Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New tattoos: a fix up, Paradise and a first timer!

"I need a method for coming up with titles that are relevant and interesting cause this vague shit isn't working for me anymore." -That was almost the title for this blog post. seriously. I need to come up with a method, where I'm not begging some mystic muse for a clever title to these trivial blog posts every single time. And just a date may seem cool, but I just don't feel it.
Just a quick little thing.
A few updates on some ongoing projects, and a couple pics of new stuff too. We'll kick things off with the Island Paradise shoulder piece. This is a recent recurring piece that will soon demand a Collector Spotlight. You can see from earlier posts, we've got the sky worked in and various highlights. a lot of yellow and orange with a bit of purple, pink, and the blues framing out the sky. I've been working on a couple sunsets lately, and I really like how they have been turning out. A tricky thing tattooing a sunset, they can very easily go awry. To me it's like an abstract painting, that isnt... yeah, I know that probably doesn't make sense, but whatever. ha! So all we have left really is some fine tuning and bringing the yin yang element more into the piece by making it representative of the moon, sort of...

and the red beach chair looks inviting too.
 Then we have this new project, reworking a Japanese theme backpiece that needs a lot of love. First task was the tree, fix and finish. From there the plan is to go through and rework the entire piece, add more cherry blossoms, water, wind bars and a koi pond that will connect her lower back piece to the rest of the design. quite a project. This one and a couple of other recent cover up/fix designs I've been faced with have inspired an article post I'm planning actually about cover ups and fix ups. I tend to do a lot of these and developed... opinions, on the matter. but on with the pics.

This is what happens when your tattooist isn't properly trained in the craft.
 This one above is the before, none of this is me, as you may notice I am making that as clear as possible. but it is necessary to to show what I'm starting with. once the entire back is done, I'll use this image to really show how a piece can be modified and rebuilt. I list the artist as "unknown" though I am sure at least the collector knows who who did it, but I feel that's irrelevant info in the case of projects like these.

Ah yes! That's more like it!
So here we have the redone tree. This took about 2 hours altogether. I didn't mess around with any of the other elements of the overall piece, the cherry blossoms I had to resist getting into though, tempting as it was. The Tree was plenty though. Blending off the old color and shading was a trick. I had no way to tell what kinds of ink were previously used, and even if i did, the age of the piece meant they wouldn't just blend together anyway. So color matching and even adjusting the old color to what I had come up with was the only way. Normally I would also prefer to restructure the tree, but in a design like this where so much has already been decided, It was best to just enhance the existing design and keep the changes subtle. Most of what I'll end up doing with the piece is rebuilding the values, so that each element can be seen for what it is.

A close up on the branches and the ends, there was a good bit of cleaning up to do there. What I'm looking forward to for the next session is redoing the blossoms and adding in a TON more.

Finally, a simple anchor. nothing dramatic, but a good clean piece none the less. It's the collector's first tattoo, dedicated to his grandfather, a sailor, and he already has plans to expand it to a 1/3 of his calf.

Thanks for reading! and Happy Halloween! And may help come to the victims of Hurricane Sandy soon and swift! I am astonished at the devastation brought on by this "frankenstorm".

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Just stay positive

Just stay positive. If that doesn't work, fake it. Most experiences are fleeting. As we move from to the next, remind yourself that life will not stay that way. It changes all the time, good things happen and bad things happen to every one of us, all the time. Keep perspective on life and these fleeting experiences will become easier to deal with, and you'll be able to better see what lessons are hidden within everything that happens and how we respond.

This pic is one of favorites of my incredible daughter Liberty. Sorry if it's sideways. I'm posting this from my phone, and odd things tend to happen when I do. It is what it is.

Friday, October 26, 2012

And on it goes.

So I have been working on the childrens book that Davin Yant and I started a few years ago. I think we're actually going to get this sucker finished out. we've also added Dawn, My Wife and special education teacher to help us work the right kind of lesson info into the book. Yes, the plan is to have the book educational, and yet cool at the same time. Without getting all Dr. Seuss on it. (I too, love Dr. Seuss, calm down.) Edutainment, that is where it's at these days. I really think it's a bad ass property and I'm excited to see it reach fruition. it is so cool in fact, I'm still not ready to show anything about it or even breathe it's name on the interwebs. not until we're ready.

Anyway, along with the children's book, I am still working on my AfterWorld comic, almost ready to put another page up, but I'm not going to rush it. I've been setting a day to work out specific projects now, and not trying to work on all of them at once (simply doesn't work that way, no matter how hard I try) And I'm still putting together designs for tattoo commissions. though I haven't done anything for the CreateMyTattoo page in a few weeks.

So much work, and so little to show... yet.

I still have tattoo pics though! Don't think I'm holding out. not much of an Art blog if there isn't any art!

Here's a pic of some lettering I have done recently. still have more to do with it, filling some of the empty pace with more filigree and spirals I think. Still Pretty Cool I think...
The upper lettering is healed, while the lower pic is of fresh ink.

And a another piece I've been working on for a little while, some machinery behind exposed ribs and torn skin. This design is derived off of another tattoo the client brought me, but i changed it a good deal to keep it custom.. We still have a session or two in this one, but it's still turning out nicely.

The bronze look is to give the piece a steampunk feel. 

And Finally for today, this is an outline drawing for a custom request that never came back, too bad too, I had wicked plans for this piece. Not that I'm into pokemon, or skyrim, and regardless how well I think those work together I thought the design was pretty cool. again, based on the clients concepts.
Goes to show how well even odd elements can fit together.
Thanks for reading!
Maybe I'll post a comic page next time. that's what I would like to see.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's a process

Tattoos are a commitment.

     Obviously, with any tattoo, there is the factor of permanence but I'm talking about the sometimes long process of working on a full sleeve, backpiece, or some other large kind of tattoo that cannot typically be done all at once. These piece can take 20, 30+ hours to complete and that can be over the course of years depending on the budget and time of the collector.
     It's also not uncommon to NOT get to finish a sleeve design or other large piece because the collector moves out of state, or has trouble affording the sessions. I have also had clients come back after years of being locked up, knocked up, experience a tragic family event, significant life change, or a myriad of other reasons that affect the progress of a tattoo, sometimes even clients I never expected to see again.
But I have also had clients hellbent on getting the work done, and come in every other week for months to finish their arm or back or ribs.
     The process has been as different as the subject matter of the tattoo. I have also gotten faster, more efficient and am able to handle working a design for longer periods, and that has cut short on how many sessions a larger piece would normally take me.
     My point in all of this is that large piece take real time to complete and not many people understand that. In an age of "instant gratification" and the time distortion of tattoo reality shows, people not familiar with getting a large tattoo can be misled as to how long a large, good tattoo takes. It's a commitment, that if not followed through, will leave you with a reminder of things undone, which can often weigh on the mind as so many people with incomplete tattoos will tell you. "I just want it done"

     So having gone through all of that, here's a couple of large pieces I have been working on for a while now. Still Works In Progress (WIP) these show how large tattoos are broken up into sections and worked over time.

I love detail.
     This Tiki Island sleeve is a full sleeve, I don't have the forearm section shown here, we're still working on the upper half. The latest session, we added the sunset sky and finished the lava/waterfall the design wraps around the arm where the actual sunset element is placed, so it has the strange effect of casting light on both sides of the front aspect of the design. This kind of design element can only occur on a 3D cylindrical canvas. From this picture you can see however that there are flowers and a frog that still have to be colored, as well as other highlights in the leaves and even on the Tiki. We have about 8 hours in this piece so far, that includes grey outlines along the entire arm, so Jessica, the collector of this piece, has to walk around with pencil grey line work for months. but the wait will be worth it. I have pics of this complete design in an earlier blog post if you want to learn more about it.

The Collectors natural swelling really added to the effect here.
     This concept behind this piece, the "world on my back" is a collection of landmarks around the world, starting with American locations in the center, larger tears. all of the locations are set into skin tears with stitching. We're about 10 hours into this piece, with each location taking about 2 1/2 hours and then another pass to add the skin effects; shadows and swelling. From here, we'll move on to another "tear" and work out the locations there. We've been working on this piece for about two years now, real time. so 10 hours work over two years, and still lots and lots to go.

     So there it is. Big pieces are a lot of work, and these are two of my pieces where the Collectors are serious about getting the work done, no matter how much life slows the process down. Most of the work I do these days are larger pieces like this, I really enjoy working on them and resulting in some of the best work I have done in any medium of art. it's particularly rewarding that there is someone who will carry it and appreciate the work as intended for the rest of their days. as an artist, there isn't much better than that.

As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More and more.

I just recently read an article online about building more focus and getting more done. The overall idea was pretty solid; keep to one goal at a time. I have this problem. I am always trying to do 10 different projects at once, then it ends up being some massive task to finished even half of the projects on time, and something always gets set aside in the fray. I'm not so bad at this anymore, as I naturally ended up doing what the article said, and just tried to do less, and put more time into it. So far it's been working really well, and it seems I have a bit more time actually. AND I'm getting the stuff I need done, finished in a timely fashion.

well... mostly. ha!

Anyway, I've got a few pieces to show today, some stuff I've been working on the past few days. Lots of big projects, and not much finished, but they are turning out bad ass, so I figured I would show them off here and give you people something new to look at for your time. Lets see if we cant get more people to visit this old blog eh?

First we have a cover up I did here for a local model, Cat Ward. Turned out pretty good. I was really happy with how well this piece covered the old tattoo, and the design really fits the collector. I think she'll have more options now with her modeling, now that she doesn't have to hide her old crappy tattoo.

The design itself was drawn by the collector. I just made a few adjustments for the cover up.

This piece, on the Piercer, Brent at Artistic Tattoo, is something we have been working on for a couple years. My first head tattoo, initially, we didn't want to go overboard, but now, we're going all the way. The tattoo already covers his entire head, though all we worked on redoing today was the back. We still have to add more color to this dragon though before we move on the other three, and then the Foo Lions on his temples.
He'll have fun sleeping on this one! ha!
Next here is the Island paradise shoulder piece I've just recently started. Originally we had done the fish and the hummingbird with a bit of a water line. a year or so later, and we are now expanding on the piece. The majority of the design is done. all we really have left to do is the sunset/sky aspect, which is the major element in the entire piece, there will be highlights from the sunset on the palm trees, mountains, lighthouse and a bit in the water when we're done.

Notice the subtle yin yang behind the bird.
I have noticed that over the past three or four months, I have gotten a lot faster with my work, since the Timeless Ink Tour, when I did the "Death is a Machine" piece, I seemed to break free of something, and now feel a lot more comfortable moving faster, and more importantly, working in longer blocks of time. Before, it seemed that two hours on a piece and I was ready to stop. Now, depending on the piece and the collectors tolerance, I can go for 5-6 hours without much trouble. With time and experience, I'm really starting to feel like a seasoned professional at this whole tattoo thing. Incidentally, I marked my 7th year tattooing on the 1st of October, so it's about time. ha!

Finally, we have a piece that will be the cornerstone of a full sleeve. The collector already has a few older pieces on his arm, but with this design and the other designs I have in mind, we'll be transforming his arm of random stuff into a hell of a piece that will be a testament to his faith and struggles.

This part, a chess battle between good and evil - I have the chess board breaking up as the Black Queen shatters just before she can take the White King. and a floating White Knight in the foreground to emphasize the predominance of good. Still have a ways to go, shading of the chess pieces as well as building up more of the line work and adding marbling detail to the tiles. so far I'm really happy with this design and where it's going next. I'm even considering making an actual chess set based off the designs for this tattoo. I think it would be a lot of fun... but only when I have more time...
Still so much to do
So that's it for now. I have a ton of work that still needs posting, old and new. and once I get a few other things squared away and off the list, I'll work on a few more collector spotlights.

but then, one thing at a time...
thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fix it up

I end up doing a lot of these kinds of fix-up pieces. Cleaning up screwed up work by some scratcher out of his apartment. And even though they do keep me busy, I'd much rather get the chance to do the piece right from the beginning. But people need to learn the hard way that going cheap on tattoos is not the way to go. you might as well just not get the tattoo...

Anyway, this is the first part of this particular piece, as you can see there was a lot of reworking. the next session will be about coloring the water and tentacles. We're going with purples in the tentacles and pink fleshy tones for the sucker parts.

This took me just under 3 hours. sometimes the work can be slow going if there is a lot to make sense of. other times it's a breeze.

Got a few other designs I'm working on, then I hope to get some work done on the comic. I want to get pg2 posted up tomorrow, we'll see if it happens.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Another Day

So I have been taking on a lot of projects lately, doing work for the website which is always a lot of fun and killer challenge, though I cant show much of the work online, more as a benefit to the collector until they get their tattoo, then I hope to post pics of my design with the tattooed result - by other artists around the world, which is pretty cool. I recent finished a back-piece design for a guy in Australia. One of the miracles of the internet… These two pics are not sold designs, but "rejects"

A piece I did then later withdrew. I have plans for this one.

This was a piece that wasn't chosen on the CMT website, that I still really liked.

I’m still working on this new comic whenever I get a moment. I figure I’ll finish out this first segment, and then start posting the pages here, it’ll give me something regular to post and hopefully get me back onto this blog… but I don’t want to try to fit it to a schedule right now. There’s just so much going on, I hate feeling guilty for missing a scheduled post, and besides, it's been a lot of fun just working on a comic with a more relaxed attitude, I'm enjoying the process I have going, and don't want to mess with it.

Of course I’m always tattooing, always working on improving my work and learn about the craft. I've gotten to do some really fun stuff lately that I’ll be posting more images of here. Today’s pic is from a childhood favorite that I still love. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a favorite thing to draw when I was a kid, and the action figures were second only to G.I.Joe. As I got into making and self-publishing comics, TMNT served as a beacon and an inspiration that it could be done. So doing this piece in particular was a special treat for me.


I’m thinking of putting art pics up here on the blog exclusively, not just to draw more peeps here, but also to save me time from posting shit all over the web. I’m all for the social-network scene, but I’m getting tired of maintaining a handful of profiles to stay “engaged” I've delved a good deal into the inner working of social networking, and much of it has been a great help, but I don’t have a staff to manage this shit. I also just want to utilize the blog aspect and maybe build this off into something more. We’ll see…

            I've managed to resist my fiendish addiction to minecraft (mostly), mainly with the help of an older, deeper addiction for Magic: The Gathering. The game just keeps getting better, especially the newest set, Return to Ravinca. One of the things that got me into the game was the card art, and this latest set has not disappointed  I would love to do more Magic themed tattoos... and I’m sure I've mentioned before, I would love to do art for some magic cards. maybe someday, but I'll have to start painting a lot more than I do now.

Speaking of painting, I have a couple pieces in a gallery this month, I've posted about it already. Pretty cool. I didn't make it to the opening though, and I’m not sure I’ll even get go to see them in the gallery at all. We’ll see. But likely I’ll just stay at home or work and draw more stuff. 

Finally the weather changes, and Phoenix gets to cool off a bit. I'm looking forward to it. My daughter is doing well, and learning at an incredible rate. some of the things she does just blows my mind. a 22 month old that knows 6 shapes, counts to ten if we count with her, and will ask where the dog is if she cant find her. I cant wait for halloween, this year its going to be a lot of fun running about with Liberty, teaching her how to 'trick or treat'.
I wanted to work in a comment about politics from time to time, without getting to caught up or alienating anyone. Though I am generally following the election, I think we're generally doomed regardless how it turns out. but hey, what can you do? I wont be voting this year, It's all a bunch of shit anyway. and I've got shit to draw.

Thanks for reading! see you soon.