To be asked to design a Space Marine fighting an Alien with planets colliding in the background full sleeve tattoo design is one thing that does not happen often! So when asked to create this Marine Vs. Alien Space tattoo design I literally jumped at the chance. My customer had very specific ideas for how this tattoo design would look and being a visual effects technician himself knew how to write an excellent brief.
A Space Tattoo Design
Creating a tattoo design with a space theme is quite a tricky task and one thing that I noticed doing my research is that space tattoos often look very similar. Part of the brief mentioned the design should have strong visual effects in a nod to my customers line of work and with my customer pushing me to make the design very expressive and eye-catching I decided to go large with the planets.
The fractured planet surface is looking really cool and is definitely going in the right direction.
My customer had also mentioned that he did not like designs that have a defined edge to them. This meant the ends of the design would need to be broken lines created by elements in the sleeve. For the top of the design around the shoulders I created this broken line with chunks of the planet flying off in the collision. To keep the ‘no defined edges throughout, my idea was to only show the edges of the planets by the light of the explosion surrounding them.
Designing A Space Marine
To create the Space Marine I managed to persuade my friend to do some poses for reference pictures with the understanding that nobody else would get to see them… …ever. Originally the idea was to have the space marine fighting the alien with a samurai sword and this gave me the thought to give the design an interesting perspective. The point of view would come from above the Space marine, looking down with the vanishing point underneath his knee. This would mean the Samurai sword, his chest and head would be the most prominent part of the character design.
The first concept for the Space Marine ended up with a slight 90s computer game feel with the mask and helmet. Although not in the original brief and not specifically what I was aiming for my customer agreed this would work well with the design. We decided to keep the characters looks but change the weapon to a rifle to add to the special effects focus of the space tattoo design.
With this in mind I thought a shotgun styled weapon would give the best effects with the blast. This would also add another light source with the bright orange and red blast coming from behind and a blinding white light from the shotgun.
I like the pose of the space marine, and the shorter gun is working really well
As the vanishing point was directly behind the marines knee I realised the initial column of rock from the first concept was out of perspective. I decided to redesign the land around the marine and alien to create the correct perspective and design the alien landscape my customer had asked for.
Creating An Alien Tattoo
Creating the alien was easily the hardest part of this space tattoo design. You can probably tell from my initial concept the alien was going to look completely different from how it turned out. In this case the final design was almost completely down to my customers feedback. With my customer at one point comparing my alien concept to a ‘parrot crossed with a prawn’, this part of the tattoo took at least 4 full redesigns. Just in case you were wondering I am not going to add that concept as after that feedback I could not even look at the drawing without seeing a prawn parrot alien!
Creating A Space Tattoo Design
This eventually turned out to be one of the most challenging tattoo designs I had completed. This was also a great example of a design that would have looked completely different without my customers feedback. It can be very difficult for any designer when a customer asks you to completely change your concept especially when it is one you absolutely love. In this case with my customers creativity each criticism and change that he asked for helped mould this into a truly eye-catching an expressive design and a really great learning experience.
This is amazing!! It’s totally awesome man, you’ve done a fantastic job! It’s really surpassed all my expectations!
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