Progression of a Design – Portrait of John Denaro

In an ideal world the photographs that we are brought for portraits are perfectly lit and in focus and show enough detail to make the tattooing process fairly simple.

Obviously (as we all know) we don’t live in an ideal world. Sometimes that perfect picture of your mom was taken in 1958 at a party – or your daughter never ever sat still when there was a camera near by – or your Grandfather just didn’t like having his photo taken. Whatever the case may be…. you may find yourself wanting to have a portrait done and not having adequate reference photos.

Jim brought me this photo to have a portrait made of his Dad.

John Denaro

Not exactly an ideal photo. The hand is completely washed out and the entire thing is low rez and therefor fuzzy. But it was such a cool photo and his Dad looks so animated that I agreed to work with it.

Some patience, some imagination, some knowledge of anatomy and a colored pencil yielded this

This made it easier for me to make the line drawing and familiarized me with the image better. Also it gave me an opportunity to experiment with the shadows before making it permanent on Jim’s back. Not a finished drawing to work directly from – but kind of a reference study to learn more about the photo and his Dad’s features.

line drawing for portrait tattoo


Jim sat amazingly well for his first tattoo. We were able to finish completely all today. While yet again I was unable to get a really good photograph – here is one for y’all until Jim comes back for a healed photo.

John Denaro

I would also like to point out here that Jim and his sister brought us pizza. In case you are ever at a loss for how to make tattoo artists happy….bringing them food is always a good bet!

thank you both. I had a great time today and am looking forward to trying again to get better photos once it is healed.

~ by justteejay on December 29, 2011.

2 Responses to “Progression of a Design – Portrait of John Denaro”

  1. […] that I could get a healed photo of the tattoo I made for him of his Dad. The original pictures are here. The tattoo (of course) looks better in person than any of the photos that I managed to get – […]

  2. Healed Photo is here

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