Freehand Nail Art Tips

This isn’t going to be very much of a tutorial, as there’s no pictures, but I’m going to do my best to explain how to draw nail art freehand.  Unfortunately, it takes a bit of drawing skill, which is probably not something I can teach here!

If you want to put freehand art on your nails, and you are not good at drawing, your results won’t look great. However, there are a few cheater tips I can share with you:

1) Find a simple clip-art image of what you want to draw.  Do a Google image search or look in a clip-art library. The image will be reduced to simpler lines and a few colors. For nail designs, a bold, easy-to-see image is the best.  A tiny, detailed image is extremely difficult to get right. Think simple, stylized, and bold rather than intricate. Start simple and work your way up.

2) Try drawing the image (large size) on a piece of paper while looking at the clip art. Refine your drawing, still using the large size and change any bits you want to. Draw the image successively smaller until it’s the same size as you want it on your nail.  If it looks bad on paper, it won’t look good on your nails. Take a few extra minutes to really get it right so you can draw with confidence on your nails.

3) Paint your nails with a light color so the nail art will stand out. I usually use white.

4) Use a Sharpie marker (careful, it can stain your nails!) or nail art pen to draw the image. You can draw a line, or a series of dots placed close together. Make the lines fairly thick and bold. After the image is dry, paint the background around the nail art a darker color to make the nail art stand out. Add color to your nail art design if you want, but make sure your polish is fairly translucent so it doesn’t cover the outlines of the image. It’s easier to use a small paintbrush than a typical nail polish brush to fill in details.

5) Seal with a topcoat! Most nail art pens are water-soluable.

6) Practice with some simple designs like a cactus or flower before you get more complex.


About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
This entry was posted in Nail polish, NTMG Original Nail Art, Tutorials and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Freehand Nail Art Tips

  1. Kaybee says:

    Could you put a pic of one of your nails? I think you did chile peppers not too long ago. Not sure what you mean to paint the background around the design darker. Thanks for the ideas of practicing on paper – I wouldn’t have thought of it, seems so common sense! Also of using clip art designs. Fun!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Hi Kaybee, I’ll hunt up some pictures when I get a minute. About the background, let’s imagine you paint a smiley face on your nail as the nail art. You have a totally white nail, draw the smiley in the middle with a black pen. Then paint everything but the smiley face a darker color, unless you want a white background. Finally, you’d paint the smiley face yellow. Unless you want a white background for the nail art, you’ll have to paint it a different color. I’ll try to upload some photos when I get a chance!

      • Kaybee says:

        OHHHhhhhh…..I got it!! Thanks! The white is so your colors show up well and then you want your background color. Gotcha. thanks!

  2. Lucy says:

    I don’t think I could attempt anything that was supposed to look real. I might try something abstract but nothing else.

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