Tattoo Commission

By Erika Moen on March 7, 2012

For the last year or so I’ve not been taking on too much commission work because my plate has been too full with comics, but last month I was asked to design a custom shoulder-to-elbow tattoo that would incorporate 1) A Seahorse, 2) A Parrotfish, and 3) An Octopus. How could I turn that down??? That’s pretty much just me drawing for fun!


I already knew the overall shape of the tattoo should reflect the shape of an upper arm, with the top (shoulder) being rounded and then elongating downwards, stopping at the elbow. The commissioner also requested the octopus be at the top, with its tentacles helping to define the width of the design. With that in mind, I roughed up these quick sketches so she could pick and choose what elements she wanted used in the final design.


After the commissioner had given me her feedback, I amalgamated her favorite elements from the four tiny sketches into one.


Once the final sketch was approved, I drew it up proper on my Cintiq, printed it out on 11 x 14 Bristol board in a light red ink, and then got to work inking with my brush (For tool nerds, my brush is a Windsor and Newton Series 7, #2, and the ink is Windsor and Newton Black Indian Ink)


After scanning in the inkwork, I made some small tweaks in Photoshop and dropped this gray tone in to make the lines easier to “read” before actual color is added by the tattooist to make each individual element stand out.

I can’t wait to see this in color on skin!

It… it goes without saying that this is a custom tattoo design made just for the commissioner so you would be a total dickbag to copy this drawing for your own use, right? You’re all smart, decent people, I don’t need to tell you that.


Erika Moen’s Posters, books, prints and original artwork

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