The Battle Royale Tattoo by Bob Roberts
I'm a big fan of blogs that chronicle the evolution of large scale work -- watching someone's transformation from what mama gave them to their own artful individuation (like Brian's Bodysuit to Fit). One that I'm following now with great interest is David Bragger's The Battle Royale Tattoo by Bob Roberts blog.
Bob Roberts and his Spotlight Tattoo are legendary. I know the word "legend" gets thrown around a lot but in this case it's incredibly apt to describe an artist who came up in the craft at The Pike in Long Beach from 1973, was taught by Bob Shaw and Col. Bill Todd, worked with Cliff Raven and Ed Hardy, and pushed tattooing to an even greater level of artistry. Spotlight remains a vigorous shop as well as a tattoo landmark.
David has been spending a lot of time this year at Spotlight. Bob finished up his leg work, which you can check on Flickr. It's a fantastic piece with some great art by Robert Ryan mixed in as well.
And with the leg done, it was time to move on to this back. In September, David began the blog with the sketches Bob had done for the backpiece. The posts then follow to stencil placement, lining, passing a kidney stone (!!), and the latest post shows the start of shading (and notes the soundtrack to that session). I'm loving the comments David adds along with the images. I highly recommend you give the blog a click.
Beyond being a tattoo connoisseur, David is also a player and instructor of old-time fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar. Watch some of his lessons on YouTube.
For more on Bob Roberts, you gotta pick up the definitive book on the artist: "Bob Roberts: In a World of Compromise...I Don't" published by State of Grace.