Tattoo 4: Leg A.K.A Philomena the Phoenix

Free hand drawing

Free hand drawing

So I had gone through a small hiatus of tattoo-getting for a variety of reasons, busy, skint, undecided etc. But like all addicted inkers, I was consistently on the look out for ideas and Summer 2012 it struck. I came across a tribal bird that I fell in love with. The one I found was on someones back which, while lovely for them, personally I’d designated not so much a ‘no-go’ area, but more a ‘not-yet’ area.


Philomena the Phoenix

I was 30 last summer, so I decided this was to be my treat to myself. I brought the drawing to an amazing artist in Temple Bar who’s done loads of work on Red, (Partner in Crime). I knew it was to be leg, not sure when this was decided, but I knew it. As the leg is such a different shape from back he had to start completely from scratch, but the drawing was a great start point.

The artist wanted to do the drawing free hand and as I think you can see, he did an amazing job. I was shi**ing it at the size at the start, but Phil is hard-core, ‘Go Big or Go Home’ is his mantra, (if you saw him you’d understand), so we carried on. After Draft 1 he did some slight re-positioning of her head, which took some time but I’m really glad we did. It actually took longer to draw than ink, the attention to detail is incredible, especially for a free hand. The pain was immense. I’d never had a piece of this size done before so as you can imagine, there were some tears. She goes right from knee to ankle and around my leg, so every where got some pain-love.

My View

My View

I’ve had some questions about whether she’s a Phoenix or a Bird of Paradise, I’m not all that sure, or bothered, I like both to be honest. I am sure that it’s definitely a ‘she’ and her name is Philomena in honour of the man who drew her with such care and attention.

From a practical point of view leg is a handy spot, little bit of shimmying but you get to lie down, and its easy to keep with shorts and skirts etc. I had to stay away from tights for a while. The pain was mostly due to the size of the piece, she hit knee, ankle, shin, calf, the whole shebang, I think it was more the culminate pain than an individual piece. Its a great area if you want something large, easily hidden and easily shown off too. Heavy denier tights get me out of formal wear dilemmas. If I wear a really light tight, most people think she’s a pattern on the tights. Win-win in my book.

Hours of amusement

Hours of amusement

Also, Look what else you can do!! For those of you wondering, I waited til my first ‘I’m bored day’ to colour her in, much fun! She’s definitely my favourite and I’m really pleased with how well she ‘matches’ my foot butterfly. And even though after all the pain I swore never again, I’m already researching tattoo 5…


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