"This time around we have Arlene's (AK) Flower Bouquet Back Piece. And this tattoo has been a lot of fun, a lot endless fun ha!(serious). We've been working on it for a while now, as it is still growing. This part however, the initial concept still is a great process for me to show. I have all the pics I need (two spotlights in a row!) to tell at least this part of the story.
Also you may notice a few changes to the overall layout on this spotlight. I have added the Jade Monkey Logo, my Chaos Logo, a watermark and a bit of contact info. I figure these pics are getting some global screen time now, I might as well make sure all the right info is on each image and some security behind the images. I'm not worried about images thieves or tattooists swiping my ideas, as they say imitation is the highest form a flattery. I do, however, want to back up that this all original work though. I will keep this kind of info on all the Spotlights I do from now on, and may add more.
But lets get to the point here shall we?
AK is a friend of my Aunt's and came to me with this Idea of a flower bouquet on her back that has some personal meaning, but wanted something with a lot of different flowers. Since she wanted things to be generally symmetrical, I kept that in mind with the composition but also didn't want it mirrored. so we mixed up the individual elements.
In the concept pic you can see that the right side is a bit bare, AK already had a couple of tattoos on her back. You'll see those in the image below. One, the unicorn, she wanted covered, and the Frog she wanted to keep. So I didn't have design the right side (her left) but I did have to figure out how to cover this old unicorn with a bright yellow and orange flower. Not the easiest way to go about a cover up but why go easy?
So here we have a few shots showing her before with the Frog and the Unicorn. No close ups, not much to see, yet. But here I also show the stencil applied, and the outline complete. A solid start to a complex piece. The trick is to look at it as a collection of smaller, more simple pieces, that way it doesn't get overwhelming and it's much easier to handle. I think I learned this concept in JROTC or math class or something... I'm not sure, some abstract idea I caught on to that has helped me in ways I cannot even list. I manage all of my work this way actually.
So here we have some shots of our color progress, as you can see I am not a photographer, but I manage. We worked the flowers a couple at a time. a couple hours at time. I know a lot of other artists work in larger time blocks, but I've noticed that people tend to heal easier and faster with a moderate amount of work versus extreme. It's also more affordable for most people as well,and I dont get caught up feeling like the work I am doing is dragging on or boring. So in my case, working in sessions that last about 2-3 hours tends to work out better for me.
More shots of our color progress showing how the design has been integrated with the existing frog on the right. The focus was to bring the frog into the rest of the design and make it all seem as one.
The Left side, with the unicorn cover up shown here with the added hummingbird. We plan to add more "creatures" to the piece overall once everything planned for the back is done. Some bees and dragonflies. Maybe a few ladybugs and other fun garden wildlife. The cover up was a bit tricky as the colors for the flower are not the best colors to use for this kind of task. Yellow and orange typically don't cover dark colors well. But we lucked out being that the unicorn was a bit faded, and I was able to work the flower shading into the darker spots of the cover up without making it look too forced or awkward Also using the complimentary colors (blues, purples and greens) in the flowers around it help make those yellows and oranges seem brighter, manipulating our perceived contrast.
So with everything finished here. we can see the entire composition and how it it fits on the body. I really like how this piece turned out and I am confident that AK did as well. not long after completing her upper back bouquet piece, did she start talking about adding more. Ha! I love it when that happens. there is no better compliment to my work, than someone wanting more of it. And of course good art is never done, just as life is never complete.
So as a sample of what we are working on next. Adding to the flower arrangement with another set of flowers to bring this piece to a full back piece. We're including flower types that are not in the upper portion. As you can see we're already well under way and AK has even more Ideas once we are done with this segment, I will likely show the new progress in a "part2" to AK's Spotlight in the future.
AK's piece wasn't the hardest, craziest, or most difficult tattoo I have done. But it is a piece I am quite proud of and am excited to keep working on. The challenges I enjoy about a piece like this is in arranging the flowers so they don't look like a mess, and each individual flower can be appreciated on it's own.
Oh, and I think it looks bad ass, but I am biased.