest of the work week! As always, thank you for reading and for your kind thoughts!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Night Owl

Hi all! If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I promised a blog post with these nails on Sunday night. It is now Tuesday, and I am still struggling between breaks to put together this post. Sunday evening was instead spent prepping for lectures because I started my second year of university yesterday. The long hours and commute hit me like a ton of bricks, and left me completely drained. This is unfortunate because I've been dying to share these with you, since I'm really pleased with the way they turned out.

I had the idea of owl nail art in my head for the last few weeks, and I kept wanting to pair it with an unnatural but pretty colour scheme and an intricate tribal print. I was browsing Pinterest and found some great inspiration for the owl itself, colours, and patterns. I opted out on the print for something more bold and geometric, resulting in these tribal-esque chevrons. I realized that my fine line work has gotten pretty rusty, so I'll definitely have to start practicing again!

I posted a step-by-step for the owl on Instagram, but I'll also include it here to save you the trouble. I painted the owl starting with a mint base, gradually adding darker shades of purple to define it. I think this is one of my favourite animals that I've painted. I'm particularly proud of the eye area, and I think I got the feathery texture down alright. Fur is definitely still a struggle, but feathers are alright, and I'm looking forward to painting more birds in the near future. 

I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt on all of my nails. For the owl I used a small paint brush and American Apparel Office. I added detail with American Apparel French Lilac, American Apparel Dynasty, and American Apparel Imperial Purple. For the rest of my nails I painted the lilac and mint shapes first, followed by the dark purple to outline everything.

I hope that those of you starting school aren't finding it too tough just yet. Hang in there, and thanks for reading!


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Inspired by Keith Haring

Hello! I know that a lot of people went back to school yesterday, so if you were one of them, I hope your first day back went swimmingly! I don't start until next week, so I'm just enjoying this last week of solitude before returning to a life of early, lecture-filled mornings, and late, study-heavy nights. I can't say I'm looking forward to the start of another academic year, but I'm hoping that it will go smoothly. For those of you also in school this year, good luck! :)

I've been itching to paint Keith Haring-inspired nail art for awhile, but I was a little hesitant to work with such a bold assortment of colour. The apprehension lingered as I started working on these, but the black outlines really brought the figures to life near the end. I'm really happy with the finished nail art, so now I'm wishing I had just done them sooner! Haring's dancing figures may not have faces, but to me they express so much joy, energy, and life. 

I started with a base of American Apparel T-Shirt. I then used a small brush to paint the figures with American Apparel Parakeet, American Apparel Sunshine State, American Apparel Poppy, China Glaze Dance Baby, and OPI No Room for the Blues. I used American Apparel Hassid to outline the figures and add the remaining details.

I hope this fun nail art brightened your day! Thank you so much for your readership, and I'll see you soon!