Iain Sellar's Scrimshaw Black Line Tattoos Are Gonna Blow Your Mind

By Hateful Kate - 
Iain Sellar's Scrimshaw Black Line Tattoos Are Gonna Blow Your Mind

Refined, detailed, black and bold, these classic black work tattoos are perfection.

Okay, kiddos, grab a chair and get cozy because ol' lady Diamond is gonna teach you about some more art. You see, the beauties you're gazing on in this here article are what's known as scrimshaw style, a technique of tattooing that draws upon the old school look of engraved, hand-carved ivory and bone. Iain Sellar's black work is heavily influenced by these origins, and his tattoos are fucking stellar.

The texture and direction of each and every line provides a sense of form and depth. When you're working in only black line, the only way to create a sense of shape is via your line directionality, and Sellar is a champion. The lines become their own ornamentation, thus providing not only direction for the eyes to follow but also a beautiful grain on each tattoo.

Scrimshaw as an art practice started on whaling ships, as whale bones were in abundance, and sailors would use basic tools around the hull to carve illustrations into what was available. In modern times, however, this technique of carving into a material with this level of detail has transformed, and scrimshaw can be found along the handles of knives, used as ornamentation on jewelry, and even plateware. 

Sellar has a wonderful Instagram, rampant with his detailed scrimshaw style. His shop, which is a collaboration with tattooer Barbie Lowenberg, is also full of wonderful scrimshaw-style shirts, prints, and more.

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