Custom Tattoo Blog

Fallen Soldier Battle Cross

scottScott did two tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait when he was in the US Marine Corps. Now that he's home he's decided on two rib tattoos to commemorate his time overseas. On his right side he wanted a Fallen soldier memorial tat and on his left a list of comrades that are important to him. We started with the right side and finished that tattoo today; we will ink the left side later on in the summer. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing for the right side and photo of the grayshading session.

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Crow Cover up

paulI first met Paul and his lovely wife Amy a couple of years ago when they came in to have some quote tattoos added to his forearms. They are artists and brought in the quotes in a particular font that they liked, so it was super easy for me. This year, Paul was ready for some more quotes and had them printed out but hadn't decided yet where on his forearms he wanted them tattooed. We started talking about it and I said, "You know, you're getting to the point where your forearms are going to be pretty full. What do you want to do with your upper arms--- in other words, we should start thinking about what each arm should look like as a whole." We then started brainstorming concepts for the sleeves, what themes would be good to unify each arm. Paul said he'd always wanted to cover up the tattoos he had on the middle of his upper arms and that he liked crows--- they are such smart and amazingly adaptable birds. Yeah! I had this vision of crows flying around his upper arm to cover up/camouflage the old tattoos; we could fill in the open areas of his lower arm with feathers and quotes to connect everything. Here's what he has to say about it, "I find it important to use tattoos as markers for my journey down the path. And what started as a few simple quotes magically turned into a collage of crows in flight. The amazing symbolism of the crows and the departure, for me, from one-off tattoos helped solidify this marker for great changes to come. I am honored and truly excited to be sharing this with such a deeply spiritual person who is helping me to define this marker and many more to come." Click on the Read more link to see the drawings for the right arm (outside, inside and feathers) and photos of the graylining and outlining sessions.

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Steampunk Laces

marieMarie is a big time gamer and fan of all things Steampunk. She came in to see me about some calf pieces based on spats and Victorian corsets; the idea being that the spats lace up from the bottom, showing intricate gears, pistons, watches and cool Steampunky stuff underneath, peeking through the laces. Click on the Read more link to see the drawings for the left leg (outline, gray shading and color) and the photo of the left calf outline (bottom) and gray line (top).

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Banyan Tree of Life

stephanieStephanie's husband has a couple of tattoos and is thinking about getting another one. After hearing that, Stephanie said, "Wait, I want a tattoo--it's my turn! I get to go next," and got working on ideas for her first tattoo. Growing up in Florida, she loves the Banyan trees there and knew that a tree would be the base of her tattoo. She decided to build elements into and around the tree that have importance in her life: her family, the arts and sciences, the animal kingdom. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and the photos from our first and second sessions.

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Lion Cover up

ryan2Ryan got a tattoo on his right arm when he was 18. He would like to have something more meaningful for him now that he is older and has decided on a realistic lion cover up/camouflage concept. It will work perfectly for a cover up/camouflage piece, as it conforms very well to the Cover up formula (larger, more detailed line work, darker value colors, use position to move and fool the eye, etc.). The original tattoo was pretty dark, so we have had to pump some white into it to get it to turn lighter in value (more gray, instead of black.) You can see the old tat after we've just done our second session of white in his photo to the right. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and the photos from our first outlining session.

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For the Love of Dogs

jonJon grew up on a farm and has always liked having animals around, especially horses and dogs. He has kept bird dogs for awhile and enjoys hunting with them; in 2011 he lost two of his dogs and wanted to have a memorial tattoo done for them. He decided that he wanted a Celtic cross for the "tombstone" aspect of the piece, as his heritage is Welsh. The eastern Oregon landscape has always fascinated him, so he thought it would be nice to have that in the background. We are going to add some more of the landscape around into his bicep area and put a dog in it, so that people will understand better what the tattoo is about. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and some process photos.

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Flowerful Addition

donnaDonna contacted me about a tattoo idea that she had for her foot and ankle area. She already had a butterfly tattooed on the outside of her right leg, positioned right above her ankle and she wanted to add some Frangipani (Plumeria) flowers to it. She was also thinking that she wanted to put a lily on her foot and was looking for a tattoo artist with experience tattooing people with dark skin, specifically, someone who was comfortable putting lots of color in their tats. We talked about that a bit: I told her that from my training and experience, there are certain techniques and particular colors that work well on dark skin. For instance, we can use an open design, bold outlines and bright, intense colors for tats on dark skin that will help them stand out and look good. Mostly, I wanted to talk to her about foot tattoos and how there are special considerations for them: we can only tattoo the top of the foot, it is particularly painful and there are specific healing instructions for foot tats (no running a marathon the day after getting a foot tat, etc.) Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, the before pic and some process (outline) photos. You can still see some of the stencil marks (purple) on her foot and leg.

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Japanese Half-sleeve

rachelleRachelle has a very beautiful, very traditional Japanese half sleeve on her right arm that she is working on completing. When she contacted me she wanted to have the bird on her upper inner shoulder turned into a Red-tailed Hawk and her inner arm filled with mountain ranges from Juneau, Alaska, where she's from. She is almost finished with a degree in art from a university in New Mexico and has a lot of wonderful ideas to finish out her arm; one is to turn the sleeve into a four elements piece utilizing Hokusai waves. I hope she lets me continue to work on it with her! Here is what she has to say, "I've been influenced by beautiful things and experiences in nature and feel spiritually connected to the earth. This tattoo has developed over the last few years into an elemental themed sleeve with each image representing a spiritual connection to a location and an important life lesson to live by. Choosing the Japanese style of tattooing was important because they have been successful at demonstrating their connection to the earth through art. I plan to finish off the sleeve with flowing ocean water and water animals at the bottom, and creating a sky behind the clouds on the top." Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and some after photos.

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Phoenix Cover up

saraLike a lot of people I tattoo, Sara got a tattoo when she was younger that she wanted to have covered up and converted into something that is more meaningful for her now. She chose an excellent concept: the Phoenix, symbol of transformation and change. It conforms perfectly to the "Cover up/Camouflage Formula". The new tattoo cover up/image must be larger, with more detailed line work, use colors of dark value and utilize position to move and fool the eye. We decided to have the phoenix wrapping around Sara's upper arm, to make it look like it's flying/moving around her arm. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, before pix and some process photos.

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Dragon Flames Saga

jamesJames is a local writer currently focusing on the fantasy/science fiction genre. He has written several books, three that comprise the Dragon Flames Saga. He decided on a back tattoo that would feature some of his favorite characters from that world. "For my back I wanted to have a mural of the Dragon Flames Saga to remind me of my largest and most memorable story," he says. He started out with a list of about 19 of them (!!) but we were able to pare it down to five of the most important ones, after some serious negotiating. After several sessions, we are getting closer to being finished with his tattoo. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing I created (using his detailed character descriptions) and some process 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,