Off the Page Exclusive: Nicole Lim + RED QUEEN nails!


Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes with fanartists who bring your favorite young adult books to life.

Nicole Lim and her nail designs are absolutely beautiful, and we here at YA Interrobang have the honor of debuting her most recent nail set! Lim crafted a beautiful set for Victoria Aveyard’s recently released Red Queen. We’ve got it all – the materials she used for her Red Queen nails, how she paints her nails, and even a tutorial from Lim on how to recreate the fleur-de-lis pattern she used on her index finger.

Lim is a graphic designer and nail artist from the Phillipines. She blogs at The Twins Read and shares nail art on Novel Nails Designs.

“My favorite YA books? That would be Stormdancer, Queen of the Tearling and Storm Siren for fantasy. And also Rites of Passage!”
  • The materials Nicole uses for her Red Queen nails.

What is it about the authors’ writing that inspired your nails?
Truthfully, a lot of my nail sets are based on book covers and sometimes an author’s writing won’t really influence my art. But there are times, especially when the writing is poetic and lyrical and the story wonderfully atmospheric, I try to incorporate the feel of that story in my art through color and the other other elements I choose to include (stones and studs).

Are there any other influences you included in your nails?
I take inspiration from some seriously talented nail artists on Instagram. It’s crazy what a little patience can do. And since what I do is basically painting but on a smaller scale I have a tendency to lose myself in artist IG accounts. I’m a big fan of Allison Kunath – her line art is crazy!
What was the best reaction you’ve received?
Basically anyone who thinks my work is great. It always surprises me when people leave me messages on tumblr about how awesome my work is. Oh and the reactions of the authors I meet is always fun to see. I always get asked how I manage to detail my nails since they’re tiny.
What’s your process?
I make it a point to plan my set first on nail templates, swatch colors and pick the paints I’ll be using. After that I clean my nails – it’s like you’re prepping a canvas for painting – and put on my base colors. When working on detailed work, like my Snow Like Ashes set or the fleur-de-lis of my Red Queen set I always use white or a really light gray first to outline the design. It serves as a guide so the designs are balanced. Then I go at it with the detailing work section by section.
Do you have any tools you like to work with?
Thin brushes! They help with detailing. And acrylic paint. My nails are always a mix of nail polish and acrylic paint.
What nails are you most proud of?
Hmmmm. This is a hard one so I’ll name a few. My Stormdancer nails, for one. A Thousand Pieces of You, Storm Siren, Fangirl, Anna Dressed in Blood, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Rites of Passage nail sets too. Oh and for non book related nails, I’m still in love with my ram skull set and everytime I see it I can’t believe I managed to get it on my nails.
Do you have anything fun that you’re working on or would like to do someday?
As for now I’m just painting and planning nails and taking appointments. And I’m also figuring out how the heck to film my nail painting sessions. As for what the future holds? Owning a nail studio is something I dream of.
What kind of advice or insight would you give to other aspiring nail artists?
Practice the basics like nail polish application because a clean cuticle area adds to the overall beauty of your work. Be patient! Because detailing is not easy and depending on the design, can span hours on end. Don’t be afraid to try out new techniques and practice new designs because it’s all part of the learning curve. But most of all, do what you like, like what you do and take pictures! Taking pictures will help you keep track of progress. My Instagram is a testament to that, my initial works were just…wow, no.
For more on Nicole Lim, visit her nail art blog or her book blog, or follow her on Twitter.
Join our YA newsletter:

No spam guarantee.


About Author

Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

Comments are closed.