Nothin’ Better

There’s nothin better than a new tattoo!  (… Except your next new tattoo…)

Here’s one going on right now!  (in progress… stay tuned for the color)

Graffiti Outline... in process right now!sent from my iPhone

Shamrock Shakes, green beer and kilt lifting

Yes, it’s the week of Shamrock Shakes, green beer, kilt lifting and (for the rest of us) a nice pint of Guinness and music that is off the hook!  Pre-dating St. Pat is the indigenous tradition of Celtic tattooing, so what better time than now to peruse some Celtic art and history?

The ancient pre-Celtic people are referred to as Picts, whose name was a derogatory reference meaning “Painted” used by the Romans for their tattooed enemies.  The Gaelic Celts used the term “Curithnii”, meaning “the People of the Designs”… and hey now – I’d say that’s more like it.  The Picts were not simply painted but indeed tattooed, using sharp iron tools and a natural plant-based blue ink called Woad.

While not much is definitively known about the Picts (who began to merge with the Gaelic people by the 10th Century), there are Roman accounts of fierce warriors with “wild hair” (apparently lime paste was used to stand hair straight on end) who were “painted blue”.  So, for some of us not much has changed I guess.

Here are a few images of how the Picts may have appeared, and a piece of Pictish stone art that I recently had the opportunity to render!

the Picts

Today at the studio

Joe’s cover up is complete!

I posted this two weeks ago.  From concept to outline… and then…

Cover up in process: Tribal Black and Red

The completion of the piece!  Here it is:

Cover up Complete: Tribal Black and Red

Today at the Studio

Hey Hey Hey… this is going to be one sweet cover up!  Joe wanted to keep his moon design while covering the existing bicep band.  The plan was an extensive tribal piece.  I sketched a basic concept on paper, and then we spent the first hour of his appointment customizing the design to tailor fit his arm.  What you see here is phase one… the outline of the new piece.  Stay tuned for phase two:  super sweet solid tribal fill… coming up in a couple of weeks!

Tribal Cover Up

Contemporary spin on Old School

Contemporary spin on Old School… from concept to complete.

Bluebird Banner

Celtic Evolution

New art done in 17 minutes! Just kidding. (Got your attention, though, huh?.) Okay, here we have the most recent addition to Nate’s Celtic back piece. You will experience a Where’s Waldo moment if you look closely… Check it out: three of the challenges facing us with this piece were: 1) Tying in the existing tribal piece on the left, 2) Connecting the two existing open strands from the lower left and right sides to the new work, and 3) Lining up the new knot work to fit in a symmetrical way with the existing knot work. Stay tuned for photos of the completed work in a couple of weeks. (A photo of Nate’s right shoulder addition were posted on the Art With a Point FB page back on 1/2/10.)

Celtic Backpiece Evolution

Evolution of a Tattoo

Sunflowers for his daughters

Evolution of a tattoo, from concept sketch to completed half sleeve.  Sunflowers were the central theme, one for each of his daughters with a glowing star for his wife.  But there were a few other considerations as well because he really wanted a half sleeve and wanted to avoid something “too” floral while having a piece flowed naturally with his arm.  I sketched the concept art (see left), using movement, flow and color to set off the sunflowers.  A few sessions later this sweet half sleeve was complete.

Whale Migration

Yes, it’s that time of year.  Whales are beginning to migrate as you read this… okay, not here in Minnesota where it’s currently -1º and we have no ocean shores, but in far off balmy climates where the ocean waves are rolling and the sun feels hot to your skin.  (Let’s pause a minute and enjoy that thought…………) Wait!  Here’s a photo of this week’s tattoo to help transport you there:

Blue Whale

If I could edit time like LA Ink edits their footage, this back piece could be completed in one one hour show… I bet Michael would appreciate that.  Oh well, one more reminder that life is not reality tv.  This is the most recent installation of this work in progress.  While the whale and her watery digs are the focal point, I’m working with the existing Newgrange spirals above and Celtic knot work below in order to create a smoothly flowing piece.

2010 the Year of the Tiger

Tribal Dragon

… the tiger, not the dragon.  BUT, this dragon rocks… so let’s highlight it anyway.

Morris created his original design, then I refined it to fit in proportion to his shoulder and to flow with the shape of his back.  This dragon reflects another piece, while a different subject, that we rendered in a similar style on his other shoulder.

Fit and flow are the components that breathe life into your tattoo.  This is a dragon well represented… and hey, nobody wants an unhappy dragon.  A wise person once said, “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

From the Photo Archives

Bluebird and Autumn LeavesHere’s a fun pic of a colorful piece from my archives!  Old school (not in the fun way) tattoo artists insist that tattoos require a heavy black outline.  “Not true” I say!  While the black outline does serve a meaningful purpose in some designs, there are situations in which the black is unnecessary.  When we look at objects in life, the only time we see a black edge is when the subject is in shadow.  When an item is illuminated we see color.  So, when we render a subject as a tattoo it rocks to go all the way and render it in full living color!