Custom Tattoo Blog

Spring Flowers

Flower TattooVesna came in to the shop one day, wanting to see if an old tattoo near her hip could be touched up and also talk about an idea she had for her left wrist/forearm. She was thinking that she wanted a commemorative tattoo for her mom and dad, something with spring flowers, something light, delicate and organic. Crocuses, lilies and magnolias were some of the flowers she mentioned but was open to possibly adding others as well. I decided to limit the design to just three flowers (to represent herself, her mom and dad) and have it "grow" from the inside of her forearm, up over the top and "blossom" towards the outside of her arm. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and photos of our first session, during which we finished the outline and gray shading.

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Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

Tiger TattooAn English teacher, Kurt brought into the shop a beautifully illustrated book of poems that was printed in the 1930s. He wanted a tattoo based on the illustration accompanying the famous poem "Tiger Tiger Burning Bright" by William Blake. It was an incredibly detailed print, so my challenge was to pare down the design so that I could make it into a successful tattoo, yet still retain its essence. I also wanted to include some of the text, which was not in the illustration. He did an amazing job of sitting perfectly still for four hours so that we could get the outline in. Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and photos of our first session.

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Pheasant Feathers

BrigetteBrigette came in one day to talk about the tattoo project that she wanted-- feathers added to a previous tattoo of stars, located on her upper left back/shoulder. She was thinking that she'd like to have the new tattoo run over her shoulder and onto her chest but not too far down or too close to her neck and showed me a photo of several pheasant feathers artfully arranged on a white background. That made it really easy for me to envision the tat and create the drawing. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and photos of our first session, where we got the outline and gray shading done.

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Cross for Chris

ChrisChris came to see me with a pretty clear idea of what she wanted for a tattoo. "The most important things in my life are my faith and my family, so I knew I wanted a cross tattoo, but I wasn't sure what it should look like. Victoria helped me come up with something that was a little abstract but also feminine. I wanted my husband and two boys to be represented, but didn't really know how, since I definitely didn't want their actual names in the tattoo. Victoria suggested the idea of the birth month flowers, which works really well, since all four of our birthdays occur in August, September and October--as well as our wedding anniversary." Chris did really well and sat for the whole piece in one session. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and photo of the finished tattoo.

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A Swirl of Stars

ImageMikaelah had an existing tattoo of five stars on the back of her left shoulder that were just outlines and got smaller as they splayed down and across her shoulder. She saw New Rose Tattoo's ad in the Merc Perks and decided to purchase a certificate to get more tattoo work done. She was thinking that she would like to add more stars across her upper back and possibly have them go around to the inside of her right shoulder near her right collar bone. I thought that sounded great and that it might be interesting to do different treatments for the stars, so they get lighter as they move right across her back and are connected by light gray swirls. It will look really pretty, very delicate and feminine when it's done. We have one more session, where we will fill in the gray swirls that join all of the stars together (which right now are just graylined.) Click on the Read more link to see the results of our first and second sessions.

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An Octopus

ImageJo's upper left arm has a complete half sleeve (done by another artist) that ends with water near her elbow. She wanted to fill in the rest of her arm and had a couple of different ideas about what imagery we should use. We talked about those concepts for a bit but then she said, "I was also thinking maybe an octopus would be cool.." and I jumped out of my chair. "Oh!! Yeah! I've always wanted to do an octopus! They are so neat!! And that would be perfect to complete your arm, because they live underneath the water. We could use a background of rocks, maybe coral, lots of seaweed...oooo, the ocean..." and my brain just felt on fire with what a cool piece we could create. She sat for four hours like a rock star to do the graylining; we also got most of the outlining done. I am very pleased with the position and designed the octopus arms to end as an overlapping bracelet on her wrist. Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and photos of our first session.

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Cherry Blossom

ImageFor her first tattoo Natalie wanted a beautiful cherry blossom tree starting at her hip, moving up over her ribs and stopping around the middle of her lower back. When she came in for her consultation I told her that rib tattoos are not fun to receive-- especially for a first tattoo-- and asked her if she might want to move the tat to a more comfortable place on the body. She thought about it and decided that she really wanted it there, so we went ahead and she sat like a champ through three sessions. I designed and placed the tattoo in such a way that if she should decide to continue it up her back and over to her shoulder(s), it would be easy to do. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and the results of our second and final sessions.

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World Cover up

ImageLee is a long time client who does his best to send people to me, which I am very grateful for. He has an old tattoo on his right arm that he'd like to have covered up (it says "east side" within a tribal frame that he wants to keep); his concept is: hell scape in the covered area, the world above and then the stars/heavens on the very top. So, today we put some white into the old lettering to make it more coverable and did the outline for the world continents and ocean currents. We have yet to determine a design for the very top, but will start working on that soon. Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and the results of our first session.

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ImageJohanna has three children and already has a tattoo representing her son on her left arm. She wanted a tattoo for her daughters on her right arm and sent me this in an email: "I am envisioning a tattoo of two cupcakes with possibly some kind of drapery in the background. Each cupcake would have my daughter's names written on them in 'icing'. Here is a link to an Oregon Art Beat story about a painter, Lisa Caballero. Among other subjects she paints still lifes of cupcakes and cakes in a lovely chiaroscuro light." I love the concept-- children bring so much joy and goodness into our lives, just as a wonderful baked good can when we're feeling down. What a great metaphor. I had such a fun time doing the research for this piece, pulling image after image of yummy cupcakes off the web. Creating the drawing and tattooing the outline have been a complete delight. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and the results of our first session.

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Garden Cover up

ImageAn ardent gardener, Janell had her husband (who is an artist) create an image for her and on his birthday they got tattoos based on his drawings. They were not happy with how their tattoos turned out and came to me for help. When I met with her, Janell brought a really neat card that featured an image of a woman moving through flowers that looked like it might have been done in the 20's or 30's-- sort of like a tinted photograph. (She also brought me cookies, which were yummy!) The image was lovely and she wondered if we could use any of it for her cover up. I came up with a drawing for her based on the flowers-- click on the Read more link to see the drawing, pictures of the process and her completed tattoo.

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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,