Chronos Tattoo | Skillshare Projects



Chronos Tattoo


I'm a big fan of the linework that Keith generates for his tattoo designs, so I drew a lot of inspiration from his work. This tattoo was designed for a friend who wanted Chronos, the mythical god of time, on his deltoid. He sent me a few pictures, which I quickly archived via this Pinterest board.


After collecting images, I began sketching on paper. I tried to keep it loose and quick, but there were enough pinned images to keep me brainstorming for a long time. Different poses, attitudes, body types, etc. were investigated. Ultimately, I decided to keep Chronos buff, but decisive; I went with a specific pose that I knew my friend would appreciate.


I used this photo as my main source of inspiration. It was difficult to design a symmetrical outline, because of the angle of the photo, but I found other sources online to help me adjust. It was also cool to allow for some variation (ie: the hair and the beard), and I like how the image looks now, a combination of lines non-uniform but balanced.

I started with the head, and worked my way down.

One of the toughest challenges was utilizing negative space. The early stages of the beard and hair were much more complicated than the rest of the design.

I made a lot of adjustments on the fly, without waiting until the complete tattoo was outlined. This method worked well for me, since I really hadn't figured out how the finished design was going to look. I knew it had to be laid out in portrait mode, since the location of the tattoo was on the deltoid, but I couldn't decide if I would vectorize a complete body until I saw how the arms looked.

I was happy with his posture, so I decided to take it a step further and outline the body and legs.

Next came the wings. I wasn't sure how to position them against the body, but I knew I wanted them to reflect his demeanor, so I worked on two variations.

I opted for the smaller wings, but decided to lower them enough to match his pose. I wasn't very pleased with the legs and really wanted to widen the design a little bit, so I came up with an idea that killed both birds with the same stone. By adding clouds and light around Chronos it would eliminate the need for his legs, and I could use those elements to surround his body on either side. This is where I started to watch the design finally come together.

By creating a bounding box around my image, I was able to keep all of the surrounding elements within a reasonable width and match the negative space on all sides. I decided the design was still too wide, and I didn't like that weird belt around his waist. I decided to make some more adjustments to the clouds, and brought them up to cover the god's crotch—some things just aren't meant to be seen.

After a few more adjustments to his body, Chronos was practically finished! I wasn't happy with the vertical balance of the image, so I decided to add some star-like elements to surround his head. I also made sure to adjust my stroke lengths via the Path Extend tool (a must-have for anyone working in Illustrator). Overall, I was just about finished.

I reduced the stroke of my lines to 1, so that any tattoo artist could follow the pattern and avoid a lot of lines bleeding together (that tip was handy, and I'm glad I rewatched Keith's videos before finishing my design). So, I rendered the pattern and sent it over to my friend. All done!

This class was a lot of fun. I originally started a different project as soon as this class began, but got distracted. I'm pleased to have finally finished, and look forward to designing more tattoos following these same methods. Thanks to Keith for teaching and thanks to you for reading!



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