I’m glad you like my custom Triceratops tattoo; I’m very fond of it, as well. Thanks for asking if Mike Bellamy and I would mind if you copy it, but the answer is: PLEASE DON’T STEAL THIS TATTOO DESIGN.
I spent many hours deliberating over the elements of this tattoo, and researching photos and other images of dinosaur fossils, flowers, other tattoos, etc. Mike built upon my ideas and research to create this awesome, original, unique tattoo design. Obviously, this isn’t a piece of flash that i picked off the wall at the tattoo shop.
I imagine that your tattoo artist would also much rather create his or her own custom design than copy someone else’s hard work. The tattoo community is more interconnected than you might think, and word gets around if an artist is stealing others’ custom artwork.
When I was planning this tattoo, one of the most helpful resources I found was a multi-part essay, “Get the Perfect Tattoo” from Off The Map Tattoo (also available in PDF format). I highly recommend reading all the sections. An excerpt from the “The Perfect Tattoo Design” section:
Many people first learning about tattoos try to find other tattoos upon which to base their own design or idea. They may spend hours looking through tattoos hoping to find the perfect design when they should be looking at the quality of the artist’s work rather than the designs themselves. Copying other people’s tattoos is disrespectful to the wearer of the tattoo, and to the artist who drew it, provided it was a custom, one-of-a-kind piece to begin with. … To get the best tattoo, it’s worth finding a lot of reference material, and bringing the images and your ideas to the tattoo artist who will be doing the tattoo, for them to look at and then incorporate into their own style.
To avoid law suits and even a laser, get your own original tattoo. The most important reason to do so is not legal, it’s ethical. Many custom tattoos tell people’s personal stories and mark unique events and experiences. Why have another person’s life written on your skin? Get a work of art that is all about you and leave out the lawyers.
Having said that, I think it would be GREAT if you got a tattoo of a dinosaur skull with flowers and vines and stuff, even a Triceratops! As I’ve pointed out on the blog, mine is certainly not the only one out there. Don’t you want yours to be original and unique, too? Work with your artist to come up with something even better than mine, and we’ll compare dinosaur tattoos. I’d even be happy to help come up with ideas. When you get your own one-of-a-kind piece done, send me a photo, and I’ll post it on the blog (and to the Flickr group)!
Thanks in advance for doing the right thing,
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while; I’ve been using my allotted blogging time to work on an Ink Nerd redesign. It’s actually in such an early stage that I shouldn’t even mention it yet, but what the the hell! Maybe I’ll post a couple of mockups and see what you guys think before I actually build out the CSS…
In the meantime, here’s flickr member djmark1972, a true ink nerd:
I first saw Mark’s tattooed digits on knuckletattoos.com, and decided to stalk him on flickr. Not only is he an ink nerd, he’s a punk rock coffee nerd! Truly a man after my own heart… Sorry, no information (yet) about the tattoo artist. Tattoo by JJ at Iron Cross Tattoo in Santa Barbara, CA.
Speaking of knuckletattoos.com, have you guys ever played around with their knuckle tattoo gun? It’s fun:
It’s no secret that nerds love dinosaurs. While body art of a living dinosaur is likely to look cartoonish, fossils have a certain scientific air to them. A fossil tattoo should have a subtle, classy color scheme. Fossil designs are ideal for those who want to avoid a garish, multi-colored tattoo.
Hint: Think beyond Triceratops. Consider a tattoo featuring more obscure prehistoric creatures, such as trilobites or ammonites.
Oh, why didn’t I consult the experts before I branded myself for life as a total amateur?!
But is my tattoo a fanciful picture of a fossil with floral decorations, or a scene set in the Cretaceous of a (relatively) freshly decomposed triceratops in a field of flowers? What do you think?
Ok, finally, here are the “in progress” shots of the now-two-week-old triceratops skull tattoo; lots more after the jump…
Mike Bellamy of Red Rocket Tattoo giving me the business (photo by Amy).
If you hadn’t figured it out, that’s me! More photos, details, etc., coming soon…
I promised I would post this next, but I got excited about dinosaur tattoos on the web, so this had to wait.
The consultation was really great; Mike and I really seemed to be on the same page in regards to most aspects of the tattoo design, such as overall style, size and placement on my arm, angle of the triceratops skull, etc.
I brought in a bunch of reference material, too, including this photo of a triceratops fossil skeleton from Getty Images (photograph by Louie Psihoyos), and a bunch of photos of exotic-looking flowers like this one from a research website about the Paleobotany of Angiosperm Origins.
A full recap of the consultation in gory detail after the jump…
Even though I’m also something of a Font Nerd, I’ve never seriously considered getting words tattooed on myself. I guess that’s why I never really thought about how important typography is for tattoo artists.
David Allen, a tattoo artist out of Portage, Indiana’s Bluebird Tattoo (the “Leave” link is clever), has several posts on his truly excellent blog devoted to how he uses fonts in his work, namely his dingbat font compilation for use as tattoo flash, his detailed demo of how he chooses and lays out tattoo typography (when he’s not freehanding), and a really sweet collection of tattoo fonts (some free to download—I wish I had stumbled across this before I scratched out the runty drawing for the Ink Nerd banner). He even explains his font choices for his website!
I have found Adobe’s font library extremely useful for choosing fonts for design purposes, and it’s also just fun to enter text and switch between fonts. It turns out lamer versions exist, marketed specifically as “tattoo” font libraries (I still spent a half an hour clicking through dozens of goofy fonts. Who’s lame now, lame-o?).
UPDATE: Soon after I wrote this, Inked Magazine (re)launched, featuring an article by Ina Saltz called “Body Type”. The article focuses more on the meanings rather than the fonts, but there is some good-looking word art there. You can view all of the issues online in their Digital Edition (look in the Archive for this and other back issues; “Body Text” starts on page 68 of issue #1). The Flash viewer for the digital edition is pretty cool; you can see every issue in its entirety, and turn the pages by clicking and dragging.