This guy showed up at the first consultation meeting with a tattoo magazine (for which, by the way, I had worked for until 2002) from which he had chosen a design that he wanted me to copy. Aside from the questionable quality of the design, I explained that I do not usually copy, unless it is impossible to do without it or there is at least the possibility of combining elements to create something completely new. So I suggested he let me create something unique for him. Suggestion that he accepted immediately.

Since he wanted a realistic woman’s face, decorated with typical Mexican Day of the Dead themes, I told him to look on the internet for women’s faces, possibly in black and grey, and decorations he would like to be applied on the face. From those elements I would have worked on something completely new.

He couldn’t have known which references worked best of course, and expecting him to have a perfect understanding of the technical limitations associated with the design was too much to ask. So at this early stage we wasted a little time due to my “naivite” and optimism.
No big deal, I did a quick search to find suitable faces and I submitted them to him. His choice fell on the face of a young Mexican model, whose facial features were very much in line with what we had to do 🙂

I converted the image to Black/White and I painted the face of the model with the decorations he had chosen, then I created the veil that covered the head until achieving the desired result.

When he showed up for the first session everything was ready, but when he took off his shirt the first doubts arose.
The tattoo was designed to be placed on his back and had to be about the size of a hand, what I did not know was that the client already had two old and ugly tattoos on his back, that made me question the placement of the new one.
Putting something beautiful next to something extremely ugly tends to steal focus from the beautiful giving it to the ugly.
In short, those two tattoos would have appeared even uglier than they already were, taking away the spotlight from the new one.
I suggested another area but there were no other available areas where we could place the new tattoo, or at least none he was willing to tattoo.

While we evaluated what to do I suggested, almost as a joke, to take up the entire back and take advantage of the new tattoo to cover the old ones.
I did a quick montage, adding a couple of roses on the right in order to cover both tattoos, showing what the end result would look like.

After careful deliberation the customer decided that it was worth it. A project of approximately 15/20 cm suddenly became a full back.
Excellent progress, but I still felt that something was missing, I wanted to add some kind of frame around the work. I remembered that I had saved the image of a baroque frame which I used as a reference to develop the decoration rising from the bottom left.

There was nothing left to do but prepare the stencil and start tattooing. We had initially planned to do the work in a single sitting, but now that we were going to do a full back piece that was impossible of course, not to mention that we had already spent plenty of time discussing the work and reworking the initial design. in this first session we limited ourselves to the outline and part of the veil.

Two more sessions were needed to complete the frame and the veil. In the 4th session I dedicated myself to the roses using as reference some photographs I had taken a while back.

In the 5th and 6th session I finally dedicated myself to the woman’s face.

I am very satisfied with what we have accomplished, especially considering where we started and that underneath it all there are a couple of pretty large cover-ups. Congratulations to this guy for having sat through all the sessions without blinking.

 
See pictures of the working process below.
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