Portrait tattoo artist
Doing portrait tattoos on the skin is hard. Portraits are art on its own, and bringing them to surface that is not even, has bumps and twists, makes it even harder. Portrait artist considers every aspect of design, on all the levels, including proper placement and size. A small movement of an image in a different direction may distort portrait. Maybe that is also why this art is highly respected and sought after.
Being portrait tattoo artist does not differ much from traditional artist situation. You have to possess the same amount of knowledge, or maybe even more comprehensive. Bone and muscle structure, planes of the face, proportions, feature anatomy are all essential elements that create a great portrait. And we can't forget about drapery and clothing, as in most of the cases we do not want nude figures on our bodies.
Portrait work is very close to my heart.
Tattoo portrait reality
The reality of portrait artist is far from the ideal situation of only perfect references, shot in professional studio conditions with well-managed light and shadows. So the ability to adapt, and do best of what he has is a significant advantage in this career.
Tattoos have memorial character, so often an artist has to portray people that are no longer present with us, so shooting new pictures is not possible. Sometimes there is only one picture available, and quality is not the best. Or it has characteristics that are hard to achieve now (for instance son wants to get the portrait of his mother, but he wants her to look like on the picture taken when she was young).
In all of these situations, it is crucial for the artist to work with a high level of understanding, and making the decision. Can I work with provided reference, or can't I? When the answer is 'yes,' then initial photography must be enriched first, and only then proper tattooing can start. Sometimes a portrait artist must say 'no' when he believes that quality of reference photo is to week.