the-dandy-cowboy asked: how can you do roses so that they are both classic, but don't look like flash? how would (or who would) you recommend doing a fox so it looks part-traditional american, and part the little prince illustration? would you recommend doing small or large for first tattoo? color or black and white? traditional style or watercolor/stippling/more modern?
To do roses that are both classic, but don’t look like flash, try pairing them with another element or subject matter that isn’t classic and is more unique to yourself. Also, different styles of art can help you in this regards too. More traditional tattoos can look like flash because they are drawn in that style and there are “rules” about how the style is drawn in order to give it that distinctive appearance (like heavy black, thick lines, classic color palette, and simplified style of rendering the shapes). Try neo-traditional. It has many of the good things about traditional, while incorporating different more flashy colors and illustrative techniques.
As for mixing traditional Americana and The Little Prince I wouldn’t, the two have an extreme discrepancy. The Little Prince is based on simple thin lines and pastel color scheme while traditional needs solid black lines and dark bold colors.
For a first tattoo I’d recommend something less on size than on placement and quality. Most first-tattoo people make the mistake of just walking into any old shop with no research and getting a tattoo on a whim or because they turned 18 and who are they to miss out on big kid stuff? Ergo, shitty tattoos. But a first tattoo in which you extensively research artists, art styles, and subject matters will remove those hazards, in which case the only thing I’d say to do is put your first tattoo somewhere where it’s not visible if you’re wearing pants and a short sleeved shirt. That way you can still enjoy your tattoo, but it doesn’t impact your work opportunities/how strangers treat you. After getting a first tattoo and getting hooked, then it’s okay to say “yes I want that half sleeve now because I am more informed and I know I can sit still during a tattoo”. (Because a lot of first timers are those goddamn giggly wiggly people who bitch and flinch and whine about how much it “hurts”. The more you move the more frustrated your artist gets and the more you fuck up your tattoo, so getting a tattoo out of the public’s eye is a better place to find out that you can’t sit still while a needle is punched into you.)
Oh I should mention though, that with size have the size fit that space of the body. No teeny tattoos on your back sort of deal. Nor would you want a pectoral tattoo that just sort of engulfs an odd amount of your chest that is too much to simply be a pec tattoo and not enough to be a chestpiece. Fitting the tattoo to the natural contours and form of your body works best.
As for styles or colors, that’s a personal taste thing. Get what you want and what you like.