Circular Gallifreyan, tattoo edition
February 13, 2017 5:41 AM   Subscribe

I want to get a tattoo with a Circular Gallifreyan translation of a word that holds special meaning for me. There are examples all over Pinterest, but I want mine to be drawn by someone who is both an expert in this made-up language and also has a talent for graphic design. How do I go about finding such a gem?

This is complicated by the fact that there is no one right way to do Circular Gallifreyan and there are many stylistic variations out there. I need someone who will not just spit out a design, but work with me to refine it to my liking.

Also, this will be my first, and likely last, tattoo. How do I make it easy for my tattoo artist to implement whatever design I decide on? Do they need a high-res JPEG/GIF file? A paper copy?
posted by houseofleaves to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Tattoo artists who are experts are experts in translating and rendering what you show them onto skin. If you want someone to go through a long process of developing and refining a design, work with a graphic designer or hand-lettering artist to do that. Then take it to your chosen tattoo artist.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:03 AM on February 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

You talk to a tattoo artist. They are in fact, professional artists, and in fact, experienced with making tattoos and applying art to skin.
posted by so fucking future at 10:33 AM on February 13, 2017

I would find a tattoo artist in your area, or in the area that you're willing to travel to, whose portfolio and body of work that you really like and schedule a consultation for a custom piece. Most artists post a great deal of their work on instagram, so you can really pour through their work.

You'll go in, it's typically about 15 minutes or less, and you talk about what you want, and you can bring as many pieces of art and inspiration as you'd like. If there's something you really love print it off and show it to them, you can have it on your phone or a tablet (though they'll probably ask you to email it to them). From that consultation they'll draw you up a design and send it to you and you can ask them to change it and alter it as much as you'd like.

It looks like you're interested in getting a custom piece, which is what I've always done, and it's always been a great process. Good luck!
posted by Neronomius at 10:41 AM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing talk to a tattoo artist whose portfolio you like. Even if you get an outside artist to create the "perfect" design on paper, there might be aspects of the design that won't work well on skin, or on the body part you want to ink. But do bring examples of the styles you like (and don't like) as guidance!
posted by Room 641-A at 11:06 AM on February 13, 2017

Oh, yeah:

Also, this will be my first, and likely last, tattoo.

Famous last words!
posted by Room 641-A at 11:09 AM on February 13, 2017 [6 favorites]

It depends on what you want. If you want something that's actually translatable by someone familiar with the language (whatever variation you're using), work with someone who knows the language (or DIY it with something like the Sherman's Gallifreyan generator), and then take it to your preferred tattoo artist.

If you want some artistic rendering of something resembling Gallifreyan, take some examples to your preferred tattoo artist.

Don't expect a tattoo artist to do the translation for you, though, unless you find one that's actually familiar with Gallifreyan - you could end up with something that says "fried chicken" or "sdfo;iadhsgpuoi;" instead of your desired word or phrase.

I have a phrase in (Sherman's) Gallifreyan on my forearm, and my husband has an entire sleeve. We both designed them ourselves, him over the course of several years and a lot of hand-sketching, me over the course of several weeks in Illustrator, but I have graphic design experience.

Also, if you don't already have an artist in mind, look for someone who is good at both perfect circles and incredibly straight lines. Gallifreyan involves a lot of precision, and I've talked to a couple of tattoo artists (including mine) that say it's incredibly difficult to do well. (I've seen some terrible Galifreyan tattoos, so...yeah.)
posted by okayokayigive at 11:52 AM on February 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

You definitely want Illustrator (or other vector graphics) files, because they will be more cleanly scalable than jpgs or any other raster files, especially since you're dealing with circles.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:47 PM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes, just to clarify as I may have hit a nerve, a tattoo artist is certainly an artist (I didn't intend to imply otherwise), but I would not expect them to become experts in Gallifreyan!
posted by houseofleaves at 5:16 AM on February 14, 2017

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