Creating an accurate tattoo stencil for a custom tattoo design is just a regular part of the Dark Design Graphics’ process. So we thought, for this extremely detailed half sleeve and chest tattoo design, I could explain why this is the most important part of a tattoo design. We have already taken you through the process we use to create these illustrations in A Raven Tattoo Design – How We Create a Tattoo and explained the benefit of creating concepts in one of my earliest posts Pin Up Tattoo Design – Creating A Concept (still one my favourite time lapse videos). With a full speed drawing showing the design from first initial concept to final design we thought this would be a great opportunity to show how much work goes into making a perfect tattoo stencil.
Half Sleeve & Chest Tattoo Design
I am often asked how I go about getting the measurements for a custom tattoo design. It can be quite tricky getting accurate measurements, especially from a half sleeve and half chest tattoo design like this one. We aim to get as accurate as possible measurements for an accurate template. A good template will let you know whereabouts each area of the tattoo will lie when sketching and bringing the illustration to life.
For this particular design, it was extra tricky because the customer wanted a roaring Lions face on the half chest part of the design with the lion’s hair merging with a fluid Coat of Arms, wrapping partially around the upper half sleeve. This meant the two different tattoo features had to merge over the shoulder and around the deltoid. Although we can take as many measurements as possible to get as accurate a size as possible, at the end of the day, we are drawing a design on a flat piece of paper and our bodies are not flat.
This is where the brilliance of a well drawn tattoo stencil makes a difference. When measuring up the design to my customers arm the tattoo artist can use the outlines of each feature to place the line work how it will work best. Often features may move slightly or need to be adjusted but with the tattoo stencil this will not be a problem at all.
What Makes a Good Tattoo Stencil?
A tattoo stencil gives the tattoo artist a base to work from, it is basically a simplified layout of the drawing. It needs clear line work that can be matched up to the final tattoo design. We create these stencils on tracing paper and sometimes very thin copier paper so the tattoo artist can trace the linework and reverse the design to be outlined on the skin. But most of all, giving a tattoo artist an exactly matching layout of the full design, one that can be adjusted and edited as necessary.
Detailed Tattoo Designs
I have been asked if these designs are too detailed for a tattoo and for many people they may well be. This is a contentious issue as there are some tattoo artists who would never dream of doing a design this detailed, but with improvements in inks used and their equipment, tattoo artists have recently been able to get incredible amounts of detail into tattoos. Some of the amazing tattoos produced from our artwork have frankly even taken us by surprise and inspired us to do our best for each and every design.
The feedback we get from each of these tattoo artists is that it is the tattoo stencil that is the most useful part of the design. This is because each tattoo artist knows best how to approach the textures and detailing of the tattoo. Our fully finished drawings are the reference images for these brilliant artists. The stencil allows the tattoo artist to plan out each feature of the design onto the skin then use the finished drawing as the reference to complete the full tattoo design.
An Epic Half Sleeve & Chest Tattoo Design
A truly unforgetable and exciting custom tattoo design to create. I absolutely loved the highly detailed, roaring lions face in contrast to the smooth flowing Coat of Arms. The banner and text designed to be hidden on the underside of the arm is a Czech quote that means ‘Repeat or reject it and die’. The font used for this is called ‘Deutsch Gothic’, from Font Squirrel a brilliant place to get free to use fonts.
And what is there to say about that incredible video, an off the cuff decision to film from the beginning made for a really extensive video but all thanks has to go to Maria, finding the excellent song ‘Gathering Dwarfs’ by Orchestralis from Audio Jungle one of our favourite videos to date and with nearly 18,000 views already on youtube this is definitely one to watch. This was a thoroughly enjoyable design to create from start to finish.
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