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Realism Sketch Work in Progress by Louis

Hello everyone, thanks for reading our blog. It’s a good way to get to know what’s been going on behind the scenes, in our studio in Leeds city centre.

In this blog I would like to talk about realism tattooing studies, and how I try to achieve the best realistic tattoos as possible, through drawing before attempting the skin.

I have always been fascinated by realistic tattoos. I love how they look, however I always tried to study it, and going a bit further with it, instead of just duplicating an image, without attempting to understand shadow.

A lot of tattoo artists believe realism is just copying an image to the skin, and getting the exact image duplicated, however after I had a seminar with Carlos Torres, I discovered with realistic tattoos, there is a lot more than that.

I used to think I understood about shadows, until I had a seminar with Carlos Torres. I went to Venice, Italy. To have a seminar with one of my favourite tattoo artists, Carlos Torres, Nikko Hurtado, Shige, and my favourite painter ever, Boris Vallejo.

In this seminar Carlos Torres gave a lesson about shadow that completely turned my mind up side down with how I see shadow. He showed an example of how studying black and grey images can make you understand shadows in a deeper perception. And how drawing realistic images, it gives you the opportunity to experiment different ways the shadow could fall in to objects, and how you can play with your own shadows, changing the way the shadow behaves in your reference.

Some Tattoo Artists think realism is easy, however their work will never look like Carlos Torres. And the reason why is because they are not really interested in realism, in a degree to have the urge, to want to study and understand shadow, and also because they never draw realism.

I don’t believe I know everything about shadows, because shadow is an infinite learning experience, as in nature there are infinite ways a shadow can fall on an object. It’s known that, if you stand in the same spot everyday outside for a few different days, you will realise how different the shadow will fall in the same object.

Doing a realistic tattoo is more than copying an image, it’s making the tattoo look like you can almost touch it, as it’s coming out from the skin. There are far few artists who can make the tattoo look like that, have a hyper 3D effect. Only through drawing you can learn how to make a tattoo look 3D. I also believe only artists who are genuinely interested in realism, have more of a chance to get to Carlos Torre level one day.

One of the best tattoos I have ever seen was from Carlos Torres. A full back tattoo, it’s on his Instagram page. If you scroll it down, as it was done a few years ago, it’s a female angel riding horses. That tattoo is a true example of a master realistic tattoo. And I believe Carlos Torres doesn’t think realistic tattoos are easy, because he understands that you can always push it, and understand it alittle further.

Thank you for reading