Today I did my very first ever Pictish arm wrap, something I have been wanting to do ever since I started making full-body-part designs. A wonderful client came out from Boston with big ambitions, and a LOT of stamina, and I am delighted with the result. The pattern began with just a slice of a key pattern on the 9th century Maiden Stone in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. My clever employee ColinFraser morphed it in Photoshop to fit the client's arm, then I drew the pattern out to make it smooth and regular. That was many hours of work yesterday. Then today we placed the stencil, and THEN I still had to draw directly on him for another 2 hours, making all the patterns fit the musculature of the arm and making up parts that were lacking in the stencil. That all has to happen BEFORE the actual tattooing. Only when we were all satisfied with the lines could I begin, and the actual tattooing took 10 hours. I am whupped, but really happy. I have been back to work exactly 2 months and this was a huge test of my ability both to create and to have the strength to stick to such a demanding project. Much thanks to the client who was willing to go WAY past the endorphin loss barrier and stick with it until it was finished.
To read more about how this kind of custom sleeve tattoo is accomplished, visit the Full Knotwork Sleeves page.
A unique form of Pictish design found on the carved stones in Scotland is the Key Pattern. This unique sleeve tattoo pattern is designed by taking a small section of the carvings on the Maiden Stone, a 9th century Pictish Standing stone in Aberdeenshire. Then the key pattern was morphed (hence keymorphic) to spiral around the arm. A tribal pattern from an ancient Northern European Tribe, the wild and heavily tattooed Picts.