Kev

Tattoo silhouette and negative space

84 posts in this topic

My experience has been that the tattoos I have that have the most visual impact are the ones with good amount of skin around them. When I first started getting tattooed about 4 years ago, I was on a mission for coverage. The more time goes by (and the more near-sighted I become :rolleyes:), I realize how hard it is to make out anything in full sleeve pieces with filler unless you're up pretty close. Does anyone else feel it's important to have negative space/skin between your tattoos?

MsRad likes this

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I am so pro strong silhouette. I've been working on fighting the urge to put bursts and nonsensical background behind everything just to preserve the silhouette. Sometimes it;s difficult, but I find that If I think the image needs some background 9 times out of 10 it's because the drawing is weak anyway. So I redraw. If I do add an element into the background or something, I try to make it add to and preserve the silhouette, not take it away.

I fail miserably at it all the time, but I work on it constantly.

ChrisDowning, AlannaCA, Kev and 2 others like this

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I've been enjoying seeing the tattoos Ross Nagle has been doing with the "outline" around some of his tattoos which I think makes it really stand out also with the little amounts of color.

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I've been enjoying seeing the tattoos Ross Nagle has been doing with the "outline" around some of his tattoos which I think makes it really stand out also with the little amounts of color.

that virgin mary is killer

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i talk people out of backgrounds and useless additions all the time. i see so much garbage online. people just throw every trick in the book in there. or just tack on a bunch of roses around something, it looks awful. just let the image be itself, it has strength on its own. a gypsy head doesn't need blood splatters, a crescent moon, fog, a tree, roses and fake cholo letters all around it. except for a few people, tattooing is in a sorry state creatively. by the way, the outline thing is a SMITH STREET thing, which has now been beaten to death by anybody with a computer. you can't do anything new and cool without vampires sucking it dry. ok, i'm done...haha

The Tig, A.Sanchez, MsRad and 8 others like this

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i like the outline if it works with the design. i think stewart robson at frith st. tattoo did a fine job on this one...

i totally think mario is right too, cut out everything that doesn't need to be there. i always find that the tattoos that make a big impact, are simpler and less involved. filler can definitely look cool, when done right. but i prefer the negative space between tattoos, i also think it gives each piece a stronger impact and it adds more of a storyboard effect to the body, which i think reads better. stuart cripwell at spider murphy's executed this perfectly...

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Those leg tattoos are awesome-perfect spacing and I can almost make out everything in the thumbnail. I've seen the "force field" stuff in old flash, but very rarely in old photos of tattooed people (lots of stars and dots for filler though)

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I don't know how many times I've looked at those legs that Stuart did. That is some of the finest tattooing I've ever seen. The whole thing...it's just so fucking cool.

calbee, MsRad, cibo and 2 others like this

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yeah, i know the forcefields came from old sheets, but bert and the boys picked it up and it was immediately copied and absorbed. boltz told me they kinda did it as an amusing experiment, to see how fast it would be copied. it took two days for some kid in argentina to copy it and post it online haha...

Bart Bingham, Kev and ChrisDowning like this

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I think what makes the visual impact is contrast... Whether it be negative space or super brights right up against black.

There's more than one way to do it, right? Whether you go for a simple but powerful look, or a complex piece that you notice something new every time you look at it, you can't say that it's wrong... It's just different.

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When I think of a subject as an artist (not tattooer), I choice stuff based on medium-I like pen, ink, and paper for detailed stuff, canvas and tube paint for bigger expressive things. The body is medium and it has it's own characteristics, one of which being aging, shifting, stretching, and wrinkling. I think according to the way most people age, crowded stuff will "blowout" and merge with time and you'll get a saggy watercolor effect. People are obviously free to get as detailed as they want, but I'm talking long run stuff here. Maybe the improvements in ink and machines will change it, but I think it remains to be seen.

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I don't know how many times I've looked at those legs that Stuart did. That is some of the finest tattooing I've ever seen. The whole thing...it's just so fucking cool.

i finally got to see those legs in person two years ago, in san jose at the convention of the tattoo arts. i could not stop starring! and i wasn't the only one, there was a group of people watching him and stuart. it was weird to have a carnival feeling of checking out the "amazing tattooed man" at a tattoo convention. a truly beautiful work of art. who isn't jealous?!!

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Haha, I was there, too. He walked by and my wife and I both did a double take. Great point you make about being at a tattoo convention and having a "Look at that guy! He has tattoos!" moment.

RockelMan, nicky papers and DavidR like this

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yeah, i know the forcefields came from old sheets, but bert and the boys picked it up and it was immediately copied and absorbed. boltz told me they kinda did it as an amusing experiment, to see how fast it would be copied. it took two days for some kid in argentina to copy it and post it online haha...

my one whole arm is forcefields by Bert, Steve, Dan & Eli - I guess I was part of the experiment! When I'm back east I am going to get it finished an have not decided if i am going to leave the negative space go with stars and dots or whatever. But I agree, especially with no color on my arm, that too much background/noise make the images pop less...

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Yeah, the Stuart leg sleeves are amazing. I want to strive to that outlook myself. This one by Scott Harrison is bad ass also. I dont really like Scott's stuff that much personally, but this owns! This tattoo and the one by Stuart look like Lungfish Feral Hymns album sounds. Images to sounds

scott%20harrisison%20sleeve.jpg

And btw. About the use of space around tattoos. Check out the Robert Ryan interview in TAM, he talks about that in there.

rozone, mtlsam and 49531 like this

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i love this thread becasue i really learned something! i was thinking you had to fill in every negative space or else it was almost llike it would be incomplete. i was not thinking about how it would age and what it would look like. the legs are pretty amazing and what everyone has said totally changed how i was thinking.

MsRad, Petri Aspvik, Kev and 3 others like this

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i love this thread becasue i really learned something! i was thinking you had to fill in every negative space or else it was almost llike it would be incomplete. i was not thinking about how it would age and what it would look like. the legs are pretty amazing and what everyone has said totally changed how i was thinking.

this is exactly why this board rules!

RockelMan and AlannaCA like this

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My wife and I just booked with Stuart Cripwell. We are stoked!

Awesome dude! I'm gonna try to hit him up @ the long beach convention.

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my one whole arm is forcefields by Bert, Steve, Dan & Eli - I guess I was part of the experiment! When I'm back east I am going to get it finished an have not decided if i am going to leave the negative space go with stars and dots or whatever. But I agree, especially with no color on my arm, that too much background/noise make the images pop less...

Just saw this by Simon Erl:

tumblr_ll13v6Rc3J1qilc62o1_400.jpg

I chuckled.

Petri Aspvik, Kev and gougetheeyes like this

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i like the outline if it works with the design. i think stewart robson at frith st. tattoo did a fine job on this one...

...stuart cripwell at spider murphy's executed this perfectly...

Thanks. Although I'm a little embarrassed that my mane came up with the whole forcefields thing, I'm on Mario's side of the fence with this one. I stole that from the old photos of Bob Shaw by Bert Grimm. It's pretty much the only way to cap an arm with web and not fuck up the silhouette.

Those legs by Cripwell are an amazing example of how great well-placed traditional tattoos can look. Great design choices, placement and rhythm of negative space. A lesson to us all (especially me!)

I like some of Simon Erl's work, but the photo above has to be the ultimate hipster tattoo. Avoiding criticism through irony while embracing the thing you are being ironic about. It's the finger-moustache of the tattoo bloggers.

He could have got a "pigs is pigs" tattoo in that space instead. that would have been funny for the rest of his life, without a tiresome explanation of an internet trend.

abees, hogg and eisen777 like this

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Thanks. Although I'm a little embarrassed that my mane came up with the whole forcefields thing, I'm on Mario's side of the fence with this one. I stole that from the old photos of Bob Shaw by Bert Grimm. It's pretty much the only way to cap an arm with web and not fuck up the silhouette.

Those legs by Cripwell are an amazing example of how great well-placed traditional tattoos can look. Great design choices, placement and rhythm of negative space. A lesson to us all (especially me!)

I like some of Simon Erl's work, but the photo above has to be the ultimate hipster tattoo. Avoiding criticism through irony while embracing the thing you are being ironic about. It's the finger-moustache of the tattoo bloggers.

He could have got a "pigs is pigs" tattoo in that space instead. that would have been funny for the rest of his life, without a tiresome explanation of an internet trend.

I agree with Stewart. I check out this kid's blog, and I enjoy it, but this tattoo really bugs me. I will say that since the kid that has this has a face full of tattoos, the tiresome explanation of tattoos is already a big part of his life.

abees and Kev like this

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Tattoo one of these next to it, BOOM-timeless:

xwing-catalog.jpg

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