I like to think of this first one as a gypsy lady telling a lie. The customer is the brother of a friend of Cara and Myself and the preliminary work was done via email. For some reason there is always a bit more struggle with me getting the art in line with the customers ideas when we don’t meet face to face before I start drawing. Somehow, that personal meeting just helps cut through a lot of the grey area when a client is trying to describe their vision. We reworked a little bit of this and then tattooed it on. This guy was, like me, not a big fan of getting his leg tattooed, for some reason it sucks extra below the knees for me. Hopefully his will heal faster than my leg tattoos seem to.
the three flower types in this piece represent family members to this client. we discussed doing it a lot smaller, but she has tattoos and has learned that when it comes to tattoos bigger is almost always better. I do quite a number of flower tattoos and they never get tired, there is just too many ways to do them and too many type of flowers out there to run out of new and cool ways to lay them out. the hardest part of these guys is the white flowers, white is not so great in large doses on a tattoo, we used a dusty blue color to add some shading and hopefully hold up even if the white isn’t super bright on her skin.
Day of the dead tattoos are getting popular and I couldn’t be happier. there is something so fun about them and it was a pleasure to work on this piece. The general layout is based on a piece the client brought in from the internet. I eschewed the usual Sylvia Ji stuff (though it is amazing artwork) and instead used a Tamara Lempicka painting as the basis of the face.
here is stage one. As you can see a lot fo the lines are put in using light gray-wash and in the hair I didn’t stress about making the lines too perfect, more than 90% of those lines would be covered as we made the hair black. Also you can see how this piece curls around the arm, from the bicep down over the ditch of the elbow and onto the upper forearm. I like it when tattoos can reveal a little of themselves as the person moves, it makes getting a single picture of the stuff harder, but I think its way more fun and dynamic on the body if I don’t try to impose stiff framing just so I can see the piece all at once.
This is the second session with the shading beginning to go in. Most of the time I don’t do a whole lot of this kind of layering, but if something is supposed to have very subtle gradations I will do a gray ‘under painting’ on some parts, let that heal and then come back with color. Once healed this will make the shading seem to have some depth and translucent effect. Once, again the drawback for me is that I don’t get a fully realized picture until the piece is totally healed and sometimes customers don’t come back until they have spent 5 years on a tanning bed.
So here is the finished piece the day we got done. I wanted the halo and outer shading to have a rough, almost folkarty feel since all the inner stuff was a clean and smooth as I could make it. Both the customer and Christal were thrilled with it and so was I.