Can you help me de­sign and draw a sleeve tat­too please?

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Luis Carvalho, US

An­swer

Mark replies

I want to cre­ate two fo­cal ar­eas for this char­ac­ter de­sign: one is the ro­botic head on the hu­man body and the other one is the tat­too de­sign show­ing a hu­man skull, to serve as a vis­ual link to the char­ac­ter’s miss­ing head.

I start with a quick line drawing and af­ter block­ing in the colours I de­tail the body and head. I want to keep the whole de­sign sim­ple, so as not to dis­tract the story that I want to tell.

The tat­too de­sign it­self is one of my old works, but I thought it fits the idea per­fectly. It was orig­i­nally cre­ated for a start-up T-shirt de­sign com­pany, which wanted to sell postapoc­a­lyp­tic themed cloth­ing de­signs. The skull of the hu­man sol­dier with the crow on top sym­bol­is­ing death contrasts nicely with my char­ac­ter, who’s lost his hu­man­ity.

I place the orig­i­nal de­sign on to a Mul­ti­ply layer and dis­tort it to match the char­ac­ter’s arm. I re­colour it slightly so that it has a more vivid tone and push the blacks so that they have a blue hue sim­i­lar to that of old tat­toos. The fi­nal step is to bring back some high­lights and some skin colour on top of the tat­too. Don’t for­get that the tat­toos are un­der a layer of skin, so the skin still re­tains most of its re­flec­tive qual­i­ties.

Cre­ate unique tat­toos for your char­ac­ters and treat them as part of the over­all de­sign and story.

It’s cru­cial that you in­te­grate the tat­too with the skin by fol­low the

shape of the body.

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