Fitiaumua's Tattoos

It's been a little while since I've been able to post. Summer vacation and trips have kept me from making a ton of painting progress and (obviously) I've done even less here on my blog. However, after a busy July, I'm back into the swing of things now and thought I'd post a little in-progress work with some freehand tattoos for Fitiaumua.

Fitiaumua ("Fiti" because I can't pronounce his full name) is another big Buto for my Bushido warband. Unlike his pal Manu who is a fairly defensive bodyguard, Fiti is all offense. His special abilities are all about stunning and intimidating his opponent in order to gain an advantage and deal heavy damage.

When thinking about tattooing him, however, I thought a bit about what he'd be like off the battlefield (probably a bit more than is technically healthy). I picture Fiti as a brutal fighter on the field, but more of a mellow ladies man while relaxing in a tea house between errands for his Oyabun. To that end I decided to avoid the tigers, oni and demon tattoos that might be more expected and go for a picture of a geisha, Mt Fuji and some cherry blossoms.

The overall goal is to give him a bit more of a traditional-looking irezumi bodysuit, but I'm starting with the large canvas that is his back and will move around to his arms and chest next.

Apologies for some of the blurrier shots here... anyway, here's the progress:

  1. The first photo just shows Fiti's back with some basic shading. I'm using the Reaper tanned skin triad here to give me the basic shading, but then worked in some reds to the shadows and Vallejo's Sunny Skin Tone into the highlights to give me a better range of tones... to ultimately paint over!
  2. Now, starting with the tattoo, rather than dive straight into brush and paint I've used a pencil to rough in the outlines. As mentioned above, for the major back imagery, I'm going for a geisha holding a fan with Mt. Fuji, some clouds and a little bridge behind her.
  3. Moving on to the brush, I've painted over the pencil sketch using a mixture of Vallejo Dark Sea Blue and the base Tanned Skin. The Dark Sea Blue is a great color to get that black appearance without being quite as heavy as a full black would be. I've then mixed it with the fleshtone to reduce the contrast even more.
  4. After the line work is done, I've colored in the various elements of the tattoo. My three year old daughter has a ton of coloring books lying around our house and so I have a fair amount of practice with this sort of thing! But seriously, this is really just a coloring book with a brush instead of a crayon.
  5. At this stage, I've tried to highlight and deepen some of the colors. This is most evident in the geisha's robe where I tried to bring in more lights on the blue/green layers and then give a bit more pink and a bit more purple to her kimono. I also took a bit of time to darken the outlines that became a bit faded in the previous step.
  6. With the back mostly done, I've begun moving on to Fiti's left arm and have sketched in a twig with some cherry blossoms... much more to do, but his tattoos are on the way!