The Magic of Tattoos

When the designs are chosen with care, tattoos have a power and magic all their own.

They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul.

- Michelle Delio

Half Sleeve Battle Custom Tattoo Design

I was so happy with how this custom tattoo design came out. It was one of my favorite pieces of art… with the lacing up the back. This is a great example of how I collaborate with my clients. He gave me lots of feedback and suggestions, which really helped me draw exactly what he wanted. I would have LOVED to see this one completed.

Clients Description Request:
Detailed Anglo Saxon shield wall 1/2 sleeve , got a feeling it'll be for the more experienced artist.
Right arm wrist to 3 inches above elbow. No colour please just shading. I would like some text as a part of the tattoo, at the bottom round the wrist I would like" UBIQUE QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT" this means, everywhere with right and glory we lead. That is my old regimental motto  (I'm ex British army) this text could be in like a scroll type format, but open to ideas? The main design of the tattoo is a Anglo Saxon shield wall. With Anglo Saxon warriors in full battle dress with overlapping shields going around my arm with their feet starting just above the text( just above my wrist). For details of how they looked, please search "1066 battle of Hastings Anglo Saxon shield wall" further up the arm I'm prepared to let u experiment a bit. Maybe a sky full of arrows or a battle in the distance, or just woodland, I’m not 100% sure so please feel free to go crazy. Many thanks I'm very excited. Just an idea also would be king Harold standing behind the shield wall, clutching his face with a arrow in his eye (that's how he died at the battle of Hastings)

Client feedback:
:) hi Pam :) this is fantastic. Think this looks really good! Just what I was picturing in my head!! At the back of the arm could the bit the text is written on be made to look like its tied together? Nothing to complicated perhaps just a bow or a knot, and a slightly bigger hill. (this battle was known for being on a hill just down the road from where I live).

 Yes!! that looks bloody brilliant, what u think? I'd say with the laces all the way up! I think we have ourselves a winner!! Thanks. Cheers Pam, great work. :) 

A Custom Tattoo Design Using Kitchen Utensils

This was a fun design.

Clients Description Request:

Looking for creativity in the kitchen! "Mise En Place" utilizing kitchen equipment and produce ingredients. I am a food and wine lover, and enjoy displaying my passions on my personal canvas. I have been trying to design (with fail) a tattoo saying "mise en place" but using kitchen equipment, produce ingredients and such to spell out the letters. I am up for any colors you'd like to utilize, and would like it to be small and located on my foot across the top near my toes. (So the "m" at the beginning of the text would be near my pinky toe and the "e" at the end of the text would be around the middle of my toes or so.

Tattoos as a Personal Message

“Getting ink felt right, like it would help her put her life in order, to move forwards. It was her body, despite the things that'd been done to it, and she wanted to claim it, to own it, to prove that to herself. She knew it wasn't magic, but the idea of writing her own identity felt like the closest she could get to reclaiming her life. Sometimes there's power in the act; sometimes there's strength in words. She wanted to find an image that represented those things she was feeling, to etch it on her skin as tangible proof of her decision to change.” 

Custom Bird Tattoo in the Style of Artist Ralph Steadman

This custom bird tattoo design was done in the style of artist Ralph Steadman who is a bit edgy and graphic. I LOVED doing this design. I only wish I had seen the completed tattoo because I think (when done right) ink splatters and lines like this make really cool tattoos.

Clients Description Request:
Bird is the word. I've spent the past 6 months at a wild bird rescue facility and want to get a tattoo to commemorate a truly life changing experience. I'm looking to get a tattoo of my two favourite birds that I worked with: Brown pelican and a Common murre.

Black and grey please. I don't have a set location for this tattoo. No text please.

I'm not set on getting both birds,Uhg, I wish I knew more what I wanted…haha. I guess I'm just looking for something maybe a little different, or abstract. My favourite artist is Ralph Steadman - he does some pretty weird stuff. The purpose behind this tattoo is in memory of my time at a bird rehabilitation center that mostly deals with oiled birds. The center is in California near the water so that could tie into it. 

Client feedback:
Awesome! Thanks! These are outstanding 

Words and Lettering Custom Tattoo Design

 I so identify with all of the words my client requested! I thought this was a really pretty way to incorporate them into a meaningful tattoo. As far as the finished size of the tattoo, I did suggest it be slightly larger or that maybe the ribbon would have to just be pink without the black outline. You have to be careful with skinny areas like that. They can close over time.

Below is the lettering without the ribbon.

Clients Description Request:

I would like it to be smallish, sexy, readable, individual, creative J I was thinking of either getting a tattoo on the left side on my ribs (just under my armpit) or on my left shoulder blade. I would like it to involve text (the words that means most to me) which are family, courage, love, faith, strength and dream (doesn't matter if strength and dream are not in the tattoo, but the others I would like in text in the tattoo). I was thinking of maybe a cursive but easily readable sort of text. The colour I was thinking is a light colour so it doesn't stand out as much such as light blue or pink, (but 1,2 colours max) but still want it visible. I don't want the tattoo to be huge, maybe within a 15cm by 15cm, can be smaller. Would like it to be creative,  P.s. the smaller the tattoo, the better :-)

Frozen Beauty Custom Tattoo Design Add-on

 What a lovely testament between a mother and child. I love doing add-ons to existing tattoos. This is the final design and a close up of some details. You can see her request description below. I looked up the meaning of the name Ryan and it seemd it means "little king" or "kingly" so I did a tribal crown...kind of in the style of her existing tattoo.

Clients Description Request:

Incomplete blue rose representing beauty and love that never dies. A testimony to the love I now keep for my son. I got this tattoo done and never finished it because I ended up buying a house and falling pregnant. A minor distraction. The concept was the rose being blue and it's beauty being frozen in time, that real beauty never fades and is different to the norm. I would also like my son to be added in some way. His name is Ryan James. My love for him will also never die. I have no idea what to do with this. I feel like what I have now is just a stencil for something better. It's on my right upper arm. Not sure about colours yet either. The blue will need to redone as it's faded a lot.

Client Feedback:

Wait, I love the crown idea! That's beautiful. I like how you've added the extra blue in there too. Maybe try a purple colour?  I'm really taken with that. :)

Squares in your Tattoo Design and Suggested Symbolic Meanings of Squares

Squares and rectangles are solid and fixed by nature. They seem to have more stable meanings like balance, strong foundation, safety, security and order.

The four sides of the square can also symbolize a group of meanings like
Summer, winter, spring and fall
Earth, water, fire and air
East, west, north and south
Sun, moon, planets and stars

Ankh Symbol Custom Tattoo

What a great meaning behind this tattoo. Enjoying life before it’s too late. Above you can see the final design the client chose. Below you can see part of my client’s description. I’m always so honored to design someone’s first tattoo. It is so important to me to have it be just right.

Clients Description Request:

This will be my first tattoo! Can you make it awesome enough so that I won't regret it? Have fun with it!

I plan to get it on my arm. Either my forearm or the back or my bicep. I want the Ankh to be made of weathered stone. I was thinking of having Death's bony hand wrapping around one of the arms or the cross part. And wind blowing his cloak out on one side. Be creative. The Ankh is the Egyptian symbol for life. The tattoo will symbolize my need to get out and enjoy it before I die. I want it to focus more on life instead of Death. Again be creative. Any way you can subtly incorporate the threat of life ending too soon, throw it in and we'll go from there. It will just be black and white I think.

Infinity Rose with a Sword, First Tattoo - Custom Design

I loved drawing this small tattoo and I was thrilled when my client sent me a picture of the completed tattoo! That is the biggest treat for me. Above you can see the final design and the finished tattoo. Below you can see part of my client’s description, some feedback and some other infinity design examples I provided to her during our collaboration process.

Clients Description Request:

First tattoo design help needed! I would like an infinity symbol created using intertwined roses (colour of roses blue, green stems), with a simple sword behind (black outline - no colour on sword). Not a dagger-like sword, more like the ones you see on tarot cards. Complete design doesn't need to be too fancy or intricate. Still considering where it will be located, but thinking hip at this stage, so don't want anything too big. No text is required. I think I would like only two roses on the design, and perhaps one on the top left and one on the bottom right of the infinity symbol. Maybe even a slightly stylized rose eg. Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose.

Client feedback on the finished design above:

I love, love, love this one :)

Below are a few variations on the design that I gave the client to choose from.

Cross Shapes in your Tattoo Design and Suggested Symbolic Meanings of Cross Shapes

In addition to their obvious Christian religious symbolism, cross shapes represent spirituality and healing. They represent unity, hope, faith, balance and navigation.

Crosses can also represent four meanings like
Earth, water, fire and air or east, west, north and south, as in a compass.

Below are some examples of my custom cross tattoo designs.

Healing Snowflake Crystals Custom Tattoo Design

This design was so educational for me. The research into the effect of music and positive words on water was miraculous. Unfortunately the man behind this science just recently became ill and passes away last month. I highly recommend you google him and his work to see what he was about. It’s beautiful. I loved doing this design. I did suggest that the client go larger than they originally planned due to the detail and lettering. Above is the finished design and below is her description and request.

Clients Description Request:
Healing snowflake. Intricate Snowflake with hidden words. I want an intricate snowflake in which are hidden the words: beauty, love, happiness, gratitude, peace, and health. It will be on the back of my neck and a mix of grey, blue, black and white.

This idea is based on the work of Dr. Emoto who discovered that water takes on qualities of words and energy surrounding it. So I want a snowflake similar to the ones he's taken pictures of, within which are hidden those words.

Client feedback: 
This is gorgeous thank you

“By holding the intention of peace towards water, by thinking, speaking and acting with the intention of peace towards water, water can and will bring peace, to our bodies and to the world” - Masaru Emoto

Positive words create more structure, harmony and organization in the water crystals.

Custom CrossTattoo Design Honoring Lost Loved Ones

This custom design was very meaningful to me. You can see my client’s description and feedback below and the art and completed tattoo above. I think the tattoo artist did an amazing job with my detailed work. There were a lot of components in this design and I think the finished tattoo is a beautiful personal memorial. It was an honor to work on it.

A section of my client’s request description:

“I would like you to take my idea and add your own. I can't draw so this is all in my head. Not even sure if it’s gonna work. This tattoo will be for my upper right arm. I would like a cross with a heart in the middle I would like Mom and Dad in the heart. Then on the left side my dad’s birth date which is 10-23-1933 He is still with us but will add that when the time comes. On the right side my mom’s dates which are 12-26-1937 to 12-21-2012. Under the heart or in it I would like Married 2-14-1956 with the 2 rings. At the bottom of the cross I would like a skateboard leaning on the cross with my brother’s name Jeff and the dates 5-27-1972 to 1-15-1989 I would like all that to look like it is laying over the footprints in the sand poem, with the last lines. The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you, showing at the bottom.”

Triangles in your Tattoo Design and Suggested Symbolic Meanings of Triangles

Triangles are interesting. They can have different meanings based on the way they are oriented. Over-all, they generally represent Trinities…or triads.

Body, mind and spirit.
Father, mother and child.
Past, present and future.
Father, son and the Holy Ghost.

A triangle with the point facing up can be a symbol of aspiration and masculine energy. It can also represent stability. A triangle with the point facing down can be a symbol of feminine energy.

The triangle can also mean change or transformation and represents the elements earth, fire, water and air. It depends on which way the triangle faces and if it has a line intersecting it.

Below are some custom tattoo designs where I incorporated triangles somewhere in the design for their meaning.

American Flag Draped Over A Cross - Custom Tattoo Design

I love doing anything with the American flag and I really love to draw draped fabric. You can see my client’s description below and the finished art above.

A section of my client’s request description:

“I struggle when it comes to anything artistic so I thought I would ask advice from the experts who have a much more creative mind than my own. The foundation of my tattoo consists of a cross with a rugged American flag draped over it. Inside the cross I would like to have a design in black rather than solid color. When it comes to the flag I would like a rugged look with vibrant colors and the stars exposed at some point. The tattoo will be in between my shoulder blades and will be a medium size. The more detail of the design the better. If a Polynesian/Samoan design could be incorporated into the inside of the cross that would be fantastic. Thank you for taking time out to assist me.”

November Birth Month Flower - Chrysanthemum

The flower for the birth month of November is the Chrysanthemum.

A mostly perennial flower, it is also called a Mum. Chrysanthemums come in a variety of colors but primarily pink, red, white, yellow and orange.

Chrysanthemums symbolize cheerfulness, love, optimism, joy, honesty and good luck.

Chrysanthemums have been associated with the heart chakra and can be a reminder to keep an open heart.

This was part of a custom tattoo design I did for a client.

Chrysanthemum petals can also be sort of long and spidery, like the clipart picture below. I haven't had the opportunity to draw one of those yet but I think they make strikingly beautiful tattoos.

Custom Hops Tattoo Design

This was a really cool project for me to work on. I didn’t really know what hops looked like before doing my research…but they are really pretty.  You can see my client’s description below. Above are the finished designs and the completed tattoo. It really means a lot for me to see the art tattooed. I feel very personally about each one.

Client’s Request Description:
Hops - Looking to have a hop vine design that is very eye catching! Nothing hugely specific, looking for a broad variety of designs. Location can be from the shoulder to half way down the bicep. I am looking to have a hop vine with leaves and cones included. I want to use greens and blacks for the coloring. I'm looking for this tattoo to be a more masculine take on a hop vine.

A wonderful note from my client:
“Hey here it is! Just got it done today! I love the way it looks! still a little tender... Took roughly 3 1/2 hours of tattooing, I really love the way it sits on my arm and the (tattoo) artist here was really good and a pretty cool guy! I’m still in the peeling stage of the healing so still no showing it off in broad daylight yet! I bought some spf 100 sunblock to protect it, haha. I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out (okay maybe when it's fully healed ;)"

Spirals in your Tattoo Design and Suggested Symbolic Meanings of Spirals

I personally love spirals. I find myself drawn to them and I also find myself always drawing them as I doodle. I feel there is something very soothing about the constant circular motion.

Spirals can represent the spiritual path inward. They also represent growth, cycles and evolution. They can symbolize balance, movement and awareness.

The spiral is a feminine symbol which can mean goddess as well as be a symbol of change and progress.

Below are some custom tattoo designs where I incorporated spirals for their meaning.

Inspirational Tattoo Quotes

“I am a canvas of my experiences,
my story is etched in lines and shading,
and you can read it on my arms, 
my legs, my shoulders,
and my stomach.” 

 Kat Von D