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bear by san

March 2017



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spies mfu (sorta) going to hurt ivan & h

the ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat

So I promised a photoblog, and here it is, courtesy of the mighty Steven "Inker" Gabriel of Guideline Tattoo in East Hartford Connecticut, whose inkstained forearms you are about to get to know very well indeed.

First, we started with some spiders, and a maple leaf I picked up on my morning run yesterday.


This is Steve's little corner of the universe:

The radio was playing Elton John's "Daniel" when I sat down. We also got a whole cluster of Halloween music--"The Monster Mash," "Devil Went Down to Georgia," "Sympathy for the Devil," etc.

And the irony of me getting an autumn-themed tattoo with a spider on Halloween was totally unplanned.


Note the Balinese masks. There was also a jackalope, but I didn't get a photo.



More gear:


Applying the stencil (second try):




(He hand-drew this from the sketches, by the way.)

Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction:


Demonstrating the instruments:


During the Inquisition, they'd give you a day or two to think about that, afterwards...

Commencing the spider:


The spider is the part that really smarted. Not at first, but the third or fourth time he went over each line, because he was varying the width of the outline. First pass is just a little sting. Third one hurts. (Actually, what also hurt was putting in the shadows, probably because there was so little ink in the needle that it took a lot of going over.)

Boris the 'alf-a-spider:


Also, I totally failed endorphin rush. Le sigh.


But it's starting to look pretty cool.

Working on the leaf outline:


Because it was a simple single-line outline, this did not hurt nearly as much.



This is the shadow under the leaf and spider, for dimensionality. You can see how bloody my arm got if you look under the edge of the leaf:


Begin with color:


The red half-done:




More orange on the stem:


If you click on the big version of that one, you can see the seven-tined shading needle very clearly.

A different view, courtesy of Chuck, one of the other artists:




Nearly there, man. Grit your teeth.

And the only thing left is the white highlights on the spider:


And there they are:



I'm really pleased.

ETA: Over the course of the two and a half hours it took (We underestimated the time, mostly due to a series of interruptions), Steve and I discovered that he did his first professional tattoo when I was one month old. That's right: October 2008 is the 37th anniversary of his career.

So yeah, I felt like I was in pretty good hands.

Sweet guy, very gentle, very professional, very clean, very very good at his job. I can't recommend these guys enough.


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Nice! How long did it take? Tattoos really hurt where there isn't much flesh (spider!) - the one near my collar bone was grim.
About two and a half hours. He kept getting interrupted. *g*
That's lovely!
That's looking really *really* good! Thanks for showing us the stages as it was put on.
He's got a rep as being one of the best in Connecticut, and I can see why. He does beautiful work.
"And over her left kidney
"Was a bird's-eye view of Sidney"

You have stronger nerves than I, Gunga Din.
well, you know. It hurts. But it doesn't *hurt.*

It felt like a first-degree burn or sunburn afterward, and now it's already fading.
That looks lovely. And it brings back happy memories. Thank you.
Wow. That's really awesome. Utterly incredible shading.
He pretty much duplicated the leaf I brought him, just in brighter hues. You can't see in the photos, but it even has some little worm-eaten and fungusy bits that he put in because I told him I didn't want it to look too perfect.

And the spider has *so* much personality.
That's really gorgeous.
<--the icon I save for beauty.
I don't do tattoos, but damn, that's beautiful.
In my case, it's "I haven't done tattoos yet"; for me it's not a policy decision, merely a lack of sufficient temptation. (I'm 54, so it's entirely likely I won't ever be sufficiently tempted on this one. Besides, I suspect I'd miss at least one blood donation.)
That's amazing, he's really skilled at the nature stuff, good choice and what a fab result! :)
Congrats on your ink!!!

(I only joined the ranks of the inked a few months back, and I'm so pleased.)
Wow. Very detailed, very gorgeous. Congrats.
Wow. Pretty impressive. That spider looks amazing - the highlights really bring it to life!


- yeff
w00t Bear, WOOT!
*blinks* I look away for a few days, come back and you've a tattoo! it looks most marvelous.

when you went into the shop yesterday, did you already know what the design you wanted and where you wanted it? I'd be interested in visiting Guideline Tattoo sometime, must remember this.
I did. I had been thinking about it for a really long time. *g*
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