Alice, What Have You Done?

alice-butterflies

Mr. Finger Candy likes to joke that my taste in video games is completely schitzoid – it’s either totally family-friendly, G-rated fare (currently working my way through the PS4 reissue of the Lego Harry Potter series) or it’s a blood-soaked, LSD-fueled descent into Victorian era madness (I’m awaiting 2017’s release of We Happy Few, a gorgeous, Bioshock-ish game about a filthy, dystopian version of 1960s London where everybody pops a super mood-enhancing drug called Joy to distract them from all the real activities going on in dirty, dystopian London, which would be mind control and slaughter.  Good times!)

2011’s Alice: Madness Returns, a favourite of mine – indeed, I launched this blog with nothing but those first rough Alice designs – falls squarely into the latter category.  It’s beyond messed up – rough subject matter, abject cruelty, nasty blood and gore.  Cripes, why would I play such a thing?  Well, I haven’t, not since I platinumed it back in 2011 (yes, I just used “platinum” as a verb.)  But Alice ranks as a favourite simply by virtue of its beauty; it’s the most gorgeous video game I’ve ever seen, filled to the brim with mesmerizing visuals.  Sometimes I’d just park Alice on a cliff and randomly swing the camera around, taking in every inch of the sick (in every sense of the word) artwork.

Getting down to these inspired-by nails, our girl Alice wears black and white striped tights.  And since American McGee’s version of Alice can’t seem to take two steps without running something through with her Vorpal Blade, I added a bit of blood spatter.  Finally, when Alice needs to take giant leaps across immense chasms, she busts out this nifty little double-hopping float that (usually) lands her gracefully on the other side. The best part of that move (aside from the physicslessness of it all) is that when she hops, she’s swept up in this pretty little tornado of blue, black and white butterflies that guide her safely to the other side.  So I added some of those boosting butterflies – can’t be too careful when you’re running (floating) through Wonderland hacking and slashing. 😉

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Party in a Bottle!

Party Collage

That’s what I’m going to call this polish, another sparkly pick from Glam Polish’s Alice in Wonderland-themed It’s Only a Dream, Alice Collection, because its actual name, The Best Futterwacken in all of Witzend, is an unwieldy nightmare and I have no idea what it means.  Neither does Google.  Probably something inane that ninny Mad Hatter cooked up. So Party in a Bottle it is!

Party Bottle 2

Like the polish I featured yesterday, Six Impossible Things, Party in a Bottle is a stunning mix of micro-glitter, matte glitter and tiny chromatic flakies in a rich holographic base. Unlike Six Impossible things, though, which I actually think looks sweet and delicate – like sparkly spun sugar – Witzend (sorry) is a super vibrant holo glitter bomb, packed to the decorated rafters with a rainbow’s worth of dazzling holographic micro-glitter for a fun, speckled, confetti cannon-type of look.

Party Fingers 2

Like its collection mate, Party in a Bottle applies smoothly and evenly in just a couple of coats and removes like a dream if you don’t mind peeling off your polish.  And before anyone gives me grief for destroying my nails, I find that scraping away at my glitter-crusted nails with an acetone-soaked cotton ball actually does more damage to the surface of my nails than simply peeling it off, but whatever works for you.  All the same, this polish really is the Best Futterwacken Party in a Bottle I’ve ever seen. 😉

Party Fingers 1

Disney Girl Challenge: Alice

Alice in Wonderland

It’s all aces for Alice in this mani inspired by the Disney animated movie, Alice in Wonderland.  My preferred Alice is actually this super messed up version (but really, is there any other kind?) from 1985.  It was a two-part musical TV special filmed entirely on a set with all your favourite film stars of the 1980s and 1940s (Scott Baio! Carol Channing! Sammy Davis Jr.!  Ringo Starr!) and like all great adaptations of Alice, it was a total mindfu*k. I re-watched it the other evening, and aside from calling up some warm nostalgic feelings of anxiously awaiting its televised debut, I was reminded of how very inappropriate Alice in Wonderland is for its young audience.  I really don’t know how I wasn’t irrevocably damaged by the sight of a slobbery, puffy puppet Jabberwocky chasing a shrieking little blonde girl through a lightning-streaked warren of gnarled roots and…yeah, you know what?  That movie was just as scary the other night as it was when I was a kid! Damage done!  I think I’ll take this version instead.

Rip My Heart Out: A Then and Now Post

Fleshmaiden Hand

And now for a very different sort of Valentine’s Day manicure!  Years ago I was completely enamored with a video game called Alice: Madness Returns.  It was a very NSFW, possibly NSFL (Not Safe For Life), retelling of Alice in Wonderland, if Lewis Carroll’s beloved tale were chockablock with mutant baby dolls, Victorian era sanitariums and monsters who look like they were pulled apart and stitched back together again with pieces of other monsters.

My favourite thing about the game was Alice’s wardrobe, which leaned heavily towards the Gothic Lolita and was wonderfully, blessedly free of the all-tits-and-ass style favoured by other video game heroines.  Alice had something like 12 different costumes, including six downloadable-only outfits that gave her special powers, as all great outfits do.  Perk-wise, my favourite was the Caterpillar dress, which enabled Alice to shrink down to itty bitty insect size to creep through tiny keyholes.  But for my visual money, I always chose the original meat dress, Alice’s Fleshmaiden costume, an outfit that really looked like those inside-out monsters I was mentioning earlier.  Power-wise, the Fleshmaiden costume (ugh, that name, though) enabled Alice to slip effortlessly into Hysteria mode, a kind of abstract, black and white (and red) world that looked like that metallic taste you get in your mouth when you’re so angry, you kind of lose your hearing.  If the DLC items could be said to belong to any given level, the Fleshmaiden costume was the domain of Queensland, a meat and tendon and blood-soaked hellscape ruled by the Queen of Hearts.

My for-a-time obsession with Madness Returns happened to coincide with the earliest days of my all-the-time obsession with nail art, and indeed, I launched this very blog with those initial hesitant attempts.  So it felt quite fitting to revisit one of those designs for this Then and Now post that really puts the “anti” in anti-Valentine’s Day.  Anyhow, happy day to you, friends, no matter how you choose to acknowledge the day (although hopefully it doesn’t involve wearing your enemy’s heart on your lapel like a brooch.)

Fleshmaiden Fingers

I’m Not All Here (31DC2015)

CC Hand

Yay, look at me finally entering the last 10 days of inspired-by prompts in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge! And only six days off the pace, too. I’m pretty sure that’s as close as I’ve come to being in step with the daily themes since the beginning of the challenge (actually, I think the real challenge will be completing nine manicures by the end of September!)

Day 21’s theme was inspired by a colour. For this manicure, I drew inspiration from Enchanted Polish’s Dope Jam, an ultra vibrant, orchid-hued holo that looks exactly like the Cheshire Cat, particularly when paired with horizontal stripes in another gorgeous Enchanted lacquer, purple “mystery” holo August 2015. I then made at least some of the Cat appear on my thumb, or at least the important parts – those giant, unsettling yellow eyes and the creepy smile. Wouldn’t be the Cheshire Cat without ’em. 🙂

CC Collage

Also, how awesome do these holographic stripes look in the sun? I am powerless in the face of a good horizontal stripe, and these are pretty Dope (Jam.)

CC Sun Fingers

Painting the Roses Red (31DC2015)

PaintedRosesHand

The 31 Day Challenge is starting at the beginning of the rainbow this year (and every year, as I’m discovering – the challenge prompts have not changed in at least three cycles) with the colour red. I went for a more thematic approach to day one’s prompt, eschewing the actual colour (there’s quite a bit of green in these supposedly red nails) in favour of an idea, specifically that of the Queen of Hearts’ preference for blood red roses, whether natural or of the painted variety. And matted, of course, because matte florals always look like gorgeous, vintage wallpaper, which is precisely the look I was going for.

PaintedRosesFingers

Silk Maiden: A Then and Now Post

Silk Maiden HandJust in case you’re wondering exactly how random (and multi-sided) my thought processes can be, here’s how these nails, a “reboot” of the first manicure I ever shared on this blog, came into existence:

1. Week four’s theme in April’s N.A.I.L. Challenge is Spring flowers. I like roses; I should do roses.

2. Ooh, remember those roses you did waaaaaaaaayyyyy back when in that mess of Alice: Madness Returns manis you were doing?

3. That game was awesome. I wish Crazy Horse would come out with another one.

4. Anyhow, you could try those roses again. That Silk Maiden dress Alice wears in the Mysterious East level is such a beautiful design, and I’m sure you’ve improved enough to do the things you were scared to even attempt last time.

5. Ooh, Snickers!

6. Try to concentrate. Anyways, why stop at the print on Alice’s silk dress? We could also add the design on her apron, and the bow at the back of her obi with the odd little shrunken head at its centre!

7. Oh, it’s “we” now, is it? Except that’s veering a tad astray from the Spring flowers prompt, is it not?

8. Sure, but three fingers’ worth of Alice’s navy blue Chinoiserie-inspired gown is better than none. Plus look at that adorable little green shrunken head!

9. You had me at “shrunken head.”

And scene!

This really was the first manicure I posted to this blog, at the beginning of August 2013. I had taken up nail art as a rather intensive hobby some months prior, but had no outlet for it other than pestering my friends on Facebook with an endless series of photos of my ultra wonky first efforts. So instead of driving them (further) insane, I started this blog, and these were the first nails I felt comfortable enough to share with the greater world. Encouragingly, it would appear as though lots of little things about my technique have improved (to say nothing of my iPhotography and layout skills.)