The customer who commissioned me this piece is fascinated by the fantastic universe of Lewis Carroll, in particular by the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Had it been for him, he would have included all the characters of the story but that was unthinkable, unless we were to extend the work to a much wider area.
I suggested to focus on just a few characters and eventually exclude Alice from the piece. The characters are so recognizable that the main character’s presence is not needed to understand what it represents and Alice’s absence would make it all the more interesting and unusual. In this regard, I showed him a drawing I did on the same subject a couple of years earlier; there was no need to discuss any further. Once having decided what characters to include he left me carte blanche.
I love being able to work freely on themes and styles I love 🙂

NEL PAESE DELLE MERAVIGLIEAfter spending countless hours on the drawing I couldn’t wait to start working on skin, but the first session turned out to be a little nerve-wracking.
Despite us both being very eager to start, it seemed that fate had something to say. You know those days when everything seems to go wrong?
Nothing so dramatic as to jeopardize the work, only minor issues, but when they take place one after the other they make it hard for any project to take off. What’s more, during the drawing process I got so carried away that I overlooked the fact that the Mad Hatter’s head was turned towards the back of the calf. The basic rule of any tattoo is that the subject should always face forwards, NEVER backwards. This caused me considerable doubts.
I tried to quickly revisit the design, I flipped the stencil, I did several tests but it was all for nothing.
After taking a few minutes to relax and taking a good look at the design it was clear that there was no way to fix it without having to redraw the Hatter, with the consequent risk of distorting it.

At a second glance it was clear that the Hatter was perfect just as it was: the body facing forward, his head backwards and the eyes looking in different directions give the character the crazy look it’s supposed to have. Therefore, after this analysis, it was clear to us that it couldn’t be accomplished otherwise.
NEL PAESE DELLE MERAVIGLIE 2With a bit of humor, given by this crazy character, we managed to overcome all the obstacles that followed without any damage and once the actual work begun everything went smoothly, also thanks to the customer’s support and good resistance.

In the first sitting I intended to outline all the characters and finish the Mad Hatter, but this character is the one with the largest number of details, moreover, having been late because of the above mentioned issues, we had to postpone the completion of the Hatter to the following session, counting on the absence of obstacles.
In the second sitting there were no obstacles but lots of chatting, it was quite obvious that in front of me I had one of those people with whom it’s nice to talk to and you eventually find yourself talking about anything, only to realize that all this talk is affecting the timetable.
Nevertheless, I managed to finish the Hatter as planned, although I ended up retouching it several times during the following sessions: to increase contrast, intensify a colour or shade etc.

In the next sitting, that was preceded by a few hours of chatting, I dedicated myself to the White Rabbit, and at the end of the session we made a pact of silence for the following session.
Pact that turned into nothing. Once again, we spent an hour chatting before realizing that we were wasting time and that maybe we should get down to work 😛

In sitting dedicated to the watches and some finishing touches on the Hatter, we tried to keep chatter to a minimum, but we succeeded much better during the next sitting during which I intended to finish all the vegetation, without succeeding.

As much as we did well during the last sitting, we managed to catch up during the following one. Only after three hours laughing and joking did we realize that time had flown by and that there was work waiting for us.
If we hadn’t wasted time in small talk I would have probably managed to finish the work in a single sitting, but the great thing about this profession is also its human side and I can’t thank my customers enough, not only for giving me the chance to create my work but also for their intelligence and friendliness.

NEL PAESE DELLE MERAVIGLIE 4
In the following sitting the work was finally finished and we had already planned the next project, project that will probably take much less since we decided to move our conversations from the studio to the pub 😛

This work is definitely one of my personal favourites.

 
See pictures of the working process below.
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