Creating a personalised Coat of Arms Style Custom Tattoo Design can be very tricky, not just because we often end up overlooking the rules of heraldry when putting these designs together, but also the features the customer asks for often do not lend themselves well to a charismatic design. As artists it is our job to turn these illustrations into expressive, eye-catching designs. This was not to be a problem for this design, the brief I received from my customer was brilliant and even as I read it a classy, deeply personal and powerful image was forming in my mind.
“I wanted this to be a personal piece, I love my family, so this custom Coat of Arms will definitely be full of personal Representation. Roses to me are a mix of beauty and danger in life; they can capture you with the eye, but may hurt you in the process. I want the roses to be in their true color, red, while everything else is shaded black.”
Symbols of a Coat Of Arms
My customer wanted to reflect the beauty of roses but also the danger they pose. Initially the aim was to intertwine the thorny stems of the roses with intricate mantling around the shield, after the first couple of concepts I realized that the this would end up taking too much space in the already crowded mantling.
My idea was to add buds and stems of the roses growing around the base of the shield, coming from behind the banner, to give the design that “down to earth” feel but also provide the message my customer wanted.
“Opening with my name Brennan, which derives from ancient Celtic origin to mean raven, because of this I wanted to implement ravens into my design.
They are known to be wise and mysterious animals; this is a reference of guiding my family through hardship; I wanted the raven’s appearance to look realistic.”
One of my favourite parts in this personalised Coat of Arms is the Raven. Originally meant to be opening its wings behind the helm in a similar style to this previous Coat of Arms Design instead we decided to have the Raven standing on the shoulder of the kite shaped shield just like the Falcon in my old take on the Guthrie Coat of Arms.
“The bear is to show my feelings of protection towards my family. I wanted this and the shield to be designed in an old medieval art style.”
One thing you may have noticed with my previous personalised Coat of Arms tattoo designs is how I tend to avoid using colour like the plague! I generally much prefer using Graphite pencils, but with a few test sketches I really got into the layering involved in using colour pencils with the roses in this design.
Creating a personalised Coat Of Arms
It would be fair to say that working with Reese was one of those customer relations that turned into a friendship, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Many people talk to me about the compositions of these designs without realizing that it was my customer who came up with the initial stunning and sophisticated idea. Quick with his feedback (every designers dream come true) as well as giving me free reign to embellish his idea, frankly it was a privilege just being given the trust to work on such a personal design for my customer.
“Truly can’t fathom what the final design looks like! To take all my complex thoughts and turn it into something amazing! It honestly took about two years for me to fully conceive and develop the design in my head, and once I presented it to you, I was just blown away with the outcome. You seriously brought something so special to me, to life. This design has so much meaning behind it.”
This turned into one of the most elegant and personalised Coat of Arms designs I have done to date, with so much meaning behind each feature and a brilliant time lapse video to go with it, it will definitely make a brilliant custom tattoo design for Reese!
“Really looking forward to having this on my skin, I will hopefully be talking to you again on future projects. I wish you the best of luck with your business, until next time my friend!”
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