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DeviantArt user LolaBevahousen
DeviantArt user LolaBevahousen

Nailed It: 13 Amazingly Intricate Nail Designs

DeviantArt user LolaBevahousen
DeviantArt user LolaBevahousen

Artistic nails might not always be functional, especially those involving 3D or odd nail shapes, but they’re certainly a skill that takes years to master. Those who specialize in this particular artistry point out that really elaborate nails aren’t intended for daily use, but instead are just a means to show off a person’s creativity and talents. It’s hard to deny that these nail designs require plenty of both.

1. She's Got The Whole World On Her Hands

DeviantArt user LolaBevahousen entered the “worldly” set of nails pictured above in a Facebook nail contest with a “world cultures” theme. Amazingly, she only came in tenth. It makes you wonder just how amazing the other winner’s creations were.

2. Super Mario Hands

If you’re going to take on a classic game like Super Mario 3, you might as well go big. Janet Riffe certainly did an excellent job putting these together.

3. Here Comes Santa Claws

Janet also did a magnificent job of “making spirits bright” with these impressive Christmas nails complete with Santa, Rudolph, candy canes, Christmas lights and more! Looking for something a little more summery? Try these tropical nails on for size.

4. Hungry For Style

Got a soft spot for junk food? Then call up Janet Riffe and ask her to paint your favorite foods on your hands like she did in this great series. Do you think Cheetos dust tastes even better when licked from a Cheetos nail? If you prefer candy to salty snacks, don’t worry, she has you covered there too.

5. Feeling Koi?

If you enjoy classic Japanese artwork, then you’ll love DeviantArt user MadamLuck’s fantastic koi nails that actually fit together in one larger design.

6. Up, Up, and Awesome

MadamLuck is also quite gifted when it comes to painting faces on nails. Just look at her delightful take on the movie Up!

7. Breaking So Good

When it comes to geeky and intricate nails, no name is more respected or better known than artist Kayleigh O’Connor. From My Little Ponies to Mars Attacks! and from Batman to The Hobbit, Kayleigh has made fantastic, detailed nails representing a variety of pop culture references. Any nerd girl looking around her Tumblr or DeviantArt is guaranteed to find something she likes. Her Breaking Bad nails are her most popular design and feature both the show’s logo and Walter’s famous “Blue Sky” meth.

8. Monster Nails

If you’re looking for truly impressive levels of detail, Kayleigh’s Monster Inc. nails are sure to wow, as they feature not only 3D accents, an incredible paint job and fun accessories like googly eyes, but even a strikingly unique fur material—which might just be a first in nail art.

9. Edward Scissorfingers

Kayleigh also experiments with the shape of her nails, creating such drastic shapes as Edward Scissorhands’ famous hair and the scissored hands that give him his name.

10. Fluttershy Makes Hearts Flutter

Fluttershy was given the full 3D nail treatment by Kayleigh, complete with her butterfly “cutie mark.”

11. Frankennailee

Nail art doesn’t need to be impractical. These adorable Frankenweenie designs by Nails By Coewless are quite detailed, but they won’t get in your way when you try to go about your everyday life. For those interested, Coewless also has some other impressive designs on her Flickr stream that were inspired by Alice in Wonderland, My Neighbor Totoro, Dexter, and other great shows and movies.

12. Floral Fingers

If you’re wondering how DeviantArt user henzy89 built up such a massive 3D bouquet on her thumb nail, the secret is the same that sculptors throughout the ages have relied on—clay.

13. How Sweet

Looking for some particularly sweet nails? Then head to This Is Venice to check out more from Lili guyen, the creator of this set that is filled with ice cream and hearts.

As a bit of a tomboy, I’ve never been able to keep paint on my fingernails for more than a few days, so I don’t bother painting them at all –let alone in elaborate designs like these. Have any of you ladies ever gone all out with an intricate manicure like those you’ve seen here?

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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