WANT SOMETHING STRIKING?
Whether it's a beautiful floral arrangement or a powerful tall ship on the ocean waves, large-scale tattoos have away of grabbing your attention from across the room. If you're interested in going big, read on!
STEP 1: LARGE-SCALE WORK
ESTABLISH THE BASICS
Before you start any large-scale projects, you need to identify four important things:
Placement and size. Where are you looking to get tattooed, and how much space do you want it to cover?
Primary subject matter. What do you want as the focal point of your tattoo?
Theme. This is heavily influenced by your choice of primary subject matter!
Style. How do you want it to look?
STEP 2 : LARGE-SCALE WORK
REFINE YOUR IDEAS
What is the theme? Keep it cohesive. A hellish demon makes no sense in the middle of a nature sleeve.
What about your subject matter? Stronger focus on fewer subjects makes a more striking tattoo. Don't try to force 10 gallons of crap into a 5 gallon bucket!
A picture says a thousand words. Avoid being redundant by omitting words, names, and especially dates. Text (especially dates) visually throws off the composition and takes focus away from your primary subject.
STEP 3 : LARGE-SCALE WORK
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
Large-scale pieces require an in-person consultation with the artist. We need time to think and prepare with accurate body measurements and reference material--especially if you want something covered.
These things take time. Give them the time they need so you can get the best results.
And by the by: the amount of people who call or show up at random thinking we can just "squeeze them in for a quick sleeve" is too damn high.
STEP 4 : LARGE-SCALE WORK
The easiest way for us to see what you're looking for is to come in with 10 ideas. While style refs are helpful, most of your images should not be other tattoos.
You want a robin? Bring us photos of robins. Photos of flowers. Photos of skulls.
Want something unique? Stop using Google and Pinterest for exact imagery! The algorithms feed everyone the same pictures. Everything you see has been done to death, and you're the 5th person this week to ask for it. (Looking at tree sleeves...)
STEP 5: LARGE-SCALE WORK
CONSULT WITH THE ARTIST
Show up on time! Remember the important parts (placement and size; primary subject matter; theme; and style) and show the artist your reference materials.
Your artist will work with you to come up with a plan, which may include a quick drawing to figure out composition.
If there are issues with your concept, your artist will discuss it with you and offer suggestions. This usually happens when someone asks for styles that age terribly, such as realism or watercolor, or when the subject matter doesn't make sense.
STEP 6: LARGE-SCALE WORK
THE FIRST SESSION
For your first session, get the entire outline finished. Yep. You heard me. Here's why:
Don't piecemeal the structure. Composition is the most important aspect of any tattoo, and it's not something that you can change once it's in your skin. Getting the whole outline done in one go is the only way to be 100% sure that everything flows together correctly when it's finished.
You can work on the tattoo incrementally after the structure is in place. At that point, the hard part is over; shading and coloring can be done in smaller sessions.
STEP 7: LARGE-SCALE WORK
Most of the important information has already been covered! You and your artist can determine how frequently you're able to come in for subsequent sessions.
For longer sessions, always make sure to come in with a pleasantly full belly, a snack, and something to drink!
Congrats and we're looking forward to seeing your large-scale project finished!