How to Draw a Group of Swallows in a Retro Tattoo Style
Swallows were used by sailors to indicate the great distances they had traveled, and they symbolise’return’ because the bird will always return to nest at land, so sailors believed it guaranteed their safe return home.
What You’ll Need
To complete this tutorial, you’ll need the following supplies: 300g/m watercolour paper. B lead pencil. Fine ink liner pen. Medium ink liner pen. ProArte, Proleneplus, size 007. Dr. PH Martin’s radiant concentrated watercolour ink.
The shape is made by drawing two ovals at an angle similar to the one shown below, one slightly smaller than the other.
After you’ve figured out the basic shape of a swallow, you’ll need some basic guide lines to show where the eye, beak, wing position, and tail will go. The following pictures will show you three options, with the wing position being the most important factor in the swallow’s appearance.
Split the upper body from the lower by continuing the lower tail line throughout the body with a continuous, swooping line. Swallow tails are typically wide and angular, so join the two tips with a continuous, swooping line. These instructions apply to all three swallow designs.
At this point, you can be as creative as you want with your design and experiment with the composition until you find the ideal flight formation.
Use masking tape to keep your work from moving while you transfer the design, as the tracedown creates a soft image that allows you to work on top without fear of the graphite line showing through on your finished design.
Apply a solid line of undiluted black ink to the top of the feathered section of the wing with watercolour inks, adjusting the water as needed to achieve a smooth gradient from darker to lighter tones. Repeat this technique on the head and body.
Color onto the black section with the blue watercolour ink overlay, using the same painting method as in step 1, starting with the concentrated shade and diluting it with water as you move your brush towards the lighter edges, giving the swallow a lovely, glossy appearance.
To complete your swallows, apply the yellow to the top edge of the wing and the beak, paying homage to the tattoo classics drawn by American Traditional artists such as Sailor Jerry.
Additions to Your Finished Swallows
You can leave the swallow as is, but I think it’s fun to add elements to give them a more ‘tattoo’ feel. To one of the birds, I’ve added a banner or scroll to which you can add your own name or wording.
What is a Sailor Jerry tattoo?
Sailor Jerry made significant contributions to the art of tattooing by developing his own pigments, creating custom needle formations that embedded pigment with much less trauma to the skin, and being one of the first tattoo artists to use single-use needles.
Is create my tattoo legit?
Createmytattoo ranks 23rd among Tattoo sites, with a consumer rating of 1.67 stars based on 3 reviews, indicating that the majority of customers are dissatisfied with their purchases.
Can tattoo artists copy a drawing?
While tattoo artists are technically allowed to copy a drawing and use it for a tattoo, it is not considered best practice legally, professionally, or creatively.
Is a flash tattoo permanent?
Your tattoo will be a permanent piece of art on your skin, so take your time looking for a specialized tattoo studio that complies with government regulations and employs a highly skilled tattoo artist. Just like a custom tattoo, a flash tattoo should leave you with high-quality art that you can be proud of.