Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Belated Week 40 - Animal Print Mani

I really didn't feel like doing zombie nails this week for the This Is Halloween challenge - while I think they would be awesome with a costume, I just didn't fancy wearing zombie nails to work with my regular office attire. I wouldn't get in trouble, but I would find myself explaining them to everyone who visited my office that day, and while I enjoy it when students notice my nails, I would be annoyed at feeling like I needed to explain why they were zombified. :P

I also don't do my nails just for this blog. This is a record of my hobby - the fact that others enjoy seeing my nail art is completely a bonus! But I primarily take pictures and keep a record just to show myself and others the progress that I've made from complete nail-n00b to nail artist, at whatever level of competence I may have managed by now.

So I decided to go back to my delayed participation in A Year's Challenge. I fully intend to fill in all the weeks I've missed - including the first few weeks before I picked up the challenge - but since I don't do my nails more than twice a week very often, there just isn't space on my hands to do both challenges. :) Even though I didn't participate in the zombie nails, I included the link at the bottom of the post so you can go see how amazing everybody else's were, and we'll be back to the Halloween themes on Friday! :)

Well, the theme for week 40, September 30th, was Animal Print Mani. So I started with this amazing photograph I found on photo of the day contest, titled Moving Day by Isak Pretorious:

I was just taken by the way the colors played together - the gradient from white on the belly to the orange on the back, the slightly darker orange of the spots - just beautiful. I've seen leopard spot manicures, I've even done one, I think, but I thought a gradient underneath would be just that extra touch that it needed.

There are only four colors used in this manicure, with two more for the accent nails. I started with a base of Sinful Colors Snow Me White, and then I put a big drop of white on my plastic-lid-palette alongside a big drop of China Glaze Desert Sun, and swirled them together in the middle. Using a fan brush, I picked up the whole line of polish and brushed it sideways across my nail. It makes for a lot of clean-up, but it also makes for the smoothest graduation in colors I know how to make. My paint palette is limited in its selection of orange cremes - most of my orange polishes have shimmer, like Avon's Lucky Penny or Sinful Colors Courtney Orange - but while I thought that Desert Sun was nearly the perfect color for the cat's undercoat, I needed a brighter and darker orange for the spots. So I mixed together a dollop of Primark Beauty's neon orange with a dollop of Desert Sun, and mixed them together thoroughly. That's the color I used for the leopard's spots. Then using the dotting tool with the thinnest tip I have - it doesn't even have a bulb at the end, it just tapers to a rounded point - I used Liquid Leather to make the spots around the spots. (Okay, my wordsmith brain says there should be a word for those rather than just black spots and orange spots, but I'm too lazy to go look it up right now!)

The accent nails do have the white/orange gradient underneath, but on top also has a simple gradient of China Glaze I'm Not Lion and I Herd That. I just brushed Lion up from the cuticle to fade out about 2/3 of the way up the nail, and then used Herd That from the tips about 2/3 of the way back down. I did the second coat the same way in order to make the fade a little more unobtrusive, and *poof*! I'm done!

I just love how many beautiful colors show up in these glitters. I should have taken a blurry picture just to show how amazing they shine, but I totally forgot until I was writing up this post. I can waste a lot of time just wiggling my fingers around and watching the way the glitter changes - it's like one of those optical illusion 3-d pictures that used to be on the cover of children's books (do you remember those?) where you move them around and the picture changes so that they almost look like they're moving.

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