So I got an email out of the blue from Adrian at Studio 73 in Brixton saying that a customer had walked in claiming to have got a tattoo of one of his artists work on her neck and he thought it might be one of mine. To my amazement he was right!
This lady had a lioness which I'd drawn several years ago prominently (and permanently) inked on her neck. Admittedly, it was never intended for this purpose so I was in two minds as to whether or not I liked it. Was I proud or just plain flattered?
Anyway, the following week I mentioned this to a friend (Tracey) who confided that she was seriously considering getting inked herself (after many years toying with the idea).
"Want me to design it for you?" I joked. "Yeah alright" she replied, deadly serious.
Tracey wanted a scorpion on her upper arm to represent her star sign. A little nervous about permanently marking one of my best friends with something crap, I took the challenge very seriously.
I did some research and opted to go down the tribal route. Inspired by her Nigerian / Igbo heritage, I put together some initial ideas and we had our first meeting. First drafts were given an initial nod, but a little refining was needed to make it perfect for a lifetime's wear. I took into account the fact that she was worried about the pain, and didn't want all the areas to be filled in. It was also going to be a small tattoo so needed to be bold enough to look good at a reduced size, and to show up well on her skin tone.
Igbo design elements of water & strength were also incorporated into the claws & body of the scorpion. The final design was presented and she was thrilled.
Knowing that I'd never designed a tattoo before, I was pleased that she was going to get it checked by a pro. Enter Chris Hewish at "The Family Business" in swanky London Town.