My Tattoo Story – Part 4
Good afternoon readers. This part 4 (to catch up here are Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) of my tattoo story is dedicated to the two tattoos I designed myself. I think it would be fair to say that most big tattoo fans like to have original designs. Even if you go for a on trend theme such as tribal work, stars or the koi carp that are popular at the moment, you do not want to see someone in the street with exactly the same tattoo as you have.
I think the next step up from having an original design is having one designed by yourself, and that was always my aim. However I one minor issue with this, I have less artistic skill than the average chimpanzee. I can barely draw stick men, so the idea of drawing something that would be permanently etched onto my skin is something I have had to think long and hard about.
My eleventh tattoo was done in 2006. As I said, I knew I was no artist, but I wanted something that I could say was totally mine. I had seen various scroll and vine patterns in tattoo magazines and online, and thought it would be a fairly easy design for me to adapt. I wanted something that would go on my shoulder.
It took me a couple of weeks to get my drawing to a stage where I was happy with it. My first few attempts ended up being virtually exact copies of designs I had seen in books, so in the end I put all books away and did a load of scroll doodles. It took the help of my boys to get the design right. I took several strips of tracing paper with the scroll designs on and they arranged them on my back and shoulder till the pattern looked right, and then taped them together. This gave me a basic template which I used to make up the final design with the ivy leaves on.
The leaves are not the most life-like drawings in the world. They are a series of straight lines rather than delicate curves, but they are my leaves, and im very glad my tattooist Phil did not try and improve them when he tattooed the design on me.
The end design is not complicated, but something I am very proud of. In terms of pain it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I was expecting, but it did bruise really badly.
My twelfth tattoo is the one I am most proud of. As you may have guessed from the title of my blog I am a fan of dragons. Specifically I like northern European style dragons (as opposed to Chinese dragons).
As a teenager I started collecting Myth and Magic dragons, and still own quite a few.
I have always had an image in my head of how I wanted a dragon tattoo to look like and about six years ago I started to try to get that idea out of my head and down on paper. I used many of my dragon ornaments as visual references for the different parts of the design, for example I knew I wanted the wings partially folded and slightly curved around the body, so I looked at how the wings of my ornaments curved to get the drawing right. It took me a good 6 months and probably 50 or so redraws to get it as close as I could to the image in my head.
I have put several personal details in it. My boys initials are here in the Celtic cross.
The scroll around his tale contains lyrics of one of my favourite Green Day songs. The song is Whatshername and the lyrics are ‘Remember, whatever, it seems like forever ago’. The idea of forever ago went perfectly with the dragon theme I thought.
He (it is a boy dragon, I don’t know why but it just is) also has my initials in his wings. Obviously these are not the same initials as I have now, but i think it maybe possible to change the H to an A in the future (I have literally just had that idea).
Initially he was black and white with just a touch of purple in his wings.
But a few months after finishing him I saw a wonderful tattoo design that was purple and green, so I booked further sessions with Phil and had it coloured in. I love the purple and green, and especially the touch of pink in its face.This was him before the cross was coloured in
Awesome The Dragon (yes that his name) took a year and a half to complete. The last year of that qualifies as the worst I have ever experienced. It started with the breakdown of my marriage. This was ultimately a great thing for me, but that first year was so very difficult with all sorts of worries for me.
I remember having a sitting for the dragon just a week after everything blew up (I was still in a state of shock at that point) and thinking to myself how the hell was I going to cope with work and the kids and everything else.
I have to say if Phil wasn’t such a talented artist, he would make a great therapist as he is a great listener. I always enjoy my chats with him while he tattoos me. This tattoo always evokes a wide range of emotions when i think about it. Pride (in my design) love (for my kids who are a part of the design) but also the memory of the fear, confusion and anguish that were so sharp at the time he was created.
That is possibly the last part of my tattoo series for now. I do have another tattoo, a rather wonderful one at that, but it isn’t completed yet (despite being started three years ago). I am going to include a picture of it here and then leave it to you to decide if I tell the story of its creation so far in another post.
This is my ‘Fallen Angel’. She sits on my back. If you would like to hear her story, please add a comment to let me know.
Scientific Fact* Anxious Dragons feed off blog comments. please help keep this dragon well fed. Thank you Xxxx
*Possibly not true