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Story Behind Ivory’s Death Tattoo

Sandman Death Tattoo on Arm
Death Tattoo inspired by The Sandman

This lil ink blotch was probably around ten years in the making. It has been in my mind in some form for at least that long. About a year ago I decided to put things into motion and finally commit to getting it done.

I had originally intended to do the art myself but my once upon a time talent has over many years of neglect and un-use eroded away like a sand castle at high tide. I spent a few days doing very rough sketches and jotting down notes in the margins trying to get all the info from lo those many years onto the paper so I could hand it off to another more capable illustrator to bring to life.

I then put together a very short list of artists who had worked on The Sandman that I thought would be right for the job. I settled on Richard Case (remembered most for his classic run on Doom Patrol) for many reasons including a) He’s a super nice guy. b) He’s a fellow NCer. c) He worked on one of my fav arcs of Sandman. d) His style is very similar to where my own style was headed. and e) His art looked like it would translate well to being tattooed.

Rich took my sketches and notes and did an amazing job. There was very little that I asked him to change from his earliest sketches. I took his finished art and laid out the text in a graphics program myself.

Last but not least was the search for a Tattoo artist that I thought was good enough to do the work. No hacks for me, only true artists. My first choice fell through. He’s a busy, busy man. I settled on Sarah Peacock of studios in Wilmington, NC a lovely and talented British lady. She did a marvelous job, especially in helping me add a touch of color to the piece which I really wanted.

Eventually it will be a half sleeve but I’m still working on what I want as the background. Then I will book more time with Sarah. There is loads of symbolism packed into the design including a Blue Jay perched on the cross that is in memory of my Dad whose name was Jay. When Mom passes a Bumble Bee will be added to honor her, her name is Bea.

It’s all about the yin and yang of life and death, light and dark and how they balance and define each other. The Gaelic on the base of the cross is roughly translated as “My heart is within you”. All comments are welcome and appreciated.



Design: Ivory, Richard Case
Tattoo Artist: Sarah Peacock, studios, Wilmington, NC

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9 Responses to “Story Behind Ivory’s Death Tattoo”

  1. Christian Says:

    hello can you say me what on ne stone is is this english or also the words there ^^


  2. Christian Says:

    i have forgot to say that i come from germany sry for my bad english =(

  3. Ivory Says:

    Yes it is in Gaelic and it roughly translates to English as “My heart is within you”.


  4. Princess Says:

    awsome tattoo im gona get my first one soon as a memory to a friend i lost bout 2 months ago does it hurt?

  5. lea beary Says:

    sweet tattoo where did u get it done?

  6. jemma Says:

    Heyy that is a sweet tattoo, i like it :) !! I’m getting my very first tattoo at the age of 17 in a few weeks in memory of my little bro who was stillborn almost 15 years ago.. I know that it was a long time ago but i wasnt aloud to get it done till now.. M

  7. Ivory Says:

    Princess – Thank you. Yes it does hurt sort of but it depends alot on where it is and how high your pain threshold is. I tend to have a high tolerance to pain. To me it was more of an annoying stinging sensation but after 5 or 10 minutes you mostly get used to it.

    Lea – Thank you. I had it done by Sarah Peacock in Wilmington, NC but the original art is by comic book artist Richard Case from my idea.

    Jemma – Thanks. Sorry about your lil bro but I’m glad they didn’t tatt you at age 2! Although you may have been the baddest toddler on the block.

  8. Dreamer Says:

    i hate wannab fandom entirely misunderstanding/misreading graphic novels

    “It’s all about the yin and yang of life and death, light and dark and how they balance and define each other. The Gaelic on the base of the cross is roughly translated as “My heart is within you”. All comments are welcome and appreciated.” REALLY lol if you say so

    but then it is a sentimental tattoo im guessing

  9. Ivory Says:

    I hate morons who don’t have a clue. How can there be any misunderstanding or misreading as you say, when I personally designed it from the word go to contain and represent everything quoted? As for wannabe (correct english) fandom? There is no wannabe to it. I am a very big fan and have been from the start. I kinda doubt many folks hate something and then get it inked on them for life. Gaiman’s work, Sandman and Death in particular, have been a large influence on me so I am in complete understanding of the work in question. How you can even begin to conceive that I’m not based on this tatt design is dicey at best. As for wannabe that would be anyone who uses the term “graphic novel” for bound collections of what were originally published as single issue comics. A Graphic Novel is conceived, created, and published as a single published work. The bastardization of the term is a very “wannabe” thing indeed. I don’t mind if someone dislikes the tatt and I don’t mind well reasoned criticism but nebulous comments like this that have no basis in fact and are generally the work of retarded trolls. Now please Mr./Ms. troll tell us how I don’t understand and have misread a fairly straight forward albeit artfully told comic book?

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