get better at nail art

How to get better at doing nail art, Fast!

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In modern days, nail art has become a very big part of the nail industry. People express their love for art by creating extravagant nails. When going on a social media platform like Instagram, one can get an idea of what the standard for nail art is. This can make it quite hard for an average person to stand out in the nail world. 

This post will cover some techniques and steps to follow that will allow you to instantly see an improvement in your own nail art skills. Doing things like investing in the right tools. planning out your designs beforehand and using different drawing methods are some things you can do to improve your nail art skills.

nail brushes

Invest in the right tools

Something that has a very big influence on the quality of nail art that you will be able to create is the type of art brushes that you use. To think that something so simple can have such a drastic impact on the quality of your work is almost mind-blowing. A small and affordable change will allow you to create new designs with ease. 

The three main art brushes that I recommend are the 3 pack striping brushes. There are many different brands out there and they all serve the same purpose.

Something else that you can consider buying, that will help you to be able to create intricate flowers, are stroke brushes. They usually come in a set of multiple brushes and can create beautiful designs like flowers and marble effects, with relative ease. One stroke is an easy way to create designs that seem intricate and hard to create.

Other things like dotting tools are great for creating easy nail art or to start a hand-painted design. It is also very important to invest in good quality gel paint. This will make hand painting so much easier and will give your work the professional effect that it needs to stand out from others.

Find ways to practice by yourself

Buy some nail tip stands to practice on.  They are easy to use and come in a pack of 5.  They work by sticking full tips on to the stand with some double-sided tape or prestack. This will allow you to perfect designs that you might be struggling with within your own time, without needing to practice on someone’s hand. 

It’s always a good idea to practice when trying out a new technique or design. This will save time, product and will also save you the embarrassment if you don’t get something right the first time (most of us don’t). You can also practice on nail swatch sticks, or find a live model that will be willing to sit for you. It is important to take into consideration the time constraint when practising. When you’re working in your own time there is no time limit and you can erase and redo a design as many times as you like until you are completely satisfied. When working on a client you can’t spend the entire day on their nails and even ask them to come back the next day so that you can continue.

When you practice you can also be at ease and calmly try to figure the new technique out and even watch tutorials if you need to. You can also determine which product works best for you and what tools you might need that would make the process easier and more achieveable.

Just remember when doing art, that no two nails will ever look the same.  Creating something by hand is hard, and each design will be unique. So, don’t be too hard on yourself when your designs don’t look the same.

Plan out the design

Something that is very useful and makes painting on nails a lot easier, is drawing the design with a pencil first. This will give you confidence when painting.  Drawing with a pencil is also simpler than painting with gel, and this way you won’t waste any product. You can also map out with gel where you want everything to be by using dots. This will also help you to create small images proportionate to the nails, as it can be quite tricky to minimize a large picture.

Making changes to your design will also be a lot easier, and you will be able to properly plan out the design on the nail to see where everything should go. If planning out a design on the nail first is hard, I find that tracing the nail on a piece of paper and planning the nail that way can be a lot easier, seeing that drawing on paper is simpler than drawing on a curved nail.

Another option can also be to take a large reference image and to draw it smaller and smaller until it’s the size of the nail. This process will take more time but will really help you with the proportions if you struggle to draw big images small.

make use of different mediums

Curing the nails after each small detail you added is highly recommended.  When you make a mistake, you might have to remove the whole design. This won’t only waste precious time, but will also make you feel discouraged. If you find that you’re struggling to make use of gel, because of its generally thick consistency, try using another medium like acrylic paint.  It has many benefits, one of which is that you can thin out the paint with water and it’s generally not as hard to work with as gel, (My personal experience).

Just remember, when using acrylic paint that you have to work on a matte surface. So either buff the nail before applying the paint, or cover the base colour with a matte topcoat. If you don’t follow these steps the paint will just end up peeling off.

If one brand of gel paint isn’t working for you try using another. There are many great brands out there. Just because a brand works for one person, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. You can also make use of watercolour paint and things like nail art pens, which will make drawing lines and writing on nails a lot easier.

methods for drawing the art

When designing your art, start by making light outlines with a base colour like black. Also, make use of an opaque gel to make doing line work much easier for yourself. This will give you a general framework of where everything should be, like the facial proportions. After drawing the outlines and curing them, do the base colouring first. 

Remember, that working with nail art and shadows you have to work in layers.  So it will take time and a lot of in-between curing, but the result will be so worth it!

I find that when trying to create shadows, to keep colours from looking “blocky” and artificial; adding the lighter colour as well as the shadow colour and slightly blending them into each other works best. This will give an “ombre” effect where the two colours meet, and prevent any clear borders where the base colour ends, and the shadow starts.

Another way to create beautiful seamless shadows is to mix your desired colour with a bit of clear base gel. This will cause the colour to become translucent and to blend in with its surroundings a lot easier.

A method you can do to map out the desired image a lot easier is to take a picture of the nail and to edit it on your phone by layering the image on top of the nail photo. This will give you the best possible idea of where and how everything should fit onto the nails. This method may take some time when working on a client though so keep that in mind.


Watch tutorials on YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. Many sources provide detailed videos and give step-by-step tutorials on doing simple designs. 

Watch a video and try it yourself. Remember; don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first time. Doing nail art can be harder than someone might make it seem. 

And keep in mind, that the person who filmed the tutorial didn’t film their first try.

You can also ask a fellow nail tech that has a certain skill to provide you with a tutorial or to show you in person how it’s achieved. Many nail technicians are quite eager to help.

The same goes for you. If you excel in a certain type of nail art, consider creating a tutorial to help your fellow nail technicians.

woman painting nails

Alternative nail art

If hand-drawn nail art is really not your thing, you can try investing in something like foils, water decals as well as stamping tools

There is a wide range of different types of nail art on the market and many different art products out there, that make doing nail art a lot easier. Marbling and blooming gel are also ways to achieve relatively easy designs, that look like they took hours to create. So, don’t get discouraged when a method doesn’t work for you. Hand drew nail art is not for everyone.

Explore the different categories of nail art, and choose what works best for you. You have to enjoy the process after all.

Build your confidence

The biggest thing that you can practice to get better at doing nail art fast, is building your confidence. When seeing a great set of nails, don’t compare it to your own work, and use someone’s art to talk down to yourself. 

Complement them, and stop there! Everyone is different, and realizing that people practised their butts off to get where they are, will also motivate you to do the same. By getting discouraged when you see someone else’s work, you will only end up taking longer to achieve your own goals. 

Or worse yet, you might completely stop trying to do nail art. Never give up. Anyone can do anything that they set their minds to. Start today because tomorrow is a day wasted.

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