Create a striking fantasy tattoo
From initial design considerations to inking on the body, tattoo artist Ien Levin shares his process for producing engaging skin art
Tattoo artist Ien Levin produces engaging skin art.
Since my early childhood I’ve been drawing, trying out every tool and medium I can get my hands on. In my teenage years I was an airbrush artist, then a photographer. But I’ve never attended art school and didn’t actively try to improve my drawing skills before I became a tattoo apprentice. Indeed, my introduction to tattoos was accidental, yet had a big effect on my life.
There were already a lot of tattoos on me and by then I had lost my interest in photography. So I decided to try something new. I wasn’t aiming to become a well-known tattooist with a recognisable style. But I became fascinated with the art of tattooing and in turn worked as hard as I could to get where I am now.
My main inspirations are wildlife, science and engineering in all forms, religious/occult societies, the Middle Ages and mathematical/geometric art.
It’s difficult to explain my process when I design a tattoo. I have a discussion with a client, then I draw the design and tattoo the skin with my design. The process from start to finish can take any amount of time – like any art form, really. Painting a picture isn’t an exact science, and likewise neither is tattooing one of my designs.
Before taking the design into Photoshop, I use pencils and pens, rulers, compasses and tracing paper. Nothing special. It’s what you produce at the end of the day with these basic tools that should catch the eye.