About a million years ago my buddy Nate asked me if I would design him a tattoo depicting the Buddha-to-be sitting under the Bodhi tree:
Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha-to-be, sits under the Bodhi tree and vows to reach enlightenment and break the cycle of death and rebirth. The demon Mara, who is temptation and death personified, attacks SG with his army in an attempt to thwart his enlightenment. In one fantastic scene, the arrows shot at SG miraculously turn to lotus petals mid-flight and rain down on him. After his army fails, Mara sends in his three hot daughters to tempt SG back to the world. Ultimately, Mara fails and SG awakens as the Buddha. This all happens over the course of one night.
And here I am, giving him a tattoo of the Buddha, but without the tree. (Or the hot daughters.) What kind of friend am I?
The real truth is, I couldn’t figure out how to put the tree in there without it totally overpowering the cool Buddha-to-be.
First, I started out with our best friend, Mr. Google Image Search:
I thought a kind of punky, badass young Buddha was appropriate for Nate:
Now all we need is videos of the tattooing—if he decides to go through with it….
I really didn’t want to go for the obvious slutty-girl-reading-a-book theme, so after about a dozen abandoned ideas, I sketched this one:
Decided Jefferson would be my muse (the pixellated color cartoon is from the wonderful 1993 computer game, DAY OF THE TENTACLE):
Thought ol’ Tom needed a companion:
No idea whether the design will actually get used, but there you go.
I did this for our IT department at the Law School. It’s one of those ideas I didn’t have to think about very much: if you walk around a law school at finals, you don’t see students doing much but tapping away at laptops.
A rough sketch for the general idea:
Start cutting and pasting stuff into Photoshop from Google Image Search:
Draw a (slightly) tighter sketch:
Then see a much better-executed idea in the NYTimes: