Custom Tattoo Blog

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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Cross Cover up

ImageThis is the lovely Lesley; she came in to see me about some old tattoos she had on her back that she wanted covered up. She had a printout of a lower back tattoo featuring wings and a heart with lock and keyhole but wasn't sure that it was the image she wanted. Mostly, she just liked the wings. After we met and she thought about it for awhile, she decided that she wanted a cross for the cover ups and that it would be the base, the anchor for wings spreading over her upper back--which will work perfectly. The cross conforms to the cover up formula: the new image has to be bigger, darker and has to contain more detail, to move and fool the eye. Click on the Read More link to see photos of the drawing and the results of our first session.

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Celtic Cross

ImageCraig came in to see me with his sister when we were finishing up her tattoos. Here he describes his experience in his own words: "I have been interested in getting a tattoo for several years. I knew I wanted the design to be a Celtic cross. Elements I wanted included were knotwork, fleur de lis, and something to represent my zodiac sign Gemini, the twins. Later I did some research online and e-mailed Victoria some photos of Celtic crosses and other artwork that I liked. She included all the elements that I asked her to and created a tattoo for me. I ended up wanting to make some changes and recreated the tattoo in Visio, a vector based drawing program. I also used a program called ArtRage. I worked on several different versions of the tattoo and ended up removing some elements and added a dragonfly and some additional knotwork. When the design was the way I wanted it, I e-mailed it to Victoria. She modified it so it could be tattooed. I am extremely happy with working with Victoria; she has been patient and supportive all the way through this process." Click on the Read More link to see photos of the drawing and the results of our first session, which we did today.

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The Power of Words

ImageAndrea had an amazing experience and wanted a tattoo to reflect it. Here's what happened, in her own words, "As a writer, I generally work alone with my art. With this tattoo design, something special happened. I wrote a short poem at an art collective gathering that deals with the power of words and their impact on the heart, and had drawn a small picture (badly - I am a writer) of the basic design of this tattoo. About six months later, I was at the same gathering, and that night we were working collaboratively with other artists who worked in a different medium. The friend I collaborated with read the first sentence of a story I started and created the first draft of what is now on my arm - it was almost exactly the same as the doodle I did the first time! I showed her the poem and my first drawing, and she painted the design that I now have on my arm. If you look closely you can see her signature in the bottom left root of the tree." Click on the Read More link to see photos of the drawing I adapted from the original watercolor painting and the results of our first session.

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Om Namah Shivaya

ImageAfter some deliberation, Maharaj decided that he wanted a tattoo of the Hindu god Shiva on his right arm. Raj plays the guitar and wondered if we could have Shiva holding a guitar, as well as displaying some of his usual attributes. It took us awhile but after three pencil drawings, I was able to come up with a full color drawing that we were both happy with. It was his first tattoo and Raj sat straight through for three hours without a break! Click on the Read More link to see photos of the drawing and the results of our first session.

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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,