I won’t be the first and I won’t be the last person to walk into a tattoo shop and pick a tattoo that I like to be inked on my body without putting any thought into it. Years ago in my early twenties I wanted a tattoo on my forearm and I remember the tattooist telling me that he won’t do tattoos on females below the t-shirt line. I am going back to about 1990 and I was very stubborn, so I found another tattooist who would and picked the first design I liked. About 20 years later, I don’t like it anymore and I want it covering up with something that is personal and has meaning. It has to be a Gothic horror tattoo!
Since I decided on having the fire bird covered up (pictured left and is on the lower half of my right arm), it has taken me almost a year to find a tattooist who I feel 100% understands what I want and more importantly, oozes with passion and enthusiasm to create something I will like.
71 Custom Tattoo Studio Leigh
Jay Gwa Hardman from 71 Custom Tattoo Studio in Leigh came highly recommended by my friend Chris. I visited him in person and I showed him examples of my Gothic horror photography and I told him that I like the style of post modern tattoos. I also showed him a portrait of my daughter below, that I would like to be featured in the cover up. I went in with an open mind as I don’t know what it’s going to take to cover the fire bird. What I really wanted was for Jay to discuss ideas and advise me on what will and won’t work. He certainly didn’t disappoint!
Jay is so very down to Earth and from the minute I first met him, it was as if I’d known him for years. He loved the portrait above and told me that it was perfect for a tattoo. He also recommended a sleeve tattoo, starting from the inside of my arm and wrapping around to cover up the fire bird at a later date, which was something I hadn’t considered. I liked the idea as it has endless design opportunities and he said that he would have a draft over to me later that evening.
The first draft on the left instantly told me that I was onto a winner with Jay, but I wasn’t too keen on the flashes framing her face, but the colours are great. I asked for them to not be so blocky and I liked the idea of less flashes so I asked to see them framing her chin only. I thought it would look nice with black shading to frame her face. Secondly, I wasn’t too keen on the bottom skull, but, that will look a lot different when shaded. I asked to swap the skulls around and instead of having a second skull, see what it would look like with an old camera.
The second draft showed me how well those flashes framed her face and I instantly reverted back to the first sketch. The second sketch was also showing me an idea of where I could have my slogan ‘What does your soul say about you’. The third and final sketch was me showing Jay an idea to include my logo instead of a camera. Jay advised that he now had a better idea of what I wanted and we would discuss on the day of the tattoo, which I was more than happy to do. I felt confident that I was in good hands.
The Gothic Horror Tattoo Begins
The day arrives and funnily enough it dawned on me the night before that if I have my daughters portrait tattoo on my lower arm, it would only be small. I love the portrait and it deserves to be bigger and somewhere else. Jay must have had the same idea as he had been playing with an idea of using my logo with bats and he wanted to run the idea past me. I loved his suggestion and below is the beginning of the Gothic horror tattoo cover up. When it’s healed, Jay will put some purple shading behind the bats to finish it off.
I absolutely love it and of course it’s sore. In regards to Kerry’s portrait above, this is going to be placed on my upper arm in a couple of weeks time and during this next session, we will discuss ideas of what to cover up the fire bird with on the opposite side of my arm. Old fashioned cameras are still an option as well as graveyard imagery, but for now, I’m not rushing due to lessons learned and I’m in the capable hands of a tattooist whom I trust will deliver exactly what I want. Part two will be coming soon!
Tattooist Jay Gwa Hardman
I can’t do this article without asking Jay for his thoughts.
When I first met Amanda I thought her concepts and ideas where good and just needed putting on paper.
Now that we have begun the process and got to know each other’s ideas better, I’m really looking forward to doing her next tattoo and covering up the others.
I love Amanda’s photography, but they won’t be easy to transfer on to the skin, but no tattoo is easy and like photography, if you think it’s easy then your not learning. I’ve Amanda’s full sleeve planned and looking forward to putting it on paper then onto the skin.
Thinking of a Tattoo?
Visit Jay at his tattoo studio, 71 Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing if you’re in the Leigh, Greater Manchester area. To contact him or view his other work, please visit him on Facebook by clicking here or alternatively visit him in person. Details are below.
1A Coniston Road, Astley, Lancashire, M29 7AS or telephone 07557 405917