Custom Tattoo Blog

Take Two Addition

LisaTSometimes a new client contacts me wanting some help with a tattoo that didn't quite turn out how they thought it would. Lisa had a tummy tuck scar that she wanted covered up and went to an artist who hadn't had the benefit of knowing the "cover up formula." (See my Cover Up Tattoos article for more info on that.)

Lisa asked for dragonflies and some flowers to camouflage her scar. Her artist tried to cover the scar with that imagery but the design didn't work; you could still see the scar afterwards. Years later, when she came in to see me, Lisa still wanted the same thing but now her lower abdomen had unsuccessful ink all across it. I suggested we deploy the formula using Clematis flowers behind the old ink to cover the scar and include a larger, more detailed dragonfly. Already, with just the outline and gray shading in, that scar is stepping back. Once the color is in, the scar will totally go down and the new ink will dominate the old.

Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline and gray shading photos.

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Memento Mori Dragon

SamanthaAbout a month ago I received a query email from Samantha, who had gotten some ink from me almost ten years ago. I hadn't seen her since then. Now she was wondering if I was the same artist who had worked with her before.

When I replied that yes, I was, she said, "I have lost a very, very dear person to me-- my first love, and a best friend for the past 20 years. We met in May of '96-- we were just kids. His sister is also my best friend. So I would really like a tattoo for remembrance [of him]. The tattoos you did for me before are on each of my legs; I get nothing but compliments on them and they mean so much to me. I want my new tattoo to be custom and I know that's what you do. I want to be able to love this tattoo as much as I love my other tattoos that you did." She knew that she wanted a dragon on her back; her friends and family helped her choose an image and other elements that they all felt would represent her loved one the best. After we tattooed her outline she said, "It has only been a week [since we did the first stage]. But I'm already excited to finish." I have performed many memento mori tattoos; this is one of my favorites because of how her people all came together for Sam.

Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, and outline photo.

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Musical Cover Up

KacyLooking for info on covering scars, Kacy found my website and contacted me for some ink.

She says, "Due to some trauma I experienced at a young age, I learned unhealthy coping skills to deal with all the emotions that come from being abused. I turned to cutting and have cut scars all over my body. Every time I looked at my arm or wear short sleeves I was flooded with the guilt and shame from cutting, and the idea that everyone who saw my scars knew that I was a cutter, making it even more shameful. So I decided to turn my scars from hate to love. I love music and it has been my constant companion since I was little. When I listen to music I get lost in the melody and lyrics; afterwards I am more at peace and able to deal with the stuff life throws at you. Since I don't play any musical instrument, I decided to get a pair of headphones with a music graph and notes on it. I also have a semi colon in the graph that fits nicely. The semi colon means that at points in my life I wanted to put a period to stop life, but instead I put a semi colon and have continued on. Victoria drew an amazing design for me after I told her my ideas and what I wanted my tat to demonstrate and signify. I have many other tattoos but Victoria is the best artist I have found to date. She is very light handed in her tattooing, which minimized the pain. I am SO happy with my tattoo and now when I look at my arm, instead of guilt and shame, I see my love for music and am reminded how it has been there for me my whole life."

Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, before, outline and gray photos.

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Falcon Freedom

GinaI was a little surprised when Gina, one of my dear friends, contacted me for a tattoo.

She says, "I always knew I wanted a tattoo, but I didn't know what image I would want so permanently. IF I ever got one, it would have to mark a major event in my life. 2016 brought a major event to my life. I found myself needing something I could focus on and my small tattoo has provided exactly that. It is my [own] drawing and helped me focus on what I need." After looking at photos of falcons rising through the air, we worked on how much we should include in the tat; Gina knew she wanted a simple outline and came up with the design herself. Now she has a falcon flying across her forearm towards her wrist, to remind her that she's free.

Click on the Read more link to see the final photo.

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An Addition of Dahlias

KariKari had grown a perfect dahlia flower and was thinking about having a tattoo created from it.

She says, "Once I saw the beautiful flower sprout from the ground, my first ever dahlia, I was inspired to add it to my permanent art collection. I knew it would be the perfect accompaniment to my little butterfly tattoo, which I had gotten on a whim while feeling transformative on a travel adventure. I just needed the right artist to bring my vision to life. Victoria did an excellent job listening to my ideas and worked to provide balance and harmony with my other tattoos. With her amazing talent and creativity, she brought to life these beautiful dahlias."

Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline and gray photos.

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Tribal Cat

John HWhen John came into see me recently, I had already worked with him on a hip tattoo project. He had some ink on his right hip already and wanted something to balance out his left hip, something in a similar style, which was Neo-Tribal.

I designed and tattooed a Hawaiian tribal style tat for him that was different but complementary to his existing ink. When he came to see me this year, he wanted to build on that and extend some new ink down his left thigh. He wanted something to represent his beloved Bengal cats, so we settled on a tribal cat design.

Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and final photo.

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Dragons! Dragons! Dragons!

Aaron and JimJim wanted a tattoo for himself and both of his sons; he was thinking along the lines of a totem pole or dragon for the imagery. For himself, he wanted to complete a right sleeve. I suggested that the dragon would work better around the ink he already had on his outer arm and forearm. Besides being badass, dragons are organic and can flow around anything. After hearing about the project, his son Aaron decided that he wanted a lower leg piece. He says, "I like the symbology of a dragon bringing together all natural forces--fire, water, wind, etc. And this being a 'protective' dragon, which references protecting family, a father-son-and-son kind of thing." Both of them preferred a European, "Game of Thrones" style of dragon and I had a blast doing the research and creating the drawings. Such a great project! Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and outline photos.

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Covering Varicose Veins

Diane LWondering if I might be able to help her, Diane came in to see me about tattooing over some varicose veins that she had on her left thigh. I have tattooed over varicose veins before but nothing as extensive as what was showing on her leg, which had spider veins and areas of skin that looked like bruises. Apparently the skin was not bruised; it was actually in good shape-- firm and flat, which made the likelihood of it accepting ink fairly high. I thought it would be a good candidate for the "Cover up Formula" that I use to successfully tattoo over scars, old tats and varicose veins. (See my FAQ's page for more info on cover up tattoos.) She says, "My attempts to get rid of my spider veins on my thigh through a procedure known as sclerotherapy were unsuccessful. The treatments exacerbated the problem. Instead of disappearing, the veins appeared to have bled together and left two red blotches along with the veins. This was not what I had hoped for. Art and the joy of witnessing beauty has always elevated my spirit. With Victoria's skillful artistry, my veins are now transforming into an aesthetic, organic vine and flower design. Thank you Victoria!" Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, before, outline, gray shading and final color photos.

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Bonsai Balance

DarrellDarrell had a half sleeve completed on his right arm, which was for his Celtic heritage. He had a small upper arm tat on his left arm but it was feeling a bit unbalanced, unfinished. As an acupuncturist and a nurse, he wanted to see if he could balance his "western" side with some eastern energy on his left. He says, "I was thinking I'd like a bonsai tattoo because it has a history of over 1,000 years, starting in China, where the tradition was called Pan-Sai. To me, the Bonsai represents the balance between Heaven, Earth and Man. The Bonsai is a symbol of meditation, harmony and peace. It represents enduring strength and protection. It's the Tree of Life. The Bonsai tree is like Man; if we strip away the external influences, what is left is the simplicity and beauty of the soul. This tattoo is art and I wear it with pride. Thanks, Victoria." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline, gray and final photos.

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Tribal Transformation

LauraLaura had an existing tattoo on her left flank that she wanted to push in a different direction. She says, "Before I saw Victoria, I got a tattoo I wasn't fully happy with and no one seemed able to help me. The tattoo artists I approached before her were not open to the ideas and sketches I presented. Some got upset when I didn't like their ideas, or said they couldn't do what I wanted--it 'wasn't their style.' I went to Victoria after looking at her website and exchanging emails about 'transforming' the tattoo. Initially she spent a few hours talking to me, looking at what I'd brought, and getting excited about a concept other tattoo artists rejected. When I came back a few weeks later, she had a sketch that was more than what I had described, incorporating aspects that I liked of my current tattoo and beautifully changing what I didn't. Victoria was all about my satisfaction before she tattooed the new ink on my body. She drew what she would tattoo and then asked if I'd like to make any changes to it. Once I confirmed it was great, she got to work and made me comfortable while she tattooed me. Now, a few hours later, the beginning changes have been made [fixing the old tat], and I'm unbelievably happy. The tattoo is truly being transformed!" We are going to stabilize her existing tattoo and cover up a small piece of it. Then we'll add tribal elements to turn it in the direction she prefers. (For more information on transforming or covering up an old tattoo, see my FAQ's page.) Click on the Read more link to see the before, drawings and fix photos.

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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,