From Copycat to Nail Designer. How to find your unique nail art style.
Take a look at your nail art portfolio, what do you see? Are your nail designs truly your own ideas or replicas of popular pictures from social media?
If you are a beginner, chances are you haven't yet found your style and practise your skills by copying designs from step-by-step tutorials. That's great, that's what they are for.
If, however, you are an experienced nail tech, then it's time to find your style if you haven't done it yet. But what exactly is an individual nail art style, and how can you find yours?
Your artistic fingerprint.
Your style consists of features that connect your various nail art into one harmonious collection. It is your artistic fingerprint, which makes your work recognisable by your followers before they spot your logo on the picture. It is a combination of your personal preferences, colour choices, imagination, knowledge, manual skills, nail systems you use, themes and even the nail shapes you choose.
Study the work of nail artists you admire.
Learn from inspirational and original nail designers. What themes show up in their work most often? What elements of design are common across a variety of their nail art?
Here are a few of many nail art designers with unique and beautiful personal styles. I encourage you to check their accounts for inspiration and a better understanding of nail art style.
Alina is recognised for her French and delicate, elegant gel designs on perfectly shaped almond nails. Ideal for quick salon work. Look at the precision! Every line and every flower petal is perfectly shaped, and this is a huge part of the WOW factor.
French or simple designs are not easy! There is no room to hide imperfections. It takes a lot of practice. Alina uses Aleana's practice hand from Anais Collection. You can also get one here.
Kseniia’s is known for her delicate floral designs using aquarelle paints, but she can paint anything from landscapes to animals. Her work is mesmerising to watch.
She makes it look so easy, but if you ever tried it, you know it takes a lot of skill and practice.
Tania is one of my favourite nail designers from Ukraine. I can recognise her work the second I see it. Her gel polish hand painting style shines through all themes, be it her stunning floral designs or seasonal nail art. Go and check her beautiful Autumn designs and get ideas for the coming season.
VinChen displays his amazing art on extreme length nails. Usually on Marilyn/Coffin and Stiletto. He has a vast knowledge of various art techniques, and everyone can learn something from VinChen. His compositions and colour combinations are some elements of his unique style.
Yolee describes herself as a Marble Queen and the name describes her perfectly. If you like the marbling technique but lack ideas or you would like to learn how to marble with a variety of nail products and in ways, you might have not seen before then Yolee’s account is a marble encyclopedia you must check!
Anita creates a vast range of nail art, from hand painted floral designs, 3D designs using plasticine gel to incredible tip boxes. I see her style in the brush stroke shapes. Even her one stroke technique is unique, and I can immediately tell it is her work.
If you are a fan of cartoons, Disney, or face painting, you will love Yaroslava’s work. Her designs are full of vibrant colours. She knows the colour theory inside out. Her colour combinations are eye-catching, harmonious and simply stunning.
Home of Deva creates cartoon nail art in a more salon friendly version. She features the characters on one or two nails and her style shines through her colour choices and nail art composition. Beautiful and inspirational work.
Igor is a different kind of nail artist. He creates tiny pieces of art that resemble miniature paintings you would have around the house or even in an art gallery. It certainly isn’t salon work, but a passion and a true talent. I find Igor’s work captivating, thought-provoking, and you can clearly see his original style on every single nail tip.
If you don’t enjoy hand painting, but stamping is what floats your boat, then Norka’s account is one you need to visit. She incorporates colouring and embossing with stamping and the results are stunning. Perfect for salon work too.
Mino’s work is famous for his inventions of avant-garde, creative shapes full of intricate painting, textures and a vast range of accessories. What a style!
If nail shapes fascinate you more than painting techniques, then you have to check Kostka’s account. She has almost 200K for a reason. Her imagination and execution of extreme nail shape ideas are out of this world and needless to say, her style is just as bold as her designs.
Sojinails style shines through in her out of the ordinary nail shape choices and 3D art. Glassy drops, swirls and chrome show up frequently as well as unusual compositions. The only limit to art is our imagination.
Classic and pastel colours dominate in Anouskaanastasia’s work. If you are looking for inspiration on how to decorate classic French then you will find it on her account. From delicate bling to hand painted butterflies on French tips and everything in between.
How to find your unique style?
In order to find your style, you need to understand what specifically you are drawn toward. Answer these questions for more clarity and write them down, you will need them later.
Do you like classic and elegant nail designs such as French and ornaments, or do you prefer intricate paintings such as floral designs or cartoons?
- Are you drawn toward minimal nail art such as classic French and delicate watercolour or prefer maximalist style, dense with detail, saturated colours and accessories such as glitter and crystals?
- What is your favourite nail art system? Do you prefer to work with gel polish and paints or acrylic, and plasticine gel? The medium you choose will automatically put a stamp on the finished art.
- What is your favourite technique? Encapsulating, creating textured designs and 3D? Perhaps hand painting, stamping, or airbrush techniques?
- Do you like to work on shorter natural nails, or perhaps you are passionate about sculpting extreme nail shapes?
“Every artist gets asked the question: Where do you get your ideas? The honest artist answers, I steal them.” Austin Kleon
No artist is 100% original. We all get inspired by the world around us, and anything we are exposed to can influence our ideas.
Look for inspirations around you. Not only on other artists social media but the whole outside world, in nature, fashion, jewellery, all forms of art such as graphic design, tattoos, sculptures, wall paintings etc.
Copying is great for practice, not for finding your unique style.
If you want to find your own style do not copy entire designs or one specific nail designer but find individual elements you like in as many sources as possible and put them together. Test various combinations to find which ones you like the most.
Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. It can act as a digital notebook where you can group and save your images for practice. Look for colour palettes, textures, and individual elements related to your questionnaire answers. Don’t be afraid to experiment and play. Let your imagination run wild.Don’t be put off by not satisfying results, this isn’t a competition, it is a process, trust it and have fun.
If you decide to copy entire designs for practice and post on social media, make sure to give the author the credit they deserve. It doesn't cost anything, they will appreciate it and may even give you valuable feedback.
Step out of your comfort zone.
Watch nail tutorials, take nail art classes and workshops on techniques of your interest and those you have never tried before. Learn colour theory. Colour combination alone can make or break your design.
Exploring a variety of styles, products, and nail art techniques will improve your product understanding, application and technical skills, as well as help you find your style.
Developing your style takes a significant amount of focus, time, and effort.
Your style won’t develop overnight. Neither looking at inspirations nor thinking about designs in your head will make it happen. Practising and analysing your work are the key elements to success. The more you practice, the quicker you will get there.
Practice makes progress.
The key to progress is consistent practice. The key to consistent practice is to find ways to stay motivated. The most important element of practice is to enjoy the process. The more you enjoy it, the more you will want to practice.
The tools you use for practice are essential. If your practice time is frustrating because the tips are falling off or sculpting forms take a lot of time to secure, then you are setting yourself up for failure before you even begin.
Aleana will give you a helping hand.
If, like myself, you can't wait to get your Aleana practice hand out, then you are halfway there. If you haven't yet purchased Aleana practice hand or fingers, then this is a perfect time.
Taking into account the endless hours of practice ahead of you, you need a comfortable and reliable tool you love and get excited about using. Aleana practice hands and fingers are the best investment in yourself. Not only for finding your style but for any practice, from product application, extensions, and French to Nail art.
They come in variety of colours to suit your nail art style, from cool, ivory to golden brown. Neutral undertone of Winter skin tone is perfect for delicate designs, light nude and pastel colours. It also compliments cool coloured nail designs. It looks amazing with custom tatoos and ghotic style nail art.
Autumn, Indian Summer and Summer have warm undertone and are perfect for warm colours from Sunflower yellow to classic red. Neon and bold colour combinations look awsome on tanned skin, so do darker, warm nudes.
If you want to master colour combinations then you need neutral undertone practice hand in Winter and at least one warm colour of your choice. One colour is great for practice however, if you plan on showcasing your work on social media, then the Lifelike or Summer TrueTan version is definitely worth the investment as it will add WOW factor to your social media content.
FormsFix is your best friend if you are passionate about sculpting. If you haven't heard about it, check the previous blog here and see what you are missing.
How to stay motivated?
Set a specific time aside each day or as often as you can. Practising little but often, will get you further than a few hours in one go once a week.
Reward yourself after completing a certain amount of nail art or each week if you haven't skipped any practice session.
Each week analyse your work, focus on what you have learned, write down the elements, themes, and colour combinations you liked.
Progress makes us feel good and keeps us motivated. Decide on what you are going to create next week to have a clear plan to follow and stick to it.
Hold yourself accountable.
If you are serious about finding your style, elevating your social media and growing as an artist, then you need to put in the work and give yourself time. It will be worth it.
Before you know it, you will find your signature style and other nail techs looking for their own will save pictures of your work for inspiration.
Stay safe, stay motivated and have fun practising!
WRITTEN BY JUSTYNA WROBEL