Custom Tattoo Blog

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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Transforming an Existing Tattoo

Jennifer OJennifer came in to see me about transforming an existing tattoo. She says, "I got a dragon tattoo on my back about eight years ago to represent my connection to my Chinese zodiac. At that time of my life I was really connected to that part of myself; I was learning a lot about who I was. I have no regrets about the tattoo but a recent trip to Nepal inspired me to make a change to it. While traveling in Nepal I became more deeply interested in Shambhala [Tibetan] Buddhism. This tradition introduces four animals that represent different elements of confidence. The dragon represents unwavering strength, a strength bolstered by grace. These teachings truly touched me and I knew it would be wonderful and inspiring to have this depiction on my body. The ink serves as a constant reminder of the amazing journey I had in Nepal and all that transpired for me there. Victoria really listened to my intention and worked with me patiently to create just the design I wanted. She understood the importance of getting just the right image. She was a great pleasure to work with." (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 drawings, before, outline and final photos.

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Hannah Gets Her First Ink

Hannah and SaraHannah came in with her mom Sara, who is one of my best and favorite clients. It was Hannah's eighteenth birthday and she was ready for her first tattoo. It's a pretty special project and something of a rarity. Their idea was that they would each write in their own handwriting that they loved the other. Then I'd tattoo that on each of their arms. Hannah says, "What my tattoo means to me is that not only does it show case the mother/daughter bond me and my mom have, but it also is commemorative of our friendship that has grown over the past few years. It reminds me that no matter how far apart we might get or where our lives may lead, that I will always have this reminder of someone who loves me dearly. I am so happy that this is my first tattoo, and that I could share it with one of the most important people in my life. Thank you Victoria for making my first tattoo experience enjoyable and for the gorgeous way it turned out!" Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and final photos.

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Pattern and Repetition

LeeLee already had some ink on his left forearm that was geometric in nature, before he came in to see me about a half sleeve. He wanted to continue on the same arm with something in the same flat, graphic style. The imagery was to be a sun and moon with mountains, waves with a cliff and the star constellation Casseopeia (luckily he has a long arm.) He says, "The main thing is to have some sort of pattern and repetition, with the waves being most prominent. I want to stay with just the outline right now but I may add color later, so that needs to be an option." Click on the Read more link to see the line drawing and outline photos.

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Three Koi

BenInspired by a piece of flash (drawing for a tattoo) I drew and hung on one of my studio walls, Ben decided on a koi fish tattoo for his lower left leg. Like all of his other tattoos, he wanted a realistic and colorful portrayal of the koi, and I thought it would be cool to have the fish swimming around his leg. Because we left the water gray, the colorful koi really pop off his leg. He's been a great client for several years now, articulate and informed and I enjoy working on his tattoo projects with him. This is the third large project we've completed. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline, gray shading and final color photos.

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Swirls of Instruments


One of my favorite clients, Katie and I have been working for several years now on her tattoo projects. She says this about her latest one, "My first large tattoo was a bouquet of flowers that represented the women in my family. I realized that all the men in my family played an instrument, and that could be the foundation for a really cool piece. I didn't want to leave the guys out, and music has been extremely important, not only to my family, but to me as well. My grandfather played sax in a swing band while he was stationed in Belgium during World War II. My dad played professionally until I was born, and music was always around the house. Either someone was playing an instrument or they had a record going. Even when I was very little I was collecting cassette tapes of music, and many of my memories are connected to the music that was playing at the time. Unfortunately, playing music doesn't come naturally to me, so I grew up expressing my deep relationship with music through movement and dancing. My husband and I met at a concert and our first date was at an Irish session he played at in a pub. Now my brother is the pro in the family with his washtub bass. Victoria did an amazing job of helping me bring my idea to reality. By using symbols, rather than something literal, the object can take on many different meanings. It's an unchanging image, but it can also change and grow over time in its meaning and symbolism. " Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline, gray shading and final color photos.

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Mother & Daughter Team

CIndy and AngieFrom the east coast, Angie and her mom Cindy flew into Portland for a long weekend to celebrate her birthday. They each wanted some Portland ink on their lower legs but different designs. Angie wanted a tree to cover up an old tattoo. Cindy, a world traveler, wanted something to represent that-- I suggested a compass with a globe in the center. Angie says, "Victoria was amazing! She did a great job covering up my funky old tattoo. I'm in love with my new tattoo. Totally recommend going to her for some ink if you're in Portland!" Click on the Read more link to see the drawings, outline and the final photos.

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Sacred Geometry

BellaBella sent me an image (the white and brown original shown below) and came to see me about making it into a tattoo. She says, "I chose to get a sacred feminine mandala tattoo. I have always been interested in the natural world and how it entwines with sacred geometry. That interest stemmed research farther into the subject, which lead me to how it is actually sacred geometry that connects with everything else--including art. I got this tattoo as a spiritual guidance tool, for focusing attention and being mindful, and as an aid to meditation. I wanted it to remind me that even though it is mostly strong feminine energy that goes into what I do, there is still the balance between divine feminine and divine masculine (the small triangle with its strict solid lines in a mass of feminine curvy lines) and to embrace that in all that it is--plus, the design is pretty." Click on the Read More link to see the original, my drawing and the final photo.

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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,