Carlos Torres, California
Should I add color to my black and white tattoo?
I’ve been asked this a few times and here’s a good example of why you should NOT put color over an already shaded tattoo. See how murky those colors are? They’re no where near as bright or vibrant as they should be.
Think about crayons, and we’ll pretend we’re drawing a flower. In your brain, outline and shade the entire thing in black. Now think about what the red would do. If you’ve tried this when you were younger, you know the red picks up the black and becomes smudgy and dull. But, if your’e just to add lighter and darker reds to the whole thing without adding any black, you can get much brighter, cleaner colors.
Same with tattoos! Black doesn’t make colors a darker version of themselves—just a more dull dark color.
American Prison Tattoos is a photo story by Robert Gumpert that explores the meanings behind prisoners’ tattoos in Californian penitentiaries.
“Tattoos may be becoming the norm but before their surge in popularity, tattoos were the province of society’s outcasts: sailors, artists, carnies and outlaws – acting as road maps of their lives: who they were, what they had done, their loves, desires, their sorrows and pains.”
What are you going to do when you get old?
I don't have any tattoos yet but I know I want at least one. Only thing though is I'm not sure if I want to get simple lines/black and white/little to no shading ones or coloured/detailed ones... are there any pros and cons of having black and white tattoos/coloured tattoos?
Art mistakes 101: adding black to a color doesn’t make it darker. It also mutes it.
Let’s say you’re tattooing a red rose. The dark parts of that rose aren’t red mixed with black: they’re a darker red, like crimson. The lighter parts aren’t red + white: they’re a lighter red, which can be more tan. Sure there might be a little black i them, but not an awful lot.
Now think about colored pencils: let’s say you take a black colored pencil and draw and shade your rose. Now take your imaginary red and color over the whole thing. Your red colored pencil won’t show up over the black. Same with tattooing.
So basically: it can look super, super awkward looking if you decide color later on. If you want a simple b/w tattoo for now, go for it. If you want color, get another tattoo in color. If you don’t want another tattoo, you probably won’t want to color your first either.
Hello! This is a tattoo that I had done in October 2010; a heart for a hopeless romantic. It was done at Depot Town Tattoo in Ypsilanti, MI by Frank (who’s last name escapes me at the moment.) I was wondering if you could take a minute and critique it for me? Thanks!
Looks like they were going for this type of woodblock style but fell short. The fingers just look unintentially awkward.
tattoo by mxm
David Hale became a big deal pretty much over night thanks to FYeahTattoos. It’s really, really nice where talent can be recognized by our own means (namely, Tumblr and the Internet) and not by corporate-sponsored crap (looking at you, TLC).
Unfortunately, when I contacted David last November to get work done my friends bailed on me and I couldn’t afford the trip down to Georgia by myself. He had a two week waiting list.
I emailed him last week and he’s now booked until Spring 2013.
Book up now before he becomes Jeff Gogue.
The Problem with Banksy Tattoos
Few things look lazier than a tattoo copying the work of British street artist Banksy. Say what you want about his work on the walls, but I found this image of homages to him online. Here’s a short list about why these look like junk:
- It just looks so lazy. It’s not even a silhouette. It looks like someone put an image into photoshop before they tattooed it.
- It looks weird. This piece was made to be life-sized on a wall—not two inches on your arm. The details in the face are all wrong in every single one.
- They don’t take into account the body shape. In Bansky’s original piece the balloon close to the girl makes sense. But on a body? Because the tattooists didn’t take into account space in the slightest, it looks squished on there. It doesn’t have the same flow.
- To outline or not to outline: check out the balloons. The ones with the outlines look lazy (in contrast with the solid red balloon) and the balloons without outlines look forgotten about.
- Specifically, the three pieces with text look god awful. The red will blow out over time; the name Ryan was made in Microsoft Word, and the thin “always hope” just looks sloppy next to the bold black outlines.
Here’s the original, for reference:
Done by NYC’s Vinny Romanelli and worn by Shannon (who has an awesome blog btw)
This is all about contrast. Look at the texture between his face and the neo-classic flowers. (According to Shannon it’s a few years old and still as fresh as ever.) The black / white contrast with the turquoise. The detailed portrait style and the super traditional flowers.
A+ work, hands down.
I get a lot of questions about tattoos in real life and online. I think most people with lots of visible tattoos do. But, because I work as a graphic designer, I feel the need to explain to people looking to get their first what they should be looking for when they get one. This photo is a perfect example, so I thought I’d post here.
Look at your artist’s line work.
This is the easiest way to check their quality if you don’t know too much about art. Are their lines smooth and consistent? Or bulky and awkward?
- The Octopus uses highlights, dark colors, and little bits of black to give the illusion of line that goes with the style. Look at it’s brain to see what I’m talking about.
- Alice’s lines are awkward and misplaced. Look at the two sides of her hair (inconsistent) or her pockets (looks like a middle schooler drew them.)
Channel Paula Deene: we want butter.
Look at how colors meet together. Are they buttery smooth? Choppy? Or do they just not mix?
- The Octopus has colors that blend together so awesomely they look 3D. Plus, the orange/blue contrast is awesome.
- Alice’s apron is a damn mess. There’s no shading and those hands are already blowing out.
Does the artist have the style you’re looking for? Do you want something spooky or bright? Something girly or foreign? Or a combination? Check to make sure your artist’s style matches your own vision.
Of course this isn’t totally possible, but think about what else you could want on your body in the future. If you think you might ever be in the market for a back piece, don’t get something small in the middle of your spine. And remember: your relationship with tattoos will change, just like everything else.
- Alice’s placement it look like she’s coming out of the tattooed’s boobs. Plus, without more stuff on the chest, you have the awkward dynamic of having a skinny, verticle shape on a large, horizontal canvas.
- The Octopus’s placement next to everything else looks awesome, even in relationship to Alice. It takes the shape of her body into account in every way!
- Bonus tip: try to only let one artist work on a certain part of your body. That way the styles don’t clash. (Even if Alice had been done correctly, this would still look a little unplanned.)
Don’t do a walk-in
Show up in a shop with an idea and you only get what that artist is capible of doing on the spot, sometimes without references. Bring in a bunch of images and have a talk with the artist—then, plan to come in a few weeks later. You’ll get their best work and more time to ask them to tweek it to perfection.
Is the shop clean and reputable?
Another reason to not do a walk-in appointment. Take a look around the shop while you’re there. If anything about it makes you uncomfortable, it’s not the place for you. Also check out their ratings online. The artist doesn’t have a shop? Or they’re working out of their house? Run. Run fast. That’s the best way to get an infection.
ABOVE ALL: A GOOD TATTOO AIN’T CHEAP AND A CHEAP TATTOO AIN’T GOOD.