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…
Well, I finally got the courage up to go into an actual tattoo shop, as opposed to just lurking around shops’ websites and artists’ TattooNOW profiles. After work on Friday, I stopped in at Red Rocket Tattoo, which I chose not only because it’s highly acclaimed and very convenient, but because every one of the portfolios on their website is full of great-looking work.
After a somewhat awkward initial exchange with the person (artist Betty Rose) who greeted me (“I’d like to make, uh, an appointment or whatever for a, um, consultation, or however it works? I don’t know how it works…”), I settled into looking through the resident artists’ portfolios, while surreptitiously observing the staff and clientele…
Ok, after a brief (on the cosmic scale) hiatus from blogging and tattoo mania, I’m back on the scene. This is all happening fast, but I think that A) I know what I want, and B) I know where to get it! (I wanna destroy the passerby…)
I decided that the dozens of layers of symbolism that I originally had in mind didn’t really make for a cool-looking tattoo. I also decided that to get back in the game, I should find a highly recommended local shop and go from there, rather than searching the globe for the artist that would really “get” me.
My current plan is to get a tattoo of a dinosaur skull on my right upper arm, with paleobotanical stuff surrounding it (y’know, big ferns, scary flowers, maybe a crazy pinecone-lookin’ thing in there for good measure) for color. I haven’t decided between triceratops (childhood fave) and styracosaurus (bad-ass horns), or if I want the skull in profile, three-quarters view, or head-on (I think I’d rather have a bare skull than a fleshed-out dino head, because who knows what they looked like with skin ‘n’ junk?). I’m hoping the tattoo artist will be able to help out with those decisions; I’d be happy with any of the options. Cub scout’s honor (never made it to Boy Scout), I swear I came up with this before I saw this righteous tattoo.
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.
Can I really call myself a “tattoo enthusiast” when I only have one tattoo (although sometimes when people ask I tell them I have four), and it’s been more than 5 years since I got it? I think so—I’ve been planning my next tattoo ever since (there’s also the incessant poring over magazines and websites, the indulging in obnoxious reality TV shows—and related gossip, the ogling of inked-up strangers, and the talking-the-ears-off of anyone who will listen to me ramble on about tattoos).
But now I’m realizing that this tattoo I’ve been planning will be a big, elaborate piece (O.K., not that big. Half-sleeve, maybe?) with dozens of layers of symbolism that will require not only the saving of many ducats, but much researching of tattooists, attempting to get an appointment with one of them, traveling to his or her shop, etc. A drawn-out process (haw!) to be sure.
I’m still planning the masterpiece, but honestly, I don’t think I can wait that long! So I’m going to start small, just to get a taste… Stay tuned.