Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Featured Illustration: Go Big Or Go Home (Kat Von D)

So this past Friday I was doing my usual cardio at Planet Fitness. I'm basically on auto pilot so I check my Instagram feed. To my surprise Kat Von D posted a photo with a caption saying she was going to be in Union Square for the first stop on her book tour for Go Big Or Go Home. I almost did a double take. Not only did I want to go o meet my favorite tattoo artist and one of my many inspirations but I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to make some time to create an iPad painting of her. I haven't really had time to do any personal work lately (because freelance is booming.) but this was a special case.

I finished all of my revisions for the client on Saturday so I could put the necessary time into Kat's painting. Initially I wasn't sure which app I wanted to use. I'd used Sketchbook to create Isis, Brushes for Amy Winehouse and Procreate for my business card design. ArtRage seemed appropriate for this because of the textures I had access to and my love of oil painting. I really wanted to print her painting on canvas but the turnaround from Costco. (where I get my prints was a few days.) I needed to have this quickly so I could actually give it to her. Needless to say it was a rush job and nothing could go wrong. I finished the painting in about 6 hours or so while watching Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple on Netflix.

After a revision or two on the painting I emailed it to myself and increased the dpi to 300 using Photoshop CS3. (I know I'm way behind but I only use Photoshop for resizing my work.) From there I ordered a 16 x 20 print, got the frame and dashed out to New York City. This was all yesterday so again things had to be timely if I wanted to make it in time. Good thing I'm on my Spring vacation. Barnes and Noble gave special seating privilege to people who bought the book before going upstairs to the signing so it just made sense to do that. After what seemed like an eternity she showed up and we all got into the Q&A.

For all her success Kat seems very humble and grounded. I like that she just has a warm personality and really appreciates her fans. Watching her on LA Ink and coming along in her career from a tv screen to going to meet her was something else. I uncovered her painting and she absolutely loved it. Her reaction was even better than I imagined. Here was this world renowned tattoo artist marveling at my rendition of her. In that moment I felt like I had made it. We took a few pictures, talked a little and I headed off the stage. I honestly wanted more time to talk to her about how she tattoos but I still feel fulfilled. I'm still wrapping my head around all of this as I type.