Last Thursday night, I visited the studio of Dave Suarez, a good friend of my cousin Gio and a talented albeit budding tattoo artist, to have a Calvin & Hobbes tattoo done. I saw the work he did on Gio, as well as another cousin of mine, Kevin, and several others on his Facebook page, and I told myself, This is the man I want to work on my newest Calvin & Hobbes tattoos.
I got my first Calvin and Hobbes tattoo in 1995 with Ricky Sta. Ana. I was happy with the result, but I also wanted to honor Calvin and Hobbes and Bill Watterson with even more ink. (When I became a Christian in 2001, I fought a bit with the concept of skin art, even blogging about whether or not it was a sin to do it.)
When I turned 36 early this year in February, I decided to push through with it. This was the fan art-designed design I chose. I love it because it’s so dynamic and positive. The art isn’t 100% Watterson, but I like how the artist remained faithful to Wattersonian proportion.
I asked P&P Tattoo for a quote, and began to save up for it (they were charging me Php6,000 for both Calvin and Hobbes.) But a couple of Fridays ago, I ran into Dave Suarez, who Gio brought to our family reunion. I was drawn to his impressive sleeve work, and asked him who his artist was. Turns out he was an artist too, and after asking him if he could do it for me, he offered a rate that was lower than P&P’s quote. I was ecstatic, and set an appointment up with him immediately.
When I visited him at his place in Parañaque, it became apparent to me that he wasn’t just any run of the mill artist. For one thing, he was very meticulous about ensuring I was happy with the size of the piece. He stenciled out the work very well, and I was very impressed with his attention to detail. (Compared to Ricky’s piece, which he drew from scratch, Dave stenciled from a printout of the original work. Some people may not agree to this method, but frankly, since I knew I wanted something that looked faithful to the original. This will be a plus for pretty much anyone who wants an exact skin art replica of another existing design.)
So after Dave stenciled it, he began to ink in the outlines. I watched Season Three of The Big Bang Theory – neither Dave nor Gio had heard of it, and I wondered if I was really that ancient – and regretted not bringing a stress ball. It hurt in sections.
When Dave was done with the outline, I was both relieved and impressed. It looked phenomenal. If I decided not to have it colored, it would’ve been terrific anyway. But I managed to grit my teeth through another two hours and have it inked with this brilliant orange that Dave bought just for me. (Well, not really, but it was his first orange ink.)
When he was done with the Hobbes tattoo, four patient, professional hours after he’d begun, I was left with a tattoo that absolutely blew me away. Rich, vibrant color; bold, decisive linework, and entertaining conversation. Of all the tattoo artists I’ve gone to – and I’ve been to several – Dave offered me quite the experience. I strongly recommend him, and I really, really like my new tattoo.
Interested in booking Dave for skin art? Contact him at 0906-4491363 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.