September 30, 2013

A Tattoo Tribute

I recently wrote about my absolutely bad ass skateboard deck, which was hand painted by Craig Driscoll. That post can be found here. Dealing with Craig got me thinking about a tribute tattoo in honor of my dad. I had the concept and design elements in mind for a long while, but never pulled the trigger or felt that the timing was right. Perhaps the skateboard artwork got me motivated or something, but whatever the case . . . I asked Craig to do the tattoo.

My dad was a draftsman: he worked by hand back in the day and then was forced by the powers that be to transition into CAD. I have very fond memories of going to work with Dad when I was a wee lad and he was still drafting the old school way, with mechanical pencils, triangles, a compass, templates, etc. It was always fun to play with his gigantic Bruning electric rotary eraser; I would draw random pencil marks just so that I could take the Bruning for a spin. That electric eraser became the central design element of my tattoo. I provided some reference photos and Craig started sketching.

I threw out some other "drafting" themed items for Craig to consider, such as mechanical pencils, triangles, a T-square, French curves, etc. Craig decided to keep it simple, so he merely incorporated a couple of French curves into the banner and background design. I also asked Craig to include an orange and/or some orange blossoms into the design; Dad was very proud of his two orange trees that produced the sweetest fruit year after year. He nurtured those trees for as long as I can remember, and they are still standing and bearing fruit to this day. So, yeah, I really wanted the design to include the orange stuff.

Watching Craig complete the sketch was a treat. I wish I could draw like that. Anyway, the completed sketch (shown in the above picture) was used to create the stencil, which in turn was applied to my lower leg. About 90 minutes later, the black line work was completed and we called it a day.

It's a little difficult to read and interpret the black outlines in the absence of any color and shading. If you look closely, there are two French curves lurking in the design, along with an orange slice at the bottom, and a few orange blossoms here and there. The above picture was taken after the tattoo had healed for about a month. The color and shading have since been completed, but the skin is far from healed at the moment. I'll publish another post to show off the finished product as soon as I can!

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