The idea for this band poster came from a watercolor sketch and a song by a local Buffalo band, The Reign of Kindo, called Great Blue Sea. I was trying to capture the effect of the bleeding edges of the watercolor in vector art.
Song on youtube
Took a photo of the tattoo area and super-imposed the elephant shape. This helped us make decisions about positioning and how much the elephant should be rearing up and reaching towards the neck.
Original stance sketch
Concept changed to a standing elephant, checked placement and level of detail with a work-in-progress temporary tattoo print-out
Photoshop composite elephant from over a dozen references, and final elephant with all line work. This ended up being even more detail than was needed, so it was simplified for the tattoo artist before the final transfer.