My friend Stephen asked me if I wanted to play the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, so I was poking around on the web and found all kinds of good stuff to get me in the mood, including a CoC Quick Start Guide (pdf), the complete text of the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Call of Cthulhu,” and this really fun blog by Paul Carrick about the process of designing, sculpting, and producing a Cthulhu collectible statuette (and other Lovecraft-inspired artworks).
In the process, I stumbled upon—you guessed it—Cthulhu tattoos! So of course I had to perform an exhaustive search for the best on the web. Here are my favorites:
Tattoo by Billy Beens of Tat-nice Tattoos, Huntington
This excellent piece by Billy Beens of Tat-nice Tattoos in Huntington, WV, is everything that I love in a tattoo: bright colors, great design, amazing technique and execution, cool subject matter, and all-around bad-ass-ness. Photo courtesy of TattooArtists.org.
Tattoo by Tommy "Lee" Wendtner at NIX2008, Toronto
I love the realistic details, the beautiful shading/highlights and the creepy dead eyes of this scary black-and-grey piece. In addition to the photo above (from Tommy’s MySpace page), you can see a triptych of different angles on FTAtalk.com and an in-progress shot on Flickr. I gather from these various sources that Tommy Lee is based in Germany, and that this tattoo seems to have been completed in about 8 hours at Northern Ink Xposure 2008 in Toronto.
Tattoo by John Fitzgerald at Slave to the Needle, Seattle
I really like this stylized interpretation of Cthulhu; bonus ink points for incorporating traditional Japanese style in the waves, etc., and bonus nerd points for including the Necronomicon. Excellent work by John Fitzgerald of Slave to the Needle. Found in BMEzine’s tattoo galleries, filed under the shop’s name.
Tattoo by Eric Henshaw at Yankee Tattoo, Burlington
This tattoo is one of the more horrific specimens I came across; I think I just lost a sanity point! I also found what looks to be the original artwork on which this piece was based. This guy also seems to be working on a leg sleeve (I’m going to start calling big tattoos on people’s legs “pantlegs”) featuring Baphomet. Cthulhu piece found on Flickr, inked by Eric Henshaw at Yankee Tattoo in Burlington, Vermont (Baphomet tattoo is by Aaron Reil).
Tattoo by Jonathan at Alpha & Omega's Tattoo & Body Piercing, Oshkosh
While this sleeve doesn’t feature Cthulhu himself, there is no shortage of tentacles and other Lovecraft-inspired horror. Bonus points for the small portrait of H.P. Lovecraft himself on the forearm. Artist: Mike Tidwell of Obscurities Tattoos and Piercing in Dallas, TX. Source: BMENews.
Again, these are just my favorites; I was actually surprised at how many Cthulhu tattoos I found! I guess it makes sense; scary bad-ass monsters have long been prime subject matter for tattoos… If you find one (or have one) that you want to share with the rest of us Ink Nerds, feel free to post a link in the comments, or e-mail a photo to josh [at] inknerd [dot] com!
My good pal Ezra’s awesomely nerdy flaming 8- and 12-sided dice (showing “7” and “11,” no less) were inked by Heather O’Shaughnessey at Trader Bob’s Tattoo Shop in St. Louis, MO (she’s also responsible for my Red Squares).
This tattoo inspired me to do a post with as many images of D&D dice as I could find, but it turns out I’m not the first in the blogosphere to have that idea. Here are a couple of really great collections, with surprisingly little overlap:
So flaming D&D dice are not as uncommon as I would have thought. The tattoos with slogans (a la “High Roller”) are the best, however, including “Roll 4 Damage, Bitch,” “That’s How I Roll,” and “Leave No Die Behind.” (Evidently there’s a lot of love for 12-siders out in the tattooed gamer community… Who knew?)
Here are a couple more that Reis and Alice (both of whom sport D20 tattoos) somehow missed:
The first, found in BMEzine’s “Dice” keyword gallery, gets bonus tattoo points for working on two levels: nerdy gamer tattoo and cosmic art piece, but loses nerd points for disguising a nerdy gamer tattoo as a cosmic art piece. Cere‘s tattoo was done by John Clue at Super 88 Tattoo in Massapequa, NY.
The second (below), found in Devil Dinosaur’s Geek Tattoos flickr group, gets bonus nerd points for including the non-standard 30-sided die; double-TRIPLE bonus nerd points for including three 6-sided dice (for rolling ability scores the old-fashioned way) and two 10-siders (percentile dice, for generating numbers from 1 to 100)! No information about artist or collector, except that the latter attended Ohayocon ’08.
Extra-mondo nerd points to anyone who spots what’s wrong with this picture….
The colors, placement, and technique of this lower half-sleeve are really excellent . Bonus points for the brushstroke-lookin’ daubs of color around the edges. Tattoo by Bez at Triple Six Studios in Sunderland, UK. Photo from TattooNOW.com.
The following Monster Mash sleeve (in progress in this photo) is from welovethedark‘s flickr photostream (self-described “corporate goths”). The process from source artwork (by awesome illustrator David Hartman) to finished piece (by Charles Cain at Mark of Cain Tattoo near Boone, North Carolina) is well-documented. Excellent artwork, Excellent tattoo, excellent photos and play-by-play description. Kudos to all!
BONUS VIDEO! This song by Dave Edmunds gets stuck in my head all the time!
...a weblog geared toward newbie tattoo nerds like me. This includes tattoo enthusiasts who are into really nerdy stuff as well as people who are obsessed with tattoos with a geek-like passion. Ink Nerd features… well, whatever I feel like featuring, but I’ll try to make sure it relates to tattoos (at least most of the time).