This client came to me with a very clear idea in his head, he wanted to cover a number of scars he had on his left arm, and the subjects he had thought of were: a skull on the back of the hand, a woman praying with rosary beads in her hands, her head bowed in prayer and hair entirely covering her face on the inside of the forearm and the rest of the arm had to be occupied by three demons. I suggested to let the woman’s face show a little through her hair to avoid that area being unreadable and too dark. He agreed with me.
I don’t remember asking him the meaning, but I think that the elements speak for themselves. This is why I decided to name this piece “Libera nos a malo” (Deliver us from evil in Latin).
Originally there was also supposed to be a Triceratops skull but that idea was discarded almost immediately because it wouldn’t have had anything to do with the rest of the composition.
Having determined the subjects he then left me total freedom regarding the design (I love this kind of clients :D).

After finishing the initial sketch he asked me if the demons could have a more classical look, adding a torso, legs, arms etc.
But personally I found the idea of the classical anthropomorphic demon to be old and unoriginal.
Since I had total freedom, I preferred imagining the demons as part of an organic and shapeless composition. In my design one is the head, one is the belly and one is the arms.

In my opinion, hell is something scary and much less obvious than a little man in red tights with a goatee and horns. It is a state of mind or, for those who believe, a state of the soul, and that almost nebulous composition was my interpretation thereof. In particular, being hell a fear (more or less induced) linked to death, I liked the idea of designing it as if the entire thing were originating from the skull, the quintessential symbol of death.

His answer was: “Ok, total freedom then.”

I think that this piece, considering its size, was by far one of the fastest among those I have done so far, thanks to his very dark skin that does not allow any mastery of greys and to his resistance. During the sessions he never moved, never complained, never asked for breaks, he was by all means an exemplary “human canvas”.
In the first session I did the outlines, in the second one I worked on the skull and on the inside of the forearm, in the third I completed the outside of the arm and everything was completed in the fourth and last sitting.

Now there is no trace of those scars, although his dark skin does not offer the necessary contrast to enhance the qualities of the tattoo.
Warmer colours would have helped increase contrasts but if a client prefers black and grey I cannot and don’t want to force him to choose something he doesn’t feel comfortable with. Considering these factors, I still believe it’s a very good job.

Look at the images of the working process below.
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