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  1. #1
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    Jan 2009
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    Are Either Of These Tattoo worthy?

    Heres the story, my friend knows this guy who is an artist and had him draw him these two sketches in ink to be tattoed on him. He wants to know if the anatomy and compistion is all good, because both of us draw ourselves but aren't pros.

    This guy claims to be drawing since hes six years old, and is 24.

    I myself am pretty impressed by them as he started right off in ink with a regular writing pen.

    Any thoughts?

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  3. #2
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    Mar 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
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    I would say no to either of them. For one thing, it doesn't make any sense at all to have something cropped as a tattoo, since your skin doesn't have a frame to crop it with. You need the full design.

    The death one doesn't really have good anatomy in the hands, and the heavily stylized skull seems to be floating in front of the hood while there's something else inside it. It also doesn't look like he's actually moving, so it comes off very static. The scythe also gets flattened out because it's not drawn in perspective. However, it's still the better of the two.

    The warrior is very awkward looking, and again very static. Also very flat, there's little indication that there are three dimensional forms that make up the figure. No foreshortening to speak of, and extremely squat anatomy (four heads tall). The head is much more cartoony than the figure, which of course doesn't work.

    For rough sketches in ballpoint, they're pretty decent. But they're not at a quality where I'd commit them permanently on someone's skin. Maybe take the general idea and develop it from there, with more of an eye toward the underlying structure of the figures?
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    "Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis

  4. #3
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    Apr 2006
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    Does he really want his body to look like the notebook of a bored 6th grader?

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  6. #4
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    May 2005
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    It's really not a good idea to have someone who isn't a tattoo artist draw your art. Having them in hand to show said tattoo artist what you had in mind is fine, but these are definitely not adequate for ink.

    There was some great info posted by resonanteye in another thread that you might find helpful, and it's said better than I could:

    And for ease I'll quote it as well:

    Quote Originally Posted by resonanteye View Post
    gawd I love this place more every damn day!!!

    Thought about it for a minute and decided to make a list for you guys.

    1.Most tattoo artists can draw. This is why we do tattoos. Not only can we draw, we enjoy it. Also, we gain through our work experience a feel for the engineering of the surfaces of the human body; this is a quality of good tattooing that most other artists will not understand r use to its best advantage. (I.e.- where do you put the focal point on a sleeve? how do you draw perspective lines on a column that twists every time someone moves? how do you make mountains look distant on a round but mobile surface?) We also have an understanding of the formula of the medium. Time is not kind to the human body; when using it as a canvas there are a lot of pitfalls, and most non-tattoo artists fall into these constantly.

    2.A good tattoo artist tattoos professionally in a studio, as a full-time job. It will be their primary medium. They will have a portfolio online or at the studio which you can look through to get assurance about their skill levels, artistically.

    3.If you get someone else to draw a design for your tattoo, it will not work on skin. I can personally 99.999% guarantee this. Add to that the fact that most artists dislike being paid to trace and copy, and prefer to draw and create...and you will see that finding a tattoo artist whose art style you like is the best thing to do when you want a tattoo.

    4.instead of looking for that exact image, or subject matter, judge the tattoo artists' work the same way as any other artist. Don't see any barbarian women in their portfolio? look at their figures instead. Can they capture the kind of gestures you want? Are the lines smooth and the colors crisp and bright, or the tonal values correct? Judge by ability, don't just look for your specific idea in their book. If you like the feeling of the work, they will make your subject that way too- so always ask before assuming...if I am capable of doing a solid black leg panel, then I am certainly capable of rendering a solid dark shadow. If I can letter evenly, I can make a straight line. If the color in my tattoo of a blue sky is vibrant, then yes, a bluebird will be bright as well.

    5.Many tattoo artists do not charge a fee for the concept stages of artwork. They will do the design work for free, often, once you have left a deposit to get the tattoo done. Many of us include the drawing fee in the cost of the tattoo when we give you an estimate. It usually doesn't cost any more to have a good tattoo artist design the work you'll have them do.

    6.No matter how cool the picture is that you bring to us, we WILL have to make changes to it, in order for it to work on skin. You will NOT save money by having a third party do it for you- actually it is more difficult to copy and translate someone else's work.

    7. You can look online for an artist to trust. Their work should be something that you like the look and feel of in general. has a large link list of great artists. Tattoo collector magazine, tattoo society magazine has a lot of artists, and so does tattoo life. You can look at my myspace list also (my name is resonanteye everywhere I go, hint hint), for a large sampling of tattoo artists. I know a lot of artists across the country; feel free to message me here or there if you want names or studios.( And no, I personally do NOT take clients over the internet. I can probably send you to a reputable artist in your area, though, and they may know someone who is perfect for your idea. ) you can also google for a local tattooer .

    your research should be focussed on finding a tattoo artist whose work you enjoy, then asking them for ideas. We spend all day every day learning about the specifics of the medium; it is a very limited and challenging one. Find a tattoo artist you trust. Get them to do the artwork. If they need any additional reference they will certainly ask you for some.

    Not everyone knows that we are artists; it makes sense that people who are naive about this would ask here. I thought this list might help someone. I've been a fulltime professional tattoo artist for eleven years, not counting three years of study and apprenticeship/etc, and I travel and work at conventions and all like that often. I know it's an obscure medium to a lot of people and the TV doesn't help much to explain the reality of it to people. I'm here to further my art but I figure that this was a good way to give back a little- hell, it's something I know, that's for sure!

  7. #5
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    Hudson River valley, NY
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    I've moved this to Art Discussion, since you should only post your own work in the Critique Center.

    Tristan Elwell
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    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
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  8. #6
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    Nov 2006
    Buckinghamshire, UK
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    Go for it! These are made of Awesome and will be a joy forever to all who behold them.

    Someone who would probably disagree is Richard Cohen, author of this article, but what does he know?
    Last edited by dashinvaine; February 3rd, 2010 at 09:49 AM.

  9. #7
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    Jan 2005
    here and now
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt22113 View Post

    This guy claims to be drawing since hes six years old, and is 24.

    First of all, I would rate these images as being on par with the work of the typical 7th or 8th grade art student. They are far from professional or talented.
    Second, you should generally ignore people who try to boost their own credibility by claiming to have been drawing from a young age. The fact is, all children typically begin to draw on their own by the age of 2 and by kindergarten they are drawing on a regular basis in school. They draw, but that in no way implies that they draw well.
    As the ego shrinks, so the spirit expands.

  10. #8
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    May 2005
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    I've been cutting stuff since I was 4 and I'm now 33. You should really let me remove your appendix for you.

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  12. #9
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    May 2008
    Alberta, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt22113 View Post
    This guy claims to be drawing since hes six years old, and is 24.
    Yeah, pretty much nothing you do at 6 years of age (or, for that matter at 8, 10 or 12) is worth listing on your resume. Also, if you repeat things incorrectly for 18 years, all that will happen is that you'll get really efficient at doing something badly.
    *** Sketchbook * Landscapes * Portfolio * Store***

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  13. #10
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    Mar 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt22113 View Post
    Heres the story, my friend knows this guy who is an artist and had him draw him these two sketches in ink to be tattoed on him. He wants to know if the anatomy and compistion is all good, because both of us draw ourselves but aren't pros.

    This guy claims to be drawing since hes six years old, and is 24.

    I myself am pretty impressed by them as he started right off in ink with a regular writing pen.

    Any thoughts?
    If you want some kind of design as tattoo just make a large print and put it in a prominent place in your room for at least a month.
    See if you can enjoy it every time you look at the design. If not, it's probably not a good idea to put it on your skin.

    Tattoo artists know what works and doesn't work on a body, you can give them an initial design as inspiration and have them draw the actual tattoo.
    If you want to make your own tattoo designs understand that you not only have to draw decent, but you also have to learn how a design and the body relate to each other. The body is not a flat piece of paper and many parts even look different depending on flexed or released muscles.

    On the two pics, I'd say the first offers some inspiration for a better drawing.
    The second one does not give me any inspiration at all, I would never go for such a design.

  14. #11
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    Jun 2009
    Noo Yawk
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    The OP must be some sort of masochist...
    Amateur Artist. Professional Asshole.

    Lookit the Pretty!

    Rule #1 of depicting soldiers: KEEP THE DAMN FINGER OFF THE DAMN TRIGGER.

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  16. #12
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    Nov 2008
    A bunch of different places.
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    This thread is a great example of how often honesty takes a back seat to being nice and polite. As soon as people find out the artist isn't actually present - "That looks like it was done by a 6th grader!" But if someone actually posted it up in a sketchbook or in the critique section as their own, as does happen pretty often, "Looking good man, keep it up!" Funny, that.

    My view on the tattoo designs? No, they are not appropriate for skin. They do not look professional, or show any semblance of something I may want in a tattoo other than "black ink" being involved. I'm not entirely sure how serious the artist in question is about their artwork, if it's just a hobby that takes a backseat to a majority of other things, or if it's something they're real serious about pursuing. But if they intend on pursuing it as a career, they should start up some work here themselves and possibly find a mentor in the appropriate section for some critique and help. Plenty would be willing to give it.


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  18. #13
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    Apr 2008
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    They are AWESOME! get them blown up huge and put it em on your back... or chest Please post pictures after its done. really they are pretty bad.
    "Talent is a word found in the mouth of the lazy to dismiss the hard work of those who have achieved."
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  19. #14
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    Nov 2009
    Montreal, Canada
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    Even if a good tatoo artists makes proper versions of these, the subject matter is f'n lame. A grim reaper? Seriously? He wouldn't be my friend anymore if he got that on him.

  20. #15
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    Oct 2007
    Southern Alberta
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    Tattoos are for life. Think of yourself, seventy years from now with a grim reaper tattoo. You'd scare the bejesus out of the other folks in the nursing home if you rolled your wheelchair into the dining room with that bad boy on your chest.
    The truth will set you free,
    but first it's gonna piss you off!



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