According to the Queen of manicurists Marian Newman. Here’s all the inspo and tools you need…

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Globally renowned nail artist Marian Newman  was one of the first people I interviewed after starting my job here at GTG over six years ago, and it’s a conversation that’ll stay with me throughout my career. I was a nervy, babbling journo in training and she was a kind, articulate storyteller, making my job easy and peppering our conversation with fashion week anecdotes (sending her husband to collect hawthorn ‘stingers’ on dog walks to create bee nails at a Fred Butler show) and sharing the details of her transition from forensic scientist for the Met Police to the most sought after nail artist on the planet. Obviously she’s far too grounded to put it like that herself, but it’s the truth of the matter, and just a cursory flick through  Nailed It , her newly published ‘behind the scenes’ book documenting both the creative highlights and knowledge that’s she’s acquired in her 30 year career, proves that she’s the talent where talons are concerned.

The book takes you backstage, on edgy editorial shoots and to beauty school over the course of some 200 pages, with insight into how she created some her most iconic looks (and how you can have a bash too). Speaking of which, here’s how to master a negative space manicure à la Marian...

“This is the most literal interpretation of Kandinsky's work in this series created for The Sunday Times Style magazine. I used an orange often associated with his work, along with a very interesting, if murky, green. The technique features random strokes of colour created with airbrushing, and layered over with strokes and circles – an abstract, painterly effect that mirrors his own. Choosing unusual colours and using them together can create a powerful and unique look. These take a historical reference and turn them into a fresh, contemporary idea."

"Kandinsky used circles and negative space in his paintings and we’ve reflected them here using binder-file reinforcement rings. These make very effective masking stickers, for creating perfect circles. The process works best if you keep the layers of nail polish thin and know exactly when to remove the mask to prevent it dragging or tearing (around two minutes is best, but it will take a few practice runs to get it right!)."

How to create striking nails using negative space

"Using blank areas on nails can be a very effective, graphic technique.  The example here used binder reinforcement stickers to achieve circular negative spaces. Used as a mask, regular sticky tape will produce sharp, straight lines wherever you want to create perfectly linear areas of colour – without any wobbles!

1. Clean the nails with a conditioner-free polish remover.

2. Apply a thin layer of clear base coat to each nail.

3. Apply a binder reinforcement sticker to the first nail.

4. Using your chosen colour polish, apply a thin coat. Ensure that you paint over the sides of the sticker, to create clean lines. Dark colours such as the metallic grey-green I used here work well.

5. Wait for approximately two minutes and then carefully remove the sticker with tweezers, to reveal the negative space.

6. Repeat the process for each nail.

7. Apply a clear top coat."

Extracted from Nailed It by Marian Newman published by Laurence King Publishing, £24

To celebrate the publication of Nailed It Marian is giving a talk at the V&A on Friday 10th May, in conversation with Nick Knight and Mimma Viglezio.  Buy your ticket here .