This one took me a while, but it's done and I'm pretty darn proud of it. I learned a lot thru the process of creating it and can't wait to use this knowledge for future projects.
Here's a little sneak peak of the latest flash sheet I've been painting. I should be able to finish it tonight and get full pics up tomorrow...
I'm pretty proud of it, so far, and proof of one of my strong beliefs of a couple keys to success... ability and drive. I believe there's such a thing as natural talent, but the most successful are those who possess this talent and have the drive to harness it and put to use. An easy example of this is well known athletes... my sport is basketball. Players who come to mind are Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. These two dudes had a great gift already, but they also put in the work to make themselves the best they can be. An example of ability with low drive is a person like Allen Iverson. Dude had all kinds of ability but, "Practice? We talkin' 'bout practice? Maaaan... this is just practice! Practice?!" Then there's a ton of players who don't have that superstar ability, but they work hard to reach their potential... maybe like a Tim Duncan. He's got size, sure, but not the most athletic dude on the court. You can tell he puts in the work to master his moves and bank shot.
It doesn't always come easy, but the work you put in leads to growth, learning, and strides toward reaching your potential. If you think I'm just talking some bullshit, here's a horse from my first ever flash sheet, painted about three years ago...
There's obviously a stark difference and it didn't come overnight. Three years ago, I was nowhere near my full potential and I knew it. I still don't know how far my potential will reach, but I know I'm going to continue to push it and test it. It's actually pretty funny, but at the same time rewarding, to look back on this first sheet and see how horrible it was and how far I've come. Just gotta keep driving forward!
Anyways... enough rambling. Thanks for reading.
I started a flash sheet of original designs a long while back and got stuck with two empty spaces. I finally got around to filling 'em by tracing the spaces and seeing what would fit the shape, away from the rest of the sheet. Check out what I came up with! Read the captions for details.
I'm pretty excited to get back onto watercolor paper and I'm pleased with how it's turning out so far. It's a good reminder.
I'm not talkin' 'bout a high five here... I'm looking for folks to tattoo! In the meantime, I've been working on a few flash practice pieces and a couple original designs. A long break between posts = a long post. I wouldn't blame you for just perusing the pictures... I'm not much of a reader, myself. Here goes...
The boss tasked me to design a forearm tattoo for a guy and a lower back tattoo for lady. I came up with the "No Rain, No Gain" idea a while back, upon our move to the rainy Northwest. Of course, the skull represents a reminder of death and, in turn, to make the most of life. The cherry blossoms do the same, but in a more beautiful way. They represent the transience of life, as they fall from the tree while still in bloom. There is no life without water... "April showers bring May flowers" hence, "No Rain, No Gain." It also means something personal to me, as I couldn't get where I am now without making this move back home. Of course it goes without saying, "rain" is interchangeable with "pain" in this statement. There's definitely been some growing pains and life changes of late, but gross changes eventually get smoothed out. I came up with a metaphor between life and wood carving:
Sometimes, if you don't like how the carving is turning out, you gotta grab the chisel or saw and make some major changes. It might look ugly for a bit or it might not even resemble what you're trying to carve, but you eventually get down to the finer grit sandpaper and smooth it out the way you like it. Now other times, there are mistakes you make or outside forces come by and put a dent in your piece of "life wood" we'll call it. If it happened, it happened and you can't make it UN-happen... all you can do is grab that chisel or sandpaper and keep shaping. The main thing is that you have the ability to shape it the way you want it. Enough babble... here's the picture.
If someone were to want to get this tattooed, I would re-align the lettering.
The lower back piece I came up with is a scarab beetle emerging from a lotus with a Tibetan flame and some Tibetan clouds used to accentuate the hips. The scarab beetle and the lotus have somewhat similar meanings. In ancient Egypt, the scarab represented resurrection or rebirth, since the beetles emerged from the dung where the eggs were laid. The lotus can be found as a symbol in many cultures, representing the triumph of spirit over matter, since it emerges perfectly from muddy waters, seeking the enlightenment of the sun. Also, since the flower retreats back into the water during hours of darkness, it also represented death and rebirth to the Egyptians. The flame represents the renewal and purification of the fire... passion. Of course, this is just a high level summary and the symbols carry much more weight than I care to write and you probably care to read. You're probably not even reading this right now. You're probably just looking at the picture below. Either way, I hope you enjoy it.
These last few are taken from flash, so I don't have as much vested interest in them... hence, they get thumbnailed.
I'd be more than happy to tattoo any of these designs or work with you on coming up with your own personal tattoo. Let me know!
On a side note, I'm helping an old friend out with his short film called The Loop. I can't remember if I mentioned it in a prior post or not. Either way... check it out and support, if you feel so inclined.
Thanks for reading! PEACE!
Just a quick post... Finished the Sailor Jerry Flash sheet and my cousin decided on a raccoon tattoo on the side of his calf from my brother last night.
Finally started painting one of the flash sheets I lined last month, as seen on my entry back on 4/29/11. I like seeing how the pieces start to come together and come to life. Check out the girl in red, 2nd from the right, as an example. This one has a deadline, so you'll be seeing a completed pic in a couple weeks or less. If you didn't already know, the linework is from Sailor Jerry. Much respect! Design for tattooability.
I've had a few dicussions lately about finding the right balance between everything that's going on in your life. I've also heard the terms "juggling" or "having a full plate" used for the same metaphor. Whether it's keeping all the balls in the air or keeping the arms of the scale level, I seem to like throwing another ball into the mix every now and then, just to keep myself challenged.
Everybody has their own plates or scales, but for me, this includes (in no particular order) wife, family, friends, work, shop, drawing, house work, exercise, alone sanity time, reading, and the latest addition of my Sand Flea. I stay pretty busy, but looking at the list, I feel like I should add community work or volunteering of some sort... in the future, perhaps.
Anyways... the point of this post is that I feel like I'm getting back on track with a few balls that may have dropped. Shop time and drawing have picked back up... I did a practice skin Philippine Sun and Stars which will hopefully go on my cousin and finished coloring that reproduction flash piece. I'll have to find the black and gray picture I took before I colored. Now that the Lakers lost (in a disturbingly horrendous fashion), I definitely need to pick up the exercise ball that got dropped and get that back into the mix.
It's all about being conscious enough to keep the scale balanced. If you fall asleep, the balls drop.
"WAKE UP!" <-- This reminder is tattooed on my wrist, thanks to Mr. Chad Koeplinger. "WAKE UP!" can mean a lot of things. It can mean to stay conscious. Stay present and aware. Don't be a zombie! Life's too short to let it slip away doing things you don't enjoy doing. Take those things off the scale and throw those balls out. Let 'em drop. Pick up more important and meaningful ones. I'm rambling... it tends to happen sometimes. Hopefully you get my point. Peace and thanks for reading!
I received my new rotary machine in the mail last Friday and I've been itchin' to try it out ever since. Since I didn't want to experiment with a new machine on my own leg, I decided to wait to scratch that itch on practice skin. It just so happens that inspiration hit late last night, which had me tattooing this eagle until about three in the morning. Thanks, inspiration... way to hit as I'm going cold turkey on coffee. Alright... not completely cold turkey... but decaf is like showering with no soap or shampoo... it kinda feels the same, but you don't get the full effect. Anyways, here's some pics of the beautiful rotary and the eagle I shaded with it. Linework is from Chad Koeplinger's sketchbook and the shading is from my brain.
And yes, in case you're wondering... that IS a swastika pattern on the machine. The swastika is an ancient symbol, used to represent good fortune, thousands of years before the Nazis pimped it as their logo. Read more here...
Thanks for reading!
Here's the practice skin of the Cory Lenherr dagger that I chose to try out... for some odd reason, I picked the most difficult one. Perhaps it's in my nature. I really like the first picture, since I can actually see the lines I'm putting in. For some reason, the stencil over powers the black ink, at later stages in the tattoo. It might be because of all the washing. I also really dislike how the colors bleed like crazy. I guess it's all part of the art and maybe an indication that I need to wipe more carefully. Either way, I can't wait to get some different practice skin to work with. I hope it doesn't do the same stuff. Or even better... I hope to get some real skin to work on!
Come get a tattoo!!
Things are starting to ramp up and I finally got on some more skin! It's been a pretty productive weekend and it's not even over, thanks to our nation's commanders in chief. commander in chiefs. whatever. here's a quick rundown (photos below, for an even quicker one)...
Friday: After the longest week in work in recent history, I was pleased to have some good vibes in the shop and get to do some script on Justin's wrist. I got to put on some shop-rare head-bobbing hip-hop, since my boss isn't much of a fan. that's a lot of hyphens. After that, my boss did a nice little cover-up, which I had the pleasure of sitting in on. Hip-hop was changed to a Fleetwood Mac Pandora station.
Saturday: I decided I would draw directly onto the practice skin, so as not to have that annoying stencil outline. I think the tiger turned out pretty legit, for not having ! Some of the ink still bleeds and soaks on the skin, but you can see what's really in there. And proof that practice pays off... I was working on the tiger when a walk-in was inquiring about a shamrock. I guess he saw my work and was okay with "the apprentice" doing his tattoo! I think it turned out clean and was super proud of it. The picture doesn't really do it justice. It was almost sticker-like.
Sunday: Worked a full day at the shop and finished all four Cory Lenherr daggers and a sheet of barbed wire... not pictured and hopefully not tattooed. Ugh.. barbed wire. It did bring about a story of my boss' favorite barbed wire he ever tattooed on a dude whose girlfriend's nickname was "Barbed Wire." As a reward for getting thru the barbed wire flash, my boss selected some nice americana daggers. I think they turned out pretty clean and I'm looking forward to putting one of them on a practice skin tomorrow. As a nice little night cap, I took an ol' pal from The Bay to Dick's and a popular view of Seattle... once again, the picture doesn't do it justice.
Thanks for looking!