a tattoo for a warrior
1 Initial ideas
Once a client has given me a basic idea for an image, I’ve found that the design process becomes easier if you distil an idea into a few keywords or ‘tags’. My tags for this design are love, warrior, sadness, pain, death and war. In addition, my client asks me to place a straight line through the centre of the tattoo, and asks me to use solid black in the design if possible.
2 Use of symbols
When concepting, I prefer to use simple but powerful symbols. Here, a skull represents the death and warrior tags, with sadness and pain alluded to by an eye with a teardrop. Now I’m able to create the first raw sketch to see if the general composition is working. The top of the skull looks empty, so I cover it with roses, to represent love and to contrast with the smooth skull.
3 Finalising elements
Placing the solid black arrow at an angle creates some dynamism in the piece. While moving the teardrop to the bottom of the image enables me to increase the size of the eye, and in doing so gives the other elements room to breathe. To create the stencil of the tattoo, I recreate the separate elements, before merging and mirroring them in Photoshop.