I’ve been getting a lot of commissions for tattoo designs lately, and I really enjoy them. Tattoo design is not something I ever set out to do, but I think my style works for it, and I really love the ideas my clients come to me with!
The latest design that I finished was for a chest piece. The client requested a pair of branches with cherry blossoms. On one of the branches would be a birdcage with an open door, and on the other branch would would be a bluebird that was partly mechanical, with a clock key in its back.
These are the three sets of concept sketches that I drew for the design.
I always like to try to guess which sketch my clients will pick. (They say your client will always pick the one you hate…so my solution is to NEVER hand over a sketch I hate) and in this case it wasn’t the one I expected – it was the one where I thought I was deviating a little from the brief and going a little wild in designing the branches. I’ll do that sometimes – I always turn in an adequate number of concepts that stick to the requested design. But if I get an inspiration for something that veers off in a slightly different direction but looks really awesome, it doesn’t hurt to sketch it out. If the client or art director doesn’t like it, oh well. But they might love it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The next step was to a do a cleaned up sketch with clearer details.
There weren’t many revisions in this job. I offered a few choices of color palatte, a couple of different styles for the bars of the birdcage, and a couple of revisions were done on the mechanical parts that were added to be bird (which you don’t get to see progress of, since they weren’t done in neat stages, they were haphazardly laid on top of the sketch using tracing paper and Photoshop)
After the sketches were finished and apparoved, I scanned them, printed them in blue, and inked them. I do most of my inking traditionally with Microns because it’s faster than I can do digitally, but some of the bird’s mechanical parts and part of the birdcage was inked in Photoshop.
And finally, the full color piece: