I was hoping this appointment would be the last bit of shading before we started more outlines. Shading scales is tedious and time consuming though, so Horizakura wasn’t able to finish the koi’s head in our usual two hours. He said next time we will finish the koi and start the outlines! Which is both exciting and terrifying because if my memory serves me correctly, outlining is absolutely no fun at all. See photos below (how ’bout that tan line!), I believe I will update again in about 2 weeks!
I am very excited to write that the black work is nearly complete. If I had to guess, we have one more appointment to finish the partial black shading on the koi. After that, we are back in outline world. Not sure how that will pan out, but I imagine it will start from my shoulders and extend from there to my arms (as opposed to starting with the arms and connecting it all later). I have opted to go this route instead of doing color on the back piece because the color will be fairly quick, so I would like to be able to do all the new color around the same time. I hope this is coherent. I just wrapped an 18 hour show day… I’m a little shot.
Nothing overly exciting from this appointment. Finished some more background on my right hip and blubbery muffin top. The real excitement is in the coming appointments. There are only a few more outlined background areas that can get shaded. Besides the background, the dragon’s head gets shaded as well as some black on the koi. I think we’re going with a mottled color scheme on the koi, a pattern of black, white and some other color on the scales. Once those three are shaded with black, I have the option of going into color on my back or finishing the outline and outlining my sleeves. I’m leaning towards the outlines. As exciting as color is, it doesn’t hold as well as black (from my understanding). I would rather finish all the outlines, shade the rest of it, and then go into color all over. That’s the plan for now anyway! The idea of having work done on my arms and not my body is thrilling!
Another appointment is in the books. With this two hour session, I have hit the 50 hour mark on my back. I would say “time flies,” but that really only applies to when you’re having fun. It definitely feels like 50 hours. The process isn’t usually the fun part of getting tattooed anyway; the results are the fun part (I am 100% certain I will never feel totally comfortable using a semicolon). As you can see from the photos below, Horizakura continued working on the back of the dragon on my back in the back room of his studio. That last bit was only for the sake of justifying the title of this post. We’re through here. Move on.
Sounds like a no brainer right? Well just in case there was any question, I went ahead and confirmed this sage advice for you. I spent last weekend in the Bahamas for work. On my one day off, I started strong applying sunblock and using shade, but by the end of about 8 hours of outdoor sun, my shoulders were cooked. I blame in on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol. Fortunately I had two days for it to heal before my appointment, but it was definitely a little more tender than it should have been. Don’t do it. Lesson over.
Horizakura picked up right where he left off. He continued up the dragons back and did the scales on one wing. I haven’t confirmed with him yet, but I believe the feathery parts of the wings will be color. Not much else to report here. Carry on.
Yesterday marked my 25th appointment on my back and the ten year anniversary of my first ever tattoo appointment (details on that can be read here). I’m inclined to think back to the start of all of this and wax philosophical. I had some pretty ridiculous ideas in my head about how all of this would pan out. In the end, I don’t feel it would be terribly kind of me to subject my 3 readers to that. The next time we meet, feel free to thank me for sparing you any more overwrought exposition. ON TO THE BUTT STUFF!
The joy I felt at finally being tattooed above my waistline left as quickly as it came. Horizakura started shading the tail of the dragon (euphemism not intended) on my hip and butt. This would have been an incredibly easy and relaxing session if not for the fact that I am getting old. By the end of our two hours together, my hips and knees hurt so much from being in the fetal position that I wanted to scream. I was determined to not interrupt him to stretch out though because the tattoo was feeling really good and I didn’t wanna disrupt his flow. Worth it!
If I’ve held your attention this long, I also wanted to make a book recommendation if you’re interested in learning more about Japanese tattoo. Japanese Tattoos: History * Culture * Design by Brian Ashcraft with Hori Benny, is a really great look into the symbolic and thematic elements of Japanese tattoo. I have quite a few books on Japanese tattoo and none of them has as clear an outline of the symbolism behind this art form. The introduction is a brief history and assessment of current tattoo culture in Japan. Factually, it is accurate based on what I have read elsewhere, but it is by no means the most exhaustive or thorough source of that information. The real meat-and-potatoes is in the chapter by chapter breakdowns of Japanese tattoo elements. In some ways, I really wish I had had access to this book 10 years ago when I began planning out my tattoos. It would have been amazing to have. On the other hand, not having this resource forced me to really lean on the artistry and talents of my tattoo artists, which I believe has its own merits. If you’re interested in the book, you can read the Table of Contents on Amazon to see the breadth of content covered. Let me know what you think!