illustration friday: tattoo

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Tue 14 Mar 2006 11:46 pm

watch yr teenage daughters!

Man, there really wasn’t much you could do with this one, was there? Everybody’s just drawin’ tattoos. One I saw had a tattoo coming to life all D&D prestige class style. Not much else. I guess that’s all okay but it doesn’t give me personally much meat. Here’s what I was gonna do:

– tattoo artist who’s just given his subject a hitler mustache for yuks. Like a thirteen-year-old kid or something, not some hardened skinhead. Yeah. Yeah, that didn’t really work.

– this dude in the neighborhood, I call him Captain Ska. I think it’s a tattoo. He’s got a checkerboard pattern on his face – all over his face – to match his checkered jacket. No joke, this is Portland. But I didn’t remember what he looked like, exactly, and was so surprised when I saw him walking by I didn’t think to draw him.

– I don’t know, man, some evil priest that’s just kinda sitting there daydreaming out the window or maybe eating some mutton or other feudal crap, something real mundane you don’t think of evil priests as ever doing. Maybe taking a whiz at the side of the trail to the sacrificial temple or something. But see, that’s more about evil priests than tattoos. So yeah.

Anyways I wound up going the verité angle. There’s an artist I’m thinking of, I don’t remember his name – I saw a book of his in Powell’s, called “Pictures of Girls” (dork) – pretty recent stuff, 1998 and thereabouts, self-consciously hip pictures of Suicide Girl types, possibly even actual employees of the organization – but the point is, it all sounds miserable, but they were actually good pieces, or they looked like it in the book anyway. You can never tell with fine art. But they had a depth to them as well as an edge. My pic here’s not nearly as good on either dimension – it would help if I actually had intimate knowledge of sketchy mid ’90’s era tattoo shops – but I am gunning for some kind of psychological dynamic here and hopefully that’s apparent without me sitting here prompting you to see it.

If I’m good, I’ll remember to go into Powell’s tomorrow or the next day, dig up the book, and come back with his name, and maybe even a web link if we’re lucky.


  1. Comment by Jason — March 14, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    Yeah…people are doing a lot of the same ideas – ‘Tattoo’ from the Love Boat or an actual tattoo design seem to be the most common. I did try something different with mine…with a little political angle.

    Is your illo completely done on the computer (painter?) I enjoy the colors and keep sketchin!

  2. Comment by brandon — March 15, 2006 at 12:43 am

    What it is: pencil drawing at the base, photoshop (I don’t have a current version of Painter): multiply layer with colors, and then a few other layers on top of that. That’s usually how I do it: pencil or ink drawing, colored on the computer.

    Political angle – hmm. That is different. Not bad. Dunno what I would have done with a political angle. Probably would have involved drunken tattooing. Not sure how.

  3. Comment by Pati @-;-- — March 15, 2006 at 4:21 am

    I love your illo. Amazing details and idea.

  4. Comment by Bron Smith — March 15, 2006 at 7:02 am

    Very beautifully rendered illustration. I’ll look for your work again in future IFs.

  5. Comment by Urszula Andrejczuk — March 15, 2006 at 7:35 am

    very good composition. and i like simple color palette you used, not many colors and great result

  6. Comment by jschukar — March 15, 2006 at 9:52 am

    Nicely done.

  7. Comment by hardwax — March 15, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Beautiful stuff, feels, looks, just about smells like a tattoo parlor.

  8. Comment by flossy-p — March 16, 2006 at 3:43 am

    considering that there’s “not much you could do with this one” you’ve done an f-ing great job!

  9. Comment by Lou Hamilton — March 16, 2006 at 4:52 am

    Although I went the tattoo route, I had a story behind mine. I think you did a great job with this week’s theme. The story is much more interesting than a simple tattoo. However, I think they both are great ways to approach Illustration Friday. That’s what I love about IF, you get to see how others interpret it every week.

  10. Comment by Trisha — March 22, 2006 at 5:55 am

    Fantastic as usual!!!

  11. Comment by neilornstein — March 30, 2006 at 5:37 am

    You are entirely right about how most people plow the same small patch of turf. Bravo to you for breaking into the next field.
    Regards, neil

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