words and anchors – tattoo design

drawing and designing tattoos for people near and far has been such a cool and strange and unexpected part of my career. i love love getting to know a little bit (or a lotta bit) about people that i otherwise wouldn’t have met had it not been for the great reach of the internet. even more, however, i love being able to create something meaningful for someone i’ve had the great pleasure of spending some person-to-person time with. it might be faux pas to do work for friends and family, but in my case, having the ability to work with care on something as intimate as a tattoo design has only ever been a joy. it allows me another opening into this person’s life – a perspective i might not have been afforded the opportunity to view. if i could, i’d draw all over my friends and family members’ arms/legs/backs/necks/etc!

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this one is for a special and incredible bostonian – marisa, i can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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movin on over

hello darling readers! it’s been almost a year now since i got my very first tattoo, and first tattoo design request, and this has prompted a massive revamp in my life and career. i could never have foreseen just how much my life has been shaped by starting down the path of custom calligraphy and illustrative work. it’s always been something i do because i love it, because it’s somewhat natural, because while i’m a writer, sometimes drawing helps me better express what it is i’m trying to share. and now, having jumped down the rabbit hole, i’m so pleasantly surprised and emboldened by the fact that this could all actually lead me somewhere. i’m so grateful for the support and love of friends and family to push me further down the hole, to widen it, deepen it, feel around in all corners and crevices for new or more powerful ways to build upon the strengths i already have. in that vein, i’ve begun to build two separate websites – www.jillianschiavi.com will house all of my personal artistic work, writing, installations, as well as information about my yoga teaching. www.jillyink.tumblr.com will house all things jillyink – from tattoo designs to other freelance calligraphy/illustration work. take a look around both sites; they’re both in progress (especially the tumblr page), but i’m very excited about the possibilities to come from both arenas.

tattooed in uganda

(His angels will guard us in all our ways – for melinda ozongwu)

the other day, a lovely woman named melinda emailed me from uganda. she was on her way to london, and while there, was planning to get a phrase tattooed on her forearm. the design was finalized, the appointment was made, everything was ready. and then, so she says, she stumbled upon this blog. and overhauled her entire design. what an honor it was to take up the task of creating something she could really fall in love with. something that she’d look at every day, and know that taking the extra steps to make it perfect was well worth it. personally, i think it looks just lovely.

getting inky

(earth, wind, fire, water, moon – for alex raffael)

sometimes how we envision things happening doesn’t end up being the case. in fact, this happens most of the time. if, a year ago, someone was to tell me i’d be receiving weekly commissions to draw and design words and pictures that people all over the world would be permanently marking themselves with, i’d have thought that sounded amazing, and completely unbelievable. well, now, just seven months after designing my own, first tattoo, i am happily occupied with translating ideas, words, and images into tattoos. i love it. of course, now i can’t imagine not thinking of this in the first place.

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(tattooed version of this design – for jessica silva)

here are a few recent tattoos that i’ve designed, and as always, i welcome many more to come.

(‘bird’ – for katie prange)

(meaning ‘to live life passionately and unafraid – for megan mateer)

a very ‘creative’ tattoo design

this is the highest honor – to be able to design something so personal for someone else that they’d want to, they’d plan to put it on their body permanently. the other day, a lovely lady named jenifer contacted me via etsy to ask if i could design the word ‘create’ in the same manner as the ‘love stamp‘ that’s currently for sale in my shop. just two short days later, we came to a final decision – and just in time, since she’s got a tattoo appointment today!

 

congratulations jenifer, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of this moment!

permanent ink: a portuguese-inspired tattoo

 

i was so pleased, totally surprised and completely flattered by the email i received from an old high school friend (and former mhs soccer teammate), asking if i would help create a tattoo out of a poem she’d written to honor her parents, her heritage, and love. ‘of course,’ i exclaimed! this is really special – she wants two acrostic poems woven into the shape of a heart, with each half of the heart for each foot, the point meeting down by her toes. the poem is written in portuguese, and it reads:

 

meu

amor

eternal

 

pessoa

amada

incondicionalmente

 

and it means, “mae” (mother) – my eternal love/”pai” (father) – loved unconditionally

 

i’m so honored to be a part of this – thank you jess, and i can’t wait to see the permanent version!

and tattooed in texas

 

the stars must be aligned.. just two weeks after i designed and got my very own, very first tattoo (post to come), i received a very cool email from a very cool lady down in dallas, texas, asking if i’ve ever considered designing one for someone else. ‘why, of course!’ i exclaimed, and there began our adventure in finding something that utilized my script, her three children’s names (madelyn, mitchell and merritt – adorable), and a feeling of ‘whimsy’. after a few back-and-forths, here’s the final design. just like my dear friend adam’s tattoo (which was inked this morning over in thailand!), i can’t wait to see the design in its permanent home, on her forearm. thank you valerie, for allowing me to be a part of this amazing process!

tattooed in thailand

my dear dear friend adam sent me a message last friday with the most surprising, most wonderful message – he’s currently in thailand, learning very worldly, beautiful things, meeting amazing people, and walking along the most magnificent journey. and now, while on that journey, he’s decided to add to his growing tattoo collection. with a gorgeous message, “never try never know”. written in my hand.

 

he’s getting it done tonight, across the world. and i couldn’t be prouder, happier, more honored to be a part of this moment. hopefully i’ll have a photo of it on his arm soon.