Sunday, August 21, 2011

Collector Spotlight #9 Jeremy's Family Crest

This Collector Spotlight is a piece that one of my biggest collectors is wearing, I've done 11 tattoos on him in less than three years, and only one of those tattoos, his first, could be considered "simple" Since then, Jeremy has always been a good friend and was indispensable in opening The original Jade Monkey tattoo shop! So anyway, this was probably his 5th or 6th piece that we did. A modern concept Family Crest on his chest.
We started with a t-shirt Jeremy liked and wanted to use as the basis of the design. then with his classic family crest, we designed a new version that included his kids names and birth dates.
With a finished design, we did a rough grey line as a foundation. This is not the type of tattoo that gets finished all at once. We use the grey line to establish a "permanent" stencil to work off of in the skin, without worrying about losing the temporary thermograph stencil. The grey lines will disappear into the whatever colors we use for the tattoo, and cleaner,darker line work added as we go. The basic outline alone took about 2 1/2 hours.
 With the basic outline done and healed, we started with the crest in the center, and worked out way out. One of the reasons for this was to keep the piece looking "balanced" while it was in progress.
 Again, in this shot, as with the rest of the tattoo, balance was one of the deciding factors in where to work next. Each session of this tattoo took about 2 hours, and each element was generally done as it's own session.
 So we went back and forth, from side to side, session after session to complete the color, shade and secondary outline as we went. The individual complexity of each element of the design really required me to slow down while working layers of detail into each section. One of the things I learned while working this piece,was how to handle such a complex and varied design and the logistics of how to progress through it.
 Another reason we took this sectional approach was that we didn't have to wait for anything to heal, and were able to do many of these sections while others were still healing. I seem to be missing a picture or two through the entire progress. not sure why, but that's nothing new. although I have made major progress in reorganizing my file system, it still has a ways to go.
 One trouble with doing a large, symmetrical tattoo this way, is that one side may be just a degree of tone or shade different from the other, and it can show. That became a challenge with this piece to the degree that I had to compensate for it, even doing touch up sessions to balance some of the colors better. I have avoided this in future pieces by completing sections of a large tattoo that have to match in the same session, and also just by developing a sharper eye toward minor, but detectable coloring and shading discrepancies.
So this is it. A hell of a chest piece, and the first full chest piece tattoo that I have done. Not often you get someone willing to go this far with a piece on the chest, especially with this amount of detail. People often wonder if a tattoo like this hurts. All tattoos hurt, just at different degrees. A tattoo on the sternum or the collarbone can be some of the most painful places on the body. To get a tattoo in places like these is a commitment to pain and art. Coming back for 6-7 sessions in these areas requires a level of discipline and crazy few could understand. And Jeremy, we completely tattooed both sides of his ribs after his chest, so it didn't slow him down a minute,

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