Sunday, January 14, 2018

Year in Manicures: 2017

Happy New Year!
I hope everyone's been having a good start to their 2018 so far!
If you follow me on Instagram (@nyanails) you may have seen that I was in BC over the new year. Since I was visiting a friend I didn't have much time to sit down and write blog posts, so it took me a little while to get this whole long post written out. Before starting in on new 2018 designs I wanted to take a look back at some of my favourite sets of nails from 2017!

I had a lot of stuff going on in 2017: among other things, I finished my undergrad, took a grad trip to Korea, and started a post-grad program in the Fall. As a result I wasn't able to paint as much as I'm used to, so my list of top favourite designs is a bit shorter this year than it was last year. Regardless, I still painted quite a few designs this year that I'm proud of, so I hope you like seeing this little compilation of my favourite designs!

These designs are going to be listed in order of when they were posted, not in order of how much I liked them; you can click the date listed under the title of the design to see the original post.

For Life

I started out this year with a design that technically should have been done last year, but was pushed back due to some technical issues. This design is inspired by For Life, the title song from EXO’s third Winter Special Album of the same name. I really wanted to do an amber nail for this design, but I didn’t have the materials I needed for it. Instead of just thinking of something else to do, I ended up ordering sheer yellow and orange polishes online and delivery time ended up pushing the design back into 2017. Aside from my struggles with polishes, I also had the absolute hardest time deciding what I should paint on the pinky nail. It took two of my friends and I two entire days to finally settle on the pinky nail design, but I'm really happy with the one we chose because I think the repeated amber in the filament really helped to bring the design together!

Sunshine State

This was a fun design that I did when I got back from my trip to Florida during Spring Break. It’s inspired by a phone case that I picked up at Pac Sun while I was down there, and I love the way the colours match each other. From the shimmer of the teal, to the crΓ¨me yellow, to the marble, this design mixed a lot of elements, but I feel like they all came together to make something great! It also brings back memories of hanging around the pool for a week without having anything to worry about so that's always a plus as well! 😜

Spaced Out

I’ve done a ton of space and galaxy designs before, but none quite like this one. I usually try to go a bit more realistic with galaxy nails, but this one inspired by a print I found on Pinterest is more cartoonish and I love the effect. Aside from a few kind of detailed bits (those planet rings were a struggle), this was also a really easy design to do which is always a nice change of pace from a lot of my more intricate designs.

Mellow Melons

Another design from this year that was based off a print from Pinterest, these watermelon nails were fresh, summery, and cute. I’ve done a few different watermelon designs in the past, but this was the first one to feature the watermelon slices having faces and I loved how it really gave a personality to this design. Aside from the watermelons themselves, I also really like the base colour for this design (Mint Candy Apple from Essie). Surprisingly, I had never used the polish before this year even though it’s a common one, but I had picked it up to use in a runway inspired design earlier in the year. The colour itself is super pretty and the formula and opacity are honestly amazing. Definitely one of my favourite polish purchases this year!

Red Flavor

Stepping back over to the kpop side of things, this design made for the release of Red Flavor from Red Velvet’s Summer EP The Red Summer easily made it into my favourite designs of the year with its bright colours and fun vibe. The song itself was a summer bop and I was happy to be able to capture that feeling in the design. Each of the fruits on the index and middle nails correspond to a different member and each one presented some unique painting challenges. The grapes were probably the most difficult to work with as I tried to figure out how to add shading so that they didn’t come out looking like a weird purple blob. I think what really tied the design together though was the red outline on 3/5 of the nails. This was a new kind of outline for me – I usually put them right to the edge of the polish – but I think having it in from the edge and overlapping some of the fruit really worked well.


This was probably the simplest design I did all year, but I really loved how chic and sleek it looked. It was inspired by the nail art EXO’s Sehun wore periodically during promotions for Ko Ko Bop this year. I had seen a few other people recreating his nails on Instagram already, but I couldn't help but want to paint it for myself as well! It honestly probably took me longer to find semi-clear pictures of Sehun's original nails than it took me to paint my own, but it was definitely worth sitting through and entire V App broadcast for a 1-2 second shot of his nails πŸ˜‚ Since the design was so quick and easy to paint I also had time to paint my Cinderella hand which doesn't happen that often anymore. Since I had painted both hands this also gave me an opportunity to figure out how to photograph a two-handed design. I'm pretty happy with the pose I settled on and I used it for a few other designs later in the year.

Cool Cacti

Cacti prints have been pretty popular for the last year or two, and this year I decided to try one out for myself and channeled my inner @ninanailedit to do it! This design was pretty different for me since I don't do a lot of colour blocking, but I really loved how it looked with the negative space and studs. Matte nails are also something I don't do very often, but I think it really amplified the look of the design and definitely made it more Nina-like.


Ahhh, my DNA nails. I missed painting nails for my own 22nd birthday to get this set painted and released all together but I really liked how it turned out so it's all good πŸ˜‚ BTS had an undeniably good year in 2017, and Love Yourself: Her was a really solid album. In addition to the song being catchy as hell, the music video for DNA had so many scenes that gave me inspiration for designs so the challenge here was cutting all my jumbled ideas down to five designs that complemented each other in content and colour. Out of all the individual designs I had sketched out, I felt like the purple galaxy was the pattern that popped up the most and really reflected the mv well. To give the design a bit of variety, I chose to add in two white-based nails, one with the moon and one with the album logo on it. Overall I just really loved how all of the different elements worked together in this design, and I was really happy to be painting a legit galaxy design for the first time in a while!

Inspiration - In Memory of Kim Jonghyun (1990-2017)

I hesitated to include these in this list because while yes, they are technically a set of nails, I didn't paint them to be a design the same way as the other nails I did this year. My decision to include them here stems from what they meant to me on a personal level. This wasn't about nails and it wasn't about likes or views or anything like that; I did not paint these with the intention for them to be seen as something for "fashion." This design is extremely important to me not for its aesthetic value, but because painting it was a way for me to deal with some difficult emotions and to say goodbye and pay tribute to an an amazing artist who will be dearly missed. Jonghyun was, in every aspect of the word, an inspiration. His death has affected me more deeply than I thought the passing of anyone I didn't know personally ever could, but I've been very lucky and grateful to have a strong support system and people to lean on and share my feelings with. 
I would again like to extend my condolences to Jonghyun's family, friends, and coworkers during this difficult time.
To Jonghyun, I hope you have found peace and you will always have a place in my heart. You worked hard; you did well.
μˆ˜κ³ ν–ˆμ–΄μš”, μ’…ν˜„μ•„. πŸ’”πŸŒΉ

Honourable Mentions: Thumb Nails

While none of these full designs ended up on my Top 9 list I feel like they still need to be mentioned because as some of my favourite thumb shots ever I feel like they can stand on their own even without the full designs.
The thumb shot for my Winner Island inspired design may be my favourite thumb shot ever. I really, really (see what I did there 😜) loved how the gradients all turned out and how well the colours worked with each other!
The thumb shot for my BTS MIC Drop inspired design helped me learn more about shading and painting with polish to make things look realistic. Definitely proud of how well both the hand and the mic turned out here!
The thumb shot from my EXO Power design took me literally forever to paint. All those little arms are so tiny and I wasn't even sure I'd be able to paint the entire thing. I'm glad I persevered though because this is definitely a thumb shot that I'm really proud of!
The thumb shot from EXO The War: Ko Ko Bop is actually a full design in itself. I only painted the thumbnail based on the teasers for the album prior to the music video being released. SM was really testing my creativity here by releasing three different logos for this comeback which I found a way to merge into one! 

And that brings us to the end of my favourite designs from 2017!
Was your favourite design on the list? Or was it maybe one of my 2017bestnine on Instagram?

Before I go I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your continuous support. Seeing all of your positive reactions - whether it be on Instagram, Youtube, or any other social media channel - always motivates me to do better and to keep creating new art to share with you all. I'm always grateful for the support each and every one of you show me.
I hope you're all having a good 2018 so far and I wish you all health and happiness in the coming year! πŸ’•


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