Tattoo design concepts

I’ve had the idea of wanting a tattoo somewhere for a long time, since about 18 I guess, when the world is your oyster and you think you are a the coolest dude alive. Although now I’m reaching an older age *cough* I’m glad I didn’t get something on my body I can’t get rid of. It has turned my mind to a treat for myself though, and I think if I can put in lots of time and research then I’d be happy to get something that would last and mean something.

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The idea behind the tattoo is a representation of peace and calm, which is what I get when I am watching my fish. I’ve kept ornamental goldfish since I was about 10 and am a big fan of the ornamental breeds with the flowing tails. This also plays into the fact that I am a big fan of china and Chinese culture, from learning Mandarin, doing Tai Chi and watching lots of martial arts films, new and old all in mandarin, after all, subtitles never hurt anyone! My god family are all from China also so I feel a connection to the place through my family. I felt that bringing together these elements using a blend of iconic imagery from ancient china would make a good symbol of my interests passions and connection.

I really don’t have any solid ideas on what I’m after just yet, which is why I’ve been just gathering lots and lots of images of things that I like in order to faff in photoshop for a month or two putting ideas together. I’ve not been overly familiar with places to look for traditional Chinese tattoos as there really aren’t any. Most people in china get pictures, and English words.

Having gathered a number of images now, I’m keen to research them and see the history of the imagery. I need to know what they represent, their history and what it means to put them together. These parts I’m hoping to get from my Tai Chi teacher, as she is Chinese. I’m going to run the characters past her first so that I can nail down the actual idea. Then when I have a few ideas roughly scamped up either on paper or knocked together in photoshop, I’ll run the design past her to make sure that it’s okay in Chinese culture. As white is the color or death, whereas yellow is fortune and considered a royal color, so perhaps I’d have the fish yellow for example, but that might be considered bad as you shouldn’t imitate the royal color. Little things like that.

I’ve compiled some mood boards which I’m using to create some basic sketches of the design. (Some of these are pretty big images!)


So from these, I am hoping to create or have created an illustration of the design and then it’ll be finding a nice studio and skilled artist to apply it and give further input. I’m happy to let anyone have a go, so if you think you can come up with something amazing using and or inspired by the mood boards please do give me a shout on twitter or via email. Any input on the elements, history, culture and other aspects would be greatly received via twitter, comments or email.

I’ve got a few basic sketches that I’ve been working through,

So that’s where it’s at! Hoping to have some more ideas tonight and pull things together in photoshop, to get a better quality scamp together 🙂 Hopefully @kittybrown can help me out! 🙂

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