It all began on 1 June 2012 when I went to a party for the Queen’s Jubilee and painted some Union Jack nails. They were a poor representation of my patriotism and I knew in that instant that I could do better. I set about making it my mission to improve my nailart skills. Here’s how things have progressed since then …
At the start, I attempted designs I’d seen in magazines, however I had no nailart tools at all so would have to do all my designs using just nail varnish brushes. I mastered the art of squeezing the brush so it had a thin edge and would use that to attempt little details. The art took a long time and I would end up painting layer upon layer of varnish to cover up my mistakes which led to my nails taking ages to dry and would always end up smudging along the way. It was a time of much frustration!
I finally purchased some nailart pens and rhinestones and saw a huge improvement in my skills and also greater variety in designs I could try out. But I remember battling cramp in my hand from squeezing the pens and struggling hugely using my left hand.
I joined Instagram on 14 January last year – this was my first ever post. That opened up a whole world of nailart possibilities that I had never even imagined. Suddenly I was exposed to intricate patterns by other nailartists that raised my game like nothing else. I began to grasp what was achievable with enough commitment and practice.
It wasn’t until that summer that I made my Instagram a nails only account, and began to engage with the nailart community. This was a turning point for me and shifted my hobby to a fully-fledged passion. I tried out new techniques – my first ever gradient for example.
A month later I built up the courage to paint someone else’s nails for the first time. It was a nerve-wracking experience but once I realised I could do it, my confidence grew even faster. It was through chatting to friends while painting their nails that I understood where so many of them were going wrong. I didn’t even realise that I knew so much about basic manicure techniques until I was hearing all the mistakes other people were making – things I had learnt from during my own nailart journey. It was then that I decided to host a Tillynailart Class in order to teach people the basics and show them that trialling nailart isn’t as big an obstacle as some people perceive it to be.
That summer, while on holiday, I started my blog. I wrote down all the tips that I had picked up along the way in the hope that more people would be inspired to try nailart – thus making the world a prettier place! Nailart occupied my every thought to the extent that I even started dreaming up designs in my sleep! It was at that time that I tried my first watermarbling…epic fail!
My passion was evident to everyone around. It was pretty much all anybody would talk to me about and it made me so happy! A good friend believed in my talent and decided to pair it with his photography skills. And so were born the Tillynailart Portraits.
As my enthusiasm for nailart grew, so did my need for new tools to master new techniques. In October, I bought brushes, dotting tools, striping tape and a clean up brush which were all huge factors in allowing my skills to become more advanced.
However, the biggest game changer of all was when I started using acrylic paints for nailart. Suddenly no design was off limits. My mind was awakened to a whole new world of possibilities and I couldn’t wait to devote more time to painting my nails.
Then at the start of 2014 I tried nail stamping for the first time. To tell the truth, I was fairly disappointed by it. I think in my mind nothing compared to acrylic paints.
I also uploaded my first YouTube video tutorial having been given some filming equipment for my birthday. It is very time consuming painting nails while filming and then editing and uploading the videos afterwards. For the moment, I’m investing whatever time I have into nailart itself, and hope to do more videos in the future.
In February I hit 1000 followers on Instagram which was such an achievement for me and hugely encouraging. As a result of that, I hosted my first online giveaway. I hope to have many more of these to come. That was also the month I met up with a fellow UK Nailartist through Instagram. It was so great to chat to someone who shared my passion and understood my frustrations. It was with her that I did my first set of bestie twin nails.
So that pretty much brings us up to date. Two years on, I’m still loving nailart and excited about all the techniques out there that I still have to discover. My hope is that many more people will be inspired to give nailart a go, that I’ll get to meet other nailartists and that I’ll continue to see improvements in my skills.
If you have any questions about nailart, or suggestions for designs for me to try, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.