Thursday, May 26, 2011

Maple and Sparrows

Just a short little session squeezed in this morning to make up for some lost time.
Started the shading in the branch (and almost finished).
Went with grey shading as I felt like it went way better with the color of the leaves in terms of contrast.  Also, if you really look at a lot of maple bark, it almost has a grey/silver look to it...
One or two more of these shorties and we're good.

Shoki Body Suit Day 11-14

He's back in action...
Took a little time to get him back in the rotation, but we're full steam ahead for the rest of the year.
We got 4 mellow (in terms of time) sessions in last week, and he's back next week for five days in a row.
His energy levels and enthusiasm for the piece are strong as ever, and I think we're both feeling very motivated to push forwards.  This is a lot of tattoo work to be getting, which can be pretty intense on the body and mind, but he is doing exceedingly well in both departments.
Won't bore you with the day to day shots, but here is what we got done this time.  
Framed out the front and side of the thigh and all around the demon.  Also outlined the third oni with fire and background on the butt, and connected all the background up his side.


Kind of an interesting one that I really enjoyed doing.
She was born in the year of the rabbit, and seeing as how 2011 is the year of the rabbit she requested a rabbit tattoo.
The reference material she brought was all black and fairly stylized rabbit images, like Chinese paper cut outs (which were also very cool).  One picture she brought almost had a lithograph type feel, and after some discussion (Watership Down definitely came up) we decided to head in that direction.  We didn't have a specific picture to go off of, just something that looked etched on and a nice pose for the side of the calf.
It was super fun to draw something in a totally different style than I'm used to.  I'd be really into doing more stuff like this in the future...
Outlined everything with a single needle and it was a very smooth and enjoyable session.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Maple and Sparrows

All the maple leaves are officially colored and I believe I see her tomorrow to start shading in the branch.
I'm sure I've said it before, but bird and flower compositions are my favorite to work with.  I love old Chinese and Japanese bird and botanical drawings, and Audobon is my favorite in terms of color and patterning.
My ultimate inspiration in this genre is Hiroshige.
His book "Birds and Flowers" is one of the most important and special books I own.  Not that it is rare or hard to find, but to me it is the pinnacle of stylized natural compositions.  No matter how many times I go through it I am constantly amazed and seeing new things.
Check it out if you've got a chance.  Just sitting quietly and taking your time to look at it is a very relaxing exercise...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Water Dragon

Really fun piece.  I did a half sleeve on him several years ago of a giant Japanese wave breaking toward some rocks with a cherry blossom branch and some stylized butterflies.  I'm super happy with how it turned out and has aged.  
He recently decided to go all the way down to the wrist with a sea serpent crashing through tumultuous waves and water (that will 100% tie into the original).  He wanted to keep the Japanese motif and since dragons in Asia are associated with water and can have an aggressive/powerful look he was going for, it was a perfect fit.
Still have more of the body and some water to outline, but he's got gigantic arms and this thing is fairly large in real life (could be like a whole thigh piece on some people).
One of the remaining claws will be holding a pearl and it's all going to be black and grey.  Very much looking forward to our next appointment...

Suikoden Back Piece

Starting to get very close on finishing the main figure here.  
I really admire his fortitude to sit through all this detail oriented work that's on his back where he can't ever really see it up close (and his appreciation of the work and process is a serious motivating factor for me as well).
We still have to discuss ideas for potential background, but lately he has mentioned getting started on some sleeves and I'm super curious to see what he has in mind...

Peonies, Rocks and Water

This one's on a very cool friend and non-stop artist himself.  One of those pieces that is as much about doing it as having it (if that makes any sense).  Our ideas and views on most things art related are very similar, so it's been a cool experience to be doing this work.
Also, doing nature based compositions in a Japanese inspired style is something that I truly love and could do forever.
More shading this time all through the ditch and around the back of the forearm.
One of the rocks at the bottom was an unplanned last minute cover up, but it worked out pretty well...


I've been too busy to keep up on the blog lately, so the next few are from the last couple weeks.
Got all of the hair colored in on this.  It took a little longer than I expected but it's a pretty good sized tattoo.
She wanted a redhead, which we didn't want to look super orange, so we went with the more earthy, muted look.  The vibe we are going for is mature and classy, using richer tones...not super bright or cartoony.  Lately I've been leaning a lot towards a more subtle color palette and people seem to be digging it...

NYC Tattoo Convention

Just got back from the NY tattoo show.  I've worked in NY I believe around 7 or so times now and this was by far the best for me.
Nice steady but relaxed pace of work, and got to spend some real quality time (and eat some incredible food) with truly amazing people.  I stayed with my friend Shinji (Horizakura, from Tokyo now living and working in NY) and his wife, and shared the living room with another friend visiting from Tokyo, Masataka (Shunho is his tattoo name).  They are both members of the Horitoshi family and amazing people.  Their level of dedication to their craft, artistic capabilities, and just how they carry themselves as individuals and representatives of their family and teacher was very inspirational. 
 As always I worked with my tattoo"family"and mentors...Bill and Junii Salmon from the Diamond Club in SF.  Cruising around Manhattan and working with these amazing folks was very special and as good as it gets.  Already looking forward to next year...

Clockwise from L...Junii, Bill, Me, Miki, Horizakura, Shunho

P.S.  I was so wrapped up in the convention, I didn't take any actual tattoo pictures...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Body Suit

Pretty much capped in most of that section around the arm pit.  This was one of those shortened session due to the back injury, but forward progress is always welcome.
Almost time to start thinking about colors...

Chrysanthemum Cover-Up

So the mission is to cover this up completely...

She was fairly open to ideas, but kept bringing up chrysanthemums as something she was super into, so that's where we headed...

I'm not gonna lie, this was pretty difficult.  Had to draw it on and as soon as the body temperature started rising, that pen was wiping off like nobody's business.  Had to try and work very loose and kind of go with the flow.  The image underneath is also pretty dark and at times it was hard to see what was going on.  Chrysanthemums have a lot of lines and the are always over and underlapping themselves, so it can get confusing very quick if you're not reall aware and focused.
All that complaining aside, I feel super good about the results.  She really didn't want to have to get a gigantic tattoo to cover the vine, and I feel that we're keeping it a pretty managable size considering the difficulties asscoiciated with cover ups...
Going to be outling the other half later today.  Wish me luck...


I recently realized that it's been a year since I added any photos to my portfolio.
I try to stay somewhat current on this blog, but it's nice (and necessary) to have an actual physical portfolio for folks to check out.  Usually I print some photos up at the local drugstore photo department and try to stick them in a nice album.
Inspired by my great friend (and amazing tattooer in SF) Kahlil, I've decided to just get an actual small hardbound book made.  It's super clean and really is a convenient and classy presentation.
My other good friend and graphics guru Sonny Wong helped me lay everything out in Photoshop.
These are a few sample pages from the book.
Hopefully if I ever decide to embrace computers, I'll figure out how to put this actual portfolio in a gallery somewhere on this blog...
All in all, I'm very happy with this new look and feel it's a much better way to represent myself.