Batman tattoo design needs that "special something"

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Old 05 May 2013   #1
Batman tattoo design needs that "special something"

I've been designing this tattoo for myself and would like some critiques. It's certainly not an original design, but I don't want to use someone else's artwork. So I've created my own version. However, I'm still not 100% satisfied with Batman's form. I want it to convey a sense of mystery, fluidity, power, and motion even though the intention is to have him standing posed (as opposed to running). I think I've got it, but it feels like it still needs something more. But maybe I've just been staring at it too long.
Given that this will be on me for the rest of time, I want to get it right.
So, any suggestions?

Old 05 May 2013   #2
hard to get all those qualities when it is just black with no other real design, it is pretty plain.

there is a ton of bats in there also so you have to think of the size of it when you get it and who the artist is b/c it might turn out right or looking like blobs, especially if it gets any smaller.

you cant put the bat symbol in it or much of anything else or it will look crowded.

i would say leave it as is or reduce the amount of bats change the size of them a little.


change it a little like it is one side of the bat symbol and then copy it and reverse the copy so when you look at both it looks like the bat emblem.

or put some type of design in the black...dunno..
voices tellin me to get some sleep, but my imaginary friends want me to play.

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Old 05 May 2013   #3
Silhouettes can convey quite a bit - in fact, you WANT your silhouette to convey as much as it can, or else the piece is going to look boring. This image was my main inspiration. It's pretty similar, but I wanted Batman's form more traditional than this artist made him to be.

It's funny you mention making it more like the bat symbol because that was initially my exact idea, though not mirrored. However, when I tried that, it just looked too plain/boring.

I had also thought of putting the bat symbol on his chest, but I think it's unnecessary and will subtract from the silhouette.

As for removing some of the bats, I could try that. And yeah, if the tattoo artist thinks it's too much, I'd definitely remove some. I was also thinking about reducing Batman's width - moving the bats in closer to where his body would be.

Here's an updated version.
Old 05 May 2013   #4
Another update. This is definitely looking better.

Old 05 May 2013   #5
I personally think the design is to plain and blocky. I think adding some white to the black to define features, such as his eyes and folds in his cloak would make it stand out a lot more. Take these for example.

Old 05 May 2013   #6
Ok, here's another update. I'm hesitant to keep adding more details as they may be lost in translation.

Old 05 May 2013   #7
The overall silhouette shape isn't very interesting. It'll be far more interesting if you actually depicted the whole figure--Batman walking alone in the night by himself, and have his cape being blown to the side by the wind, and the force of the wind is what dissolves part of the cape into the flying bats.
Old 05 May 2013   #8
Originally Posted by Lunatique: The overall silhouette shape isn't very interesting. It'll be far more interesting if you actually depicted the whole figure--Batman walking alone in the night by himself, and have his cape being blown to the side by the wind, and the force of the wind is what dissolves part of the cape into the flying bats.

This exactly what you need to do.
Old 05 May 2013   #9
Hi, I'll disagree with both Lunatique and rownd. I think that what you have at the moment is going in the right direction and you don't need a full scale figure, especially for a tattoo. I do agree however with above suggestions that the presentation looks very rectangular as whole and maybe some dynamism could be introduced by shaping the entire piece more into a curved line/wave/sinusoid. Then again, considering this is a tattoo, I would suggest to think about the design in the following order - 1) Where does it go and how will it fit? 2) Representation of theme aka full figure Batman or body art as fashion choice?
Old 06 June 2013   #10
Below is a version the way Lunatique described. I think it's decent, but not as interesting (of course that could just be my illustration).

Darkonerster, the tattoo will likely go on either my shoulder or calf. It's definitely not a fashion thing, at least not in the sense of showing off to others. I've been wanting to come up with a tattoo idea for a while simply because I've grown to like the art form, and since I've been a fan of batman for a long time, I figured that would be a good choice (another choice was Giger's Li II, but that's incredibly detailed, and thus costly, and I'm not sure my wife and daughter would be so keen about the look of it )

I think the wave idea is cool - I already was headed in that direction with the latest version (before this one), so I could try pushing it more.

Old 06 June 2013   #11
Consult with a tattoo artist THROUGHOUT the design.
As interesting as some of the stuff is, I can tell you for a given that as is, even if you're lucky skin-wise and put yourself in the hands of an extremely well seasoned artist, it will bleed off all the white insets in just a few years, about at the same time when the bats closer to the cape will be smudged out to non-descript shapes.

That's unless you plan on having it across your whole back, in which case separation should hold to that size
It helps if you have other, older tattoos too to know what level of dispersion and blur your skin will induce.

That graphic-y style is also not how you normally evaluate a tattoo.
Unless you plan on having the window/framing inked as a white out (which is next to impossible to have paper white, let alone backlit monitor white), you might be in for a surprise.

Put the line work that will be stenciled out down first and flip frequently. Most importantly, get a consultation with a tattoo artist on the design process or buy a couple books (if you haven't yet).

Sorry, this might or might not be the feedback you were after, but one of the number one mistakes I see artists doing when they design their own is thinking that rendering and framing a tattoo works the same way as graphic design or normal illustration. The rules are very different when your media is ink under skin.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
Old 06 June 2013   #12
Thanks, I will definitely consult with the artist - I don't plan on just giving him the image and saying "here, do this". And yes, I was concerned about the details as well, which is why I was trying to avoid putting too much in. I also never planned on having the white areas inked - just the black areas. Finally, these designs are more starting points than final designs - I figure the artist will take liberties and do what s/he feels will work/look best.

Anyway, after looking at the latest two designs, I decided I like the top of the one with the full body but with the legs removed as in the rest of the designs. So I combined them together to make a this new version, which I think is the best so far:

Old 06 June 2013   #13
It does feel stronger than the previous two pieces.
If I may: the same concept, but with the classic "hunching over gargoyle" pose, and a more 3/4 view like the first image in Ishimarushou's post might be stronger still, and would allow for more diagonal lines and a wider spacing of elements (likely to result in less dispersion).

Flat views get boring quickly enough, and the last thing you want with ink is something that's likely to get boring quick.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
Old 06 June 2013   #14
Ok, I spoke to some tattoo artists, and they all had the same recommendations - enlarge the white spaces and make it more vertical to fit my arm/leg.

So I've redesigned it (with your hunched over idea, Jaco). This is still a bit rough, but it's the basic idea. I still like the motion of the last design, but I'm not sure how to convey that in a vertical layout.

Old 06 June 2013   #15
Your new concept is not as powerful as your first one. The cape turning into bats was a good idea. You kind of lost that.
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