Boris…Tribute to the dogs of metal.

This is about a tribute tattoo, to a dog by a client of mine named Grayson. He had a really amazing pit bull named Boris that passed unexpectedly. He had a poster on his wall in his apartment of his 2 favorite metal bands. They had already named one of their dogs after one of the bands, and for the life of me I cant remember that name. But Boris was the other. Grayson brought in his reference for his tattoo on his laptop. Its was the artwork of the lettering to this double band tour poster. It was done really well.


So my approach to this was first to find out one thing… Is it for the band you want Boris written on you or is it for the dog? Reason I asked is because I wanted to make sure I was conveying the tattoo for him and for others to see in the same light. “Its for the dog”, he said. ” I don’t want to have strangers talking to me about this band all the time.” So my suggestion was to stretch the tattoo out and change the font a little bit mainly to personalize it but also make sure to eliminate confusion on the topic. He seemed intrigued, but nervous since he had placed so much thought into something so important to him. But once I stated that I would draw my version quick and if he liked it … Great! But if he didn’t … No problem either. We would just do the original tattoo idea. A few minutes later I had a base sketch…


Funny enough he told me he did like my drawing, but it seemed “too legible” This is a very tough approach for tattooers. It’s our job to make things bold, bright, and easily readable from 10 feet away. So I thought to myself… How can I make him happy and myself. I choose to use some drop shadows based from graffiti. And the some tighter swirls coming off the letters. I felt this would tighten up the distance between the letters making it a bit harder but not a total illegible tattoo design.


Here’s what we came up with. It’s really common to want a tattoo to pay homage to a person or pet. I don’t know if a tattoo could ever have more meaning than that. Making such a lifetime decision for a life that has been distinguished.

It’s tough to say good bye. RIP BORIS!!!


Mark VanNess

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