Kev

Tattoo silhouette and negative space

Recommended Posts

I wanted to resurrect this thread (because it's a great one, one of my favorites on this forum) to share these legs in progress by Mike Shea. I think they're gorgeous. I'm sure a lot of folks on here have seen these, but it hopefully it doesn't hurt to bump good old discussions to the top.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Open skin can make or break a tattoo or collection. I'd rather fill in spaces with little tattoos in my old age than get a whole bunch of dots and stars.

I feel like too much of a wrap can ruin a silhouette as fast as some flashy background. I remember something about DeVita throwing a giant spiderweb or something behind a tattoo so the client leaves happier. I got an anchor on my calf and the little color fillers had me stoked. I wouldn't want to put some splotch or sunburst behind everything, but. It's hard for me to imagine some killer large-scale black and gray without any filler.

Negative space and placement are really two of the most noticeable about a tattoo so I typically leave them up to the tattooer. I come in with an image or idea and step back. Those Cripwell legs never would've come out of my head so I'll just leave Cripwell do the thinking for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really more and more impressed with how well some of these legs are designed. There something about these types of negative space layouts that looks more impressive on limbs than it does on larger flat areas like chests and backs. Not sure why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That Cripwell suit is beautiful and so perfectly executed, but I find it a little too perfect for my tastes. Looking at those tattoos, I don't know if I get much of a sense of the person who has them. I guess aesthetically I prefer a more organic mish mash of tattoos where you get tattoos of different ages complimenting and clashing with each other and you get a whole that transcends any individual tattoo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does silhouette & negative space mean empty skin ? Does a contrasting, non-busy background count ?

Many times I see sleeves and back pieces that are so busy it's hard to make out the different elements of the tattoo. Not sure if this is done intentionally and part of the style or design.

Other sleeves and full back pieces are easier to read because they have contrasting color backgrounds or separations that don't necessarily draw attention, but make the different elements easier to see and flow together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about negative space with smaller one-off Japanese pieces instead of the traditional backgrounds of iso bars, clouds, and waves? For example arm sleeves that are not one large consistent piece but rather single Japanese tattoos with no background separated by negative space. Does anyone have any examples of this or has seen an example of this that could weigh in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never seen an entire limb that was composed of just one shot Japanese pieces. Aesthetically, it would be no different from a limb with a bunch of one shot Americana pieces (apart from the artistic differences). But it would create the same effect in terms of silhouettes and negative spacing.

I have seen plenty of one shot, no background, Japanese pieces though. I've also seen lots of pieces that are a single image or theme and take up the whole limb without any background:

rZs0U7l_QP

uRR-SQHyjN

Which are really cool, too. The entire Japanese tattoo tradition is based off of large, consistent, form-fitting pieces. So, it would be rare to find someone with the kind of one-shots you're talking about, although I'm sure they exist out there.

Then you might run into the debate on whether they really can be considered Japanese tattoos, more like Japanese inspired. If there's one thing all Japanese tattoo masters can agree on, it's that the background is the most important element of the tattoo.

Either way, looks cool to me as long as it's done well. I've got Japanese one-shots and areas with background.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then you might run into the debate on whether they really can be considered Japanese tattoos, more like Japanese inspired. If there's one thing all Japanese tattoo masters can agree on, it's that the background is the most important element of the tattoo.

This was another thing I was wondering about. Because there are so many cultural aspects to Japanese tattoos I was wondering if this would even be acceptable. Like you mentioned, 'Japanese inspired' vs 'real' Japanese tattoos can both exist, but I wouldn't want to offend the culture in any way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have never seen an entire limb that was composed of just one shot Japanese pieces. Aesthetically, it would be no different from a limb with a bunch of one shot Americana pieces (apart from the artistic differences). But it would create the same effect in terms of silhouettes and negative spacing.

I believe there is an LST member ( @robz ) with a sleeve of one shot japanese masks by mike rubendall, henning jorgensen, and stewart robson.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This was another thing I was wondering about. Because there are so many cultural aspects to Japanese tattoos I was wondering if this would even be acceptable. Like you mentioned, 'Japanese inspired' vs 'real' Japanese tattoos can both exist, but I wouldn't want to offend the culture in any way.

Good question. What do traditional artists think about Neo/modern Japanese tattoos ? I really like the work I've seen from Shige, Jess Yen and a few others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.lastsparrowtattoo.com/forum/tattoo-advice/3704-traditional-japanese-v-american-japanese-tattoos.html

There's a good thread to look into on that topic @scubaron @KVipers. I think the consensus is that there really is no way of defining a "Japanese" tattoo any more. The lines have become so blurred and all different styles have kind of evolved and borrowed elements from one another. People such as Horiyoshi III and Mike Rubendall have both said that their style is not really traditional Japanese, but a modern interpretation of Japanese tattooing (someone correct me if I'm wrong). Anyways, that's a whole different can o' worms.

@BrianH that sounds like an amazing arm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe there is an LST member ( @robz ) with a sleeve of one shot japanese masks by mike rubendall, henning jorgensen, and stewart robson.

Yup. I never really planned how it would all turn out and placement would have been different if I did. When I started I just wanted to be able to get tattooed by my favourite artists (and didn't want to go below the elbow) I do plan getting some backgrounds added though.

E9F708FF-B1E9-43DF-8DA9-E9AE4CE7301A_zpsuos7mibt.jpg

0B4EB4D5-384F-4101-A66A-21D34BECE1E6_zpsvvps9bjc.jpg

Sorry for the crappy picture quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://www.lastsparrowtattoo.com/forum/tattoo-advice/3704-traditional-japanese-v-american-japanese-tattoos.html

There's a good thread to look into on that topic @scubaron @KVipers. I think the consensus is that there really is no way of defining a "Japanese" tattoo any more. The lines have become so blurred and all different styles have kind of evolved and borrowed elements from one another. People such as Horiyoshi III and Mike Rubendall have both said that their style is not really traditional Japanese, but a modern interpretation of Japanese tattooing (someone correct me if I'm wrong). Anyways, that's a whole different can o' worms.

@BrianH that sounds like an amazing arm

That was a good read. Thanks for the link!

Also @robz that is some killer work. Love masks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love this. I guess the grass is always greener...

To be honest, I like your tattoos more than I like that Cripwell body suit. Your arms are fantastic, there are so many good pieces on them from great artists, everything sits really well, the stars and dots filler is great, and they're these perfect traditional arms that don't feel forced or overly deliberate. Maybe part of it is because I've seen your arms mainly through spending time with you instead of seeing pictures of them on the Internet, but I feel that I get a sense of you from them.

I guess it all comes down to different ways of getting tattooed and people wanting different thing out of tattoos. For me, how I get tattooed has been this fairly gradual process of learning through experience. What I wanted before I first got tattooed is very different than what I want now both in terms of extent of coverage, and what styles and designs I want, and I think that while this inevitably means that I'm going to reach a point where I'll wish that I did things differently, left more spaces open, got fewer little things until I'd gotten more large pieces down, or the thousand other ways I might have done things if only I had the knowledge or foresight, I think there's something cool about tattoos being this record of a process of learning and understanding, even if the results are sometimes less than something that looks incredible in a photo. Japanese tattooing aside, I guess I don't really understand the motivation of somebody who goes from no tattoos to a deliberately planned out (and kind of anachronistic) bodysuit, it almost seems like a fashion statement.

Anyway, different strokes and all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is one of my favorite threads here, too. I have one empty leg and one that is peppered with one shots here and there. Cohesive style was never a priority for my legs. The only consistent thing I want out of it is the quality. There are too many awesome artists and their personal styles for me to want to stick with anyone thing. So, I've got japanese stuff sitting next to simpsons stuff, black & grey sitting right next to color, etc. I kind of like the look and never really have to stress too much about having colors or styles match up.

Now, to figure out if I want to sleeve out the bare leg or start doing one shots on that, too....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recent Posts

  • Last Sparrow Tattoo Sponsors

  • Instagram #LastSparrow

  • Recent Topics

  • Similar Content

    • By Huero
      Post images of things and people that you find rad, gnarly, far-out or inspirational. I'll go first...  [images removed after they became broken..]
    • By PopsBdog
      Heading to Oakland, California to see Freddy Corbin at Temple tattoo to get inked for our 25th wedding anniversary.
      Appointment is noon, Tuesday.
      Daniel Higgs did the original wedding tattoos at Realistic Studio in San Francisco and Freddy was in the shop watching and making comments while he was doing us. Daniel doesn't do tattoos any more. So our first choice is Freddy to keep spiritual continuity.
      The wife and me are getting a "25-XXV added somewhere . I am also getting a "Dragon" mixed into it...
      I'll keep you up to date.
      :cool:
    • By nina
      Hello! So this is my second intro post, but ive taken my original idea and reworked it, Just would like some feedback. Basically, the body drawings are rough sketches, of course the feathers would be done better and the little girl would look more like the one in the pic with the long quote. The quote ive shortened to "happiness is not the absence of struggle". There's a ton of meaning behind every inch of this design and I could explain it, but really im just looking for feedback on the tattoo aesthetically. Im planning on keeping it all black ink, but if you think colour would look nice somewhere, let me know! This will be my first tattoo so all the feedback is appreciated greatly. Keep in mind these are rough sketches and my artist (who I met today!! :D ) will be drawing it out more nicely. Im likely going to have to break it up into pieces and do it over the course of the year because of cost, opposed to squeezing it into a month or two. As far as pricing goes, what do you guys think? I just want to get a few more quotes before I commit to this shop. Thanks a million!
      cant get photos to upload on post.. check out my gallery :)
    • By traditionalguy
      hi all this is my introduction thread. im a huge enthusiast in tattoos and i love american traditional style hence the name. im going to school to major in art education but i all types of art. the reason i titled this thread trad. flash help is because i drew an american traditional design and would like some input on it. i had planned to get it on my left leg but placement is still up in the air and i dont know if i should keep all of the elements. i also want to get a homeward bound ship on the same leg in the future so i need to plan around that. constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. thanks in advance guys