Progression of a Design – Celtic Ouroboros

The basic premise was to create an Ouroboros with celtic. The client had selected a knot from the Book of Kells that he really liked and wanted me to pull inspiration from.

This was the image that he was most drawn to:

Book of Kells Dog knot

Which would have been great and pretty straightforward (since he liked the head and wanted it to be similar)… but (there’s always a but)…. we had used the same knot for inspiration last year when we fixed up one of his old shamrock tattoos with this:

celtic knot tattoo

So the challenge became to draw something that he would like and would work, but would not look too much like the existing tattoo. We went back and forth with several knots that he liked, but they were all far too complicated to work well as a tattoo (at least at the scale he was talking about). I was honestly pretty stumped until he sent me this one:

celtic book cover

While the knot was still too complicated as it sat – it did provide me with some nice inspiration. Since the Ouroboros was going to have a dog head anyhow, filling the interior with dog and bird animorph knots would work out pretty well. So off to attempt to simplify the knots to something that I could work with.

My first attempts at creating the knot were a little too simple and I thought kind of on the cute side.

celtic dog and bird knot

So I made another version which I liked much better:

celtic dog and bird knot

And then for the “really fun” part – to convert the linear knot to work around the body of the snake/Ouroboros. Since its head was the dog – I decided to start with the dog head biting the bird (which is connected to the dog) to repeat the concept throughout the knot work.

celtic ouroboros rough outline   celtic ouroboros rough outline   celtic ouroboros outline development   linework for celtic ouroboros    celtic dog snake ouroboros

And then to apply the tattoo to the client. We did not finish completely in the first sit (it’s a VERY complicated knot). So he will be coming back in December to finish the coloring. I will update this post with the finished photos at that time.

celtic ouroboros outline tattoo

celtic Ouroboros tattoo


~ by justteejay on November 6, 2012.

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