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First tattoo - Dragon Koi


finegentleman
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I'm new here and I'm set on getting a Koi Dragon half sleeve. Like these:

Instagram

http://www.lastsparrowtattoo.com/gallery/files/5/5/4/img_8335.jpg

My artist is designing it right now. I only told him I wanted a black dragon koi swimming up a waterfall surrounded by a few lotuses. It's been a week since I made my deposit. But I have an idea that might make it better.

How about having a dragon head with claws on the inner part of the bicep to complement the koi? Something like this:

http://dragon-tattoos.org/images/gallery/uploads_big/dragon-tattoo/Skillfuly-done-dark-dragons-head-and-claws-rib-tattoo-392.jpg

What do you guys think? This is my first tattoo and I don't want any regrets. I'd appreciate any advice, ideas, or pictures.

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This is my artist: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.404537592911608.94991.404485739583460&type=1

He's only had three years of experience but I believe he has a lot of potential. He's a nice guy and specializes in Japanese tattoos.

Do you think I should have picked a more experienced artist?

What do you think of his work?

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In my opinion that work is not quite up to standard. If you are in New York then I think you have got some other options for traditional Japanese. I'm sure some of the other good people here will be able to recommend some other places if you are not yet set on your artist.

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Thank you for your opinion. I am in New York. Please let me know tradition Japanese masters here.

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You're in New York? Why go for "a lot of potential" when there people in NYC who do unbelievable Japanese work? Just off the top of my head, look into Chris O'Donnell, Mike Rubendall, Troy Denning, Shinji, Kiku, Chris Garver.

Thanks. I'll check them out.

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Honestly my friend, I don't think you are going to be happy if you get a tattoo from your original choice. Put it down to lesson learned and forfeit your deposit if you have to. There is just no excuse these days for poor standard tattoos with so much talent around. Count yourself fortunate you came here before getting your tattoo started.

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Graeme's list is obviously great, and there are other guys at Invisible or King's Avenue that slay Japanese work as well. Damien Rodriguez has been putting out great stuff, and Matt Beckerich, Justin Weatherholtz, and Grez all do solid Japanese as well (although Justin and Grez are sorta more well known for other styles).

You're very lucky to be in NYC. Do your homework and don't hesitate to wait and/or spend what it takes to get a good tattoo. You'll have it forever. Make sure it's worth it.

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Let's not forget Rodrigo Melo. Dana Helmuth frequently tattoos in NYC with Rodrigo Melo as well, I believe. Brian Kaneko is a frequent guest at Adorned and his Japanese is about as good as it gets in my opinion. At Three Kings, Adam Machin, Jeremy Sutton, and Josh Egnew do nice Japanese. There are so many good tattooers in NYC it's ridiculous.

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I'm new too and the choice in NYC is overwhelming. I guess it's a nice problem to have, but researching all the different tattoo shops and artists can take time. Good that you have decided on a clearly defined specific style and the members have made good suggestions.

Don't be surprised if some of the artists are fully booked or difficult to get in touch with. I'm currently booked with one artist 3 months out. Another artist never responded despite 2 shop visits and a few emails. Waiting to get a response from 2 more on a consult request.

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There are some great suggestions for unbelievable artists right there.

The other thing I would say is how much do you want to stick to Japanese tradition? The only reason that I ask is that if you want it to be totally traditionally then a Dragon-Koi and lotus flowers are a bit of a contradiction as the fish is meant to be swimming up stream through some pretty fast flowing water, like the waterfall you mentioned, and lotus only grow in very still water like ponds. Flowers that would traditionally go with a Dragon-Koi would be things like chrysanthemums, blossoms or maple leaves. If you are more concerned with what the Dragon-Koi and lotus specifically mean to you or just the simple aesthetic then obviously that doesn't matter so much.

Just another bit of information for you. I hope that you love whatever you ultimately get.

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MrToby makes a valid point, which is why you should go to a specialist in Japanese tattooing, many people have the technical ability but not everyone fully understands Japanese composition. The most classic combination is Momiji ( maple leaves ).

As far as I understand with mythical creatures anything goes as they do not go with a specific season, but this a story of becoming Ryu, so maple leaves would be the most appropriate in my opinion.

Here is an example by Horimatsu,

2ed71na.jpg

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Right now I'm trying to figure out which of these guys is best at Black/Gray pieces.

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Shinji Horizakura seems like a great choice. I'm interested in the tebori. But it's hard to find much of his work.

I was talking with a client of Shinji last year,and he said he's booked up for over a year.Kaz is originally from Japan,and has a private studio in the city.You probably don't have to wait as long.

Instagram

Rich works at NY Adorned two days a week,and does real nice Japanese work.He did two sleeves on a friend of mine,and they look great. Instagram

Instagram I believe Bern works at Daredevil Tattoo.He also does excellent Japanese work.

Instagram David does real nice Japanese work too.

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All solid advice given! We are extremely lucky to have such an amazing pool of talented artists in our area...its ridiculous. After you decide on the particular Japanese style you like and artist, be prepared to wait. The wait is well worth it in the end.

Mike

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Actually the guys at Invisible NYC last time I checked . Chris Garver - Books only a month ahead, RG Regino Gonzales - 3 month waiting list, Kiku- not too sure.

Anyone of these guys will do an amazing tattoo. Not just ok or good potential.HAHA!

I agree the guys at kingsave (Mike Rubendall, Justin , Matt , Chris Odonell ) are all awesome but get ready to wait . Totally worth the wait btw.

I Agree there is no excuse to get a tattoo by a so so artist. If you already put in a deposit I would strongly recommend to you forget about it. Maybe he will agree to give it back to you? Just tell him you changed your mind or something.

Call ahead and ask if you could do a consultation with these guys. That is your best choice!

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Honestly I would go with the artist at Invisible or Kingsave. These shops have the best artist hands down. Waiting for any of these artist is totally worth it!! If you're not willing to wait best choice is Chris Garver or RG.

Did you check these guys out?

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It is totally up to you!! I feel that a tattoo is something you cannot be unsure about.. If I were you I would seriously check these guys out . Don't rush into a tattoo then regret it later. Anyway hope you find what you're looking for and best of luck!

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The wait for RG is 4 month and his price is 250/hr compared to Dan's one month wait and 180/hr.

Is their skill difference that great that I should wait that much longer and pay that much more? Honestly, I'm not sure; My artistic eye isn't strong. To me, Dan's art looks just as good.

I'll try to contact Chris Garver tomorrow but I imagine he's booked for about a year since he's like a superstar.

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