Birthday’s are great. Usually their an excuse for family and friends to get together and raid your pantry, stuff the kids full of sugar, and light a few candles to remind you that you survived this long. This year I decided I wanted to get some tattoos I had been long planning finally done. After broaching the subject with my husband, which he agreed to on the spot, (we are both have a few already) we broke in to conversation about it for a good 2 hours and eventually landed on the subject of one of his, a sparrow that he has been talking about finishing since before I knew him. Since I already had a good idea what I wanted and every time we talk about tattoos we seem to end up on the subject of redoing this sparrow I decided to bring him in on my birthday present and redraw the tattoo for him. Happy birthday to both of us.

Now before I started we laid down some rules:

1. I had to use the original lines

2. No extras or background. Something easy for the tattoo artist to do on the preexisting tattoo coupled with a very small area. We both wanted to make it as painless as possible for the tattooist to change it to his liking.

3. Had to have red. No more then 3-4 colors tops

sparrow sketch

Now the tattoo in question: My husband got this years ago when a family friend died in a car crash that was very close to him. Her brother decided to do a tattoo marathon to raise money for her family, doing this tattoo for as many people as he could in 24 hours. It’s small, red, and the size of a business card. Although its not the best one he has it is a very personal tattoo for him. He’s been unhappy with it for years but didn’t want someone to screw it up and therefor left it alone until I offered to tackle it. The only reason he agreed is because he knows where I live. (with him)


This is where we got in 4 hours:

sparrow- black color

Just fill it in:
At first he wanted to fill it in with black. He had this idea for years but after seeing it on paper the idea didn’t last much longer.


sparrow- line workOk what would you do?:
Although I hate it when I’m asked this when it comes to tattoos often when people realize they have options they start getting lost and ask the artist for ideas. Since I know his style I gave him 2 line works  that were up his ally to help him find a the starting point. He decided to run with the top one and from there we went on to color and possible tweaks.



sparrow color

I want orange now:
A few tweaks later and I snuck a heart in to the body of the bird. He always said this tattoo was close to his heart, now it has one too. Although I’m still following the original it is now taking on a much more polished look.



Although I have done cover-ups for people before I always find it challenging when someone comes to me saying “keep the original just make it better” for three reasons. One: I have to use lines that are already there. Two: Its hard to draw something someone will like when I have to work with something they already don’t like. Three: To keep to the original 90% of the time I’m severely restricted on what I can do layout and style wise. Lucky for him I like a challenge and this one wasn’t that hard to start tweaking to his likening. Although I know it will change a bit more before it’s done the fact that he’s happy so far means I’m doing something right. If I’m doing something right, that means I’m happy too.



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