I love unusual animal prints, as you have perhaps noticed. Today's manicure was inspired by my love of horses - specifically dappled grey horses.
I started off with a simple gradient, using Sally Hansen Eel Skin as my base and darkening the tips with Wet N Wild Ebony Hates Chris. I lightened the top of the gradient using Sally Hansen Polar Bare. After allowing my gradient to dry, I dipped a cotton swab in white polish, I used Sinful Colors Snow Me White, and added spots to my nails. I tried not to make these spots appear too regular. I then applied a matte top coat. I used Essie Matte About You.
The matte coat is important, as it preps the nail for the next step. I'd realized some time ago that matte top coats give the nail surface just enough “tooth” to make it possible to draw on them using colored pencils and other art supplies. Pretty neat, right? It's important to make sure everything is really dry, or else you'll gouge big ugly dents into your polish instead of drawing.
I used Prismacolor pencils because that's what I had laying around. I used a black pencil to define the dapples, and a white to go back in and fade out any areas where the definition was too strong. After I was happy with my dapples, I added another layer of matte top coat.