Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hagoromo Tennyo

Done with the purple now.  Color in the top robe and sashes next, then on to the patterns and feathers.
No background, so I really want to do some trick detailing in the outfit.  Lots of ideas to narrow down...

Water Woman

Finished up the rest of this one that I started 2 weeks ago I think.
I'm happy with how the shading in her face from last time is settling in nicely.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and had to do the cell phone picture.  He's leaving for New Zealand for 4 months so this is the best shot I'm going to have for a while.  Oh well, I doubt it's the last time I hear from this guy...
P.S.  I had a lot of fun doing this tattoo...tried to be a bit looser and play around a little more. 

Suikoden Leg

Finally finished up the last bit of this whole leg tattoo (100% solid from just under the butt to the ankle).  Had to put a little single needle body suit of clouds and a leopard on Genshogo.  There are four other charectars from this series (Kuniyoshi's original Heroes of the Suikoden) covering his leg.  
It's been a long trip on this one, but everything has turned out well, and once this bit heals, we'll shave the leg and get a proper photo session of the whole thing with more descriptions of the dudes...

Monday, November 29, 2010


Haven't been posting in a while because of general busy schedule stuff, and I went on a short family vacation to San Francisco.  Had a nice few day getaway.  Here are a couple highlights.
Big highlight was seeing the "Japanesque" exhibition at the Legion of Honor.  Great show of Japanese prints and their influence on European artists.  Very cool to see original prints of all these amazing images in real life that I've only seen in books before.  It's kind of like seeing a tattoo in real life versus a photo...there is no real way to appreciate it fully unless you see it in real life.
(And for any one with a small child, yes, the Yo Gabba Gabba show was super fun).


Added another peony behind the purple one I did a couple weeks ago.
Originally she wanted some swirly shapes coming off the flower but after living with it for a bit decided another flower would be better instead.
I couldn't agree more and I'm super happy that's what we ended up doing.  I was thinking the same thing, but can be hesitant to feel like I'm pushing my own ideas or agenda on people.  I prefer to facilitate people's own ideas with my interpretation, not force what I think (unless that's what is requested).
Ended up we were both on the same page, and I really like what we came up with.  Think it fits her great and reads very well...

Snake and Peonies Back Piece

Started this piece quite a while ago, and just started working on it again after several years.
Hopefully we'll keep the momentum going and finish it around the new year or so.  
Don't think there will be any background, so shouldn't be too much more...
But then again, I always say that and sometimes it feels like it takes forever.  As long as we're all happy in the end I guess it doesn't really matter.


Started this up on a regular client a while ago.  Starting to bridge the upper and lower arm now and turn this thing into a sleeve.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of (or stop trying to get much better at) doing Japanese flowers.  You could really pursue variations of this theme forever...
P.S.  Tombow brush pens don't stay on the skin very well and force you to freestyle the image on the skin when they rub off super fast.


Sexy Siren lady #2 has been successfully installed.  
Pretty awkward (and I'm sure painful) spot to put it on the arm, but we seem to have pulled it off.  The hair on the elbow was a bit of a challenge, but that's just how it goes.
We'll start adding the background next time.   They'll be on a rock outcropping with water running down and a harp resting somewhere...

Friday, November 19, 2010

San Pedro Flower

This is the piece I did the next day after the water woman.  Drew the flower on based on a pretty good sketch he had done of one.  I think it goes well with the trippy Aztecy peyote button skull (done by my good friend Chris Brand from Tattooland in LA).  
The leaves wrapping around are from a tobacco plant that goes up the back of the arm.  This flower grows on the San Pedro cactus and from what I gather has some very serious psychedelic/spiritual properties...
Kind of a cool homage to the sacred plants of different indigineous peoples of the Americas.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Water Woman

Fun new piece for me on a great old client.  He'd seen a picture of a woman's face surrounded by hair-like water and mentioned getting something like it for years.
Haven't seen him in a while and he popped in the day before the appointment and reminded me this is what he wanted.  The drawing actually flowed well and materialized very quickly, more of a loose sketch that worked the first go round and turned into a tattoo.
He's got great skin and sits well, so it was a pleasure to do.  
He even had an appointment the next day for a different tattoo on the arm (we'll finish this one up in a few weeks).

Flowers, Rocks and Water

Adding on to a 3/4 sleeve I did a long time ago.  She finally decided to go down to the wrist and it's looking pretty cool.  Still have plenty to color, but I feel pretty good about blending in the new with the old.  It can be difficult to do a seamless transition on work that is that many years apart.
I think I did that purple peony section about seven or so years ago...

Body Suit

Started connecting the old to the new this session.  It's fun the see that river of skin forming down the front.
The Japanese word for this style of tattoo that fills in the sides solidly and leaves the opening in the front is called "munewari".  Very strong old school look and always sort of regretted not doing it myself...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Definitely one of my favorite things to tattoo.  Drew it on and worked straight through o the finish.
Peonies are something that I will be trying to wrap my head around forever probably.  Seemingly simple but always very elusive, trying to balance the grace and strength of this most amazing flower.
Very enjoyable session and we've got another appointment in a couple of weeks to do some more...

Tengu Sleeve

Next piece of the Tengu sleeve is in place.
I decided to use a Horitoshi family design for this one as a bit of an homage to my favorite style of tattooing...
The Karasu Tengu (crow tengu) will be coming next time.

Friday, November 5, 2010


This is the first phase of a new 3/4 sleeve on a client whose other arm we finished a year or two ago (rooster sleeve).
This is the first of two sirens that will be resting on rocks with water and a harp somewhere.  He really liked Mucha's work and especially emphasized the super stylized art nouveau hair.  I would be lying if I said this was an easy drawing, but I feel like I was able to pull it off eventually after many sketches and hours slumped over a drafting table.
Did a bit of research into siren legends for this and there were wildly varying versions of the story.  Some with mermaid tails, some with wings, various numbers of them...
Decided to go with the sirens from The Odyssey by Homer, two of them and trying to drape them in toga-esque fabric and a slightly euro face...

Chrysanthemum/Koi Leg

The knee cap is done (almost)!  Now to darken up a few spots on the bottom and start transitioning up the leg.
He's had some good ideas for the rest of the images and it should keep us busy well into the new year...
Onwards and upwards!

Koi and Water

Needed a short session to finally finish this up. It's been a fun piece and I'm happy with the bold/readable approach we took...

Sugar Skull

Did this the other day (Day of the Dead) on a friend to commemorate the passing of his dog Miles exactly one year ago.  Not quite sure why the tattoo took so long (maybe cuz it's smack on the front of the shin) but I still have to finish the banner and bone sometime soon (he had to leave to go vote before the polls closed).
The waves and trillium flower in the skull are the "Humboldty" elements to give it a more personal touch...

I Tattooed Jesus...

...well not really, but wow he really looks like the big J man in that first picture.
This is only the first phase of this tattoo and it was very difficult I must say.  Drew it on and went for it but wasn't able to fully complete it.  He wants way more swirls and nouveau leaf shapes everywhere so the actual lettering is almost illegible and very organic...not any sort of "standard" script.
I can't imagine it felt very good but he did great.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Snake and Chrysanthemeum

Went ahead and started the background on this one.  Feels like now it's really turning into a sleeve.
Still have to outline the rest of the snake up the arm, but excited to see all those little nooks filled in.
I'm happy that more and more people are getting into a very dense more traditional style of Japanese background.  It can be a little intimidating at first for some people to get into that much black and dense coverage, but it really has a richness and power that can't be beat.