Thursday, October 28, 2010

Phoenix Backpiece

Actually really officially finally finished the Blue Phoenix.
I thought we were just going to add the eye and a small peony bud on the shoulder, but we ended up doing a full size peony on the arm to complete the look.
I'm really happy that she wanted that there and stoked on the tattoo as a whole.
It's been a fun year doing this one.
It's strange seeing someone so often on a regular schedule and then all of a sudden being done.
Time to work the next big piece into the rotation and keep on truckin'...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Body Suit

Today was the big day...started the other dragon.
Still plenty of work to be done, but it feels pretty good to start seeing the other side coming together.
It was satisfying to get it on there, but a very tough session.  The pen kept wiping off and there were some very difficult angles to work with when it was all stretched out, but we pulled it off.  I find as a right handed person, it is much easier to tattoo the left ribcage on a client than the right...(like I don't have to worry about my elbow being in their crotch the whole time).

Dios de los Muertos Lady and Roses

Finally finished this up.  Just added another rose up at the top.
I'm pretty happy with how the first section healed out.  This was my first black and grey style piece I did with a rotary machine and I'm plenty satisfied with the result.
Not sure if the picture with flash does it more or less justice, so I threw them both in...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kingyo (Japanese Goldfish)

Had a really great session with this one the other day.  Unfortunately I've been forgetting my camera (hence not too many updates) so I just snagged a couple of shots with the cell phone.
This was one of the smoothest/most rewarding big sessions I've had in a while.  Tattoo time was 4 hours on the dot.
She made this appointment about ten months ago and drove down from Oregon for the occasion.  We'd really just been communicating through email and one ten minute visit on a prior trip, but we synced up well and had a great session.  She was in a very calm zone throughout and aside from a short bathroom break we just worked right through and time few right by. We'll finish on the next visit after the new year...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tengu Sleeve

Did this outline the other day on a good friend/client of ours.  Very fun piece for me.  It is the first part of what will be a 3/4 sleeve of all tengu.  Tengu are Japanese mountain goblins that have a very long history in Japanese folklore (which I will try to get into more detail in future posts).
This particular one is Sojobo, king of the Tengu and teacher of very secretive and powerful martial arts.
He was said to have instructed Yoshitsune, leader of the Genji clan and one of the most famous warriors in the history of Japan.
This is a companion piece to a 3/4 sleeve of all Foxes, that I finished on his other arm earlier in the year.  There will be a tengu mask, statue and a Karasu-tengu (crow tengu) coming soon...


Finished up the shading on this piece for the most part and on to the other arm to do a matching piece to cover the old matching armband...


This was the first session on this one in several months.  He took a little time off to get in some river time and Phish shows.
Glad to be back on it and really close to finishing.  Just colored in the flower this time, and I'm pretty happy with the outcome.  He said he really wanted it to pop, and I think we did just that.
Spending the other week with the Horitoshi family in Vegas was very inspiring and educational for me, and really led me to a more methodical approach to coloring in certain images.  
Looking forward to finishing up next time and then we'll be jumping right into finishing his back...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Body Suit

Dialed in the collar line and filled in all the little nooks and crannies tonight.  Once again he sat great considering the terrain and all went well.
Time to start outlining the other dragon next time...

Chrysanthemum/Koi Leg

STILL plugging away on this one.  I swear I am working as quickly and efficiently as I can, but there just seems to always be more.  It has been a lot of fun though, and I really like the color scheme he chose for this flower.  I pretty much doubles in size when his knee is bent and has a really cool effect (that I should probably photograph sometime).
Looking forward to finishing this flower and then starting the upper half of the leg...

Koi and Water

Been slacking on the posting lately, but damn life can get busy...
Got close to finishing these koi the other day but not quite there.  Still have to layer in the lighter red/orange and yellow streaks in the fins.  Also the gills and save the eyes for last.
He's a pretty big guy so the tattoo is quite large in person.  
He's been turning me on to high end hot sauce and whiskey lately, which I appreciate a great deal, but can end up being a deadly combo...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Las Vegas

Just got back from the tattoo convention in Las Vegas.  I wasn't tattooing, but went to support and help out the Horitoshi family from Tokyo.  I visited them last year in Japan and they put me up and made sure I was taken care of completely.  It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I feel very fortunate to know Horitoshi and call him and his family my friends.
His style of tattooing and way that he carries himself as an individual has been very influential to who I am as a tattooer and person.
It was also great to spend quality time with my mentors from SF Bill and Junii Salmon, and all of the other great people in my extended tattoo family and new friends I met.
  Looking forward to thier return trip to San Francisco in the spring.  Do yourself a favor and check out Horitoshi's work at

Hagoromo Tennyo

Last two sessions on the buddhist angel.  Slow and steady...
We've got a few more sessions this year, then a month and a half off for her marathon training, and back at it in the early spring...


Mr. Big Hannya made another trip up from San Francisco to get some more work.  Added some background and colored all the maple leaves.  His ability to sit very well through all these unpleasant areas continues to amaze me.
Sounds like we'll be doing quite a bit more on him (like a dragon from the foot to chest) so this piece is really just beginning...

Koi and Water

Been in Las Vegas for the last week so these updates are a bit outdated...
Got the first shading session done on this one.  Hoping to finish it on the next one.  Smooth sailing thus far...
I'm looking forward to doing more of this type of bold and straight ahead Japanese work.  Great client and conversationalist.