This pretty great tattoo with an increasingly familiar theme was posted recently on flickr. I did a double-take when I first saw it!
I wonder if this has anything to do with all the hits I’ve been getting from people searching for “triceratops tattoo”…
(FYI, I’m trying out the “Blog this” feature on flickr; we’ll see how it turns out–I may have to go back and edit this post in WordPress anyway.)
Update: My WordPress theme overrides all the CSS styles in the flickr blog template, and the default flickr size is about 25 pixels too wide for my theme’s content column. I’ll keep futzing with the flickr template; if I can get it to work, it’ll be a real time-saver. I guess I could also look into a different WordPress theme…
Ashton is working on a book called Tattoos for Two about tattoos with a shared meaning for two or more people. In her (his?) flickr group, there are lots of great photos of photos commemorating love, friendship, family, and departed loved ones. Thanks to Carl Zimmer for the heads-up.
These cute Brontosaurus buddies from eggandtoast‘s flickr photostream aren’t part of Ashton’s project (yet), but they should be!
I was well into reading some of the stories Ashton has collected before I remembered that my first tattoo is shared by 3 of my closest friends (one of these days I’ll post pictures and the whole story). In addition to the “shared experience” thing, it seems like “buddy tattoos” are a common way people get up the nerve to get a tattoo in the first place.
Shannon has posted lots of buddy tattoos on BMEzine’s ModBlog, as well (WARNING: some of these images may not be suitable for work!).
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).
Not only did they have this excellent triceratops skull (it’s as big as me!), but in the fossil prep lab off to the side of the Hall, museum staff were working on cleaning and assembling triceratops fossils!
More photos (click to enlarge):
I spoke with the nice paleontologist lady in the fossil lab for a while (you can see her arms working on a cast of a big fossil in the first thumbnail photo, above), and she encouraged me to volunteer to help out with the fossil prep. When I told her I lived in a different city, she said some of their volunteers only come in once a month… don’t tempt me!
I wonder if the Museum of Natural History has a similar gig…
Greetings from beautiful Philadelphia, PA! My wife is here on business, and I am her escort for the weekend. I wish I felt better… Yesterday, in my head-cold-induced stupor, I accidentally deleted the draft of my long and extremely interesting story about the process of getting this tattoo.
I’m working on the rewrite, but in the meantime, you’ll have to be content with these gruesome photos of peeling tattooed flesh, taken yesterday (day 5?) soon after I woke up (more after the break):
After sitting next to me at work for 3+ years, I’m surprised that Sasha didn’t know I was into fossils. This trilobite is my prized possession, fossil-wise, paired with a really nice tattoo I found in modify_evolution’s flickr photostream (gotta keep it on-theme, right?):
I found it in an abandoned quarry in the bluffs in Alton, Illinois, just a few miles outside of my hometown of St. Louis (and across the Mississippi) when I was about 9 years old. My friend Ezra had just found an excellent trilobite fossil near there the weekend before, and I begged my dad to take me (and Ezra) to the same spot to look for more. I didn’t have much hope that I’d find one as nice as Ezra’s, but sure enough, I picked this one out of the gravel. I’m sure my dad was relieved that I found something; he had been ready to go home for quite a while..
The photos after the jump will give you a better indication of scale…
Ink Nerd enters the blogosphere. Thanks for the link, Will… No such thing as bad press, right?
Tricera-tattoo Status: besides being totally awesome, it’s still swollen, sore, and a little red around the edges, but I haven’t started scabbing, peeling, oozing, or any of that stuff. It feels a lot like a bad sunburn, including the hot-to-the-touch thing. I’m keeping it moist with Aquaphor, per doctor’s orders. Also starting to get a little stubble where the manscaping was done..
Next: The making of Herbie the Love Ornithischian
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…
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.
Once my brain clamps onto something, it’s hard for me to think about anything else. It seems like most of my mental energy is spent researching, wondering, scheming, shopping, diagramming, practicing, sketching, discussing, or just yearning for one obsession or another to be fulfilled.
While fixations like these have led to my finest accomplishments in music, love, and procrastination, more often, my careful planning and daydreaming must surrender to the less-interesting particulars of practical existence.
With this blog, I plan to indulge my geeky fascination with tattoos, share art, experiences, and discoveries with old (and hopefully new) friends, and encourage myself to finally get back in the chair and under the needle again.