Oct 132013

A Geisha Tattoo Design

It is very easy to get typecast as an artist or designer. You may be great at designing websites but if your portfolio only shows logo designs, that is all you will be asked to do. This, in a way, happened here at Dark Design Graphics, specifically Half Sleeve tattoo designs. You can see from our Tattoo Design page the sort of work we have been typecast into so when I was asked to design a Japanese style Geisha tattoo design I jumped at the chance to add a bit of variety to our collection.


…with a geisha/samurai chick going from my shoulder down til just past my elbow, everything else I’m inclined to just leave it to the artista interpretation.

Being given free reign over someone else’s tattoo design can be a a real blessing or a total nightmare! I have had customers who say ‘I will leave it up to you’, and then dislike every part of your work without explaining what they want changed or what you could add. In this case my customer had already given me a very good explanation of what he wanted, referencing a couple of my previous designs so I really understood what he was getting at.

Geisha Tattoo Concept from Dark Design Graphics

Awesome work, didn’t know I wanted the fan until I saw it, great work. You are absolutely going in the right direction.

Geisha Tattoo Concept from Dark Design Graphics

Using Pencil Colours

I actually sought advice from a couple of excellent artists when it came to colouring up this design Cathy Pascoe who gives art lessons to Children, Adults and Beginners and the award winning Lachri who’s inspiring time lapse videos can be found on her YouTube Channel

I decided to use my Derwent Studio colouring pencils as the harder pencils give a more subdued colour than the softer Prismacolor Premiers. I ended doing a lot of testing on rough sheets especially for the Japanese fan as I wanted to make sure I could create depth and shadow.

Testing Ideas Japanese fan tattoo design from Dark Design Graphics

Japanese tattoo design from Dark Design Graphics

Tattoo Composition

For this custom Geisha Tattoo Design composition of the main features played an important part. Bearing in mind this tattoo was designed as a half sleeve or even 3/4 sleeve tattoo I really wanted to create a flow with my work. I am often asked to fit huge amounts of features in very limited space with my designs. I generally warn my customers that while I can draw these into the designs many tattooists will have problems trying to fit them onto the area you want tattooed.

In this case the Japanese style splashing water, sun rays, clouds and Japanese fan actually fit into an off kilter figure of eight. The clouds on either side of these are mostly filler. This is so that the tattoo artist can add the main features with room to play with and if there are still spaces these can be filled with clouds and sun rays. The Japanese fan continues the path of the suns rays with shadow panels in sequence with the darker beams and lighter panels in sequence with light beams.

Geisha Custom Tattoo Design from Dark Design Graphics

The Geisha’s eyes actually follow the viewer so that no matter where you are looking at her from, she is looking at you!

Geisha Tattoo Design a Japanese Sleeve from Dark Design Graphics

Goddamn that turned out good, can’t wait to put this on my body. Can’t believe you got this amazing result out of my vague ramblings. Thank you so much.

For more information on Custom Tattoo Design from Dark Design Graphics please like, follow and subscribe to us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can also keep up to date with out latest designs via Tumblr.

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