Perseus kills Medusa tattoo - Perseo uccide Medusa tatuaggio

This guy had a particular request, Perseus after he killed Medusa.

I don’t remember if he had a personal meaning or it was just a fascination for the story itself, the fact is that the idea was excellent and I liked it.

He brought some images and initially I felt creatively limited by that.

Of course, I didn’t want to copy an image or a sculpture, also because they usually have compositional limitations for a tattoo.

Often customers, especially those ones that are at their first tattoo, think of the tattoo as a two-dimension image while, in reality, a tattoo is on cylindrical shapes, except for the back, the chest or for small tattoos that can take advantage of flat areas of the body.

However, when a client shows me images or while the research shows me something he likes, unconsciously I want to please him/her, but this often leads me to lose sight of the project as a whole, I get influenced, and unconsciously it chains a bit my creativity. Maybe a convoluted psychological process that I usually solve by proposing different drafts from which he can evaluate which one he prefers. I know that once alone, with the necessary freedom, I can create something better than the client expects 😉

So I worked on some drafts, a couple based on some images and statues that he had seen and a couple based on my personal interpretation. Luckily, he chose the most dynamic, the same that I liked the most too.

Usually, if a project is well conceived, it’s quite rare that the client chooses the worst one or the least dynamic.

I got all the necessary documentation and developed the draft in an excellent design that took longer than expected, making realism without copying is not easy. As I always say, creating is a lot more difficult than reproducing.

While working on the design, I thought it would be cool to add red notes by colouring the blood in the scene. I showed my idea to the client, and he wholeheartedly agreed.

There was nothing left to do but start working on skin.

Perseo uccide Medusa disegno tattoo - Perseus kills Medusa tattoo design

After a few sessions, once I completed Perseus and Medusa, two doubts came to me, two details of the project didn’t convince me, and I wanted to change them.

The first detail was Medusa’s cave, which would have ended up inside the arm.

The inside of the arm didn’t have significant points of interest, apart from the dead body of Medusa and Perseus’ sword, and that cave, in my opinion, wasn’t so attractive. So the inside arm would have seemed a little weak, so to speak. I needed an idea to add a more engaging element to that area.

My client got the right idea. Since after the killing of Medusa, Perseus rushes to save Andromeda, what about placing Andromeda there? No sooner said than done. I prepared the drawing of Andromeda chained in front of the cave, for the next session. Although it is not entirely faithful to the mythological tale, it solved our problem.

The second point that didn’t convince me was the shoulder. Perseus’s head seemed a bit lost, not flowing with his shoulder as I wanted.

Perseus Kills Medusa tattoo detail - Perseo uccide Medusa dettaglio tattoo

For a few years, I finish my sleeves with graphic decorations, so I proposed him to do the same in this work. We had to find references for circular themes that were appropriate and that were in harmony with the whole piece.

Finding the right themes wasn’t so simple, we spent an entire afternoon searching without finding anything that was “ancient Greece” enough. We then continued the research in private, and after evaluating several elements, finally, we found the right ones to build the circular decoration that I had in mind.

Everything seemed to proceed for the best, but at the time of the stencil, despite several attempts and redesigning the graphics, there was no way to have that graphic perfectly circular around the arm as I wanted. Of course, the human body is neither flat nor regular, so creating proper regular forms on it requires a certain amount of effort. We lost half a day trying to have that perfectly circular graphic stencilled, without succeeding. I had to resume the measurements and recreate the design. I took out the old graphics expert in me and worked with an old vector graphic software redesigning, distorting and adapting the drawing, I finally got the perfect stencil, even if it wasn’t so easy to place it, but I finally did it. 

After that obstacle, everything went on quickly. I’m proud of this work, I like how I managed to compose it, how it develops on the arm, in particular, the fact that Perseus’ arm follows in a harmonious and almost rigorous way the arm of the client, as the graphic decoration wraps the shoulder in a perfectly circular way.

In short, I think it’s one of my best works, at least until the next one 😀


Look at the pictures of the working process below and the video of the healed sleeve.
Click on images to enlarge, then navigate using arrow keys or swipe on mobile devices.