Lettering-heavy tattoo advice, and seeking artist in Boston
December 25, 2018 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Bostonians: Recommend me a tattoo artist for a simple but lettering-heavy tattoo? (Also, for body art fans in all locations: I'm wondering if this is the sort of thing I'd benefit by finding someone specialized for. Thoughts?)

I've got three questions, really:
  1. Is lettering the sort of thing any artist would like doing and do well, or something where I should seek out a specialist? I'm looking for something simple — either upright or simple cursive lettering, not Old English or elaborate 3D flourishy script — but I'm still wondering whether I'd get better results by going to someone who likes it and is good at it?
  2. If I want a specialist, who should I go to in the Boston area?
  3. Will an artist want me to have picked a font or something? Or can I do what I normally do and go in saying "Here's my idea" (i.e. in this case "Here's the phrase I want"), and let them do the design and drawing?
(I've got a bunch of body art, including different kinds of tattoos, so I'm not looking for beginner advice, "Do you really want a piece of text made permanent?", etc. — I know what I'm getting into, I know what I want, I'm just looking for advice on making it happen.)
posted by nebulawindphone to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Doesn’t help with the Boston-specific questions, but I got my text tattoo with no specific font in mind, without even a scheduled appointment. The artist asked me about the general idea I was going for, I told him “just print, no flowery script, and not typewriter font,” and he let me peruse a web page with hundreds of possible choices. After I picked from there, he downloaded the font, plugged the text into a word processor, and checked it with me for spelling, body placement, and formatting.

My artist/shop is not known specifically for their lettering work, but I’d gotten my previous arty piece there and been happy with the results, and they’re well loved in my neighborhood and social circles, so I felt fine letting them do as they would with it.
posted by ActionPopulated at 4:04 PM on December 25, 2018

I have no Boston-specific personal recommendations, but I would definitely recommend going to a person who specialises in text, if you can. Fine lines and detailed work will always blur or spread, eventually, but an artist who is experienced with text will know how their work tends to settle and age, and will have useful insights about letter spacing, font, and placement that should help ensure your work stays lovely and legible for as long as possible. (And honestly, I've seen letterwork by artists who are great at other styles which I've thought turned out disappointingly wobbly or shaky -- the movements are a little different than images.)
posted by halation at 4:38 PM on December 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

A lot of tattoo artists are using Photoshop these days. If you wanted you could find adobe's on line font store (Google Adobe Type Kit) and browse the fonts, then you would have some names of examples of the types of fonts you like to help guide the artist. Even if you didn't use the exact font from your example, I think it usually helps to give visual artists, visual examples, rather than spoken descriptions.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:03 PM on December 25, 2018

I don't know much about the nuances of text tattoos, but I can enthusiastically recommend Darlene DiBona at Odyssey Wellness Tattoo in Brookline. She has done four of my tattoos (spread out from about 2004 to last month) and I am madly in love with all of them. She is an incredibly talented artist and is always happy to help work through a design if you're not sure exactly what you want (or like me, can't draw even when I can envision).
posted by tangosnail at 12:48 PM on December 26, 2018

I went to Bosco Layne at Stingray, and it went fine. He doesn't really specialize in text, but he had some nice text tattoos on his website, and that gave me confidence that he knew what he was doing. He showed me some fonts that met my description, I picked one, and he used that as the basis for his design.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:02 PM on September 3

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