Skin & Bone is a combination gallery and tattoo studio. The gallery will exhibit art and ethnographic handicrafts related to tattooing, while the studio will have Colin Dale tattooing alongside various guest artists throughout the year. Through his years of travelling and tattooing around the world Colin has had the pleasure to meet and work alongside a wide range of tattoo artists and experts working in ethnographic and other specialized styles. Amongst these friends, we have hand-tattooists from Borneo, Polynesia and Japan as well as some of the world's leading artists in Blackwork and Dotwork coming to visit. Check the homepage to see some of the work

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Artistic Process : Dragons

Dragons have always been a favorite subject of mine to explore. Not only do they have a direct connection to the Viking culture but they work exceedingly well with the human body. You can twist and turn a dragon anyway you want and as long as it still has a recognizable head and tail it is still a dragon. This allows me to play alot with the body's form, running the dragon in slow looping curves which follow the muscules. Often I will use secondary or even 3rd and 4th dragons in opposite directions following different pathways to fill more of the area with overlapping patterns. Finally I will tie the piece together with helper serpents to give a little more dynamic look to a piece. 
Unlike the Japanese dragons which use "Koi" scales I like to use a variety of different scales for each individual dragon. Much like the Polynesians combine many different patterns in a composition, I also combine different patterns in the dragons to better distinguish them from one another and to give the knotted compossition more depth. Over the years I've also began to name these patterns so that the clients and I can speak about projects using the same context and language.
Here are a few pieces I've just finished, just started or am just working on

Enjoy :-)

Keefer made it back from England for round 3 on the Double Dragon leg sleeve. Filled out the larger "Colinga" dragon with the Honeycomb scales. Keefer sits great for 7-10 hour sessions and all the lining healed up good, so little re-touching. Work on the inside dragon in about a month :-)

I finished up Frans' Triple Dragon sleave about half a year ago and don't think I posted any photos... these arn't the best, but here it is. Forearm dragons with "sharp" and "herringbone" scales while the larger chest dragon has "cobblestone" scales interlaced with negative runes. I'll post it again when I get some better healed photos.

A new dragon project and a pain in the ass. One dragon which had to cover the chest, shoulderblade and full sleeve. Not only was I required to run it back and forth over itself numerous times to get any knotwork coverage of the area... but I also had to keep the dragon slowly tapering along the entire length. Frustrating start... but all of this groundwork is important. Really looking forward to continuing on this :-)

A 15 year old Staff Dragon from Kunsten på Kroppen freshened up with thicker lines, more dots and some scales.

Another older dragon with some added geometric patterns to fill out the area more
Don't think I ever posted this one

A forearm wrap with a double row of staggered sharp scales. Found this piece hidden in my collage portfolio and think I neglected to post it. Done within the last 6 months or so, think it was one visit.

And finally, the world tree Yggdrasil with the Dragon Nidhögg in the branches slithering down to the roots. This calf piece was done entirely using traditional hand tools... Yes, even the outline :-) I think it is a good example to show that just because a tattoo is done by hand doesn't mean it has to be rough. Anything I do by machine can also be done by hand... it is merely a question of time. This piece was done over 2 visits... about 10-12 hours work total 

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