Stillness, the eye of the storm, the way of the bushi…
Let me start saying I love tattoos, a friend of mine at the time, a few moons ago when I was an art student, offered to teach me the craft but at the end it never happened.
Many times I have been asked to design a tattoo and as many times I have refused. I’m not sure why, perhaps because I know that when I see my drawing again in a short while I’ll start picking it apart, pointing out all the things that I could have done better.
Curiously enough a couple of weeks ago I was asked if I could design a tattoo… but this time it was different, this time it was my judo sensei who was asking – and I felt honoured. He wanted a traditional looking Japanese illustration of a samurai. He gave me totally freedom to design it. So I did quite a bit of a research and I came across an image I remember seeing when I was a kid in an old martial arts book. I can’t find the name of the artist for the life of me but it looks like it could belong to Utagawa Kuniyoshi – or an artist influenced by his artwork, there are many. In any case I took from this image the pose and the general style. I decided to add a dog/wolf as a companion for the samurai. My sensei absolutely loves dogs, he is a dog trainer, so our four legged friends are an important part of his life. I framed the image with waves and clouds but I left an opening on the top right corner – the future, like the horizon, is always open 🙂
I had to simplify the original sketch, taking out a lot of details that weren’t necessary; but overall I’m quite happy with the result of this samurai tattoo.