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Meet Snorkel Boy and Aqua Girl

Step one of this tattoo design was to get it drawn out in pencil, which gave me chance to make sure all lines were in the right place. The characters of Snorkel Boy and Aqua Girl were to be holding hands, with her looking at him, showing off her lovely big breasts, long flowing hair, and mermaid tail. The rocks that they were swimming past were specifically not to be touching the main characters, giving the tattooist space to move them in or out of the picture as needed, since the whole image was to go on the guys back and fitted to his shoulder blades to keep the picture central. The sizes of the characters had to be four inches and the whole picture A4 in size. Added to this was to be starfish, anemones, sea grasses and weeds, and a crab. I also made a note of the colours of the boy and girl, both with red hair, his eyes blue, hers green, his mask blue and yellow, lime green trunks, her mermaid tail silvery turquoise shading to darker green, the starfish and crab orange, the anemones bright colours. The rocks should show their depth from each other by shading. The skin of Snorkel Boy and Aqua Girl were to be left blank since it was a tattoo design and the skin itself would show though under the black ink line. The client decided to leave the water aspect blank for the moment, with the proviso that the tattooish may add some hints of blue water if its needed.


 I emailed that to the client to make sure he was happy, with the initial design, and he replied that he was delighted that I’d captured it all as he wanted, so that gave me the go ahead to start the drawings properly. They had to be drawn in ink as that gave a crisp clear line.  When that was done, I had to do it all again, each line exactly the same, and used that artists trick of holding it up against the window and putting a blank sheet of paper over it, and copying the lines under it to make sure that it was fully replicated. And when I’d done that I could carry on and complete the thicker black lines of form particularly on the cracks in the rocks and the mermaid tail. And since I needed a third image to colour in, I had to do the same replication up against the window, since all three of the pictures had to be exactly the same basic image. And then I could do the colouring part, making the decision that it was best to use crayon rather than inks or watercolours, since it was on cartridge paper and I didn’t want the paper to buckle. Its ages since I last used crayons and I enjoyed finding out which shade of red was the brightest one in my collection, which one the right shade or blue, and orange, lime green and turquoise. And then I could colour in, and pull the image together by making sure that if there was a pink anemone on one side, then there should be one on the other side as well, using the same lime green of Snorkel Boys trunks as the sea weeds.

And when I was happy with it all, emailed the finished drawing to the client who gave me the lovely “Wow!” response and the promise of a big hug when he saw me, which was this week.  As I unveiled the three drawings, explaining each one, and finishing with the all important coloured one, he said that he was amazed that I had got the image exactly as he had been imaging it would be for the last two years when he first thought about it. He knew he wanted the picture, and in his head had been fine tuning it to get it *just right*. And I smiled at him and said “But that’s what I do, its my job to make sure I get it right, I listen to what the client wants, and make notes, lots of notes, and like to do the picture as soon as I can after I’ve sat down with the client and its all fresh in my head as to what they want”. And he smiled at me, and looked at the picture again and said “What I love is that you’ve drawn the crab in the same slightly cartoonish way that the main characters are, and I can’t believe how well you’ve got those rocks, they are exactly how undersea rocks look!” and I nodded and smiled at him, as we both looked back at the picture, and he gave me a big hug of delight.