Reinventing The Tattoo - Part II Review Questions

Part II Review Questions

1) Why are flow and fit important? Because the human body is a flowing form, any designs placed on it need to flow with its physical shapes or the tattoo will fight against the natural anatomy, resulting in an unflattering look. Good flow can make any tattoo look attractive, even from a distance.

2) How can the flow and fit of a design be a significant aspect of its subject matter? If a tattoo flows well on the body, it will look flattering even if the design is something abstract. Tribal and biomechanical styles take advantage of this fact, as well as many graphic elements in Japanese tattooing such as wind bars and waves.

3) What kind of movement fits the most naturally on the body? The S-curve works well on the body because of its asymmetrical balance and its flexibility.

4) Where are the best parts of the body for symmetrical designs? The center of the chest or the center of the back, along with the front or back of the neck. Anywhere the body is actually symmetrical can be a good place to put something circular or otherwise geometrically symmetrical.

5) What is a good method for taking a tracing of a client's body part? The simplest is to use tracing paper, and to cut any major excess paper off to make it easier to work with, keeping the paper around double the size that the tattoo will be. Have the client stand up straight in a natural relaxed position, looking forward, and tape the paper securely on the part of the body where they want the tattoo. Using markers, trace out the area they want the tattoo on the paper, showing any nearby body features such as the collarbone or the creases of the armpit on the front or back of the arm. If possible, take a photo of the area as well.

6) What is the purpose of a construction drawing? For drawings where you want a clear readable structure with separate elements that visually align with each other, starting the drawing with construction lines to get everything flowing together harmoniously is a helpful step to take before drawing any detail. Later in the drawing stage, some construction lines will be erased.

7) If dark is the opposite of light, what is the opposite of flow? Antiflow

8) What is a tattoo's silhouette, and what factors affect it? The silhouette is determined by the distribution of large dark and light, positive/negative, tattooed versus untattooed areas in a design, particularly in terms of how the outer edges of the tattoo interact with the blank areas of skin around the piece.

9) Does "Pos-on-Neg" refer to a light shape on a dark background, or a dark shape on a light background? Positive on negative refers to a darker shape on a lighter background.

10) Are positive and negative relationships determined by the relationship along the edges of a shape, the average overall weight of the design elements, or both? Pos/neg relationships can be determined by a combination of these factors, especially the relationships along the edges of a shape, but is mainly determined by how it reads overall from a distance.

11) What kind of pos/neg relationships are likely to be the least readable? Pos-on-pos or neg-on-neg relationships will have the least amount of contrast, strength and visual clarity.

12) What is a dynamic pos/neg relationship? When a particular element in a design has pos-on-neg relationships in some areas and neg-on-pos relationships in other areas as the darkness of the foreground and the background change from one area to the next... that's when you have a dynamic pos/neg relationship.

13) What does it mean to use the full value range? When a design uses a thorough representation of all levels of dark and light in it, including black and deep tones along with a variety of mid-ranges and enough light tones and whites to round off the composition, that design is making use of the full value range.

14) Is more dynamic range preferable in the foreground or in the background? In most cases, using more dynamic range in the foreground elements will be preferable because it will normally help those elements to jump forward.

15) What two factors are responsible for dynamic range? Color range and value range add up to a full dynamic range. In Reinventing The Tattoo, we assign a potential of 100 points of range to each of these factors; if a foreground shape uses the whole value range and maximum use of complementary colors, it has up to 200 points of dynamic range. If a background is all done in soft grays and cool muted purple washes with nothing darker than 50% and very little color range, then it may have only 60-75 points of dynamic range. Placing a foreground object with 200 points of dynamic range in front of such a minimal background could potentially make for some very bold visual contrast.

16) What kind of colors have the most contrast with each other? Complementary colors, which are opposite each other on the color wheel

17) What’s a good way to use warm and cool colors to give a rounded object a sense of volume? When a shape has warmer colors toward its center and cooler colors toward its edges, if done correctly this can create an enhanced sense of volume, as the edges will appear to recede back from the center.

18) What are some good ways to create focus and out-of-focus effects? Focus and out-of-focus effects can be achieved by having very focused elements interact with blurry elements. For example: a foreground shape is rendered with sharp edges using a small round for lining and detailing it, using high contrast; the element is then brightly colored with high color contrast and the highlights are sharpened with a small round in key areas to give the highlights more focus. The background is then done with a magnum only, using no white highlights and deliberately keeping all edges blurry and avoiding any hint of smaller detail.

19) Whether in painting or tattooing, what tools are best for rendering an out-of-focus area, and what tools are better for the focused ones? The simplest way to handle focal effects is to use primarily smaller brushes or needle groups for the tightly focused areas and larger brushes or needle groups for the less focused areas. By avoiding using any small needle groups or brushes in the blurry areas, you avoid the risk of accidentally canceling out the effect by putting detail in an area that's meant to be out of focus.

20) What is the best way to make two textures in neighboring objects stand out from each other? Keep the texture in one element simple and low contrast, and the texture in the other element detailed and higher contrast.

21) What does it mean to give the elements in a design an order of priority? To make the most important element the most visually strong, with the least important elements such as backgrounds having the least amount of visual command to allow the main elements to jump forward.

22) What are some effective tools for assigning priority? Outline strength is one of the most important, with the main elements having the boldest lines, supporting elements having finer lines and background elements having graylines or no lines. Stronger color schemes in higher priority elements will distinguish them from simpler and less vibrant color schemes in background elements; keeping sharp white highlights in only the higher priority elements will help bring them into the foreground.

23) What are some examples of graphic elements that can be held in reserve? Black shading can be used in the background or the foreground, but not both- this is an example of keeping something in reserve. Any color can be reserved for one element but not others; detail or texture can be reserved for just one shape while other shapes are kept smoother or simpler. White highlights can be reserved for only the things that need an extra subliminal degree of focus.

24) What is the difference between a line and an edge? A line has thickness, like a thin tribal shape, with two outer edges and a thin area of black in between. This is true not only with deliberately thickened and sculpted lines, as described in the book, but even for simple single-pass lines. In these cases, the number of needles and tightness of the group determines the thickness of the black area. On the other hand, if shading is brought right up to a line and the edge of the line on the shaded side is made to disappear into the shading, it is no longer a line and becomes an edge, which has no thickness at all.

25) What are three factors that determine the quality of a line? - The sharpness of its edges
- The consistency of its thickness
- The depth and evenness of its black or color pigmentation

26) What are some good ways of building up a line? If the line is meant to be a smooth arc, one good method is to do a single first pass over the stencil with a small round group, then to make a follow-through pass where the same needle group is used to build up the thickness of the line in small overlapping oval hand movements. This is followed by a third pass where the needle is moved along the outer edges of the line in short stitching movements to even out the edges and make them as smooth as possible. With lines that are organic or wiggly, the first step can be skipped and the line can be built up during the first pass.

In addition, thick lines can also be put in with a small magnum such as a 5 or 7 mag, and then their edges can be cleaned up, sharpened and darkened with a small round group. This is a good method for much larger pieces, and can result in less trauma than a line built up with a small round group.

27) What is a good way to practice building up lines and developing line building techniques? By using colored pencil on paper to build lines in drawings, you can work out the kinds of hand movements you can use to build lines in skin, provided your lining machine is not tuned to run too fast for the techniques described in question #26.

28) How can a tattoo machine be set up in such a way that it can be worked with like a colored pencil? For the setup sometimes described as a "shading liner", the machine should run faster than a standard shader but slower than a traditional liner. This can be done by opening up the point gap by turning out the contact screw to increase the size of the gap, and the increasing tension on the backspring, as discussed in detail in Chapter 6.5, to provide enough tension to work with the wider gap.

29) What are two things that can be done do to improve work visibility while lining (besides having good lighting)? Beveling the tube tip makes a big difference, and having enough needle hanging out of the tube tip (2.5-3mm) can also help the visibility. If you are guessing about the needle's position based on the rough position of your tube tip, you're going to be very limited in your precision.

30) What types of needle groups can be used for lines? Any round needle group can be used for lining, although doing single-pass lines with groups of 8 needles or more can result in lines with fuzzy edges. Small magnums can also be used for making bold lines, provided there's follow-through with a small round group to clean up the edges and points.

31) What are some good graphic tricks for conveying depth? There are many ways to simulate an illusion of depth. Here is an incomplete list:
- Use strong lines in the foreground, medium weight lines in the middleground and no lines or graylines in the background
- Use full contrast of color and value in foreground, with diminishing contrast on further back elements
- Concentrate detail in foreground elements while keeping background looser and with less focus
- Overlap design elements in such a way that it's obvious what comes in front and what goes behind
- Use of perspective, where by making the design's construction lines converge on one or more vanishing points the objects in the design appear to get smaller as they get further away from the viewer
- Selective use of black in either the foreground or background to give the elements better separation
- Use of lighting and shadow to describe the form and volume of the shapes in the image
- Contour lines can be used to show the outer curvature and volume of objects
- Cast shadows are especially effective at lifting objects and separating them from each other
- Warm colors generally jump forward better than cool colors, so using warm colors in the foreground and cool colors in the background will generally create a depth effect
- Similarly, objects can be given more volume by using warm colors on the upper sides and cools on the lower sides, or in some cases warms can be used in the middle of an object and cools around its outer edges.

32) In what ways are contour lines different from peripheral lines? While a peripheral line is the outer edge of a shape and serves the purpose of separating that shape from its surrounding elements, contour lines happen within the shape and are used to show curvature, volume and surface features of a 3D object

33) What are some of the most effective tricks for conveying lighting and luminosity? - If there is an on-camera light source in the composition, make it the obviously lightest and brightest object in the composition
- Use light rays around the object to establish the direction of the light and to focus attention on the light source
- Shading and highlighting in all objects in the composition is critical in creating a realistic sense of lighting and luminosity; for practice, try drawing real objects from life as they sit under direct lighting or multiple light sources. The better you understand the way light works in the real world, the better you'll be able to apply that understanding in your art.

34) If an object is between a light source and the viewer, will it appear dark or light? It will be silhouetted, meaning that the mass of it will be dark. In some cases, it will have a light corona around its outer edge.

35) What are two important guidelines to consider when drawing light rays? - Make sure they all radiate from the same origin point
- Try making the rays a variety of widths to keep them more natural looking

36) If a light source is off-camera, in what way will it be visible in the design? In the lighting effects it produces. If a light source is off-camera in any particular direction, objects in the composition will be lit from that direction and will have shadows on their opposite sides, regardless of whether the light source is visible in the composition or not.

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