I am most impressed by Kat Von D’s portraits. A typical tattoo consists of a thick outline which is filled with sold color or shading. This type of tattooing can not easily be used to do a portrait. A persons face is not typically drawn with a hard outline. The expertise of Kat Von D shows in the fine use of shading to create depth.
An excellent example of fine shading work is on Marilyn Monroe’s jaw line. It is perfectly faded to transition from light to dark then back to light. The color of the persons skin is allowed to show through and the ink is only used to represent shadow. Again in the portrait of the young man and the one of the baby, smooth shading and contouring is used to give an illusion of depth. All of her portraits are very representational which is what most people want from a tattooed portrait. It would be very brave of one to get a Picasso inspired portrait of grandma or their baby tattooed.