I love the simplicity of Traditional style tattooing. Who wouldn't recognize the iconic teeth from a WWII P40 "Flying Tiger" on this Olive drab bomb? )
A tasty little Devil, (above), I did on "Handsome Jake's" leg!
Some will label it "Neo-Tradtional", which is good, but art has to go somewhere. I like to mix the two for a unique look that stilll has that old time tattoo flavor. (Well.... I like it, anyway.)
I have always loved American Style Traditional tattooing. It's pure and deliberate. I can also make it mine by adding a few tweaks here and there. Throw in a Neo-tradtional twist and we have something a little different than the average "cookie cutter" results. I'm comfortable with the direction they are going. The first sparrow would be considered "Neo-traditional", whereas the twins on the back would be closer to "Traditional". If you are a seasoned tattoo artist, then you can see the not-so-subtle differences. But we all do things a little differently and this is what makes this trade so wonderful.
Add a little lavendar background shadow and some white highlites to a snarling panther. Or maybe take a Sailor Jerry mermaid, add a Sombrero and huge knockers to satisfy my Hispanic friend. A little white here and there can make all the difference. I like using baby blue for shadowing white. Put in some human-like eyes and this can add a little "zing" to a normally ordinary tiger. I do a little of everything here on Kauai.
Two interesting ways to do the same thing: One Dragon in color, (without scales) and one in black, grey and red (without scales) and an added Kanji.
Let's face it...these colors weren't around way back when these classics were being designed. So, I took the Fred Marquand design on the upper left, added the banner, lettering, flowers and the ship&stars, tweaked her eyes to weep a bit and we have a bright, delicate Uncle Tim style traditional piece that I put on my ex-boss, Bob Baxter for his birthday. I took the Sailor Jerry "Boxing Girl" and used a little more modern shading to shape the legs and arms, added an orange background and made her eye shadow match her outfit. I also had her ample breasts hang out the bottom of her top just a little because Uncle Tim is a pervert and he likes that sort of thing. (yeah, me likey!)) The bottom two pinups show two different ways to do pinups. The pirate girl is more simplistic and the Hula girl shows a bit more realism. I like to blend the two. Half old and half new. Good combo I think. Still keeps that old tattoo flavor.
I like to take usually complicated imagery and make it as simple as possible. It can be either strong and powerful like the memorial piece on the upper left or soft and subtle like the waves on the upper right. Japanese is always fun to play with so I can add humor by inserting a giant squid instead of the usual Koi. Variations in the wave directions create action and power that commands the eye to move about the piece while viewing. Sharpening up the usual Japanese rocks (lower left) can add intrigue. Either way I try to find different ways of doing things. Of course, a lovley sparrow with heart shaped lock for a budding romance is always appropriate and an angelic sparrow declaes his innocense.
Above are five of the same thing. Eight different anchors done eight different ways. That's the major reason I love doing conventions.....I get to see how everybody else does things. These are just a few of mine.
How about a muted blue-ish-grey-ish rose? And, of course, humor always has a place in Traditional style tattooing. I can sit and listen to the Old Timers go on and on about how these should be done a certain way. I respect that, but, if this were the way to go....not changing...I would still be listeneing to Elvis and The Beatles. Doing them in the absolute traditional way is not a problem, but I prefer to experiment some. The tradtional "Homeward Bound" idea can be enhanced in this case by minimizing the black shading and using pastels to provide a softer more femimine image in this case. there are lots of fun ways to do things but simplicity is always best. The floral piece above is a good example.
There is something about the simplicity that I like. Non-pretentious and unassuming imagery that provides pure, clean, simple art for everyone. A cliche tourist idea with a different twist adds a special energy to an otherwise boring design.
There is always a different way to do things. Debbie's heart and wings tattoo is a good example. A little striping and some fluttering hearts will dress up an ordinary design.
The lovely pinup style Sailor Jerry Collins design above was made famous on an old episode of "The X Files" TV show. I chose to add a bit more realism to spice it up a bit. Again, I love to mix the two styles.
Yet another couple of ways to do an anchor. Notice the broken rope. This is called a "divorce tattoo". Done on my new friend from Seattle who visited us here on Kauai. The Anchor to the right is a more colorful way to do Anchors.