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I know there are a ton of artistic people here, hoping you guys can help me out! I'm planning to get a new tattoo in a few months, so I need to make up my mind on which artist I want to do it so I can get an appointment set up, as they tend to book anywhere from three to six months in advance, or at least the good ones do. But, in order to decide on an artist (we have so many great ones here, which makes it HARD!), I need to settle on what style of tattoo I want, and that's where I'm getting stuck. There's several styles of tattoos that I love, and I'm having a terrible time deciding which would look best for the design I want. Hoping maybe you guys can help me narrow it down!

So, the design: I am planning to get an open book, with some flowers around it for colour, as well as to make it a bit more feminine, with the quote "We're all stories in the end". I'm also toying with the idea of adding an owl to the design in some way, partly because they symbolize wisdom and I've seen a few tattoos combining owls and books that I really like, but also because I just really like owls, lol.
This combines my absolute love of reading with my absolute favourite fandom. Brownie points if you can guess the fandom, lol.

The tattoo styles I like along with examples:

Illustrative - it's basically got the bold outlines of traditional, but with more realistic shading, gives it a cool illustrative look

http://rattatattoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/This-beautiful-rose-tattoo-by-Scott-Trerrotola-uses-old-fashioned-illustration-techniques-in-the-tattoo-design-250x333.jpg

http://tatrating.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/girl-wolf-hood-tattoo.jpg

http://www.inkedmag.com/tattoo-style-guide/8/

Watercolour - self explanatory

http://www.chronicinktattoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watercolour-tattoos.jpg

http://static.boredpanda.com/blog/wp-content/uuuploads/watercolor-tattoos/watercolor-tattoos-1.jpg

http://jwa.joelwrightart.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/tigerlilytattoo.jpg

https://ermahgerditsamber.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/watercolor-cardinal-bird-tattoo-sleeve.jpg

Neo-Traditional -
Neo-traditional is a modern day spin on the traditional style of tattooing. Using elements of the traditional style such as bold lines and an illustrative, ‘cartoon’ quality, neo-traditional artists have pushed the boundaries to create a unique style of their own.

Often infused with a darker colour palette and elements of nature, and put together with surrealist flair, neo-traditional tattoos are an exceptional example of the innovative nature of the tattoo industry.

http://www.galleryoftattoosnow.com/images/ckuploads/images/tumblr_mlre5ceJKP1r7s2kso1_400.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/48/67/05/486705c3da9922ec7e88e4df629ee560.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8_z9SVifpQ4/UVyPNlWWl2I/AAAAAAAABIQ/QfSRmJj9F2o/s1600/Jackalope+%23Jankowzki.jpg

http://cdnpix.com/show/imgs/7d942297a8bde820c4d4e9698c55d4ed.jpg

This is the FaceBook page of a local tattoo artist that specializes in neo-traditional.
https://m.facebook.com/metamorphosiscustomtattoo/albums/758913210854844/

And a couple of other local artists that seem to do a lot of neo-traditional/illustrative work:
http://kapalatattoo.com/danfletcher.html
http://kapalatattoo.com/tyleralderson.html


So, which style would you guys think best fits the design I want? I really want something bright and bold, but still at least a little bit feminine, especially as I will be putting this on my upper arm.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Watercolor. (Not that I'm terribly artistic myself, but I do know what I like.) However, only if you can find someone really, really good at it. Watercolor tattoos look amazing or totally awful, no in between.
 

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I think Illustrative would be the best way to incorporate the design elements you want while still maintaining a feminine look.

Watercolor tattoos are beautiful, however I don't think the style would work well with all of the different things you've said you wanted in the tattoo. Watercolor tattoos work best with minimalist subject matter like the ones you've posted photos of: a tree, a flower, a dragonfly. Book+text+owl+flowers=busy, which doesn't lend itself to the style.

I like neo-traditional tattoos, but they're heavy, and I think because of the many things you want to incorporate, the dense black lines would overwhelm your upper arm.

Glad to hear you're planning and booking in advance. Many of my friends have rushed into tattoos and really regretted it. While I'm not covered head-to-toe, one could say that I'm a tattoo veteran, and I always find myself telling people "think about it for a year, research artists, prepare to wait for months for a good artist to have an opening". Can't wait to see your piece if you want to post photos when it's finished!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Watercolor. (Not that I'm terribly artistic myself, but I do know what I like.) However, only if you can find someone really, really good at it. Watercolor tattoos look amazing or totally awful, no in between.
Oh, there are no less than 3 artists here that are amazing at it! But, there are also the same number of artists that do fantastic illustrative/neo-traditional work too, lol, hence my dilemma. The other thing is that I also plan to eventually do a watercolour style underwater reef scene with sharks on my back, and I'm not sure whether it would be better to have the same style for both, or do a different style on the arm. Argh, I'm so good at making life's little decisions, but the big ones are SO hard, lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think Illustrative would be the best way to incorporate the design elements you want while still maintaining a feminine look.

Watercolor tattoos are beautiful, however I don't think the style would work well with all of the different things you've said you wanted in the tattoo. Watercolor tattoos work best with minimalist subject matter like the ones you've posted photos of: a tree, a flower, a dragonfly. Book+text+owl+flowers=busy, which doesn't lend itself to the style.

I like neo-traditional tattoos, but they're heavy, and I think because of the many things you want to incorporate, the dense black lines would overwhelm your upper arm.

Glad to hear you're planning and booking in advance. Many of my friends have rushed into tattoos and really regretted it. While I'm not covered head-to-toe, one could say that I'm a tattoo veteran, and I always find myself telling people "think about it for a year, research artists, prepare to wait for months for a good artist to have an opening". Can't wait to see your piece if you want to post photos when it's finished!
Thanks for your input. I definitely want the book, flowers and quote. I'm not 100% sure about the owl yet, and if I do go that route, may leave out the flowers, it would depend on the input of the artist. I won't lie though, in that I find the difference between illustrative and neo-traditional a bit confusing at times. When I look at examples of both online, it seems like there's a very fine line of difference between them. What do you think of the work of the three artists that do illustrative/neo-traditional work here that I posted links of?

I'd love to see pics of your tattoos, and I will definitely post a pic of mine when I get it it! It's only one of four that I have already planned out, lol, and I have two currently, although I plan to get the one covered over at some point.
 

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Thanks for your input. I definitely want the book, flowers and quote. I'm not 100% sure about the owl yet, and if I do go that route, may leave out the flowers, it would depend on the input of the artist. I won't lie though, in that I find the difference between illustrative and neo-traditional a bit confusing at times. When I look at examples of both online, it seems like there's a very fine line of difference between them. What do you think of the work of the three artists that do illustrative/neo-traditional work here that I posted links of?

I'd love to see pics of your tattoos, and I will definitely post a pic of mine when I get it it! It's only one of four that I have already planned out, lol, and I have two currently, although I plan to get the one covered over at some point.
I *really* like the quality of the illustrative rose tattoo - while I don't much like tattoos of just flowers, the scrolling leaf work is very well done and the tattoo overall has a really nice compositional balance and fits the arm well. The girl with the wolf hood is also very well done (minus that one tiny flaw in the gold earring and the clouds in the background).

Of the neo-traditional, I like the Jackalope as far as style goes, but the linework is a little iffy in areas, especially around the bottom of the frame. I don't think the clam and pearl are saturated very well, but it could just be a bad photo. I think the black horse head is way too dark and will age poorly.

The facebook artist looks alright, but the photos are hard to see and it's somewhat difficult to judge the actual quality of the work. Kapala tattoo also looks okay, but I question his ability to design decent flowers, so I would avoid him if you want flowers in the design.


I'll get some decent photos of my tattoos at some point :) The last one I got is outwardly simple - it's just a Latin phrase on my forearm that means "Never have I loved more", located there because that's where my GSD/Great Dane's head was when he died. I do want full sleeves at some point (Peter Pan theme on my left arm, Last Unicorn theme on my right). My ribs are devoted to paw prints of dogs that I lose, so I am going to be pretty covered at some point :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I *really* like the quality of the illustrative rose tattoo - while I don't much like tattoos of just flowers, the scrolling leaf work is very well done and the tattoo overall has a really nice compositional balance and fits the arm well. The girl with the wolf hood is also very well done (minus that one tiny flaw in the gold earring and the clouds in the background).

Of the neo-traditional, I like the Jackalope as far as style goes, but the linework is a little iffy in areas, especially around the bottom of the frame. I don't think the clam and pearl are saturated very well, but it could just be a bad photo. I think the black horse head is way too dark and will age poorly.

The facebook artist looks alright, but the photos are hard to see and it's somewhat difficult to judge the actual quality of the work. Kapala tattoo also looks okay, but I question his ability to design decent flowers, so I would avoid him if you want flowers in the design.


I'll get some decent photos of my tattoos at some point :) The last one I got is outwardly simple - it's just a Latin phrase on my forearm that means "Never have I loved more", located there because that's where my GSD/Great Dane's head was when he died. I do want full sleeves at some point (Peter Pan theme on my left arm, Last Unicorn theme on my right). My ribs are devoted to paw prints of dogs that I lose, so I am going to be pretty covered at some point :)
Unfortunately the ones you like the best are ones I pulled off google to use as examples, lol. Which Kapala artist are you referring to? I posted links to two artists there, just curious which one it was, or if you didn't care for either of them.

What do you think of this artist? Her colour work leans more to what I would personally consider watercolour, but I do like it a lot. http://www.13thhourtattoo.com/jenn_willits.html
 

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I don't have a picture of the first tattoo I got, it's on my back and is actually the one I plan to cover over. I don't regret getting it, or the subject matter, but I was in my early 20's when I got it and was terrified of going too big, so it's just a tiny silhouette of a hammerhead shark. I plan to cover it with a large coral reef scene with sharks being the focal point, and would like to gradually add to it so that it covers my upper back.

This is my most recent tattoo though, I got it a couple of years ago, when my cat, Astra, died. Her name is Latin for star, so I chose to get a silhouette of a cat sitting in the moon staring up at a large star in the night sky. I love it, although I'm occasionally tempted to add a little bit more background to it, lol.
 

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Unfortunately the ones you like the best are ones I pulled off google to use as examples, lol. Which Kapala artist are you referring to? I posted links to two artists there, just curious which one it was, or if you didn't care for either of them.

What do you think of this artist? Her colour work leans more to what I would personally consider watercolour, but I do like it a lot. http://www.13thhourtattoo.com/jenn_willits.html
The second Kappala artist, Tyler Anderson, is the one with the not-so-great flowers. They're all oddly shaped and of the rose variety, from what I see. I like the subject matter of his work more in general, and his color choices are more suited towards feminine tattoos. I'm sure he could do different type flowers if provided with a reference.

I'm torn about Jenn Willits. I like some of her stuff, but I also tend to shy away from the no-outline, impressionist-type tattoos.

I think the guy who does fandom stuff is *great* at what he does, but is probably not what I would picture as being a stylistic match with what you've described.


I love that tattoo of your cat, especially how the stars are done. It's very pretty :)
 

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The second Kappala artist, Tyler Anderson, is the one with the not-so-great flowers. They're all oddly shaped and of the rose variety, from what I see. I like the subject matter of his work more in general, and his color choices are more suited towards feminine tattoos. I'm sure he could do different type flowers if provided with a reference.

I'm torn about Jenn Willits. I like some of her stuff, but I also tend to shy away from the no-outline, impressionist-type tattoos.

I think the guy who does fandom stuff is *great* at what he does, but is probably not what I would picture as being a stylistic match with what you've described.


I love that tattoo of your cat, especially how the stars are done. It's very pretty
Thank you, I love it too. :)

I'd agree with your assessments over all. I'm not really a big rose person, so if I did do flowers, I'd be going for a different type, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'd like an owl more than flowers, it fits me more, plus it's actually a good fit with the fandom. I love the impressionistic style, lol, but I'd like it more for a different type of tattoo I think. And agreed about the last guy. I really like his work, and likely will go to him for a tattoo at some point, but not for THIS tattoo.
Also, I can't believe I forgot about this place! What do you think of the artists here? Specifically, Abby, Candace and Derek.

http://livingcanvastattoo.ca/pages/artists.htm
 

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Thank you, I love it too. :)

I'd agree with your assessments over all. I'm not really a big rose person, so if I did do flowers, I'd be going for a different type, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'd like an owl more than flowers, it fits me more, plus it's actually a good fit with the fandom. I love the impressionistic style, lol, but I'd like it more for a different type of tattoo I think. And agreed about the last guy. I really like his work, and likely will go to him for a tattoo at some point, but not for THIS tattoo.
Also, I can't believe I forgot about this place! What do you think of the artists here? Specifically, Abby, Candace and Derek.

http://livingcanvastattoo.ca/pages/artists.htm
I think Candace's tattoos are amazing. Good line work, she obviously does well with different line widths and different subject matter, that lion tattoo is just awesome... The other two are okay, but next to her work, their galleries don't look nearly as nice :)
 

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I think Candace's tattoos are amazing. Good line work, she obviously does well with different line widths and different subject matter, that lion tattoo is just awesome... The other two are okay, but next to her work, their galleries don't look nearly as nice :)
I'd have to agree with you there too. Out of the artists I linked, would she be your first choice then for a tattoo like this?
 

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I'd have to agree with you there too. Out of the artists I linked, would she be your first choice then for a tattoo like this?
Yes, definitely. I really enjoy that she has such strong pieces in a variety of styles - the portraits are great, the more illustrative pieces are excellent and her color palette is always spot on. I think she'd be able to adapt and do pretty much whatever you wanted while maintaining the quality of her work.
 

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I think Illustrative would be the best way to incorporate the design elements you want while still maintaining a feminine look.

Watercolor tattoos are beautiful, however I don't think the style would work well with all of the different things you've said you wanted in the tattoo. Watercolor tattoos work best with minimalist subject matter like the ones you've posted photos of: a tree, a flower, a dragonfly. Book+text+owl+flowers=busy, which doesn't lend itself to the style.

I like neo-traditional tattoos, but they're heavy, and I think because of the many things you want to incorporate, the dense black lines would overwhelm your upper arm.

Glad to hear you're planning and booking in advance. Many of my friends have rushed into tattoos and really regretted it. While I'm not covered head-to-toe, one could say that I'm a tattoo veteran, and I always find myself telling people "think about it for a year, research artists, prepare to wait for months for a good artist to have an opening". Can't wait to see your piece if you want to post photos when it's finished!
I also agree with illustrative because of these reasons, it makes the most sense also I AM SO JEALOUS RIGHT NOW!! I have wanted another tattoo for awhile now but don't have the money to get one :( I would LOVE to see this when it's all done :D
 

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Thanks so much guys! I've decided to go with Candace from Living Canvas, and I've also hammered out the final design I want!

I want a flying owl holding the open book in it's talons, in the style of the examples below, no idea if it's new school or illustrative, lol.





And I want the owl to either be wearing this fellow's glasses or holding them in one talon along with the book:


And of course the quote mentioned above. :)
 

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Awesome! Can't wait to see what it looks like. I definitely think Candace was the right choice, I think she's going to do an amazing job!

I like the style of the first owl :)
Thanks! I like it too, but I want the colours more like the other ones. :) I'm going to print those tattoos off as examples of the styles and colours I like, as there seems to be a lot of variation in how tattoo artists interpret illustrative and new school, at least that's how it seems when I google both, so I want to be able to be sure we're on the same page style wise.
 
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