Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Flower power

 A staple in tattooing is being able to properly execute flowers. As long as I have been tattooing I have been asked to do flowers for people.I have been practicing them steadily for the past 15 years and each time I have the chance to do them I try to make them better than the last.
I have seen other tattoos done by other artists that I feel fall short for a variety of reasons; like bad placement- flowers should enhance the natural curves and shape of the body. If they are placed awkwardly, this can really kill a tattoo(and your body part) in a bad way. Organic, natural placement with flow is very crucial to nailing flowers. Proper sizing is also very important. Flowers that have a lot going on with color and petal shape or detail should be done in a size so you can achieve these details or else the tattoo will fall to shit and not be set up to re-do it in the future if necessary.
Also color choice for flowers is also very important to get right- this will depend on the persons skin tone, placement of design and what kind of life style the person wearing the tattoo has...I am showing a variety of styles and executions of flowers here and I will explain why I choose to do them they way I have after talking with the client and what their needs were.

 In these lillys I used very little black because she was so fair- skinned that a nice line to hold the shape of the lilly together works just fine. I actually saw this tattoo about 2 years after I did it and it looks exactly the same.
The most popular type of Calla Lily is white. White has a hard time showing up on the skin, it is known to yellow, so here I have gone from a soft lavendar shade faded to the white and used the dark black washed out to help create contrast between the white and pop out the Calla Lily.

In this magnolia branch here, I under shaded all my color with some light black and grey to add depth to my color. I use this technique often but her skin is really fair so I don't have to use as heavy as a black here. I also think this has more of a painterly style to it.

Here is a black and grey lilly thigh piece. I put my black shade behind the lilly because I almost never do black in the back ground on black on the foreground. That technique rarely works in my opinion because it washes out the front and back out and just muddles it making it flat.
On these forget-me-knots, they are a very soft blue in reality so I got creative with the leaves and added black tips in the leaves to create some strength on the vine part. I often choose not to do a back ground on flowers that are viney because that will take away from the trailing effect of the floral work. It is nice to see the negative skin shapes.

These lillies I did many years ago- about 8 I think. This piece could use a back ground but her skin is not the fairest so leaving the back ground open can leave some airiness in case she tans- more we don't want it to look like a patch on her arm. I used actual black in the flowers but I used it to go into my darker pinks and then to lighter pinks.

Here is a variety of several different flowers to form a sleeve. Here I did all the black in the back ground so each of the flowers could pop out on their own and not compete with each other. When doing several flowers on one piece you need to make sure that there is varied sizes and the composition is pieced together nicely and pulled together in a cohesive way. Overlapping and layering is important to do as well because otherwise it looks half-assed or not well thought thru.

On this rose I was brave and went all out as to not even do any black in it. I fell that her skin is so fair we can get away with this look. I used very soft grey around the edges- I think if this faded a lot in the future I would just re-touch it, treating it the same way. I don't think it is always wise to shade something really dark out of fear of it fading in the future- (tattoos naturally do that over time). If the tattoo design is drawn nicely touching it up in the future is very easy. I rather do that every 5 years to enjoy this look now.