Kamagaya, Japan-based nail tech Ayano Okazawa took inspiration from the small plants and flowers she often finds growing on the ground when she created this month’s cover. Her delicate design emerged as a finalist in NAILS’ 2017 Cover Tech Contest and so impressed our staff that we selected it as our Editor’s Pick for this month’s cover. Okazawa drew the detail with India ink using a technique created in the United States called Zentangle (www.zentangle.com). This method uses small deliberate strokes to create a structured pattern — and aims to relax the artist in the process. A BioSculpture Gel educator, Okazawa used the company’s gel for the base colors.

A tech for 15 years, Okazawa is also the owner of Salon & School Shouette. “I hold free nail classes and workshops as well whenever I receive requests from other salons and schools,” she says.

Family is the other top priority in her life. “I have three children, and I’m grateful they understand and appreciate my profession,” she says. “They also seem to be interested in nails, and I find myself drawing inspiration from them when creating nail art.” Her brother, a professional photographer, shot the nails for her.