Flash! (Aa-aaahhh, Saviour of the universe!)

When you think of a tattoo shop, you more than likely think of walls and walls of framed images, all examples of things that you could display on your skin, foreverrrr.
This is what comes to mind when I imagine a tattoo shop, so it’s entirely natural! Flash tattoos were at one time, the most popular thing to have tattooed! My mother has a small one that she chose from the wall of a tattoo shop, as do thousands of other people! Panthers, skulls, roses, swallows, butterflies, knives, suns…. the list is endless, but many artists have a folder of their own original flash tattoos at their disposal, either for future reference, or as an example of what they can do!

flash tattoos
I’ve trawled every flash design we have at the shop, looking at the exmples we have- some of them are absolutely beautiful, complicated and bright, others are much more simple, smaller designs that can be done quickly and without much fuss.
I love these (above)- such classic designs, solid- even block colours, but very old school- these are usually the ones that stand the test of time and are still recognisable after say.. 20- 30 years.

I ADORE the weird flash designs above! So original, with odd line work- but such cute designs! I’d absolutely have the bat with the little skull, or the beetle with the eyes on his wings! I have just the right space for them…
These might not be the most viable to have, with such fiddly detail, but I suppose these best show the nature of flash tattoos- either line or colour, preferably both, work that shows your style and ability. You get the point!
This was our second task in our training- we spent the past few weeks drawing roses, and now was our chance to show how much we had learned. We were to design our own flash pages with the roses that we were the most proud of, so making the beginning of a portfolio that we could use in the future to show the style of our work.

I had HUNDREDS of roses to choose from, but have to say that I wasn’t DELIGHTED with too many of them. They just didn’t seem to reflect the things that I wanted to do with my designs, or they seemed too boring and unimpressive to display on a flash page..
After narrowing my choices down to around eight roses, I pulled out around four and decided that it was best to draw one or two from scratch..

The two top roses are ones from previous drawings, and the outer bottom two are ones designed from scratch- you’ll recognise the same vague design in the centre from my stencil practice!

my first flash

Tattoos are just as much about spacing and positioning as they are about design work, and the way that you space your flash on the page can have some indication of how you will space and design things in future.
I was advised that it was best to space things openly, but to leave a border around the edge of the paper.
After a whole day of cutting and sticking, repositioning, and sighing, I had something I was happy with..

my first flash, section

Doing line drawings to a good standard is one thing, but when it came to the colour, I stalled a little.
Colour is something that  have not really held too much stock in my abilities to execute, and I was terrified that at this late stage, I would let myself down and find that I had no skill with colour pencils at all! As well as ”every cloud has a silver lining” and  ”love is always the answer”, it’s a good motto in life to have the idea that you’ll ”always muddle through”, so jumping in at the deep end is sometimes the best thing to do.
Sometimes I can be timid with the colours I use, and use too many highlights, creating insubstantial designs without enough contrast, and was advised to get rid of so much damn back lighting!
I coloured over the work I had already done, in harder more saturated colours, muted the leaves to bring my roses forward, darkened the black shades to almost solid black- for a first flash, i’m satisfied..
What do you think? Would have one of these as a tattoo?!
first flash colour


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