Custom Tattoo Design Commission

   This is my favorite kind of work.  Since I am Japanese and come from the rich history of exquisite full-body or other large scale tattoo art, I admire tattoo art a lot and appreciate the work that goes into those fabulous pieces.  Whenever I get a commission request for a tattoo design, I'm expected to deliver a fairly detailed, clean line art for them, and I aim to come up with something that would please the client as much as myself.  Everyone has the basic idea of what they want (like elements to be represented and the size of the overall work), which usually gives me a good starting point.  I also love asking them questions and finding out what's meaningful to them.  Each and every element in a tattoo is a symbol for something.  It's personal and intimate, and profoundly meaningful.

   This time I got to do a commission for an artist friend in Italy.  She already had two small tattoos on her back and wanted something that covered about half of her back (upper) with a betta fish, calla lilies, calicantus flowers, poppies, and skull(s).  Aside from leaving space for the existing tattoos, her idea about how the pieces were to relate to one another in style, and the fish's orientation, she gave me the artistic freedom to arrange the elements to my liking.

   Since she was not particular about the number of skulls, my first sketch looked like this with a single skull prominently positioned.  She liked the flowers and the fish, but told me that she would like to see the skull less prominently.  So I work around the original skull in the middle to come up with my second version of the sketch.

   This version has two skulls nestled into the flowers.  They are also made smaller and less prominent.  She liked this version and gave me a green light to ink.

   The final, inked version of the design.  I like the flow of the leaves and fish's tail and fins, and the skulls' dark holes and poppies dark centers.  The fish tail and fins were quite time consuming with filaments flowing all over the place, making it tricky to see which piece was in front of which one.  It was difficult to keep my concentration at times, but I pretty much did the inking of the piece in one sitting.


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