Welcome participants, welcome, welcome, please feel free to take a seat where ever you like. I am so glad you could make it here today. This is actually a survey course on an art form which can easily be dismissed by someone with a narrow definition of art. Our canvas is actually quite diminutive but the opportunity for creativity is unlimited. I am of course speaking of the humble nail, the one attached to your fingers. Please take out your orientation syllabus so that we may discuss the outline of courses.
Fundamentals Survey (Nail 101)
Before you study technique you should consider the basic media which we will be using. This course focuses on the fundamentals of nails which include maintenance and an introduction to the proper basic tools. These tools include:
- Nail files for shaping
- A nail block and/or buffer for preparing the surface
- Base Coat (my personal favorite is OPI’s nail envy, it helps keep your nail healthy and maintains the color really well)
- Nail Polish (quality, formula, application technique to be discussed in Intermediate Course)
- Top Coat
Intermediate Course (Nail 201)
Once you have established a fundamental understanding of nail maintenance we will delve into the understanding the media further. This course addresses color theory and formula with respect to quality and application. Please review Professor Eugenia’s notes on products available. Her beautifully worded lecture notes and enticing photos will help you to make better choices when it comes to product acquisition. To read her findings please link here.
Knowledge of the following terms are necessary for you to fulfill your requirements:
- Self Leveling – once the polish is applied it will, as if by magic, begin to level itself off so you have a nice surface finish. Not all polishes have this attribute, but it is the hallmark of high quality.
- Streaky – a very common problem with pastel shades, when applied it takes on an uneven appearance, with some streaks that are more opaque than others. Please note this issue is not restricted to pastels, streakiness can happy to any polish.
- Glitter – light reflective particles which have a sparkling quality (fun happy shiny goodness :)).
- Metallic – nail polish formula which mimics a metallic finish on nails.
- Shatter – opaque nail polish, which is traditionally applied over another colored polish, that shrinks while drying and breaks creating a shattered look on nails.
- Cream – opaque traditional formula, their color is the main attraction here and nothing has been added in the way of shimmer, sparkle, glitter, etc.
- Jelly – a more translucent formula, the intent of this formula is to distribute a sheer color and allows for a visible nail line (VNL).
- Frost – this formula which has a shimmer effect when applied.
- Holographic – this formula when viewed dried should have a 3D holographic effect, allowing for colors shifting (usually through use of glitter or duochrome pigments).
- Matte – this can come either as a polish or a top coat which dries to a matte finish and makes any of your current nail polishes matte.
- Pearle – this formula will have a pearl like finish.
Most major producers tend to be 3 Free. These nail polishes boast being less toxic by excluding the following chemicals: Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) Formaldehyde, and Toluene. For one self-professed nail polish fanatics viewpoint on 3 Free click on this link to All Lacquered Up.
Advance Course (Nail 202)
Now that you understand the tools available to you we focus on application. You should also have your basic application skills mastered before we focus on advanced design. This course introduces new techniques. You may find these tools helpful:
- Paint brushes
- Glitter, flakes, and other shiny bits
- Acrylic Paint
Master Course (Nails 402)
This course will fulfill graduate level studies. Your composition will go beyond flat and become 3D. This style of nail art is popular in Asian countries and the products are available online. One of the biggest names in nail art in Japan is Eriko Kurosaki. Kurosakisan not only does kawaii but she also creates elegant designs. To view her website click here, please note it is in Japanese, but many browsers, like Chrome, translate. She also runs a school, but I think you would need to know Japanese.
Functionality may take a back seat to personal style and expression in some cases. In fact the trend of extreme embellished nail art (I call it extreme in some cases) has been covered by news programs.
Anything can inspire you, and you can be creative with you choice of products
This was an interesting interview which provides insight for artist who want a challenge and is interested in nail sculptures.
There are a lot of products available for individuals who wants to start tinkering in 3D nail design, like fimo clay pieces (this links to Etsy sellers) and crystals.
Or you can buy them already made from artists, for instance at the Etsy shop of Never Too Much Glitter. She is an American in Tokyo studying nail design, want to learn more about her, check out her blog here.
This actually took me a while to compile, and may have been better served broken into sections. However I really want to put together a posting/orientation that paid tribute to the gals (and guys) who are interested in this sort of artwork. There is an art and a dedication involved with everyone who follows it. And it really is one of the most interesting way to express yourself, because you have a great deal of control. I hope it was interesting for everyone. Let me know what you thought of if you have any suggestions. OK, the instructor needs a nap.