Custom Tattoo Blog

A Beet!

ericaErica has many small tattoos, including some lovely gray work pieces of a pine cone near her right ankle and fiddle heads on the back of her left leg. She decided that her next tattoo would be a beet and when she came into the shop to talk to me about it I said, "Yes! I've always wanted to tattoo a beet or some other type of leafy vegetable for somebody! I'm so glad that you came in. What do you think about using botanical illustrations as a starting point for the drawing?" She says that a lot of people ask her,"Why a beet? Why would you want to get that tattooed on you?" And she answers that as a vegetarian, she loves to eat beets, that they are her favorite vegetable and a good source of nutrients. As a fellow vegetarian, I think that's great. I also like that she has leg tattoos that reflect the bounty of nature and I was very happy to have her beet "growing" up her leg. It's a fantastic placement and will be really vibrant when we get it done. We just have one more color session to complete and then the beet will be finished. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and process photos.

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Sunflower Cover up

aprilApril had an old tattoo of a sunflower with a little lady bug, on her outer right leg that she wanted covered up. When she came in to see me for a consultation, she knew that she wanted the new imagery to be flowers but she wasn't sure exactly what flowers we should use, although she liked Gerber daisies. We discussed using the birth flowers of her loved ones, as well as the daisies and I created a drawing for her with them all mixed in together, following the Cover up/Camouflage formula: new image is larger, more detailed with dark value colors and use positioning to fool and move the eye. When April saw it she decided that we should just use the Gerber daisies--keep it simple--but that she liked the way I wrapped the flowers around her leg. Click on the Read more link to see the before and after pictures.

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Zen Tattoo

francoisFrancois has just recently taken the Buddhist Precepts and was thinking that it might be nice to get a tattoo to commemorate that step in his life. It would be his first tat. He was looking online for a local tattoo artist and found a friend of his on my website; she had just taken the Precepts with him at the same zendo, Dharma Rain in SE Portland. What an amazing coincidence! When he came in for his consultation, he had a couple of images that he thought might make for a good tattoo but wasn't sure what would work best and left it up to me to decide. He said, "I wanted a tattoo that reflects what I am striving for in my practice and I wanted to give Victoria the freedom to create a beautiful image. This tattoo does that, in that the bamboo represents flexibility/adaptability and acceptance of the wind/conditions. This brings about enlightenment/freedom represented in the leaves which resemble birds. The process of doing this is beautiful, as is the tattoo and all living beings." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing I created for him (Zen style bamboo flowing over his upper arm) and photos from our first session (outline.)

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Traditional Roses

helinaThis is Helina; she will be attending Beauty School at the Aveda Institute soon. She came in to see me last year for her first tattoo--- a cupcake and stars on her upper back, that a friend of hers had drawn. Now she has a little time before she starts at Aveda, so she asked me to put some Old School/Traditional style roses on her feet. Feet and hand tats are tricky to tattoo and are pretty hard for most people to endure. So I was a bit reluctant and told her all about the caveats but she said she could do it and she did! She sat for both outlines and gray shading like a champ, which made my job a lot easier. Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and photo of our first session.

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The Raven

jacobJacob is one of my neighbors here at ActivSpace SE on Main St.; he and his brother Kyle just bought Spoke Coffee on Wheels, which is a great coffee shop located in the southeast corner of the building. He has some nice tattoos by other artists that he has collected; in particular a cool raven on his upper left arm. He wanted to add on to the piece and make it more about what inspired his idea for the work: The Raven, the epic poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. We started talking about what he wanted the piece to convey and then I created a drawing for him, with the idea of having a cellar door behind the existing raven tat and the last part of the poem flowing around his arm, interrupted by flying ravens. "Victoria morphed my weak description of what I envisioned and made a masterpiece. I had an existing tattoo that I wanted to keep and was amazed by how she incorporated the new ideas [with it] to make a meaningful piece of art." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and photos from our first session.

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Harley D Skull

sarahA motorcycle rider, Sarah brought in a couple of black and white drawings of a skull with handle bars (and attendant mirrors) coming through the eye sockets that she thought might make for a cool tattoo. Since it was going to be her first tattoo, she wasn't sure exactly where to put it but we decided on the upper back as a good place. I created a drawing and we tattooed her outline in record time; she sat so well. Click on the Read more link to see photos of the drawing and the results of our first session.

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Old School Style

chris slaterChris has some cool tattoos on his upper arms done by various other artists around the U.S. and wanted to fill in his sleeves with similar work using Old School (a.k.a. Traditional American) imagery. He had some ideas about specific images that he wanted to include: a skull with a knife jacked through it, banners, eagles, roses, nautical stars, a saying that he had heard that he liked. I was very excited to design and create the forearm pieces that we are working on completing now, as Old School or "Sailor Jerry" style tattoos are so classic and fun to execute (and undergoing an upswing in popularity right now.) And I've been wanting to try my hand at tattooing some larger Old school style tats. Click on the Read more link to see photos of the drawings and the results of our first and second sessions.

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Roller Derby Girl

Cactus TattooHeather thought about what she would want for her first tattoo for a long time. When we met for our consultation, it was obvious that she had done her research, visiting several Portland tattoo shops and coming up with concepts and images that were eminently tattooable. She sent me this comment after we were done with our first session, which she sat for like a champ, "Thank you again for the beautiful way you are helping me express my changes as a person, through the art of tattoo. This piece is representative of a lot of time, people and places that are very important to me. So, I was a bit nervous as to how it would all work out. However, there was no need to fear, as you have been able to take the ideas in my head and bring them forth upon my skin." We will soon be adding a rose to her shoulder to represent her support of the Rose City Rollers. Click on the Read more link to see photos of the initial drawing and the results of our first session.

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Ganesha TattooFor his first tattoo Ben chose a remarkable image of a statue of the Hindu god Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles (just one of his many attributes.) The photo of it has a beautiful sepia/ochre tone to it and Ben was interested to see if we could replicate that in the tattoo. I told him we could but that he would have to choose whether he really wanted to have the color in it or if he would prefer a gray work piece (all smooth tones of gray, rather than the ochre color over the top.) We did the outline first, so he had three weeks to decide. He went with the gray work piece with some white in the tusks and forehead. Later on, should Ben like to add on to the piece (the original statue has multiple Ganeshas) it would be very easy to do so. Click on the Read more link to see photos of the original statue, the drawing I created from it and photos of his outline and completed tattoo (which will not stay that red.)

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May All Beings be Peaceful.

Om mani padme om tattooA practicing Buddhist, Diane came in to see me about some tattoos she had in mind that would help her realize some of her goals. She wanted the Tibetan mantra "Om Mani Padme Hung" an Om, the All Seeing Eyes of Buddha and the Metta Prayer. She was also wondering how to work in Kuan Yin and the Medicine Buddha. Oh man, I LOVE this stuff! So we are working our way around her body and will be incorporating a full back piece into the mix soon. Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and photos of some of the tattoos that are completed.

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Contact me for an appointment at 503 807-7863 or email me at

833 SE Main #104
Portland OR 97214

HOURS: Tuesday--Sunday,