Tattoo Smart is proud to introduce “Advancing Digital,” an interview series featuring profiles of professional tattoo artists. These artists set a high standard for what can be accomplished with digital design using different tools, techniques, and processes. In each installment of the series, we will highlight one artist’s transition and approach to digital design, the software and tools they use, and their digital and tattoo work. Our goal is is that their work inspires you to learn and grow in all aspects of tattooing, and shows you what can be accomplished at the highest levels of the craft.
When did you start using digital tools to design tattoos?
I studied advertising and I used to use Photoshop since the first versions, I started really into the digital design of my tattoos since 4 years ago with the WACOM companion 2 and the MOBILE STUDIO PRO after that.
Why did you make the switch to a digital (or mostly digital) workflow?
Mostly because as a painter I was struggling with many art supplies when I was traveling. Now with the artistic softwares that are in the market, is easy to emulate even the drips of real painting. There is another little but important detail, the Crtl + Z, something that you don’t have in real painting.
What software platforms do you use most often?
As art director I use photoshop everyday and now I compliment that with a really good program, REBELLE 3 from the company ESCAPE MOTIONS that really helps me to do my watercolors in digital media with a natural flow, imagine that I can even tilt the tablet and the paint will drip as a real painting.
Describe your current design workflow, from concept to stencil creation.
People know me for my interest in animals, I always try to translate regular ideas to animals. I am always researching about animals, so I take the animal in photoshop, erase the background and increase the contrast to identificate main details, I export the image to Rebelle and create my sketchy lines over the main details of the animal in different layers. I use a high saturation to explore new colors on the original image and I use that for the color palette of the tattoo mixing it with the watercolor brushes. I keep the idea as a sketch and I finish the process in the tattoo.
What early problems with a digital workflow did you encounter and how did you solve them?
In the beginning, especially for my work, the digital tools were wide behind the real painting so I was using real paintings and taking the pictures to blend them with the design in photoshop, now, I think digital tools like wacom are really reliable for professional artists.
What questions do your friends and colleagues ask most often about your digital process?
Two of the most common questions are how I use digital tools for doing “realistic” watercolor, and I think the most important think if you want to do watercolor is paint with watercolor to see how the real painting looks like, after that you can translate the process to digital work. The other question is how I do my sketchy tattoos. I think at the end everything must be handmade, I use to work with pen to create my designs and now I replicate that on the screen.
Please share some other artists and/or tattooers whose digital designs inspire you.
I have a lot of inspiration in graphic designers and illustrators like ERICAILCANE, RUSS MILLS, FLORIAN NICOLLE, and tattooers i like how they work with digital ideas Russ Abbott, Jesse Smith and Timmy B.
What new software or digital tools are you interested in learning?
I always have interest in new ways to create, right now I would like to go into iPad apps that are really popular in tattooing.
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