Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Phoenix Tattoo Design and Application

Let's get this out the way first and foremost... Unless you are my wife and it is a milestone birthday, I do NOT design tattoos for people out of deeply felt personal reasons.

Okay, now with that said let's get down to the subject at hand, the tattoo I designed for my wife for her birthday. As a particularly noteworthy milestone birthday approached for my wife she asked, implored, and insisted that I design a tattoo she has been wanting for some time. She knows about and understands my feelings about designing tattoos but she being my wife and her birthday I agreed. She wanted a phoenix for her leg and she wanted a phoenix that was not the typical Asian inspired and influenced creature.

During out trip to Italy and England we looked for elements that would work well for a phoenix so that I could weave our trip into the design. I will get to some of those reference in a moment, but first let's have a look at the design from concept to final drawing...

Phoenix tattoo - initial concept without reference, revised post trip reworking with reference, Revision 3, cleaned up red line final.
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

Final phoenix tattoo drawing
© 2013 Christopher Burdett

My wife was involved in every step of the process to make sure she got what she wanted and needed out of this design. The overall body arrangement was her request to work best for the placement on her leg. Now let's talk reference. Here are some of the images that played heavily in the design of the phoenix...

Assyrian eagle guardian - British Museum - London, England

Wood carvings - San Pietro Martire church - Murano, Italy

Now that the wife had signed off and was thrilled with the design it was only a matter of it getting permanently applied to her body. For that we went to Alain at Euphoria Tattoos her in Tallahassee. We were both extremely happy with the job Alain did, here are some images of the tattoo in process...

The stencil in applied and the tattoo is about to begin.

Alain is hard at work.

I was impressed with how quickly the tattoo took shape.

Almost done!

All done! Alain did an amazing job and was extremely faithful to the original design. Thanks Alain!

Not to beat a dead horse but many people has requested that I design tattoos for them and I am just not comfortable doing so. This may change at some point, but for now, I am not available for such ventures.

That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, I will see you back here on Friday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:


  1. I still think your muse is secretly a tattoo designer. It's exciting to see you finally found an instance where you feel comfortable doing it.

    1. And I still think you are wrong about that :)

      My muse is 1982 monster art for movies and RPGs... ;)

      This all a very stressful experience. I would hope my muse would be a little kinder to me...

  2. I love seeing the bits of reference in the tattoo. What a great gift and memento of your trip.

    1. She was really happy with it and that is what really matters! :) It turned out much better having included our trip into it then just designing it from scratch or looking at other phoenix imagery.