Rocket Tattoo

SESSION I: Outline Work

Pictures taken by me on 17-May-2006
Artwork designed and inked by Ant at Ascension Tattoo.

This tattoo serves as a celebration of my son Reed, who's initials and birthdate are on the rocket on the outside of my calf, as well as express my enjoyment of high power rocketry. The original concept was "only" the rocket flying through space on the outside of my calf, but the "sock" idea was born when I stumbled upon an image that had a retro-looking astronaut, flying saucers, and aliens. I conceived a story where a young boy is inspired by rocketry to become an astronaut, blasts off and goes into space, and finally touches down on a planet where he is greeted by a small group of aliens who bear a gift. In my consultations with Ant, he really liked the overall "story" idea and put together a sketch which turned into the work you see here.

It was important to have this tattoo on me where it would be easily covered while at work but be just as easy to show off when I am at a rocket launch.

What you see below is just the outline work for this tattoo. When finished, it will be in full color and go from just above my ankle to just below the knee on my right leg. This outline process took about 2.5 hours to complete. The skin looks a little pink because these pictures were taken only an hour or so after the work was completed.

[Note: Click on any image to see a larger version.]

SESSION II: Black Shading

Pictures taken by me on 18-October-2009

It look much longer than I ever imagined to get to this point, but such is life as a parent. I went back to see Ant & we got down to business a couple of weeks ago. This session was nearly 4 hours long (although we both took a couple much needed breaks during that time). Everything you see here he did with a single needle and a lot of black ink. The stars, the spiral galaxy--all of it--was completely freehand and spontaneous. I'd be sitting or lying in the chair (depending on which side of my leg he was working on), he'd pause for a minute and I'd look down to see these new features!

And while it was enjoyable--that might be a stretch to use that word--make that productive, I feel that this was the first time in 3 years that the tattoo really looks incomplete. There's so much left to be done... So really not long after this finishes healing, I'm planning on returning for the final session!

Lastly, the shading looks shiny and somewhat blacker than the original outline work in spots. That's because it's still healing. It'll all balance out in time...

[Note: Click on any image to see a larger version.]

SESSION III: Color

First color session. Pictures taken by me on 04-February-2010.

The work was actually done mid-December 2009, however, I decided to wait until my leg fuly healed before posting pictures. This was a surprisingly short session--"only" 2 and a half hours--but now you can really see where this whole thing is going. I suppose what I am now prepared for is that the color is going to be done in scenes. Ant started with the rocket blasting off & the boy holding the rocket overhead (although he decided to wait on coloring the boy's shirt so that he could pick a more contrasting color

[Note: Click on any image to see a larger version.]

SESSION IV: More Color

Color session #2. Pictures taken by me on 10-February-2010.

Only a couple of days old, you can see that there is some serious color going on here. This time all effort was focused on the outside of my leg. This was probably the shortest session to date (just a hair over 2 hours). The results are without question though, the most impressive.

Also, I have come up with an idea for the top-back of my calf: an astronaut manning the helm of the rocket. An image that came from the same site where I found many of the pictures to originally inspire the whole tattoo should help provide Ant with some inspiration. Look for more in a future update.

[Note: Click on any image to see a larger version.]

SESSION V: Not my favorite part

Color session #3. Pictures taken by me on 21-March-2010.

As much as I am continually amazed with the results of each phase, I wasn't looking forward to the back side of my calf--I still recall the rather painful (more than normal) times when the outlining and shading weren't exactly enjoyable. However, I knew that it was going to be worth suffering through.

In this session, Ant and I talked about how we should color the astronaut's suit. After he said that the alien were going to be in light colored suits, I wanted there to be some contrast (more than the astronaut in shade/aliens in light would provide). Therefore I thought it best to wait until we see how everything else is colored before making any decisions for this session. (So that means that session #6 is going to have several things that need to be decided...)

[Note: Click on any image to see a larger version.]