Monday, July 11, 2011

Mucha Woman

It is no exaggeration for me to say that this was one of the most demanding outlines I've ever done.
Mucha is one of my favorite artists of all time, and I always love the opportunity to do one of his pieces.
One thing I forget every time however, is just how difficult it can be to turn them into tattoos.
Most Mucha tattoos that I've seen are always simplified or streamlined in some way.  They can still be beautiful and have a great flow, but they are not truly representative of his drawing style.
I feel that to really do justice to this great artist and designer, you need to really get into his head and do the thing as it was drawn.
Even getting a good line drawing from the original print was a challenge (as a lot of the lines are actually thinner than a normal pencil can even draw), so I find myself with a copy of the original taped to my lamp the whole session, constantly looking back and forth between it and the tattoo.
It's mostly single needle throughout, with certain boldness here and there to give it that line depth that I love about his work.
P.S.  This is only one of three women scheduled for this arm...

Body Suit

Drew on and outlined all the scales from the waist down.  Also brought the background down a little more in the front along the hip and added another claw toward the inside of the thigh.
I know he's been waiting patiently to see some color, and at this rate it's not going to be too long at all.
He's into vivid, unexpected, and not quite traditional looking work so expect something a bit more fun than usual...

Mr. Natural

I love this tattoo.
It is a reproduction of an existing piece of art (although slightly more difficult to do from a technical standpoint than it might appear), but it is from one of my favorite artists, Robert Crumb.
If you don't know who he is, you really should.
Mr. Natural is one of my favorite characters ever and almost sort of a personal hero.
I really dig the look and message of this tattoo and can't wait to finish the color.

Here's some clips lifted from Wikipedia to give an idea of the vibe of this comic icon of the 60s...

At first appearance, Mr. Natural is a mystic guru who spouts aphorisms on the evils of the modern world and the salvation to be found in mysticism and natural living. He has renounced the material world and lives off anything he can get in exchange for his nuggets of wisdom. 

Crumb's bearded guru is too unapologetic to be called a con man. Despite his renunciation of the material world, he's an unrepentantsybarite. His straight talk, while refreshing, can get him into trouble, as when he was kicked out of heaven for telling God it's "a little corny" in "Mr. Natural Meets God". But he may be the only Crumb creation who is genuinely likable.[2] Mr. Natural's aphorisms such as "Keep on Truckin'" form a disconnect with his image as a sage, and his inventions are at once brilliant and crackpot.

In the "biography", "Fred Natural" leaves America and travels for many years in Asia, which is where he picks up his unique combination of wisdom and chicanery. For a time he worked a taxicab driver in Afghanistan.[4] He returns to America during the Beat era of the 1960s, and is drawn to the San Francisco Bay area by nubile girls and people willing to listen and pay for his improvisational spirituality. He exhorts his disciples to eat only his own line of "Mr. Natural Brand Foods", and to listen to his broadcasts on WZAP Radio.[4]
When asked, "What is the meaning of life?", he responded, "It don't mean shit."

Peonies, Rocks and Water

Got in a nice "power session" last time.  Finished up the grey shading and did almost all the color.
Should leave us with a pretty mellow session to finish up and then we hop over to the other arm and start outlining.
There was a last minute cover up request that came after everything was already lined in, but I feel pretty good about how we handled it, and I think it fits fairly seamlessly.
We talk about art and design quite a bit during our sessions, and I think we do a good job picking each other's brains and motivating each other to draw more and better.
(Also, he loves sake, Zatoichi and Wu-Tang, so it's sort of like tattooing myself...)

Tiger Sleeve

 First session of what I am hoping will be a really cool sleeve (and one that I am very excited and honored to do).
We finished his back piece just two weeks before starting this and he's rearing to go...
This is the first of two tigers that will be the main attractions of the arm (along with more bamboo leaves, rocks, peonies and as I've recently decided, a waterfall).
I'm very happy with how it fits on him, as it can be a difficult transition to have an animal on the arm coming on to the chest and have it fit properly and look dynamic from all angles.  In my opinion, tigers are the most awkward to fit this shape as their bodies are way less free form than say a dragon or snake.
The tiger on the bottom of the arm will be quite a bit more fierce and the idea is that together they will form a nice balance and contrast.
We have been working very well together on actualizing his ideas, and it's nice that we can both get a lot out of the experience...

Hagoromo Tennyo

Finished all of the under texture in the feathers.
Once those little dots heal in I'll be layering more color over them.  I'm finally starting to feel like this thing is really taking shape.  A handful more appointments and we're pretty close to the end of our crazy tattoo journey together (and what a journey it has been).
Still more bells and whistles to come, and the last few sessions should really bring it together and give it some final oomph...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Suikoden Backpiece

Finished at last (well 99% at least)!
It's been a great experience for the both of us and I'm very pleased with the outcome.
He's been a great client and I really admire his dedication to getting tattooed and positive attitude.
Before the last session for this we had a consultation to brainstorm ideas for his sleeves.
So about two weeks after finishing this piece, we started the first of his arms (which is also very fun and cool).  I'll be getting some pics of the arm up when I get a free minute.  The work schedule has been on maximum overload.  Been doing non stop high energy work, but that means little to no time for any of the extras in life.
A big thanks to all for putting up with the crazy schedule and staying so motivated on these big projects...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Updates have been slow as I've been tattooing/drawing non stop, hosting our guest from Japan, and maintaining a normal as possible home life...
After what seems like quite a long time we made a little progress on the dragon.  She's a bit of a jet setter and doesn't seem to be in town at the same time as her appointments quite a bit...
But, she sits amazingly well, and seems very motivated and comfortable with the idea of getting a lot more tattoo work in the coming months and next year.
We've still got to shade the head black, then the rest gets color.  Then on to a large phoenix on the other shoulder...