Reinventing The Tattoo - Part IV Review Questions

Part IV Review Questions

1) What are some good reasons to work from a reference in tattooing? How is this different from using a reference with other media? Using reference material when designing tattoos can help to get more attractive and accurate results in all sorts of things: for figures and animals, you'll get better proportions and more realistic features; for objects and surfaces, you can discover a whole world of textures, lighting effects and ways of handling depth that you would never have thought about without seeing it first. In the case of tattooing, these realistic effects are then translated and combined with standard tattooing elements such as outlines to create a graphically strong version of the reference material, changed and optimized for the purpose of clarity and longevity.

2) When creating a reference model, what is one of the most important elements that will affect the appearance of the entire piece? The lighting used when photographing the model will have everything to do with the model's sense of dimension and readability in the photograph.

3) Why is it best not to use the camera’s flash while shooting reference photos with customized lighting effects? The flash will wash out and in many cases completely neutralize the carefully planned out lighting effects you've created on your model; be sure to use a camera setting that can meter the available lighting and set its exposure accordingly.

4) What does it mean to use a lower-numbered f-stop? How will this affect the outcome of a photo? How will higher-numbered f-stops affect this? The lowest f-stop settings will make the aperture opening the widest and result in the shortest exposure, resulting in a narrow depth of field with less of the contents of the photo in tight focus. A higher f-stop results in a narrow opening in the aperture, requiring a much longer exposure but resulting in a much wider depth of field, allowing most or all of the elements in the photo to be in focus. How wide or narrow a depth of field desired will vary depending on the needs of each project.

5) Why is plasticene ideal for making reference models? Because it remains wet and workable indefinitely, changes can be made at any stage of the model's construction, including fundamental changes such as bending of limbs. However, at the same time it is firm enough that it will hold its shape and can be given a high level of detail if wanted.

6) What makes a good flexible skeleton material for larger plasticene models? Can you think of other materials not mentioned here? Copper refrigeration hose comes in a variety of thicknesses and strengths, and can be bent fairly easily. A carefully planned structure using copper hose as a skeleton will hold its shape but can still be bent or altered even after the clay has been added.

7) Why should the foil used in models be made scrunchy before adding it to the model? What’s an easy way to do this? It will stick together much more easily than flat foil, and creates a wrinkly surface that the clay will grip onto readily. Scrunching will also add to the foil's volume. The easiest way is to pull 18" pieces off the roll, use all 10 fingertips to wrinkle the surface, and then scrunch it into the desired shape.

8) Why is it sometimes necessary to paint a model flat white before photographing it? What is a good product for this purpose? Plasticene clay is usually fairly shiny and will not always reveal all of its detail in a photograph. In addition, sometimes it is necessary to work with a variety of clay colors that can result in an unattractive model that won't photograph clearly. In these cases, the model can be sealed with a pigmented shellac primer-sealer and then painted for the purposes of the photograph. BIN Primer-Sealer or Kilz are two popular brands that work well for this.

9) Under what circumstances would we want to make a final reference image out of several different photographs? Especially with more complex models, the lighting chosen for the photograph won't reveal enough of the details; in these cases, several shots can be taken with minor variations on the position of the lighting, and the nest parts of these photos can be composited to create a final image with optimal lighting.

10) Why is the traditional line-type stencil sometimes inappropriate for an intricate shaded design? When a design has a lot of detail and uses particular lighting, especially realistic lighting, translating the image into a line drawing can make for a very difficult tattooing process, where each line in the stencil must be cross-referenced with the photograph to see what the line means and which way the shading should be pulled away from it. By creating a stencil that conveys the dark and light areas of an image, such as a crosshatch stencil, less checking of the reference image is necessary and the tattooing process can be quicker, more intuitive and more efficient.

11) What's a good reason to use different colored markers while freehanding? In what order should they be used? By starting with a light colored marker such as yellow or light green, the design can be roughed on in a way that allows for a lot of scribbling and adjustment in the course of getting the basic placement of the major design elements right. When this is fine-tuned with the medium and dark markers, the messiness of the first scribbling stage is not an issue because it's so light, meaning that erasing is less necessary and a cleaner finished look is possible. In addition, the light and medium markers can be used as blending tools for the darker marker pigments, allowing for a watercolor-like drawing technique.

12) What is another style of hectograph stencil besides the traditional line stencil? Can you think of any other ways of creating a shaded stencil? Some methods discussed in Part IV include crosshatch stencils and Photoshop filtered stencils, including halftone stencils and Photocopy stencils, or combinations of the two.

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