Well, the sword of wisdom is finally complete. Added the shading behind the flames and I feel like it really pops of the skin now and that extra dimension really gives it more oomph.
The shading is a homage to the style you find on the old prints of tattooed men by the likes of Kuniyoshi. Instead of the stylized clouds and wind bars its more of a misty stippling (using individual dots to create the fade).
This tattoo has a pretty heavy and intense look, matching the whole meaning behind it.
A phoenix covering most of his leg is next (next week in fact)...