Step 1.) Paint your nails an opaque white. I've used two coats of Essie's "Blanc".
Optional: Make a sketch of your design. Since this tutorial shows you how to copy my design, sketching really isn't necessary, but I thought that showing you my process might be helpful if you're unsure of how to go about creating original nail art.
This is the sketch that I came up with- the finished design is usually slightly different from the original sketch, but putting your ideas on paper before you start painting helps A TON.
Step 2.) Gather your acrylic paints and squeeze a little bit of each color out on to a palette. You can use palette paper, but I prefer to re-use plastic lids.
Feel free to use less expensive acrylics- I just happened to have these around because my mom and I are both classically trained in painting. A lot of people really like the cheaper, Apple Barrel acrylic craft paints.
The tools I'm using are a very small signature brush, a large dotting tool, and a slightly larger but still very small tapered paintbrush.
Step 3.) Mix your paints with a palette knife (if you don't have one, a plastic knife or a small spatula will work). I recommend looking at a picture while you do this to ensure that the colors will be true to the cartoon.
Step 4.) Follow the chart below to create Lady Rainicorn's mane and rainbow body.
Frame 1: Paint Lady's light yellow mane. As you're doing this, remember to reference your other nails to make sure that the mane looks like it flows almost seamlessly. Next, outline a space below Lady's mane with purple. This will give you an oppotunity to correct any mistakes you made have made on the mane.
Frame 2: Fill in the space. The purple should stop about hafway down the nail. You may have to apply a second coat of paint before the colors become opaque. Luckily, acrylic dries faster than nail polish!
Frames 3 and 4: Paint on a blue stripe below the purple, and a green stripe to finish off the tips. Depending on the length of your nails, feel free to include more of Lady's rainbow. Also, don't feel like you have to paint your stripes as thick as I have- thinner stripes = more room for rainbow-ing.
Step 5.) Paint on Lady's face. (I totally forgot to take pictures demonstrating how to paint the basic shape of her head, but there really aren't any tricks to this. Just look at reference photos and make sure that her mane connects to a small section of mane on your thumb nail).
Frame 1: Outline Lady Rainicorn's head with your tiniest brush and black paint, and then flick the outline of her snout up into a small curve for the smile. (F.Y.I: Feel free to skip any outlining- it's definitely the hardest part). Then with a large dotting tool, dot on a black spot.
Frame 2: With the same dotting tool, use white paint to deposit a large highlight inside the black dot. If you apply less pressure when you dot on the white paint, you should be able to create a slightly smaller circle.
Optional: Outline Lady's mane to give the nails a slightly more cartoon-y look. I prefer the look of an outlined mane, but if you don't think you can outline with your non-dominant hand, don't sweat it.
Step 6.) Finally, Seal in your design with a high-gloss topcoat to add some shine to the matte acrylic paint.
I hope you decide to try out this Lady Rainicorn design- it takes a little time and patience, but the end result is pretty adorable if I do say so myself... GOOD LUCK!