006 Tom Ruki

Tom Ruki in action




Yuna from Final Fantasy X

This is a first for The Spiralling as I have never actually met Tom! I first heard about Tenacious Tattoo in Sheffield via a friend of mine who knew Deryn, one of the other tattooists there.  I have been following the progress of the studio and particularly Tom’s work closely over the last couple of years.

Tom started drawing at an early age, encouraged by his family and school. Tom is a self-taught artist and has used the internet as a resource for online video tutorials as well as a wide variety of books. When Tom was a teenager it was manga style art that furthered his passion. When I asked Tom if there were any specific artists that had influenced him at this time he said “my earliest influence is Akira Toriyama, who most notably for me did the artwork for Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Quest games. I would strive to copy the characters which often had unique appearances.”

Since being a teenager Tom took inspiration from a variety of sources such as magazines and websites learning more about anatomy and realistic techniques. After trying a variety of mediums Tom would “always come back to simple colouring pencils on printer paper, although now I do use Photoshop a lot throughout the process.” Like many artists Tom saw his art as more of a hobby, “it’s always been a bit on the back-burner as I never thought I’d be able to make a career out of it, but once I got interested in tattooing I was drawing everyday.” 

A realistic rose designed by Tom

Tom started tattooing on fruits in 2008, to get a feel for the machine and just to see what it was like. “I had a lot of help from 2 professional mentors throughout my first years. My first real tattoo was on my own leg, and I was so nervous I couldn’t feel a thing!” I’ve had tattoos done on me, but I can’t imagine what it must be like to tattoo someone else’s skin but Tom thinks that “tattooing onto skin is actually a very comfortable medium because I can produce finished pieces often looking much better than I can achieve with paper or paints.” Tom has been developing his tattoo style and one of the reasons I really love his work is that he can create beauty from any subject, from video games to nature. “I aim for a realism but I like to tailor things towards my own tastes and ideals, not limiting myself to making things strictly 100% realistic. I guess this is a kind of ‘stylised realism’.” Whatever you call his style, it works!


Tom won ‘Best Realism’ for this piece in 2012 at Tattoo Jam, click for full size image

Compared to a lot of other artists in the business Tom has been tattooing for a comparatively short amount of time, but this hasn’t stopped him from winning awards. Tom’s proudest moment was winning a ‘Best Realism’ award at Tattoo Jam in 2012. “I had completed a blue-tinted British wildlife sleeve on a lovely girl and we entered it into the competition. I didn’t expect to win so it was a massive surprise! Although getting on stage to accept a trophy was kinda scary as I am still a newcomer to the industry, I felt overwhelmed with the support and being surrounded by such amazing tattooists.”

Tenacious Tattoo are in the process of moving to a new location in Sheffield so have had to put a few things on hold during this transitional period. If you do want to catch Tom in action outside of the studio though he will be tattooing at the Sheffield Tattoo Show on the 15th and 16th of November at the Magna Science Centre. More info about this event can be found here.tombee

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Catch Tom finishing off this masterpiece at the Sheffield Tattoo Show on Saturday 15th November

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