10 Tattoos James Whithee Wishes People Would Stop Requesting

10 Tattoos James Withee is tired of doing
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Credit: James Withee

Video Transcript:

What’S up everybody I’m James Whithee, and today I’m going to list 10 tattoos that I wish clients would stop asking me for.

All right so right about now is usually when the intro would kick in, but I’ve been having some copyright issues um. Even though i bought a license for the music that I normally use in my intro for some reason on youtube, it’s been getting uh flagged so um I decided for now I’m just gonna go ahead and stop using it um. The intro is like mainly to like show people that you know i’m competent and that i know like what i’m talking about when it comes to tattoos, because it like shows me tattooing and like has uh pictures of some of my work on there, but um today you’re not gon na be able to see that so I’m gonna go ahead and pop up a few uh pictures somewhere in here my tattoos and if you wanna, see more of them and verify that I actually do in fact know what I’m talking about.

You can go ahead and check out my instagram and it’s @jameswitheetattoo. Also i apologize that i look a little bit raggedy today. I just got out the shower. I have a lot of stuff to do. I’ve been sick with covid for a couple of weeks, so i really don’t feel like combing my hair, don’t have time to do that and I’m just going to go ahead and slap this video out and get on with my day. That way, I meet all my deadlines and obligations, even though i kind of feel like crap right now.

Okay, so uh, let’s go ahead and get on with the video. This video, like i said in the intro, is uh gonna, be like the type of thing where i list uh 10 tattoos that i personally am like sick of doing and don’t really want clients to ask me for anymore. These um are tattoos that when people hit me up for them, i pretty much either just don’t respond to them or i try to like steer people in another direction and get them to get um something else.

So this video actually might be a little bit similar to uh the video that i made where i talked about tattoos that i turned down but um this one right here, uh, instead of focusing on like cover-ups and like i don’t know like the obvious stuff, this One is gon na more focus on subject matter that is kind of like getting played out where um you know, i feel like. I just don’t want to do this stuff anymore, because i’ve done a whole shitload of it and um. You know stuff that um tattoo artists kind of make fun of behind closed doors and uh. While i’m on that um little point right there. You know by no means am i trying to speak for all tattooers.

Some tattooers might specialize in the type of tattoos that i’m gon na list in this video. So this is just my perspective, um, although it might align with some other tattooers perspectives that might be watching the video, alright, so number one on the list of tattoos that i really wish people would stop. Asking me for is gon na, be poseidon tattoos and what i mean by that is uh, like i don’t know. If you guys are familiar with, you know who poseidon is, but basically he’s a greek god and he’s like the god of the ocean or whatever and um, for some reason like the statues of poseidon. I don’t know where the [ __ ] they’re, from or like in rome or italy, or some [ __ ].

For some reason, it’s become a huge huge trend where um in the united states, at least where i live. People are getting poseidon. Tattoos like up the ass all the time like constantly everywhere i go. I see a poseidon tattoo every single time i flip through my instagram um. I see another like bearded statue, tattoo or whatever, and don’t get me wrong when this tattoo first started getting done.

I thought it was really cool. You know i like it when people replicate like the uh classical art like the statues and stuff like that, they’re really fun to tattoo in general, but this particular piece of subject matter, poseidon, specifically, and actually specifically this reference right here. Um is one that i’m totally sick of seeing and totally sick of doing, and i just don’t know why people are getting it so often like most people that get it are like these, like bro, jock, dudes or whatever. That really just don’t got no creativity and don’t know what else to get so they just like put this like big bearded dude on them or whatever, which is kind of ironic to me, because, like that’s the trend right now, it’s like getting these muscly like statues And bearded dudes, all over your body or whatever, and it just seems a little weird to me, like as a man and [ __ ], just have a bunch of like random, like beards all over you or whatever. You know what i mean.

So please stop asking me for the poseidon tattoo, i’m not doing that! [ __ ]! No more! It’S been probably like two years since i’ve uh agreed to do one of those tattoos. I may have played the [ __ ] out.

So do yourself a favor if you’re like thinking about getting that as a tattoo, maybe like consider it a little bit the fact that, like everybody else, is getting that right now, because i bet you in 20 years, people are gon na. Look at that like a more advanced form of tribal to where, like everybody has the same tattoo as you and it’s gon na be one of those things that you chuckle about. When you get a little bit older and you’re like yeah, you know i should have been more original with that all right, okay, so number two on the list is actually pretty closely related to this and it is lion tattoos, so i don’t know um. You know why everybody wants to get a lion tattoo. I feel, like you know, if you’re a leo, then it kind of makes sense, just like with the poseidon like, if you like, are a surfer or some [, __ ] or if you like, to sail a lot.

That makes sense, but you know everybody and their mama is getting a [ __ ] lion tattoo right now, and i’m super sick of doing those too, because there’s a couple of reasons, all right, um one of them is because there are only a limited amount of Lion like reference photos out there if you’re getting a realistic lion. There is a very limited amount of pictures to like choose from when you’re going to like um. You know replicate that onto the skin or whatever and translate it to a tattoo, and not only that, but if you want a lion that is like the one that’s like making like the growling like the roaring face or whatever then um, you know there’s only like. Maybe one or two and honestly like this picture, i’m gon na post it up right here. That’S the only one, that’s like extra cool, where it’s not just like a lion like yawning and it looks like it’s roaring, but it looks maybe like it’s actually like a pissed off lion and it’s clear and that’s like really the only one available and i’ve already Done that tattoo a couple times – and i feel like everybody – that tattoos, black and gray or realism has also done that tattoo many times and yeah, i feel like.

Maybe some people don’t get sick of it, but most people that i know don’t enjoy tattooing lions over and over and over and that’s the second reason why i wish people would stop asking me for this. [ __ ] is because lions aren’t very enjoyable to tattoo and the reason why is because the main is very like disorganized and there’s a lot of information in the reference. So it’s kind of like i don’t know it’s difficult to make. It look cool and even if you’re able to it’s not very fun to make it look cool, at least for me so um. I really don’t want nobody to ask me for lines anymore, that type of tattoo i stopped doing maybe like three or four years ago and um yeah i mean i enjoy doing animal portraits, but [ __ ], a lion all right number, three, also kind of fits Into this, like category of like your um, i’m gon na be a tattoo bro, starter kit or whatever, and that is pocket, watches and compasses.

So if uh, you know, if you’re putting the lions, what the [ __ ] roses with the pocket watches with the compasses with the poseidons and [ __ ]. Damn you were like really shooting yourself in the foot in terms of originality, because everybody’s got a [ __ ] sleeve like that and um. You know, don’t get me wrong roses. I never get sick of doing that. [ __ ] because to me they’re, classic and they’re fun to uh tattoo, like they’re, all kind of a little bit different and the process of building them up visually is really fun but um.

The same is not true for pocket, watchers and compasses, and the reason why is because there’s so many [ __ ] ellipses in a pocket watch or a compass? What i mean by that by an ellipse is like a circular shape like a perfect circle or a perfect oval or something like that and um. You know there’s a lot of room for error, so definitely i’ve done many pocket watches. I can do a clean one. I can do some real nice ones, but they’re so like rigid to tattoo, like they’re they’re, very, like high pressure and stressful.

You got ta like really hold the machine tight. The whole time that you’re in there, like carving out those edges and really sculpting those lines and ellipses that, like the whole process, is just very like tight butthole to me and very uh stressful and i feel like they don’t really look cool enough in the end. To justify going through that trouble and um, you know not only that, but there’s just so many small details in there that even if you’re good at doing a pocket watch like there’s gon na be little errors in there and little flaws and stuff. So that’s like the type of [ __ ] that us tattoo artists will lay awake at night and, like think about, like damn, i kind of [ __ ] up on on that little line. I had a little wiggle right there and i don’t like feeling like that.

You know what i mean, so you know don’t get me wrong, i’m not afraid of like a difficult tattoo. I actually like thrive um with difficult projects or whatever, but pocket watches are like unnecessarily difficult and they don’t really look cool enough to justify how hard they are to do and how unenjoyable they are to do. For me, personally, all right number four is going to be trees so tree. Tattoos are something that at least in my shop historically with all the people that have worked there um. You know: we’ve made fun of tree tattoos, quite a bit uh behind closed doors after clients ask for them or whatever and then walk out the door after everybody tells them no um.

You know i’m not i’m not talking about like trees like in a landscape like if they’re like the type of trees, where it’s like pine trees and um. They have like that vertical, like linear quality and they’re kind of like a secondary piece of subject matter like behind other [ __ ] like if it’s a nature scene and there’s like trees in there and [ __ ], that’s cool, but i’m talking about like a Single tree like, if you want one tree on your body specifically the type of tree that is like the one that kind of i don’t know, looks like broccoli and [ __ ] like if it’s like one of those trees, they just don’t fit good anywhere. On the body um, except for like maybe the back, who wants like a big ass tree on their back, i don’t know, but i ain’t trying to do that. [ __, ], um yeah. They just look really stiff and um.

I don’t know they just look real 90s too. It’S real difficult to translate a tree to a tattoo and make it look cool too. You know there’s only a couple of people that i know of that are good at that [ __, ] um. You know oak adams comes to mind, but he does more of like a flowy like dead tree type of thing um, but yeah. Anything, that’s like tree of life!

Anything that’s like the type of tree that is like an oak tree or something like that is definitely definitely something i’m not interested in, and i think most tattooers would agree that those are not enjoyable tattoos to do either because, let’s face it like you know, when You’Re doing tattoos you have to think about uh like the composition of how it’s gon na be placed like anatomically and um. You know with trees. It looks very stiff on most areas of the body and doesn’t fit very well on most areas of the body. All right number, five yeah number five number five is going to be carnations or um, any flowers that are similar in like their look to carnations and what i mean by that is, like i’m gon na post up a picture of a carnation right now, um. The reason that they are tattoos that i don’t like to do is because they are very illegible, like the petals in them are very busy, and it’s hard to tell what’s going on in color yeah, you can kind of get away with it.

I did some pretty sick, like carnation tattoos, that i’ll post up right here, um in color, realism and that turned out okay, even though it was kind of a pain to render them, but in black and gray, especially doing carnations. Like it just kind of looks like a crumpled up piece of tissue paper, or something like that, and it’s real hard to tell what it is, and not only that but um same thing that applied to the pocket. Watches applies to the carnations, where they’re very difficult to tattoo, and even if you pull it off like to the best of your ability at least me um. When i look at it, then it’s just like it’s not that impressive for how hard it was. So they take super long, um they’re really hard to do taking super long sucks for the client, because it costs them more money, they’re really hard to do and they’re not really that artistically, like appealing in the end.

So personally, like those type of flowers, i don’t like to do them other flowers that are like carnations um that that might apply to would be, like i don’t know, maybe like certain peonies like going around neo-traditional peonies, look awesome but like photorealistic peonies, not so much. You know um, but i’m sure there’s a lot of other flowers that you guys might be able to. Think of that are similar to that um, but just like with the busy pedals and all that type of [ __ ]. Okay, number six is gon na, be butterflies, so um butterflies are making like a real, strong comeback like in 2020 and 2021. I remember back in the beginning of my nine year, career uh people used to get butterflies all the time and then, like you, know the ones with like the little swirlies and the stars and [ __ ] um, but they kind of calmed down for a while And i was super happy when they did calm down and now everybody seems like they’re asking for them again and i stopped doing butterflies, maybe like five or six years ago.

The reason that i don’t like to do those is actually very similar um to the reason why i don’t like to do the pocket, watches and the carnations, and it’s because butterflies have all these little like like circles and spaces inside of the edges of the wings. That take forever to like tattoo around or whatever, with the needle and uh they they pretty much every butterfly tattoo that i’ve ever done. I either felt like i charged the client too much money for how big the tattoo was um and how cool the tattoo was, or i felt like. I hooked the client up too much on like the hourly rate, because i reduced it because i felt bad about how much it was uh how long it was taking like per its. You know size or whatever, like per square inch um, and then i felt like i got burned, so i feel like with butterfly tattoos um nobody’s ever really happy.

Like don’t get me wrong. The tattoo can come out amazing. The client could be happy, but as far as like how long it took and how much it costed um for me, i just feel like it’s not really worth it for anybody involved. If it’s me and the client or whatever those two people, you know so, um plus they’re kind of played out people been getting butterflies for a long ass time, and the same thing applies where there’s like only a limited amount of like good pictures of butterflies. Like everybody does the butterfly that’s like sitting on the skin looks like it’s um.

You know chilling on. There has a little shadow on it and there’s only like one reference or two references that for monarch, butterflies or whatever, which is the most common kind that you can use for that then after you do like seven or eight or nine or ten of them. As a tattoo artist and you’re like this is like kind of feels like uh, i don’t know it sucks the creativity out of the whole process and it’s just not any fun anymore. Number seven is going to be koi fish um, you know. Personally, i really don’t like doing japanese tattoos um in general, i always kind of shied away from that style uh because i felt like i don’t know like.

Maybe it’s like an asian thing like i didn’t want like to be the asian dude that does asian tattoos, because it just kind of seems like um, like a gimmick to me or something like that uh, so i’ve always and plus artistically, like i’ve, always just enjoyed. Looking at different styles, more like black, eraser realism or i’m saying new school, or something like that, so i’ve never really been into doing the japanese stuff um. But that’s not the real reason why i don’t want to do any koi fish um. The real reason is because koi fish look like dicks so um. I know that sounds kind of [, __, ], weird to say and kind of [ __ ] up to say and i’m sorry if anybody out there watching this has a koi fish tattoo, but yeah.

Every single one of them, like kind of, looks like a dick to me, and maybe that just makes me like gay as [, __, ] or whatever, but um. I feel like that’s just the way they look and it takes a lot of effort to draw them to where they don’t look like dicks and uh yeah. I just feel like they’re kind of a whack-ass looking fish and um. I don’t really know why everybody gets them tattooed on them unless, like they really identify with like the [ __ ] uh, traditional meaning of a koi fish tattoo, which i don’t even know what the [ __ ]. That is all right.

So number eight is going to be phoenix birds and um when i say phoenix birds, i’m not talking about like the japanese phoenix birds. That kind of look like some sort of like a peacock looking thing or whatever i’m talking about the phoenix birds that are made of fire um. Those birds are also like kind of very uh. It’S like a common thing. The tattooers will turn down like people that i know nobody really wants to do.

A [, __, ], phoenix um, because they’re really not easy to make look cool like a bird. That’S it’s hard enough just to tattoo fire and make it look. Believable like flames or whatever, without making them look all cartoony or whatever the [ __ ] um, but to make a whole bird made out of that [ __ ]. It’S like [ __, ] man. Where do you even start drawing that um?

You know where to even start like with that design or whatever, and even if you do pull it off and make it look cool. How long is that design going to take you? How long is it going to take you to draw that up as opposed to tattooing it and then yeah? I guess you could go on google and just get a reference or whatever and then throw that on the body. But if you look on google and look at different phoenix references like there’s, not really a whole lot of them that look cool and there’s not a whole lot of them that translate well to a tattoo um.

You know because they might look cool, but it’s like some really complicated digital art that just isn’t possible to translate one to one directly into the skin. So don’t get me wrong. I’Ve seen a couple of really dope phoenix tattoos out there and i’m just like damn. They really pulled that off, but i’m not the one for it and most task force that i know they. Ain’T really [ __ ] with that either so number nine is gon na, be pretty much any style of like logo like if you’re going to ask me for, like a sports team or like iron man, competition type of thing or like [, __, ] pepsi logo, Because it’s the next generation, it’s your favorite, [, __, ], soda or whatever, and you quit [ __ ] doing coke couple years ago, and you want to get the pepsi logo to commemorate that moment.

Nah. I don’t want to do none of that stuff at all. Um logos are kind of the same thing for me where they’re like real stiff. They take a long time for me personally, i’m not super fast at tattooing, very technical, straight edge things like that. I’M faster at tattooing, more realistic, [, __, ] um, you know or like color packing, or something like that, but yeah like edge preservation and doing like little perfect [, __, ] angles and perfect circles and ellipses like what i was talking about earlier um.

That’S not really my thing, so not only that, but there’s really not a whole lot of creativity to it. I feel like a [, __ ] sign painter or some [ __ ], when i do uh logo tattoos, so those ones i mean i stopped doing actually. Probably like six years ago too um, please don’t ask me for any logo. Tattoos, then, if you do ask me for a tattoo, don’t ask for a logo to be included, because that’s gon na be a deal breaker for me, okay, so the last one number 10 is going to be along the same uh lines like a similar type of Thing same lines: no pun intended it’s going to be lettering! So um, you know, don’t get me wrong.

Man! I love lettering tattoos. I got [ __, ] lettering, big lettering, tattoos blasted across my gut and uh i’m about to go and get another one. On my neck, in a couple of weeks here over in cali for my homie calm, shout out com1 check them out on instagram um, yeah uh. I just really i’m not super good at them.

I mean i can draw some custom script and it’s like passable. It’S pretty decent, but i wouldn’t say that i’m like real real good at lettering. Um, i can do clean lettering. I can do google lettering or whatever, but i just prefer not to um. It just really doesn’t match well with the style of tattoo that i do like you know.

If i do like a lot of realism and [ __ ], then if you mix lettering in with realism, it’s real hard to get it to look like it like fits and matches with the composition without the lettering. Looking almost like, it’s sticking out like a sore thumb and doesn’t belong there, and i think a big part of that is because, when you’re doing anything realistic, like you have a three-dimensional piece of subject matter and lettering is two-dimensional looking. So it kind of like clashes spatially and it’s hard to tell what’s in front of what and what um the priority is in terms of what the viewer is supposed to look at. First in the composition, it’s also really hard to accomplish like a a clear priority. In your art, when you have lettering and realism mixed now, part of the reason for that is because lettering is uh.

You know obviously like black lines most the time and anything. That’S like black lines is going to be very contrasty, obviously because it’s black with empty skin near it and then it’s going to be very sharp, and it’s going to be. You know saying like those things when it’s contrasty and sharp it sucks attention towards that area of um a tattoo, so it almost takes attention away from whatever the realistic subject matter is and then makes it so that the viewer really doesn’t know what to prioritize. In terms of looking at – and it makes it so that people don’t like the tattoo, but they don’t even [ __ ] know why, like they, don’t understand the science behind it. Why that weird conflict is happening, but they just look at it and they’re like it looks busy to me or whatever you know so um don’t get me wrong.

Like i said, lettering can definitely be mixed with other styles and it can be made to look dope with other styles, but it’s not really something that i excel at doing so i don’t uh. I don’t really like it when people ask for lettering in their tattoos, and i just tell them straight up that i ain’t gon na, do it if it has lettering in it and some clients, you know it’s not a big deal for them and they say: okay. Well, i’ll just uh, you know get it without the lettering. Some people that’s a deal breaker for them and then i just recommend them to another artist and uh. You know i just try to be polite about it.

So there’s no love lost, but yeah. I really ain’t doing those ones either all right, so that’s about it for today’s video guys, um. You know i feel, like i uh kind of laid it all out there, and i did this one pretty quick. I hope that i wasn’t um, don’t sound too rude or whatever or like full of myself, because i tend to like talk fast and when i talk fast. I’M very blunt, so i didn’t really sugarcoat none of this [ __ ] right here, although, let’s be honest, i really never do um but yeah.

If anybody has these type of tattoos or whatever on their body that i talked about and uh, you feel like. I’M sneak dissing you and [ __ ]. I apologize. You know i’m not really uh out here trying to make anybody feel bad about the tattoos they got, but i feel like it kind of has some of this [ __ ] has to be said, like the [ __ ], the poseidon and the lions and the Pocket watches and [ __ ], like that’s, been going on for way too [ __ ] long, and i’m not saying that it needs to stop, but personally um. I feel like it’s.

It’S going to stop eventually and there’s probably a lot of people out there. That would like to be told this information that it is something that’s played, the [ __ ] out and it’s a trend like a way that everybody’s writing that you know it’s kind of hackneyed, it’s kind of uh overdone so um yeah. I feel like that’s the reason why i made this video to kind of make some people aware of that um. It wasn’t to put anybody down. It was just to try to provide information as usual on my channel, so hopefully you enjoyed it.

If you did go ahead and give it a thumbs up um, if i pissed you off, you know you can thumbs down and leave the negative comments and [ __ ]. You know it’s all good [, __, ] haters, don’t hate but yeah. If you guys uh, you know have any additional questions about this [ __ ]. You can leave them in the comments section below uh and as always, if you want to get tattooed by me or if you have other business inquiries, then uh go ahead and uh shoot me an email at uh contact, jameswithy.com or jamesjameswithy.

om. If you guys want to check out more of my work and like do an official inquiry or whatever the best way to do, it is to go to my website. It is jameswithy.com and then look at the contact section, and that has like all the information that you’re supposed to include when you do email me like with a tattoo increase. So hopefully that helps you out um, but yeah.

I got ta get to it. A lot of stuff to do today, hopefully you guys have a good day um. Certainly, i will as long as i accomplish things and um feel like i got off the couch after two weeks of having covid and uh yeah we’ll go ahead and see you next time, bye, okay, so now that we’re at the end, there is one more thing That i want to mention – and that’s that this video is sponsored by skillshare skillshare – is an online learning community that has like thousands of different classes for creators and it’s a really great way to explore new skills and beef up your knowledge and ability, in whatever creative Endeavor you choose, the types of classes that you can take on, skillshare are really wide in variety and they include stuff like freelancing, fine art, videography, filmmaking, all sorts of stuff. One of the classes, specifically that i liked, when i was looking through the skillshare website, was one called start: drawing techniques for pencil, portraits taught by a person named gabrielle bricky. One thing i really liked about this course.

Uh specifically, was that she’s really comprehensive in the way that she explains everything in terms of like how to draw a pencil portrait. So she covers, like a different materials. You’Ll need to start the process, uh specific techniques that you might be using when you’re drawing pencil, portraits and also one thing that i really really liked was that she covered like the anatomy of the human face, which is super important. If you want to be a good portrait artist to like know where those anatomical landmarks are so that you can kind of recognize them more easily when you’re matching information from the reference to the actual art, you’re, creating so yeah overall skillshare is a really great learning Tool, regardless of your current level of skill like whether or not you’re a novice or whether or not you’re intermediate or advanced and um, you know it’s really great, because there’s no ads and they’re also constantly putting on like new material onto the website, so that there Are new classes for you to continue your learning the first 1000 people that click on the link in the description of this video are gon na get a one month, free trial, membership of skillshare and uh yeah go ahead and try it out and see if you, Like it, hopefully you benefit from it. Thanks for watching.

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