This month's writeup is sponsored by Rose of Battle.

October Write-Up: Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Nail Sets

M’kay, so, $3+ patrons may have already read this, but I have an unfortunate pause in my Pai cosplay. I had an unexpected and sudden error on the front/center of the Construction Hell shirt (further proving my hypothesis that the shirt is, in fact, actually hell to make). While I had initially planned on showing you the finished product, hemmed and all, that didn’t end up happening this month.

You know what time that is: nail art time.

That’s right, I lacquered back up prior to travel so my nails would be sturdy enough for carrying luggage, so I seized the opportunity to create two sets themed around a game that Ali and I beat together recently: The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles! Yeah, the one with “Herlock Sholmes” in it—get over the name adjustment and get on board with me, it’s great!

Needless to say, in order to describe these nail sets and processes, I’ll need to divulge information from the 2nd game, so consider yourself SPOILER WARNED.

If you’d like to discover the game for yourself but still want to see the end result, scroll to the bottom past “END SPOILERS” for photos.

Ali’s Request: Gina Lestrade


Oh, Gina. We adore Gina. In this house we support and stAN GINA—okay, let’s talk about what’s happening here.

Ali requested a whole set based on Gina, which I knew would require some planning with regard to base colors. But her secondary request was to have Gina’s dog, Toby, on one thumbnail and Soseki Natsume’s cat, Wagahai, on the other. Well, challenge accepted! I can’t say I’ve drawn full characters, but they seemed simple enough to handle.

On the left hand, from pinky to thumb: Black base with two round gold accents representing buttons, two red-base plaid nails, a mint base painted over to look like a waistcoat with white shirt underneath and 4 gold buttons, and Toby.

On the right hand, from thumb to pinky: Wagahai, a plain green nail the color of Gina’s jacket with a mint base that was completely covered, two red-base plaid nails with purple/burgundy and light pink overtones, and a white nail with shirt button/ruffle detail mimicking Gina’s “inspector” outfit.

Wagahai was the nail I put the most detail into. I started with the base “Milky White” from Kiara Sky dips, which ended up needing about 4 coats to be opaque. Then, I mixed a custom light reddish brown from green, rose brown, and the tannish Pai-nails brown I’d used previously. I’ll be the first to admit I never took proper color theory/mixing classes, but it turned out exactly as I wanted it. I had to be careful to paint the curve on the face as well as the angle of the little ear pointing away from the hand. Once that was cured, I put on a layer of gray on the other side, and cured again. Next was the pink nose and ear triangles, which were probably my favorite part because they were the easiest. Then, the mouth, and separately once that was cured a bit, the whiskers. I painted the red collar while I painted the green eye base, cured, and then finished off the pupils of the eyes while adding a final black outline at the top. The whole nail was then coated in matte top coat, cured, and then I gave the eyes an additional shiny top coat for fun!

The plaid nails are also notable. I’d attempted to make straight lines for my Titanic set a while back and if you recall, those were disastrous! But this time, I watched a couple tutorial videos to prepare, then chose long, thin brushes instead of metal ballpoint. On two of the nails throughout the set, I used a thicker base for one of the colors and changed the pattern direction a bit, but I kept it pretty tame and recognizable as plaid. The plaid, of course, represents the plaid in Gina’s accents and Toby’s little scarf. I’m very proud of the results and only wish I’d given myself more time to try it left-handed on myself… for science!

Shocking myself, Toby was one of the easier nails to paint. The only difficulty I had was that when I chose black as a base, it ended up being too dark and the test details I put on came out nearly invisible. I mixed a custom dark gray with gel, although if I had to do this one over again, I’d have given her a dark gray base from the outset. Then, I drew his eyes, nose, and little mouth with metal ballpoint. After curing that, I made little loops for ears on the side, and finished with some red at the bottom as a reference to his plaid scarf. This one we decided to finish in a regular shiny topcoat.

I also had a swift time with the waistcoat nail. I thought I would be a bit disappointed that I’d painted it green instead of white as a base, but given that the white gel is brighter and more opaque than the dip, it ended up working well, and I achieved crisp lines.

Lastly, I want to honorably mention the shirt nail. This one was kind of “winged,” as I hadn’t really planned it out before committing to it. I’m happy with the parallel lines (same technique as the plaid!), but if I had to do it again, instead of painting the buttons, I would have popped on white pearlized dots. I’m also not sure I did the ruffled pleats to satisfaction, but Ali is happy with them and that’s all that matters.

Overall, I truly enjoyed bringing Gina to life in nail art form! She’s always reminded me of the days in tenth grade when I was in our high school production of Oliver, and everyone in the cast attempted to speak Cockney on a regular basis. (If that sounds annoying, it was! I promise never to do it again if y’all method-actor cosplayers ALSO promise not to do it “for accuracy!”)

My Set: TGAA Favorite Characters


All right, so, the characters I chose for these nails are entirely on a personal-fave basis with no real theming between them, which made for a less-than-cohesive aesthetic with anyone familiar with the game. But let’s get into it!

I’ll go character by character, starting with left pinky and going all the way to the right.

Iris Watson: For Iris, I was lucky to have my choice of cutesy heart designs. I could have picked a stamp but settled on a blue holographic heart. Originally I’d wanted a gold heart, but there were only stars in the set. No mind! I think it makes for a more original and visually interesting nail. That’s on a nude base, with a pink on top that attempts to match her hair color.

Herlock Sholmes: Not gonna lie, this was challenging! Originally I’d wanted to do a gear-style encircling of the icon I ended up lifting from his design, but I found that it was a bit fussy for me when I tried. I chose a simple four-petal flower seen all over his and Iris’s design, with a custom-mixed “dark brown” over a rose brown. Initially, I’d intended to have Pai-tan as the base, but I found it clashed with the surrounding pieces and also experienced some trouble setting the gel. The “dark brown” is in quotation marks because it’s another mixture of a dark green, Wagahai custom brown, and a shimmery burgundy (I think?). Pretty sure he wouldn’t mind that he’s shimmery, though. On top of that, I finished with a round gold button.

Susato Mikotoba: Oh, I LOVED this one. There’s a symbol on Susato’s Hakama which consists of a circle surrounded by 5 separated sakura petals, and it proved to be the easiest part of her outfit to replicate (although I almost chose drawing the bow, and I’m glad I didn’t). But the real achievement is that I had just the right color dip to use as a base without any gel enhancements. I’m also very proud of the freehanded circle. It’s how I started the piece, although it’s hard to see it in all its glory now.

Barok van Zieks: Good god this man has so much fussy ornamentation. It was hard to deconstruct his design down to something both doable and relatively recognizable. I was tempted to break out ye olde gold-on-blue stripes but it reminded me of Maltran’s collar (Tales of Zestiria, ultimate betrayal), so I settled for a gold outline on blue. The base was dark gray dip. On top, I freehanded the clover-like embellishment seen on both his and, interestingly, Stronghart’s design. The things you find when you’re looking for small details, eh? Overall, this was not my neatest nail and the gold ended up being more multicolor shimmer than straight up gold, so, I guess, gay rights? Fun fact, that nail was the ONLY nail on my hands that remained intact when I was rehabbing my nail beds, so it’s also the longest on this set. Makes sense for Tall Guy McGee, in retrospect!

Maria Gorey: On a bit of a whim, what was originally supposed to be a nail for Courtney Sithe got shelved (in prison lol) and I decided to use Maria’s design for inspiration instead. Could have been that it was getting a bit late and the student in me was urging myself to “simplify.” That, and also I knew I had several different shades of blue butterflies that I’d used in another fairly recent set. I used a purple dip base combined with those blue butterflies encapsulated in structured gel. I was disappointed that I had to cut this nail so short from damage because I had originally thought I could do something cool to incorporate the white butterfly coattails as well, but alas. Still like it. Still like Maria, the little weirdo!

Wagahai: SURPRISE, I did Wagahai on myself because I really loved how it turned out in Ali’s set above! However, by total accident/lack of thinking about it, I ended up having to do the whole thing lefthanded. For reference, I’m righthanded. It’s kind of a miracle it turned out as well as it did! The only measurable difference from Ali’s nail is that I had forgotten to put the black outline on top of Waggy’s head, so it blends in a little more there.

Ryunosuke Naruhodou: Oh, he’s another one with all a’ those symbols and junk. I had to choose something simple, but only in realizing that I’d forced myself to do straight lines lefthanded again did I realize that nothing is truly simple in this world… Anyway, I went with his student pin on dark gray dip. It’s wiggly. I don’t care. It reminds me of Tales of Vesperia for some reason. I put a rhinestone on it. There, fixed! Fabulous! Firm-lawyer! (I… will leave that to Soseki from now on.)

Kazuma Asogi: The spoileriest spoiler of them all is that I’m identifying this design with him, because those of you who know the game know that he was “murdered” in case 1-2. However, I, with the giant brain, realized early on that Shu Takumi wouldn’t do that murdered-mentor thing to us twice. Plus, Kazuma just is Ryu’s boyfriend, so it was even more unfair for these kids. Anyway, yeah, I went with the tiddy jacket and red jabot, and in lieu of having gold square studs that small, I used stars. Pretty nice straight lines for lefthanding it! Oh, and it’s on a white base.

Yujin Mikotoba: This one was a last-minute change from a nail I had initially designated for a Gina design. I’d laid a base of dark gray so I could do almost anything with it, but I chose to split it in half with a dark red, line the split with white, and put a sakura petal on it. If you look on his designs, he’s got the same sakura circle as Susato, which is so precious! I chose him over any other option I had on the fly because. Come ON. The man tap dances! He’s so great and I loved the side of Sholmes you got to see when he was around.

Toby: For the last nail, I chose to do another Toby, this time correcting my mistake of black dip base and replacing it with dark gray. It’s still hard to see his little face, but the hint of red near the cuticle still conveys his design.


And there you have it! I adore this game and all the characters I got to interpret as nail art.

Thank you so much for your support and I’ll return with more Pai updates next month! Wish me luck in my seamripping test endeavor. See you soon!

Photos by me.

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