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The Queen Series is a weekly feature happening on Wednesdays. Each week one of us from The Digit-al Dozen will introduce you to our blog, tell you about how we got started, and talk a little about how we ended up being the Queen of something. We all have unique talents when it comes to nail art, and our Queen titles reflect that. Check out past posts in this series.

Name: Meghan, Queen of Intricate Nail Art
Blog: Will Paint Nails for Food
Twitter: @WillPaintNails_
Facebook: facebook.com/willpaintnailsforfood
Instagram: @willpaintnailsforfood

Me with one of my drawings - filtered for effect

Hi everyone! One thing that may come as a surprise is that my interest in nail polish only goes back about two years. For much of my life up until that point, I was pretty happy with my natural nails and a clear coat of polish. I maybe owned three nail polishes (all Nicole by OPI), and I had no inkling to buy any more.

September 2013: Early nail art - saran wrap manicure

November 2012: Simple swatch

But that all changed around March or April of 2012. I worked with a girl who liked to do nail art, it was probably the first time I met someone who was interested in nail polish as a hobby. She also blogged about nail polish and had started the 31 Day Challenge. I remember when she invited me to like her page on Facebook, and I thought, “People blog about nail polish, what next!?” Lol! 

December 2012: Advent Nail Art Challenge - Pine

From that initial spark of inspiration I started reading blogs and buying nail polish, slowly at first, then with increasing momentum. By the summer it was full-fledged obsession. I’m kind of a nerd, and I wanted to document and create an archive of my collection, so I started my Tumblr in August of that year. FYI, blogging is also a good way to justify the amount of money spent feeding a nail polish addiction. 

December 2012: Advent Nail Art Challenge - Stained glass nails, inspired by Silent Night

But the truth was that I needed a hobby. My apartment is a testament to all the things I’ve started then dropped - watercolours, printmaking supplies, cameras and film, baking pans and equipment. Nail polish was the one thing I picked up that stuck. By fall of 2012 I was going through a really rough time. I had just been through a bad breakup, and I wasn’t feeling very fulfilled with my work - looking back I was experiencing an episode of major depression. Blogging became a form of productive distraction, and it also helped build up my strength and confidence. I started my blog on Blogger in December of 2012, and the rest is history!

January 2013: Charles Rennie Mackintosh-inspired nail art

I came up with the name Will Paint Nails for Food because I wanted something catchy that would stand out. By the time I started blogging there was so many nail polish blogs, and I didn’t know where this would take me, but I wanted people to be able to remember my blog name. Plus I’m not good at serious titles or names. It’s also a nod to the fact that I often pick hobbies and career paths that are not very financially lucrative - like art, or crafts, or writing poetry… or painting nails! Oh, why couldn’t my hobby be hedge funds?! But I’ve always believed that pursuing your passions is more important than pursuing money. So I pictured myself on the street corner with my little sign “Will Paint Nails for Food.” Maybe someday…

January 2013: Egyptian nails for Glaucoma Awareness

In my day-to-day life, I’m a PhD student and I work as a Teaching Assistant and sometimes Instructor at the university level. If all goes well I should have my dissertation completed in a few months. I have a pretty flexible schedule that works well for blogging - I work mostly from home with the exception of 2-3 days where I have class. The hardest part is trying to stay disciplined about writing my dissertation, there’s always the temptation to just watch Netflix and paint my nails when I should be writing.

February 2013: Freehand Celtic knots

I’ve gotten into a groove where I keep my blogging to the evenings, when I write my posts, and the weekends, when I do my swatching and/or nail art. Every now and then I’ll sneak in a lunch break with a manicure. ;) But still it’s a lot of work. I’d say I spend about 20-30 hours a week on my blog - about 10 hours for writing and editing posts, and 10-20 hours swatching, doing nail art, and updating social media.

March 2013: Lumina Lacquer Mint Chocolate Chip

One thing that I get asked a lot is if I have an arts background. And the answer to that is yes! I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a kid, with lots of encouragement from my parents and family. At 17, a week or two into my first semester at college, I decided that I was going to be an artist when I grew up. I wanted to be like Frida Kahlo, minus the bus accident and the cheating husband. I studied drawing and painting for four years after that, then transferred to art school and finished my BFA in 2004. While at art school I got really interested in art history, and afterwards decided to go to grad school to study it further, and that’s what I’m doing my PhD in. Sometimes I miss drawing and painting, but for now my nails are my tiny canvases, and that makes me happy.

May 2013: Guest Post at Peace, Love & Polish

Because of my art background, I get a fair amount of ideas from art history like Art Nouveau, or Medieval stained glass. But I also get a lot of ideas from design work I find online, and other nail artists.

July 2013: Guest post at the Nailasaurus
Around here, I’m called the Queen of Intricate Nail Art, and I’ve been known to spend up to four or five hours on a design, not including the photographing or writing the blog post! I’m happiest when I’m working on something that’s challenging and pushes my skills. I sometimes use dotting tools or striping tape, but most of my designs are done freehand.

August 2013: 31 Day Challenge - Black & White

If you’re interested in doing more intricate nail art, the one thing you need is practice. Many people say, “oh, I’m not good at nail art,” but it just takes patience and practice. Maybe bloggers like myself make it look easy, but keep in mind, we paint our nails A LOT! And in my case, I’ve been drawing and painting for years before I started doing my nails. If you’re keen to try freehand nail art, here’s my advice and tips:

1) Keep a sketchbook. First, it’s good to jot ideas for future use. The intricate nail artist can never accomplish everything he/she wants to do, but it’s good to write down those nail art ideas for later when you’ll have the time. Also, when starting a project it’s a good idea to sketch it out, maybe work out some colour schemes. The worst thing is spending several hours on a design, only to wish you had gone with different colours.

2) After painting your base coat, seal it with a layer of topcoat. I learned this from my friend Lindsey at Wondrously Polished, and it’s the best advice. That way if you mess up your design, you can remove some of it with acetone and not damage the base coat (within limits of course).

October 2013: 31 Day Challenge - Inspired by a Pattern

3) I generally start a design with nail polish thinned with a lot of nail polish thinner. I’ll then draw my design on my nails with a very, very light line. At this point I’m just plotting where I want things to go.

4) When doing lines, I work very slow and change the position of my hand frequently. Sometimes the line is easier to paint if your hand is facing a different direction.

5) I tend to work slow and picture stuff in my mind before I actually paint it.

December 2013: Snowy Country Landscape

6) I find when doing freehand nail art with nail polish, adding nail polish thinner makes the polish easier to work with - both for doing lines and filling in areas.

7) Touch ups are your friend. If my line is looking too thick or I don’t like how I painted the petals on a flower, I’ll go in and do touchups. It’s amazing how adding a coat of topcoat will hide those touchups!

January 2014: Digit-al Dozen Monochrome challenge - Sepia Stripes
All of my nail art is done with nail polish, although I recently bought some acrylic paints and I’m excited to use them. I’ve heard that they are easier to work with, so I’m hoping to do some really intricate nail art with lots and lots of tiny detail! Oh the joy!

March 2014: Digit-al Dozen Brands challenge - Kodachrome

I feel like I could go on talking about nail polish forever. But dear readers, for fear of putting you to sleep, I’m going to end it there. I hope you got something into this little peek into the background behind my blog. If ever one of my designs inspires you enough to recreate it or do your own take on it, let me know! I always love hearing from readers, especially if you’ve recreated one of my designs, it definitely is something that I find very touching.

Thanks for reading! And if there’s anything else you want to know about my blog - leave a question in the comments!