It Smells Like Lacquer, Acetone, and Children’s Books in Here

14 Aug
My short, unembellished fingernails.

My short, unembellished fingernails.

I don’t do anything with my nails except keep them cut short.  I play the violin (mediocre-ly) and I’m not allowed to grow them too long.  Also, nailpolish irritates me.  Once I have it on, all I want to do is pick at it (with my non-existent fingernails) and peel it off.

Even though I am firmly in the ‘keep it simple’ camp when it comes to my own nails, I think nail art is fascinating.  It takes a steady hand and a lot of skill to create such clean, imaginative, and elaborate designs on those 10 tiny keratin canvases.  Also, I appreciate how nail art is meant to be short-lived, ephemeral. It may last only a week or two before you have to wipe it off, but the tradeoff is you can get new and fresh designs painted on all year long if that’s your cup of tea.  By contrast, once you get a tattoo or piercing, you’re stuck with it.  Pretty much forever.

I was poking around Buzzfeed a couple of weeks ago and I came across an article called, 12 Incredibly Intricate Harry Potter Inspired Manicures.  This one was my favorite:

Try to guess which one is George and which is Fred (

Try to guess which one is George and which is Fred. (

I figured there had to be other examples of nail art inspired by children’s books out there, and a Google Image search did not prove me wrong.   I wish I could say that I’m giving you a small sampling of what I found.  It is undeniably just a sampling, but small?  Far from it.  Flex your fingers and crack your knuckles because there’s some hard-core scrolling ahead .

All of the examples I chose are hand-painted, hand-drawn, or hand-glued.  There are no overlays or wraps to be found here.  Click on the photos to be directed to the sites where all of these marvelous designs are found.

One of the First Things I Noticed Was How Popular Rainbow Fish Is in the Nail Art Biz

Dr. Seuss Also Looms Large…

Cat in the Hat #1 (

Cat in the Hat #1 (

I love the designs where the fingers have to be stacked on top of each other to make the picture.

Cat in the Hat #2.  I love the designs where the fingers have to be stacked on top of each other to make the picture (

Cat in the Hat #2. (

One Fish Two Fish (

One Fish Two Fish (

Green Eggs and Ham (

Green Eggs and Ham (

Let’s Not Forget About Seuss’ Beginner Books Stablemate, P.D. Eastman

Are You My Mother?(

Are You My Mother? (

When You Think Eric Carle, Don’t Just Think, ‘Caterpillar’

Of course there's a caterpillar (

Of course there’s going to be a caterpillar (

But also Mister Seahorse (

But also Mister Seahorse (

But also 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?' (

And  ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ (

My Opinion of The Giving Tree Is Hardly NuancedIt Creeps Me Out!

I can get behind 'Giving Tree' manicures, however (

I can get behind ‘Giving Tree’ manicures, however (

These 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' take the bad 'Giving Tree' taste from my mouth (

These ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’ nails make the squirmy ‘Giving Tree’ feelings go away (

Ditto for this 'Missing Piece' Nail Job (

Ditto for this ‘Missing Piece’ nail job (

Never Underestimate the Power of the Timeless Classics

Curious George (

Curious George (

Where the Wild Things Are (

Where the Wild Things Are (

The Little Prince (

The Little Prince (including baobob tree) (

Harold and the Purple Crayon (

Harold and the Purple Crayon (

The Runaway Bunny (

The Runaway Bunny (

Contemporary Picture Books Are Also Generously Represented

'Dancing Feet' by Lindsey Craig (

‘Dancing Feet’ by Lindsey Craig (

You Don’t Have to Use French or British Polish to Paint European Characters

Kipper (Great Britain) (

Kipper (Great Britain) (

Jip and Janneke (Netherlands) (

Jip and Janneke (Netherlands) (

Harry Potter Isn’t the Only Chapter Book Nail Art Game in Town

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking (

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking (

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (

Like other blogging communities, nail art bloggers build their community (while sharpening their own skills) by joining blog campaigns and challenges.  Many of the pictures I found were submissions in something called the Digit-al Dozen: Books Challenge (digit-al– get it?).  After putting this post together, I can safely say I won’t be taking a u-turn and getting into paraffin treatments and basecoats, but I will profess that it has made me more a fan of nail art than ever.  Thank you, nail artists!  I’ll keep collecting links to your kidlit-related work, and I’ll definitely showcase more of them in the future.  Readers, have you seen a great children’s book-related manicure?  Share it in the comments!



4 Responses to “It Smells Like Lacquer, Acetone, and Children’s Books in Here”

  1. Ashley August 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out, this is a great collection of awesome nail art and I’m flattered to be included! 🙂

    • zbeforey August 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      You’re very welcome. Thanks for the great design!

  2. Jane September 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    So very honoured to be included here. My work is the original Harry Potter nails. I have done other storybook inspired work curiously including The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Lorax.
    Thank you for the lovely comments 🙂

    • zbeforey September 25, 2013 at 6:52 am #

      Thank you for your kind comment, Jane! I love those HP nails, so cute! I’m following all you nail artists now, looking for kidlit related work. I hope I can spotlight more of your designs in the future. 😎

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