SORRY I couldn’t resist making an art + wrestling pun. HEY YEAH, it’s another nail tutorial thing! And it does involves scumbling! Kinda!


* Black or other dark-colored plain cream polish, preferably pretty pigmented.

* A light-colored sparkle-bomb polish in a clear base.

* A fairly stiff and jaggedy brush; I used a #3 round Chunking (hog bristle).

FIRST, do your base coats and let them dry compleeeeetely. Here I’ve got my usual three layers of Nailtiques 2.

Pour out a little of your black polish onto a disposable or easily-cleanable surface. A paper plate or a small glass dish works great, but I love using silicone cupcake liners because you can just let that shit dry in there and then peel/flake it off. SO EASY, NO ACTUAL CLEANING NEEDED, woo. Anyway, you just need a very small mount of polish in there, so don’t go nuts.

Get a verrry lil bit of polish on the end of your brush. We’re going to kinda scumble it onto our nails — which, if you’re not An Art Person, “scumbling” is a type of scuffy dry-brushing a color onto a dry surface, so that it deposits in a kinda sheer layer. This is a good way to get a nicely jaggedy gradient base-effect using a super dark shade, instead of trying to sponge ‘n’ blend it. This isn’t REALLY technically scumbling, I guess, but it’s just such a fun word so come at me. (Please don’t come at me.)

Start at the TIP of your nail, blot the polishy brush around on the tip, and then drag it in quick strokes toward the cuticle. You’ll know right away if you’ve got too much polish on the brush — it’s a good idea to kinda swipe some of it off on your paint-holding surface first to make sure.

Build up the color at the tip of the nail so it’s opaque, and let it do a jaggy streaky “fade” downward toward your cuticle — I usually stop at like the 2/3 or 3/4 point. Now let that dry so you don’t accidentally gack it up, and then go ahead and do cleanup. Since we’re painting over this, it doesn’t matter if you accidentally take a little bit of polish off the very sides of your nail, so I just used a qtip with a bit of remover on it.

Now go over it with a coat of your SPARKLE BOMB. You can use whatever you like, but I’m lazy and only wanted to do one coat here, so I picked something that had enough glitters/shimmers in it that it would diffuse the scribbly look of the black somewhat.

Then add your usual top coats (I did a coat of my usual suspension base, then a coat of Seche Vite) and you’re done!

OOOOOO, DRAMA. I love this one because of the extreme contrast between black tips and nude base, and I mean obvs the sparkle effect. Plus it’s eaaaasy and you don’t need to be super-precise, for which I ain’t got neither the time nor the interest.

DRY BRUSHING : yah or nah? Got an artist’s brush or other unusual tool you’ve repurposed for an interesting mani? Discuss! <3