Ink By Design

 Travis Broyles of NiteOwl Tattoo, Everett

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Check out the tattoos I had done and the story behind them HERE. Warning … it is a very personal feature dealing with mental illness and suicide. As such it may be a trigger for some dealing with similar issues or who know others who are.

I’d been wanting a tattoo, but putting it off, for about a year when I reached out to Travis at NiteOwl Tattoo in Everett. Why? Well, first off, I was a bit nervous since it’s been almost twenty years since I had gotten one (yes, I really am that old). Second, back then, I didn’t know what I wanted, I just got something that seemed cool. This time around, I knew I wanted the tattoos I got to mean something, especially since I was putting them front and center where everyone would see.

Choosing Travis was a no brainer for me. We are both photographers and into using color and various elements to create art. More importantly, since I was choosing to go with tattoos based on photographs I’ve taken, I knew he was just the guy to take what I’d created and, not only make them into something beautiful on my skin, but something that still had a bit of his style and creativity as well.

The overall experience was awesome, and the tattoos that Travis created couldn’t have been more perfect. Enough from me though, here is my interview with the man behind the tattoos, Travis Broyles of NiteOwl Tattoo.

How did you get into being a tattoo artist and graphic design?

I actually got into tattooing while I was still in high school! I had gotten my first tattoo, and the artist and I really hit it off. After some discussion, he had asked to see some of my artwork, and everything kind of fell into place from there more or less. I began apprenticing to be a tattoo artist shortly after that. At the same time, I was doing a lot of graphic and web design for larger than life bands, including Ozzy Osbourne, That work is something else that fell in place thanks to  being managed by a fella named Blasko. At the time, he was playing bass for Rob Zombie and Ozzy (current), and was getting me a lot of great gigs doing artwork for some of my favorite bands. I thought I would continue to do that forever. Now I don’t have time for any of that! My focus is on tattooing.

Is there anything that you think separates your style or work from others?

I really try to put my own spin on every piece of art I create for someone, giving each person a unique piece of art. I don’t think that people should have clones of other tattoos on them so, when they bring me an idea, I try to put in the extra time and effort to make it truly one of a kind.  I would like to think that my background with graphic and web design, photography, and traditional arts really help me stand out. I am able to digitally design all of my work, which allows me to play with color pallets, contrast, focal points, and other elements of the tattoo before the tattoo is applied. 

Are there certain types of designs or themes that you specialize in, or are known best for? What are your favorite things to do? 

I think that I have a strange mix of every type of style of tattooing honestly. I have tried not to pigeon hole myself and know that I can confidently tackle most projects that come to me, 

I think that my favorite styles of tattooing are going to be American Traditional, Neo Traditional, Japanese, and realism. All of those styles are evident not only in my work, but more or less in most tattoos that I do! I try to pull a little bit out of each of my favorite styles into each piece of art, to make is something unique that my client will love.

What goes into creating a custom tattoo?

Clients usually email me or swing into the shop for a quick consultation. We will go over some art, or other tattoos that they are into – and I will see exactly what elements they are looking for to create their personal tattoo. I take notes of all of the things that they are looking for, and then the process begins.

I have been drawing digitally for most of my tattoo career. Sometimes I will take a picture of the area to be tattooing, and am able to sketch on that photo on my computer. Once I have a loose sketch, I will then make a digital line drawing and then the tweaking of the image begins. With digital artwork you are able to resize, stretch, and skew objects within a drawing without having to redraw things over and over again. 

Once I am happy with the final line drawing – making sure that the client gets all of the elements that they are looking for, and that the image really looks flows with their body – then I will do a quick color study or value study of the image. This really helps me to know exactly how I am going to shade and color the tattoo, before the client is even at the shop. Once they come in show them to make sure we are on the same page and,  if we aren’t, then I can make changes on the fly, and we can get the rest of the tattoo process started quickly from there. 

What is your favorite tattoo that you have created to date and why? 

Most of my favorite have been on my wife actually. We have been together for nine years now. It is nice to see all of the tattoos that I have done on her as they are a reminder of where we were at when I did this one, what was going on around the time that we did another one, etc. She really pushes me to do my best in everything, so I am always super nervous to tattoo her.

I would say that my next favorite tattoo that I have done, would actually be the puzzle piece that I did on my brother. I have a matching one on myself that I did on myself the same night I did his. These tattoos are actually for his son (my nephew), as he has autism and is non verbal. We really wanted to do something for him, and it is nice to have that connection with my brother on a matching tattoo as well.

Have you ever said no to giving a tattoo?

All the time! There is a trend right now of facial tattoos. We often see this with teenagers. They see a lot of famous people or musical artists covered in tattoos, including their faces, hands etc – and they want to do the same! While it isn’t up to me to decide for someone that they shouldn’t get a particular place of their body tattooed – I will just pass on tattooing most anyone’s face, hands, neck and etc if they are pretty young or don’t already have a lot of other tattoos. They haven’t even began to dip their toes in life and I really don’t want them to regret that decision later in life. 

What are the reasons you hear most for why people are getting a tattoo? What would you consider good and bad reasons for getting one?

I feel that a lot of people get tattoos as part of a memorial for someone/something or a time in their life that they are looking to reflect on. “Journey” kind of stuff. Anytime you want to get a tattoo for something that makes you happy -then that is a good reason. I don’t think that you should ever get something that you don’t want to really do, or if you feel that you will regret it later.

Follow along on Instagram + Facebook

@niteowltattoonw – FB

@travisbroyles13  – FB

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