With my request form opening back up soon for tattoos, I wanted to give a little insight on what kinds of pieces I am likely or unlikely to take on.
In the past I have gotten far more requests than I could possibly take on, and I have to choose what to take on, and what to turn down. This is a process which is very difficult for me, as I wish I had the time to work with everyone. This year, I wanted to give a little glimpse into some of my thought process behind how I choose. This will help let you know what I’m most interested in, and also what kind of work I will not do, so you know if I am a good fit for you as an artist.
I do pretty much all custom work and love to design original artwork! I am not a huge fan of doing art recreations of your art, of famous art, or of commercial art. This is for a few reasons. I am not particularly great at doing them, and there is a lot of copy-write law pertaining to artwork that I don’t have a lot of interest in messing with. I love drawing, that’s what I want to focus on!
Large Scale pieces:
I am very interested in large scale work. Sleeves, back pieces, torso pieces, even larger if you are willing. I am also very much into tattoos that use multiple body parts for one tattoo. To the left are a few examples of sleeves that also utilize the ribs or chest. This kind of work is my absolute favorite.
I like smaller tattoos as well, but with the watercolor tattoo style, the design has to be fairly large and simple, to properly show off the blends that make it look like it should. So if it is small and too detailed or too many elements I will most likely say no.
I have a pretty distinct style, and like to do tattoos that are within that realm. I do mostly watercolor tattoos, but I also really like, graphic, geometric, and dotwork tattoos. I am most happy when I get to do a combination of those styles.
Also in terms of style, a lot of watercolor tattoos do not have any black in them. I will not do any tattoos without a significant amount of black in them. This is for longevity reasons, and I will not bend on this. (Tip… If I’m going through my request forms trying to narrow my wait list down, and someone sends only references with all really light watercolor tattoos with no black in them, I assume that is what they want, and I wouldn’t be the right artist to do that, so I turn them down)
I love creative ideas! I love tattooing things I’ve never done before. I also love nature, flowers and animals. I like images that look like collages or mixed media work. I even tend to like inanimate objects, like televisions, chairs and toasters. Additionally, I want to do more faces, but only in a large and stylized manner.
Subject matter that I do not particularly like; Mostly pheonix birds and dragons. I think these can make beautiful tattoos, but I personally struggle drawing mythological animals. I would happily draw a unicorn, because it’s pretty much a horse with a horn, but it’s hard for me to communicate with clients and properly draw what they are imagining with most other mythological creatures.
Another thing that sometimes happens, is that I will get multiple requests for the same subject matter. For example, last year it was humming birds. I believe that I had over 30 requests for them. It’s really hard for me to to choose who to take on when the requests are nearly identical, so sometimes I will take on one or two, or sometimes none at all if I can’t decide.
I love lettering that is incorporated into a tattoo in a meaningful and artistic way. See below. However, more often than not, I believe that text takes away from the imagery of a tattoo (I have text on my own arm, and I adore it, but I’d rather be tattooing artistic images rather than technical ones… besides, there are a ton of artists out there that do lettering better than I do) Also, text has to be done fairly large to age well, and can become really overwhelming. So unless it strengthens the design and is incorporated in an artistic way, I will probably decline to do lettering in your tattoo.
Cover-ups and re-works:
I am not likely to take on your project if you are wanting to add color to existing tattoos, or have me do cover-ups. Not because I don’t want you to love your tattoo again, but because I don’t have a ton practice covering them, and matching styles to another artist can be very tricky and those are areas that I am not fully confident in my abilities.
Well I think that should about sum it up. I certainly don’t think that I’m too good for any of your tattoo ideas, but I do have to narrow my list somehow and I want to focus on designs that we can both be excited about, and that I know I am capable of doing well! I apologize in advance if I can’t get everyone on my wait-list, but thank you so much for your interest in my work, it really does mean the world to me!
I am a Tattoo Artist, Illustrator, Sculptor and Painter based in San Francisco, California.