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  • Nathan Tersteeg

Coloring my Moth-squid Tattoo

Last Sunday’s session was really great. This client selected a pretty unusual design from my flash, this tentacled moth with creepy eyes in its body. I really had fun drawing it, so I was stoked that someone asked for me to make it as a tattoo. The linework was done in October, and healed nicely, with some lines thinning a little, but mostly serving as a ready-to-go framework for us to start in on some color. I did a little touch-up on the lines with a 5 liner and then got to work on the color, using 5, 9, and 17 curved mag needles. I had a 9 shader on hand for the light colors and highlights. I used 15 colors on this one, with 4 steps of greywash and white.





After 4 hours of tattooing and some really lovely conversation, I cleaned it up and applied the saniderm! It went really well, with the ochre fades in the wings looking really pretty and the overall image matching the colors on the illustration pretty faithfully.

My takeaway was to really have a great map, and give yourself time for the setup on complicated color work. It’s tricky thinking ahead for what colors you’ll need, but having a really thoughtfully laid out plan for how you’re doing the work helps immensely!


What a fun tattoo to do! Thanks for the trust and courage!

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