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Awesome Appliqués: The Top 3 & The Bottom 3

Posted September 19, 2013


Challenge 1 sponsored by Dashing Diva gave our contestants a chance to create nail art for the masses. Each artist designed his/her own pattern for spring/summer 2014 nail coatings based on seven seasonal trends.

We had some drama early on when Top 12 finalist Britney Tokyo e-mailed us to step down from the competition, citing creative differences. Lucky for all of us, this meant we were able to save one of our previous contestants: Ashley Gregory, a newly licensed nail tech from Chicago.

This week’s guest judge was Masako Sasaki of Dashing Diva. Permanent judges included Gelish’s Danny Haile and the staff at NAILS Magazine.


In no particular order, the top 3 are:



NAILS’ art director Danielle: “WOW! Your illustration skills are amazing! The pattern you came up with is phenomenal. The balance between the lines, flourish, and woman is perfect. You truly captured the rich, vintage feel of the Art Nouveau movement.”

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: “Artistic! The black and white background is so smart. The designs are gorgeous, very D&G. It’s a high-fashion look that stands out and will look great on an appliqué. Luxe and rich.”

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: “Ryoko may be the strongest nail illustrator I know, but I don’t think the faces work for an applique. What if your nails are shorter — do you chop the head off?”




NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: “I love the detail the micro-chain adds — it gives the decal depth. The design is very cohesive, especially given the number of elements and layers displayed, and jewel tones against a natural base work for any season. Ivory would make a great background too.”

NAILS’ group publisher Cyndy: “I love the elegance, the mix of silver and gold. I love the background texture as well: It’s a beautiful contrast to the sparkle.”

NAILS’ publisher Michelle: “This is a nice art deco design with good colors that will go with jeans, cocktails, or a formal event.”




Dashing Diva’s Masako: “This was my favorite design as it had the perfect balance on the whole sheet. The color tone and patterns are very sophisticated.”

Gelish’s Danny: “Good research and translating your inspiration into the design. Good use of color, making it wearable.”

NAILS’ group publisher Cyndy: “My favorite! It reminds me of batik as well as art deco. It’s earthy but out-of-this-world beautiful!”



The following techs can breathe again. They are in the middle of this week’s pack and are safe. In no particular order, congratulations to:



Gelish’s Danny: “I liked the use of color and contrast. I wish the design was more balanced to draw the eye from nail to nail.”

NAILS’ publisher Michelle: “Pretty design with a nice color gradient in it. I like the contrast. The design will look good on any length of nail.”

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: “The black background is a risky choice, and it paid off.”




NAILS’ editor Hannah: “This design is so original, just like Winnie. The jungle pattern might be a little overwhelming for me as an overall nail look, but I can definitely see these as accent nails with bold, bright colors.”

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: “This design is young and fresh. It takes the floral and nature trend in a direction that people don’t usually go in. It will be great for both spring and summer. I love the French tips. There are many ways they can be worn. Lovely!”

Gelish’s Danny: “Good use of color that’s very consistent in theme. It’s consistent also from full-coverage to French.  And it can easily be worn whole, French, or mixed.”




NAILS’ editor Hannah: “Your interpretation of the painting is spot on. I only wish I could have seen more variation in the designs from nail to nail.”

NAILS’ production manager Carla: “This the kind of beautiful line work that would have me staring at my nails for weeks!”

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: “I like the inspiration, but the design doesn’t pop enough for me.”




Dashing Diva’s Masako: “Color combination was great! I loved it! However, I feel that this would be great for Fall/Winter rather than Spring/Summer.”

NAILS’ art director Danielle: “These nails say Art Deco. I like the way you chose the placement of your colors. It is a good balance with leaving some areas plain white.”

NAILS’ publisher Michelle: “Cool! This design is in line with today’s fashion. I like the color choices and middle of metropolis feel.”




NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: “The patterns Christian created are super cool, but the tie-dye background is a little too Lisa Frank for me. I’d love to see the patterns in white or the background in a solid neon color.”

Gelish’s Danny: “Good use of color and very cohesive from nail to nail. It would be very wearable as whole nail, French or mixed. Nice crisp presentation of the design.”

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: “Christian’s design is bold, daring, and bursting with color! I feel the bolder lines of the circular and the zig-zag pattern are too heavy, setting off the balance of those designs, but the three circular patterns with diamonds are spot-on!”




NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: “I like the variety of patterns and I can definitely see these decals bejeweled. They’re fun and cute — perfect for summer. The acid green decals are a little disconnected from the overall color scheme. It might work better softened.”

Dashing Diva’s Masako: “I love the color choice! It looks so happy and fun! I just wish that the design pattern wasn’t so large. I felt that design as a whole would’ve looked better if the patterns were scaled down.”

NAILS’ publisher Cyndy: “Spring is in the air! Love the embellished florals, the raindrop patterns and the ‘better than nature’ hues.”



Unfortunately, there always has to be a bottom group. The bottom 3, in no particular order, are:



NAILS’ editor Hannah: “I like the idea of a simple geometric bold look. But I wish the design would have varied from nail to nail more than just changing the order of the stripe colors.”

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: “I would so rock this, but I wish she’d make the full-coverage designs complementary, not identical. Then it would be consistent with Dashing Diva’s existing appliqués.”

Dashing Diva’s Masako: “I love the neon pattern! It is so pretty. I just felt that the black symbol/patterns made the sheet look too busy.”




NAILS’ art director Danielle: “Great inspiration to draw from, but I don’t think the the design pattern was strong enough. The painted design looks a little rough. Maybe if you used a different color or silver polish it would have looked a little cleaner.”

Dashing Diva’s Masako: “Nice color combination! This would be beautiful if the thinnest of lines was even.”

NAILS’ graphic artist Kim: “I love Ashley’s use of a metallic foil as the base of her design. The foil along with the silver design would complement so many outfits. I wish the lines were cleaner and I wish the width of the lines were more consistent to help the designs pop.”




Dashing Diva’s Masako: “The use of black and white for a design is very difficult to judge for Spring/Summer, which usually incorporates colors. Also, we have done many similar lace designs, plus there’s the market saturation of the designs. I would’ve liked to see more colors.”

NAILS’ graphic artist Kim: “Max’s designs are well-balanced with amazing 2-D patterns that create the impression of texture. If only there was color in this design, I would have given it an extra point to go with the Spring/Summer colors.”

NAILS’ group publisher Cyndy: “Black lace … how can you go wrong! The continuity across the patterns is elegant, surprising, and ultra-wearable.”


Check back tomorrow to find out who won this week’s challenge and who’ll be packing up their paintbrushes.