Finding research for these custom tattoo designs can be one of the most time consuming parts of the tattoo design process. As it turns out for this Celtic Cross and Hawk tattoo design the brilliant reference photos I used were pictures given to me by my customer. Commissioned for my customers wedding this was just a brilliant idea with atmospheric reference images and a great customer, this was basically the recipe for an awesome custom tattoo design and ended up being one of my favourite designs to date!
Designing a Hawk Tattoo
I often start these project write ups explaining (complaining) how much hard work it is finding reference images that will be suitable for the design and are available to use. But with my customers brilliant bird watching photos it was going to be a breeze choosing the perfect one.
Saying that, drawing birds for tattoo designs can be a real challenge. You need to consider how detailed the design will be; make it too detailed and the tattoo artist will have problems with the design. Make it too simple and you may not even be able to recognise the bird and with my customers wife being an ornithologist (a.k.a. a bird expert) I definitely did not want to make any mistakes.
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In the end I decided to really work the detail into the feathers of the bird, the stencil has the feathers outlined and with this the Tattoo artist would be able to judge how much detail to add to the final design using my fully shaded and coloured Hawk Tattoo Design as a reference image.
Creating A Celtic Knot
Being the first Celtic Knot tattoo design I have created this proved to be the real challenge of the design. There are a lot of brilliant websites out there with step by step tutorials on how to create Celtic Knot designs like this website that I have referred to many times for different subjects – How to draw Celtic Knots. But finding a tutorial to create something as complex as this Celtic Gravestone proved to be a real challenge and in the end I found the best way was to actually look at real Celtic Crosses and using grid paper put together a design while following a tutorial as well.
Using the less is more principal, I see the hawk and rock as the centrepiece of the design and the mist and castle as background
Yep, this was definitely the most challenging part of the design but once I had the actual Celtic Knot work completed it was just a matter of shading it to reflect how the light would hit the Celtic Knot. Being such a detailed design there really was not much room for adding cracks and stone effects so I used a soft, dark pencil for this to try to give the stonework a nice rough appearance.
I think the final design is going to be awesome, and I can’t wait to see it resting solidly on my chest. You have my confirmation to finalize this design.
A Celtic Cross and Hawk Tattoo Design
When doing these custom tattoo designs we are often asked to put together features that, while full of meaning to the customer, are actually very hard to bring together into an aesthetically pleasing design. In this case though the features my customer wanted worked perfectly together, giving a really brilliant, almost dark and foreboding atmosphere to this Celtic Cross and Hawk Tattoo Design.
But more than all that, my customer graciously allowed his design to be resold as a digital download for customers who appreciate the artwork and would like to get the tattoo done themselves. So why not get your own copy of this Custom Celtic Cross and Hawk Tattoo Download. With your purchase you will receive a high resolution PDF with a ready to go outline stencil and fully shaded reference image for your chosen tattoo artist.
Thank you for doing such a masterful job, I can’t wait to have it inked into place.