Thursday, March 7, 2013


Geology Tattoos

A little inconsequential, but ... isn't this tattoo pretty? It's featured in the (two-year-old) photo-heavy book Science Ink (Amazon | Indiebound), and comes by way of the lovely Scientific Illustration tumblr, which remains entertaining, even though it seems like there's been a disproportionate amount of mushroom pictures on there recently. Or maybe I'm making that up. Yeah actually I guess there's just a normal amount of mushrooms on it right now. But in recent weeks I swear there were a lot of them.

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Wow, that's gneiss.


@Emby You should get one on an orogenous zone.


@TheBelleWitch Those are kind of dangerous as they can lead to overturned beds.


@Emby I dunno, I'm kind of heaving.


@TheBelleWitch You mean like on your cleavage?


@Emby I've heard geologists make the bedrock.

Neve Garrett

@Emby All I can see when I look at that tattoo are these swirly psychedelic dresses!


Relevant to your interests? Amanitas deviled eggs.


@aphrabean Look, you brought up mushrooms first, Edith.

Edith Zimmerman

@aphrabean WhaaaaaaaattttttttttttttttttTTTTTTTTTT


@aphrabean it is really pretty, but I do see how it could be somewhere else. Vietnam 2 day tours



hahahaha, ja.

I have that book! My friend gave it to me because I have an h-bar tattoo. This tattoo makes me the coolest person at physicist parties.


@hahahaha, ja. I have a friend with some form of Schroedinger equation tattooed on his arm! I bet you guys could have battles.


It's cool but something about it is kinda bugging me. I think it's because it was obviously just lifted straight from a page and put onto that person's shoulder, which is...not really what one should do with a tattoo, because bodies are not pages! It's pretty but just kinda sits on that shoulder instead of moving with the shape of the body. Also that numbering is wack.

(I read a lot of tattoo crit blogs, or really one tattoo crit blog, and have gotten SUPER OPINIONATED.)


@martinipie link please!


@martinipie Sooo, you're saying that tat is schist?


@iceberg dermagraphique.tumblr.com is the one I read the most; I spent roughly two weeks going through the whole damn blog back to the beginning.


@DangerDangerDanger Agate what you're saying but I don't want to get into any arguments...


@martinipie Granite, it is really pretty, but I do see how it could be somewhere else.


@martinipie omg there goes my afternoon!


@martinipie I'm going to be on that site for days...


@martinipie I don't understand your argument, could you explain a little more please about how/why this doesn't "move with the shape of the body?" What does that mean?

(I'm sure you're not talking about, like, a snake that wriggles when you flex your bicep but I can't help but think of that.)


@wallsdonotfall I would recommend looking at the website for better examples, but basically I wish the design just had a little more relation to the body part it is on. Any freehand or even well-stenciled tattoo by an actual tattoo artist is going to take into account the way muscles, bones, and skin shape the surface that is getting tattooed, whereas this just looks like it was literally transferred from a drawing by a non-tattoo artist on flat paper onto this person's body, so it looks really weird and blocky and unnatural to me, especially that part over the shoulder blade. If this person really really wanted a tattoo with a flat bottom they should have done like a bicep or leg band, or maybe even a lower back tattoo, not this.


@martinipie Hmm, okay, I see. Thanks for clarifying. So it's mostly the problem of mapping a two-dimensional design onto a three-dimensional object? I think I felt a little defensive about your comment because I have a fairly large shoulder piece that's taken from a scientific engraving, and I do think of my body as a page. But I don't think it has any of the same issues with, er, physical topography.

(The nice thing about this, though, is that every time she extends her arm she'll cause an earthquake.)


@wallsdonotfall I'm not martinipie but I thought the same thing.

Images that look good on a flat piece of paper don't always translate well to skin on a human body, which is not only curved and dipped and angled, but also stretches and moves along with the muscle underneath. That's why an image like this, which involves a lot of straight lines, looks a little odd. The lines will never look straight, no matter how carefully the tattoo artist draws them. The same goes with say, text. If you just go with straight lines of text, they'll probably look crooked, or weirdly pasted on. A good tattoo artist will work to curve the text in a way that makes it look like it's in line with the body, rather than with an imaginary page.

That being said, I like the idea of this tattoo okay? The placement of it looks purposeful, as if to draw attention to the fact that it's something you'd expect to see on the page, rather than on the human body. And the colors are beautiful. But the numbering is completely wackadoodle. On the "139cm" it even looks like the tattoo artist went too deep on the "1" and hit the subcutaneous fat, and the ink blew out.


@wallsdonotfall Yes, that is exactly it. Tattoos can definitely be well done from illustrations, but usually they need a little tweaking to, as you put it, become suited to a three-dimensional surface. And "body as page" is a cool idea but then you get really wonky tattoos where people get like, whole poems in computer font in the form they appeared on the page on their ribcage and it doesn't look as nice as it could...


@martinipie shale we agree to disagree on this one? Mica razy idea is that we should all find no fault in each other


@Probs There's nothing better than getting puns in my inbox, if I'm being onyx with myself.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@martinipie Oh my god I got as far as the guy who tattoos puppies on that blog and had to stop because dear god that man is a monster! (The blog portrayed him as such, but I got stuck in a spiral of angst about it.)


@martinipie This is why my upcoming text tattoo is a) one line of poetry and b) not super tied up with any one font. I plan to bring in the line and go "HOW TO MAKE LOOK GOOD ON ARM?"

you're a kitty!

@martinipie WOW does that dermagraphique blog ever strike me the wrong way. It's possible to be constructive without coming as unnecessarily cruel. Plus, the author draws exactly zero line between a difference in technical skill and a difference in taste. It's a shame because there's clearly plenty of informed opinions to be had there, but if I read the whole backlog I'd just end up hating the world.

the roughest toughest frail

@you're a kitty! That's exactly my problem with her blog. I follow it and think she has some decent critiques, but she does tend to brutally dismiss anything that isn't done in a traditional style.


@you're a kitty! I see your point--the author has gotten a little more blunt lately because so many of the same kinds of tattoos keep coming up; further in the back the opinions are a little lengthier and not so curt. I also thought it was harsh until I started seeing what the author meant about almost every piece; now I am probably a bitch about a lot of tattoos (sorry people I see in yoga class, even if I never say anything!).
If you are referring to the first tattoo, I think it's because that's an image photoshopped onto an arm that tattoo blogs have been reblogging...

you're a kitty!

@martinipie Yeah, it's just a matter of tone, and that's a squishy concept that's also affected by the medium (and, to be fair, by the sort of interactions a person is used to having on the internet, which vary widely across communities). It's not the way I'm used to seeing people criticize art. But I didn't mean to imply that the blog itself is a problem — just that the tone grates on me personally!


@yeah-elle I completely agree... it's a good idea, and it looks pretty from far away, but the close-up picture really highlights a bunch of execution problems on the part of the artist. too bad, because it could have been amazing!


@martinipie YES THIS! never should read body mod blogs, i have ALL THE OPINIONS now. i actually have an tattoo appt on the 15th, i'm super excited. i got my folder of art together yesterday. it's going to be nerdy, gorgeous, and awesome. and one of a kind, which is kind of important.


Edith! I love the Scientific Illustrations tumblr! So cool to see worlds merge :) There have been an inordinate amount of mushrooms lately, you're not wrong. My favorite recent posting was "wealden saurischians I have loved".

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