Sunday, September 25, 2011

Collector Spotlight #12 Starla Doss' FlowerSkull

We started this piece at the Original Jade Monkey, but I think we started talking about before I left Artistic Tattoo. The concept for this piece was pretty straightforward as tattoos go, and the prep wasn't very difficult at all. The execution of this piece, however, with all of it's detail, ended up being quite a bit more difficult than I initially thought. 
Starla had wanted this design for a while. Saving the image from a magazine until she was ready to get it. When she first showed it to me I remember thinking how bad ass it would be, and that it wouldn't be too hard to pull off. The prep was simple and straight forward,and gave no warning of the deceptive complexity hiding within. I took the color image and converted it to greyscale before printing it out and lightboarding it to make our stencil pattern.
This when I started to realize how difficult this tattoo was going to be. Just working out all the shapes and patterns took quite a bit of time on paper.
The actual tattoo outline itself was less complicated, having already made myself familiar with the design at this point. This was probably the easiest part of the whole tattoo, even though it was clear to me at this point what I had gotten myself into.
Some of these stages, such as the black fill, took longer than I thought they would. not that there was a lot of ground to cover at this point, but that it was so specific and varied. Keeping track of what was next and where not to fill can slow this part of a tattoo down to a crawl. But a bit more time spent here to get it right will always pay off, especially when the end result is clean and correct. The other alternative is risking making simple mistakes and condemning your client to a life of having a bad tattoo, and thus a less positive self image. Something I'd rather not deal with.
Again, as usual, I didn't take enough pics, or lost them. But let me be clear, this piece was not colored all in one session. That's hard to show here as this stage isn't as spread out as I would like. The color process took a few sessions to work out, concentrating on different areas in different sessions, and a session of just highlights and touch ups. The end result however is what it's all about and this piece just kicks ass all day long. I have always been more than happy with how it turned out. The strong blacks really reinforce the color and hold the piece together, and though the detail is very intricate, I feel that it will hold up a long time on account of the concentration of ink. There's just nowhere for those lines to spread out to as the piece ages.
And perhaps it's just me, but the color concept we went with is a lot more interesting for the design, and allows the individual elements to stand out as well remain part of the whole.

I can't take any credit for the design, I didn't draw this thing, and I doubt an original version of this concept by my hand would have turned out as visually strong (maybe after a few versions...) but even so, this is a piece I have always been proud of. Even if it isn't 100% custom.

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