By Russ Abbott
The first time I can remember drawing an ornamental frame was for a tattoo design. It was a large, realistic rendering of a Merchant Marine ship. My client wanted the tattoo in memory of his Grandfather. We discussed the options and eventually decided on a reference image for the ship The tattoo would span the entire length of his shin and I would need to invent a way to create a border for the piece. I had recently picked up a vintage oval mirror with intricately carved ornaments on the frame and as I was trying to think of a great concept for the client, my eyes settled on the ornamental mirror and I instantly knew what to do. [Click here to see Russ' Kickstarter video.]
Since that time, I have done countless tattoos with ornamental frames and design elements. I draw ornamental frames for portraits of people, animals, and objects of all kinds. I use the ornamental designs to add flow and excitement to otherwise stiff compositions. I’ve even started doing large-scale works that are made up entirely of ornament alone!
In creating the illustrations for the book Ornamental Archive, I sought out to create a useful reference guide for myself and other tattooers, designers, and craftspeople who were interested in ornament. I tried to think up alternative solutions to ornamental design challenges I had faced in the past. The illustrations were created with the tattoo artist in mind. There are frame designs, simple ornaments, shells, acanthus leaves, and roses. There are also several “ornament only” images that can be used as stand-alone tattoo designs.
Ornamental Archive is a 50-plus page book of full-color originals with complimenting line art for each illustration. The book is separated into frames, flourishes, elements, medallions and a few special extras.
Ornamental Archive will be a hard bound foil stamped book, with a hidden spiral binding. This way the book will lay flat to make tracing easy and comfortable.
Risks and challenges: Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The design work for the book is almost complete. I expect it to be done by the time the project is funded. We’ve done quite a bit of research on printers and have found a reliable printing company with a stellar recommendation from several prominent tattooers who have used them in the past for art books. As far as the rewards go, we have already ordered the stickers, limited edition screen-prints and the laser-engraved skull cut-outs. The t-shirts will be ordered as soon as we get an accurate count and size breakdown.
I think the biggest challenge could be in the fulfillment of the book order. There is an approximate turn-around time of 6-8 weeks once we place the order. They are being shipped from overseas (sorry America, I tried), so the International shipping could slow things down. We expect to have all the books and rewards in your hands by May 2013.
Whatever challenges may arise, I’m confident that the book and the rewards will be delivered as promised and the quality will be exceptional.
Russ can be found at Ink & Dagger Tattoo in Decatur, GA.