Sharpie Nail Art Inspired By Mondrian (And Kandinsky, Too!)

I experienced a lightbulb moment while shopping the aisles of my local Staples. And no, I wasn't shopping for lightbulbs.
Publish date:
August 21, 2013
nail art, How-To, nail polishes, Sally Hansen, zoya, Sharpies

I love going to the office supply store. I may even like it as much as going to Ulta or Sephora, which, I know, is a pretty bold statement coming from a beauty writer. But organizational supplies! And Wite-Out! And neon-colored Post-Its and comfy office chairs to test out and a bountiful supply of writing utensils!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I experienced a lightbulb moment while shopping the aisles of my local Staples. And no, I wasn't shopping for lightbulbs.

"Why not use Sharpie markers on my nails?" I asked myself. It might have been an excuse to pick up the XL rainbow pack of Sharpies, but everyone really should own a set. If not for office purposes, then at least to draw on your nails with. So I bought the markers, came home, and got to drawing.

DESIGN 1: Mondrian

Up first for your nail drawing pleasure is Piet Mondrian's very famous "Composition II in Red, Blue and Yellow," which you can find at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. This is a very simple piece to recreate, which is why I chose it.

A little nerd art background info: Mondrian helped pioneer the De Stijl movement, which basically entailed breaking down art into basic components. Mondrian believed that each color had its own weight, some weighing more than others, and he worked to create a harmonious balance of color in all his compositions.

Step 1: Paint your nails white. I used Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails in White On. Once you paint, allow your nails to dry completely. Give yourself at least one or two hours to be safe.

Once your nails are dry, draw your lines with a black Sharpie Marker. Use a slow and steady hand in order to get nice, straight lines.

After the lines are draw on, you can begin coloring. You'll need a red, blue and yellow sharpie for this. I used a light blue since I liked how it looked on the nail, but you can use a darker blue if you prefer it.

I decided to do a second design, just because. This design is based off of another Mondrian composition titled "Composition of Red, Blue, Yellow, and White: Nom II."

Without a top coat, the Sharpie will eventually rub off. Wait for at least 20 minutes for your nails to dry, and then apply a top coat to seal the marker in. Note that if you apply the top coat too soon, the marker will fade a little bit and look strange. Use one or two quick strokes per nail to avoid streaking.

DESIGN 2: Kandinsky

I actually did a second Sharpie marker manicure and was so pleased with how they turned out that I decided to share the how-to with you all. This second design comes from one of my favorite artists, Wassily Kandinsky.

Like Mondrian, Kandinsky broke down art into simple components. His designs, though, have a more frenzied look to them. What I love most about him is that he was inspired greatly by music and would often try to paint what he thought music sounded like. He referred to many of his paintings as "improvisations" or "compositions."

For this design, I pulled various elements from Kandinsky's "Orange" (which you can see at MoMa) and put them on each nail.

Think you'll give this one a go at home? If so, I want to see all your pictures!