Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tattoo Design, Part 2

After seeing the result of my first tattoo design, I got another request to do a 'non-traditional' wing tattoo.

I'm going to skip a lot of my explanations and details of the process, since its almost exactly the same as the above-linked post. I'll just get right to the juicy little thumbnails.

Again, I used GIMP (freeware version of Photoshop), my Genius Tablet, almost an hour to get a good first sketch. As opposed to my first design, I had no real references, so I spent a lot more time messing around with layout and arrangement.

Once I got a green light to continue with details, I started adding more feathers and then blacked out what I was going to use. The original request was to have the larger feathers transition into blades at the tips. After some tweaking, I got a shine that I liked, but eventually deleted. I rationed that those types of details should be handled with the tattoo artist when the tattoo was really going to get done.

Once all that was done, then it was time to use a little ink and test how it'll look. The result only made myself and commissioner to want to see the real thing more. Below is the final template as far as I am involved.

As far as I know, the actual tattoos are being done this week. I will try and post some of the pictures if I am permitted to.


If you're interested in getting a tattoo design, go ahead and email me to ask for design rates. The small thumbnails are for the protection of the designs.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tattoo Design, Part 1

This weekend, my friend asked if i could sketch up and design a tattoo for her. She wanted me to draw one half on her back so she could see how it looked, and then take the design to an actual tattoo artist.

In this case, she wanted to get wings on her back. She didn't want angelic wings, but more "tribal" wings. She sent me a link to what she had browsed, and pointed out which designs she liked the best.

I referenced the wings, and took the two styles to create the original, digital mock up (right).

I used GIMP (freeware version of Photoshop), my Genius Tablet, and about twenty to thirty minutes to get to the point that I liked how it looked.

I took a full piece of paper, and quickly sketched up a larger version to lay out on her back. The thing was, I thought she wanted wings going across her back, and she was thinking of them going down.

When she came over, I took a standard red, ball-point pen (it might've been a Papermate??) and inked up her back. I had to adjust the size and position of the layout, but it seemed to fit alright. At this stage, I really like using red ink, because it comes off easier then black ink (especially Sharpie), and you can start light and darken up details you like.

It was at this point that I could stand back and see how it all lined up. Her friend suggested a few changes that I worked into the black ink version on the wing taper and filling it more up at the shoulder. I then used a black Sharpie to outline the details I wanted, and to finish inking in everything (left).

She really liked how it looked, and wanted me to make a final copy so she could take it to the tattoo artist. I took some of the pictures I had shot mid-process, and traced over the design on her back. I added a few details that I thought were needed, and below is the final digital copy.

See the second part!

Anyone that is interested, here are the tools I used (if you didn't catch them above):
-GIMP program (it is free by the way)
-Genius tablet
-Red ball-point pen
-Black Sharpie
-Camera (Canon Power Shot SD1200 IS for those really wondering)

If you are interested in getting a tattoo design, go ahead and email me to ask for design rates. The small thumbnails are for the protection of the designs.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Banned Books Week Kick-Off

Starting tomorrow, September 26th, is the start of the 27th Banned Books Week. For a full week, libraries (public and school-based) will pay tribute to books that have been banned or censored over the years.

This event was created to celebrate our ability to the freedom of speech, as well as draw attention towards the censorship, restriction, challenges, and bans on books in libraries. Many books that are challenged the most are classics by John Steinbeck, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, as well as contemporary authors like Jodi Picoult, John Green, and Khaled Hosseini.

Books that have been challenged or banned come in all sizes and audience-targets. In conjunction with this annual event, I shall write about authors and books that have been banned, why they were banned, what I think about the book, and the reason for being challenged.

Get involved and help celebrate our freedom of speech. Read a banned book!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

About Me...Really

I am Alexander Kramer, born in New Mexico, and moved up to the Northwest in the last five years. I've acclimated very well, and love the weather. Even though Seattle is known for its constant rain (it really doesn't rain that much), I really miss New Mexico thunder and lightning storms. And the snow--seriously, New Mexico gets more snow per year than where I am.

Since I could hold a marker, I have been constantly drawing--on everything. It wasn't until seventh grade when I actually started getting serious about it and trying to find my technique. This also happened to be the time I got really into Japanese and watching anime. I've noticed this to be a very common behavior with creative people around my age. (Left is a vector of a friend)

I have what some people might call "a lust for books." Growing up the terms "nerd" and "geek" were used in grade school as bad things. In high school, it was accepted and a good thing.

My favorite author is Ray Bradbury. Along with Chuck Palahniuk and Anne Rice. Of course, the list goes on and on, but why should I bore you on the first post?

My taste for music is very wide and tolerant. The only thing I can't handle is really hardcore rap. I have an appreciation of music, and respect for bands: I try to get hard copies of albums whenever I have the choice.

I am fresh out of high school, and am currently working at a library, art museum, and as a freelance writer. I continue to practice my artistic talents, but not as often as I'd like. Portraits have been my focus for the last year and a half, and I keep experimenting with practically everything else--from vectors and renders to watercolor and collages.

If you're curious, my art is posted on DeviantArt

My other blog, SeattleWhispers is here.