Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Toshi Hide

Our very good friend Hide from Japan is back!
He was here for a few weeks last February and has returned to finish up projects from last visit and do new work (in what is shaping up to be semi regular guest spot).
If you missed it the first go round, Hide is a member of the Horitoshi Family in Tokyo (a link to some of their work is to the right) and does traditional Japanese hand poke tattooing (tebori).
It is a fairly unique experience to be able to get this style of work outside of Japan, especially from a member of such a famous and amazing tattoo family.  
He's been pretty booked up from word of mouth already, but there are still a few appointments available over the next few weeks...
If interested, feel free to email through this page or call the studio at (707) 826-0456.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Body Suit

We're back from hiatus on project body suit.  It's been well over a month or two since we had our last appointment and it was nice to get reacquainted with the tattoo.
After such a long break from very regular appointments the worry is that the rhythm could get broken up, but he got right back in the zone and it was like old times.  
When you tattoo someone so regularly, you develop a definite relationship and the meetings have a ritual type quality to them.  It's like you're in this shared alternate reality for a few hours together...

Rocks and Water

Been busy lately and a bit neglecting of any updates...
More shading done this time.  Almost there with the background (probably only like 30 minutes left, but sometimes at the end of a session that extra half hour just seems like too much).  
I'm sure he's excited to get on to the color.  When I do pieces in this style I always do the background first, and although my clients are generally patient and open to my process, I know they all secretly want the color now.  I always get people asking things like "Hey, so any color today"? or "How many more sessions until the color.  I mean don't get me wrong I love the shading but I'm really excited to see the color".
It's good to save the dessert until the end.  All good things to those who wait...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Just about done with the background.  Definitely one more full session to get it all dialed in.
All those nooks and crannies between the hair should be fun...
Sometimes while I'm in the middle of shading something I'm questioning myself as to why I draw stuff with so much line work sometimes.  I realized at a certain point that I guess I just really like a drawing to look complete on its own as lines, and all the shading and color is just icing on the cake...
Also, I'm really happy with how the cascading of the water is fitting the shapes of his arm.  He's stokes and I'm having fun, and it's all working out.
Color very soon...

Tengu Sleeve

Well, we basically got all the background shaded (except the top of the shoulder) as was the plan.
He gets tattooed a lot and wanted to take the summer off the enjoy the great outdoors.  A lot of folks around here who get tattooed regularly opt to go on tattoo hiatus for the summer as well and pick back up in the fall (like reverse hibernation).
If you're not familiar with Humboldt, it can be very wet and grey for a large portion of the year.  When summertime rolls around, it's as nice here as anywhere in the world, and everyone wants to hang out at the river or the beach as much as possible (not ideal tattoo healing activities).
Looking forward to finishing in the fall  once his amateur wake boarding carer is over for the season...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shoki Body Suit Day 15-18

I have to admit it...I am really impressed with this guy's fortitude.  To keep getting tattooed for several days in a row is no easy task (and to get in 8 sessions within three weeks).  We're not doing super epically long appointments every time, but the regularity and consistency could really grind on a person, especially the inner thigh and butt sections (which have been some of the more intense sections on my own body).  
He always communicates his willingness to sit for as long as I feel like working.  I think there has been only one session ever that he felt like finishing before I did.  I'm happy to be getting so much done, but also I'm in no rush.  This style of work is very rich and dense, and just takes some time to ensure it's super solid.
We are taking the next couple months of so the healing doesn't interfere with summer activities, and then full steam ahead in the fall...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Koi Sleeve

She made it back the next day, and we were able to finish in really good time.  Had a stencil ready for the bottom koi, and drew on the rest.  It was one of those where the first pass of the pen seemed to really be working.  Sometimes you sit there drawing and redrawing over and over, trying to get it just right.  This one must have really wanted to go on because it felt like it really clicked, and there wasn't hardly any mental anguish to get there.
Now we just have to figure out when we can get together to start getting some color in there...

Hagoromo Tennyo

Been on hiatus for a little while on this one, but she's got appointments for the next few months and we'll be making a push for the finish line.
Sometimes scheduling back ups or life circumstances can put the brakes on a piece for a little while.  In the grand scheme of things though, I think it's almost for the best on these big ones to take a break every few months.  After getting tattooed every couple of weeks for months on end it's good to give your body and mind a little break.  It's actually nice for me as well.  Sometimes you get so mentally wrapped up in these things (and almost start to overthink them), it's good to step away for a bit and come back with a fresh perspective and renewed inspiration...
Still have a couple surprises up my sleeve for this one, and I'm very much looking forward to completion.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Koi Sleeve

This one has been a while in the making.  I think we've been discussing doing a koi sleeve on her for almost a couple years, and today we finally took the first step.  
She came up from around the Yosemite area for three days to get things going (she's got 1/2 day appointments tomorrow and Saturday as well).  
All went smooth and we sailed right through the first portion of outline.  Got a lot done for the amount of time we had and she's happy, so I'm happy. 
The goal for tomorrow is to try and draw on and outline the rest down to the wrist (or at least the bulk of it...).  It will be another koi and more water and blossoms, and possibly some rocks.  She really loves vibrant colors and wants the water bright blue, so I made the koi a bit larger so all those blues wouldn't overwhelm them...
Here's the rough concept sketch I'm working from...

P.S.  It's a super fun tattoo for me...

John the Butcher

Part art piece and part cheat sheet...
This was a really fun small one I did on a super nice local butcher.  A cow broken down into all of its various delicious cuts.  I'm really happy with how it came out and love that it looks fairly classy but also has this total sense of humor to it.  Making "art" is always great, but just doing something for the fun of it also has its merits...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chrysanthemum Cover-Up

Here's the last couple sessions of this one.
It's actually coming together and starting to get rid of the old tattoo.  This cover up was pretty daunting, but I find it best to not over think it and get doubts in my head, just proceed forward knowing it will work out.
The shading is really more of just a base coat for the color that's getting started tomorrow.  We had to put it in to start defining the shapes of the flower and really eat up the old tattoo.  When we start putting the color in, having that undercoat of shading will make it look much richer and deeper than it ever could with just straight color.  It's something I like to do once in a while, even if it's not a cover up.  Not every tattoo needs to be super bright and popping off the skin.  Lately I've been leaning towards more muted and subdued colors and really digging it.  Feels a little classier and mature or something like that...
Not the best for everything, but it really suits certain pieces and personalities.

Suikoden Back Piece

We both agreed on doing a mellow session this time.
Got a bunch more little detailing stuff and the skin tones done (which really started bringing it to life).
Part of the detail work was these hundreds of super fine brown lines in the ochre sections on his bottom half.  You can't see them too well in the photos, but it adds some very cool texture, almost like straw or something.  Very excited that we will be finishing this up next time, then it's on to doing his sleeves to keep us going the rest of the year and beyond...