David Flores

Portraits ................Realistic vs. Tattoo style ....Color Vs Black&Gray?

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For a minute it seemed like a lot of people were into realistic black and gray portraits. Then I started seeing a bunch of realistic color portraits of Mel Gibson, The Joker and Jack Black and other movie stars. Now I see a lot of people doing what I would consider traditional tattoo portraits which I am really starting to dig. What is everyone's take on the portrait?

I attached an example of the traditional portrait I was referring to.

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those Pryor and Sheen portraits are hilarious, and i think the traditional tattoo style they were done in is much more fitting. i dont think they would convey nearly as much humor if they were done in realistic black and grey. that's one of the things i love about the traditional aesthetic, it has the ability to add a unique dimension to all kinds of imagery.

actually there is a portrait i would like to eventually get in the traditional tattoo style, but im not sure which artist to go to for that because i dont really see any artists show those kind of tattoos in their public portfolios. or maybe im just looking in the wrong places. anyone have recommendations in the SF Bay Area?

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those Pryor and Sheen portraits are hilarious, and i think the traditional tattoo style they were done in is much more fitting. i dont think they would convey nearly as much humor if they were done in realistic black and grey. that's one of the things i love about the traditional aesthetic, it has the ability to add a unique dimension to all kinds of imagery.

actually there is a portrait i would like to eventually get in the traditional tattoo style, but im not sure which artist to go to for that because i dont really see any artists show those kind of tattoos in their public portfolios. or maybe im just looking in the wrong places. anyone have recommendations in the SF Bay Area?

Ian Oliver@ Home

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I'm a fan of both the color and the black and gray. I always wonder how the hyper realistic ones hold up over time though. I see a lot of photos of them fresh or still fairly new, not so many pics of them a few years after.

These were done by Louie Lopez.

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Like black and grey not so sure about hyper colour ones plus it still baffles me why ppl get movie stars tattood on them. theres no doubting tho that cecil porter and the like are excellent at what they do . It all seems very getting a colour photocopy put on you not that creative. I do love the black and grey ones tho even if shit von d made every scratcher around think they could put deformed faces on everyone ...

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I think if you are going to get a tattoo of a celebrity, it should be someone funny or ironic, and taking a traditional approach to it kind of lets people know you take it as a joke as well. Yeah honestly I don't even think most realistic color portraits look that good when they are freshly done, it's like everything else a few people put out really nice ones and then everyone starts doing them.

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anyone have recommendations in the SF Bay Area?

state of grace convention is coming up. josh mason should be there. you should most definatly get one from him!

also i've seen a 17 year old b&g chuy quintar portrait that was perfect and looked like it could have been done yesterday.

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That is BA! Thanks for the treat. Can't help but love a tattoo you can see from across the room and know what it is but that can be seen from across the street, very cool.

All said and done, it's the skill, pigment and the care of the artist's that tattoo "for the long run" e.g. those whom, with the foresight and forethought, that tattoo with longevity in mind and not a pic for the portfolio. This is to say that, when someone enters into your establishment and a tattoo you did 21 plus years ago is still holding well in pigment and they are there for another tattoo and not a "renewal" then you have validation that you have been doing "true tattooing in it's intended form" for those 21 plus years.

Dye lotts and maintaining proper pigments is a major key in the answer to the question posed here as longevity is the goal. I think we all can admit to ourselves that if you do a color portrait with a dozen shades of this and another dozen of that and still another dozen shades of another color until you have forty caps of ink from varying suppliers then you can expect a somewhat tye dye effect in the long run of the life of the tattoo and the smile on the customer, ha!

Mixing down the individual color and creating multiple shades from the same "tried and true" color lott's should yield the best results for longevity sake. I started maintaining my "dye lotts" in the early 80's and still have pigments I stocked from back when and what started me on that road was when I had read George Burchetts memoirs where he spoke of the difficulty he had in searching and collecting "ink" in a day and age where most if not all of what you could obtain was of quill pen "ink" variety, it almost begs the question of "what" he used when he tattooed the Queen out of her Doctors"surgery" as he called it.

A fine example of obtaining good pigment in more recent times would be when "tribal" came to be so popular in the USA, simple bold black.....it was like everybody was stumped for finding something so simple and I was one of those spending loads on what some claimed was the best, I threw out several tubbs of stuff I had good money in and reworked for free what boomeranged back while experimenting, ha! Truth had it that pitch black was always around all along, it just took some mixing to create something you would never use for detail work as it needs to be at that "stain" value.

Anyhow, I always bear in mind the longevity of what I do whether portrait or Pegasus, makes for good rep return business and ultimately is what should be considered "proper" in tattooing for the sake of the trade.

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it may not be a popular opinion, but i really don't like those kind of tattoos on the first page.. stuff like that is usually the bottom end of poorly done 'neo-traditional'.

the attached picture by chad koeplinger is great.. i guess it helps it's done well, and is tasteful.

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