Wolverine Tattoo

I finally got my big tattoo that I have been waiting on for a while.  First a little background.  My cousin Mike got me an X-Men graphic novel years ago for Christmas.  I read through it in a hurry and wanted more.  The one character I loved the most though was Wolverine.  By the point I started reading, they’d released his Limited series and his monthly series was about 5 published.  I picked up my Wolverine Vol. 1 #1 at a local shop in mint condition for $3.50.  I tracked down the limited series pretty soon after and was my first mail order comics.

The story was one of the best and only increased my love of comics.  I went on to collect everything wolverine, even his first appearance in Hulk #181.  Because of my love of comics, I started going to conventions and collecting sketches in a book, volunteering and finally collecting photographs and signatures of celebrities.  Conventions have shaped much of what I do for hobbies now, so it was fitting to honor the reason for all of that in a tattoo.
Why Wolverine Ltd. #1?  The story set one of the major elements of his back story, specifically his time in Japan.  I have always had a fascination with Japanese culture.  The cover is unique in that it is not Wolverine in his more well known blue and yellow suit.  More plainly, it is less “comicy”.  It has also been copied many times.  
I came across Clint Cummings of Sparrow Tattoo in Mansfield, just a short drive down the road.  He was also featured on Ink Masters.  I was drawn to his comic themed tattoos.  Here was a guy that didn’t just copy from a picture, he understood the characters and knew their stories.  They were important to him, so he could capture their essence.  He is also a really talented artist.  It took a while to get the appointment as he is in demand, but I finally made it in Saturday July 13, 2013.
The whole experience was somewhat surreal.  I had to wait a while for him to draw out the design.  They had “Cabin Fever” playing on one of the TVs.  I could not hear the words, but the movie just looked ridiculous.  It was a “horror” but mostly just gory.  Something about a skin disease, which did not help.  When I laid down for the tattoo, I listened to my own music for a while, but my batter started running low and it was hard to hear with their music playing as well.  The music they had playing was a strange mix of heavy metal, Muse, soft rock covers, etc.  Finally, the TV in front of me kept playing “reality” TV crap, but mostly some show about a pawn shop which was nothing but drama.  All this, while I’m in a lot of pain.
It took a little more than four hours, but came out better than I’d hoped.  Full color and with a modified background for the transition.  I am really happy with the work and expect that I’d have at least one more done by him if not more at the shop.

Mischief Managed…

I have been wanting to get another tattoo for a while now and finally decided to get “Mischief Managed” on my right forearm using the Blackadder ITC font.  Over the weekend I went to dinner with a friend and on the way back I thought I’d stop at a local tattoo shop to research the tattoo artists there.  I met Angie at Someplace Else Tattoo.  She took a moment to pull up just what I wanted, gave me a price and time.  Since it was under and hour, I decided to go ahead and get it.  So here it is:

Here it is as blue neon:

This is it sketched:

It hurt very little and has been healing quickly.  I have some other ideas of what I want put on me and I think that Angie is the one to make that happen.

Commissioning Art

For many years I was an avid collector of comic books.  I love the stories, but I especially loved the art.  After many years, the cost of paper books was just too much and took up too much room, so I sold them all away.  Nowadays, I collect art.  Specifically, I love meeting the artists that are out there creating.  I spend most of my time in “artist” alley at the comicons which have as much or more space than the tradition vendors.  I don’t limit myself to just comic creators either.  I love talent in all forms.

I recently had a piece done that has taken almost a year to complete.  I wanted to have a piece done using the Chinese Zodiac creatures for each of my girls.  Originally, it was going to be a tattoo, but the size and complexity changed it to wall art.  I originally approached an artist, who will remain nameless because I have lost their name.  This was the piece he eventually sent me:

After trying to communicate with the artist for a couple of months, I gave up.  Later I took the final sketch he had sent, since I liked it so much, and passed it to a new artist I had met and started following on Facebook.  David Faught is an extremely talented artist with a wide range including the human form, animals and fantasy.  I sent the piece to him and asked if he could ink and color it.  He did more than I ever expected.  He redrew the piece to make it his own and even made adjustments I wanted, specifically the placement of the dog and dragon.  He spent many hours inking and finally giving me two color versions, one digital and one watercolor, mostly because of a miscommunication.  Here are the stages of the piece:

First pencils

Adjustment to switch dragon and dog


Digital Coloring


While I have been doing this for a while, this piece taught me some valuable lessons about expectations and being clear with the artist what you expect.

  1. Be clear about what you want.  Even if you are going this is an “artists choice” be clear what you are hoping for.
  2. Communicate clearly what you want.  The worst that can happen is the artist will tell you no or they cannot do as you ask.
  3. Get the money talk out of the way early.
  4. Be patient.  The creative process is much different than a regular day job.  It requires being in the right frame of mind and having the time to work their magic.  If you want it done right, wait for it.
  5. Keep the communication open.  I like to see a rough then a semi-finished before they are completed.  The rough helps you and the artist get the concept down and the semi-finished gives you a clear picture of what it should look like before it’s completed and any adjustments are still relatively easy to make.
  6.  Money will need to exchange hands. 
Here are some questions you may want to think about to define your project.
  1. What medium does the artist work in? 
  2. What character do you want?
  3. Is it a head shot, torso or full body? 
  4. Will it be pencil only, inked or colored?   If colored, do you want it digital, watercolor, ink, other?
  5. How much will it cost?
  6. About how long will it take?