When I get to do a portrait I almost never have the most ideal reference. In fact, I have yet to see a client bring me an eight by ten inch professional quality photograph. But this is the way tattoos work sometimes; people want tattoos when they want to get tattooed, so as a tattooer I have to "make it work."
The reference I had for this tattoo was a digital snap shot my client probably took himself. I increased the size of the image on the copy machine and then made my stencil on the backside of the paper by tracing her picture on top of a sheet of therma fax paper. If I were to use tracing paper, or even acetate, I would lose some details; by tracing directly on the image I maintain all of the information I wish to keep, resulting in a better replication of the picture.
As I write this blog post I wish I would have gotten ten to fifteen more minutes to work on this piece had the client been more willing. Her forehead looks unfinished to me and I wish I could have had the extra time to smooth it out further.
This guy was such a baby though. I reminded him he was a marine, a trained killer. He told me he works in the financial branch as an accountant, or something like one. He's off to Afghanistan to write the restitution checks to citizens when the US military accidentally blows up a farm or a building.
He kept whining about cigarette breaks and kept calling me a Nazi. I had to yell at him at one point to quit moving his head because he kept adjusting his earphones. I was working on the eye and he starts jerking and I said to him, "Listen buddy, you have got to quit moving because I am trying to make a really nice tattoo for you. Do not move your head or your hands because every time you do you move your chest." I think he just thought I was a bitch for the rest of the time we spent together and half way through the hair he started asking me how much longer I was going to be.
I already told this guy to find another tattoo artist if he ever needs her face covered-up.