Thursday, February 24, 2011


This one is on Darci, who works at the studio a couple days a week (she is the friendly phone voice for all of your questions and scheduling needs). 
Had a lot of fun with this.  I really enjoy doing flowers and especially "Japanese" ones, so I'm always looking to try out new ways of doing them.  It's important to me that a stand alone flower like this should be unique every time and given as much thought as any other design...

Koi, Skull and Chrysanthemum Leg

Lots of photos for this one, but it's really hard to capture the feel of the thing without seeing all the angles.  Nothing matches seeing a large tattoo in person, so I try to compensate by showing as much as I can.
This has been super fun.  It's much more loose and flowing for me and I really enjoyed doing the flowers  and skull on such a large scale.  Still going to tweak a spot or two maybe, then it's onwards and upwards to the thigh.
He's getting his other thigh tattooed from Hide (guest artist from Horitoshi Family in Tokyo) tomorrow, so not sure how much of a rush he'll be in... Although if anyone can get tattooed all the time and keep coming back for more, this is the dude.

Maple and Sparrows

Got going on the color.  Decided to keep the tones fairly muted and consistent.  The design is fairly busy and has lots of line work, so I don't think we need to be getting too crazy with the color (although I'm sure the branch will have plenty of texture and the birds will be fairly fancy)...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fudo Sword

Finished up the color, and wow, those certainly are some bright flames.
Very happy with how well he healed and the over all look.  Tried not to trip too much on squeezing this in very snugly between Chris Trevino and Horitoshi work.  Not thinking too much while working seems to work well for me...
Thought we were done, but I've had an idea for it that we'll get to next week.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

East Meets West

Long time no blog.  The past couple of weeks have been crazy and should be like that for the near future.
My friend Hide from Japan has been here working for the last few days (he is a traditional Japanese tattoo artist from the Horitoshi Family in Tokyo).  The response to his work has been overwhelming to say the least and he has been working non stop.
Average day is wake up, drink coffee, go to studio @10:30, set up (he hand makes his needles and hand grinds his sumi ink every day), start working at 12:00 or so, leave the shop around 9 or 10:00, come home and eat, talk for a while, then draw till the wee hours.
I'm on double duty of doing all my regular appointments, and facilitating and translating for him and his clients, but very happy that we are able to bring folks this kind of truly unique experience.
I'll get around to putting up some of my new stuff soon if I can find any time...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Maple and Sparrows

Got the outline done in one go for this one.  Nice client that I haven't tattooed in years (she even picked the trim color in the studio when I was first opening). She liked the drawing (that I posted a while back) but wanted less spiky points and to add some seed/bud thingies.  Both very good ideas.  The slightly simplified version fits her arm much better, and I think we're both happy with the balance of tattoo to open skin.

Grateful Dead

Well, living here in Humboldt, I should probably remember the name of the GD album that this is from but it seems to be escaping me.  I do remember that her name is Bertha, it's a super famous image, and my hand hurt after that outline...
Definitely happy with the outcome, and loving his a idea for the other arm (a big Robert Crumb piece!)
Note the authentic tye dye tank border for the tattoo.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hagoromo Tennyo

Nice little one hour session (thanks again back).  Colored half of the vajras this time.
Definitely a bit more patterning to go on her robes (and feathers and skin tone etc), but it's starting to look like something...

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Did another chunk of rocks and water.  I thought about adding a harp into the piece, but he is really liking the rock/water action (as well am I), so we're going to finish the arm with this motif.
Later we'll also layer some color over it, which should give a very muted tone to the background.  Got the inspiration from the backgrounds of Mucha's muse/women pieces...flowing line work with a crisp bold outer border, and very soft hazy color behind.
Little different than other stuff I've got going now, but very fun and free feeling.

Samurai and Clouds

Started coloring the roof line and adding a little detail.  Kind of a crazy placement on the arm (technically speaking) being on the elbow and all, but I feel like it works.
This represents the home, but instead of doing a whole castle or house we went this route.
Almost done...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Body Suit

Added some more background and a claw around the hip area.  First session back after a little break (which I feel is healthy, taking a few weeks off now and again to let the body restore its mojo levels) and it was smooth as usual.
Pretty short session this time as my back has been severely out and limiting my ability to work at 100%...
Suppose it's an occupational hazard, but I really appreciate people's understanding if I need to reschedule or do a minimal appointment.
Here is a refresher as to what his other side looks like...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Maple Branch and Birds Sketch

It's 12:30 a.m. and I need to stop noodling around on this line drawing and get some rest.
Starting this tomorrow on an arm...shoulder to mid forearm...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Koi, Skull and Chrysanthemum Leg

Filled in some gaps on, under and around the kneecap...ouch!
As always, it was a mellow session and he showed no signs of any pain.  I think we're both having fun with this one and looking forward to continuing.  We've got one more session to tidy up and finish the bottom of the leg, then on to outlining the top.
He had some cool ideas for what's going up there that I'm super into...

Suikoden Back Piece

Got cracking on the color this time.  Mostly black and super dark greens.
The plan now is to color in the whole figure and add his axe before we even touch the background.  Still mulling over some possibilities (this kind of thing literally keeps me up at night) so no rush to decide.
Pretty much 2-2.5 hour sessions every two or three weeks for this piece, and it seems to be a great pace for us.  Enjoying myself very much on this one and look forward to the next session...