One dry hot day, in the California High Desert, we looked through table upon table of tattoo flash in the garage of a very neatly kept tract home.
The gentleman turned out to be the last man standing at the Nu-Pike in Long Beach. He ended up with flash sheets by Brooklyn Joe Leiber, Chris Nelson, Bob Cleveland and many others. Some signed, some not.
Here is one from that group, by the artist heralded as: The Unknown Master of the Crybabies. Said to have come to Long Beach by way of Oakland. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the work of the Legendary Duke.
Duke Kaufman used the core shading technique not employed by many in the Tattoo trade. You can see it here in the clouds, the heavy black shade area inside of the outside form lines. The black shaded core line on the inside of the legs of the Texas gal also. It’s a classical drawing technique meant to round out the form. It works.
We have never seen an actual Duke tattoo but it must be really cool. Lots of them were in black and white only. There is a story about a bank robbery where the plot was supposedly hatched in the back room of Lyle Tuttles studio. Duke was collared at the scene and off he went to the big house. Perfected his black and white drawing skills then tattooed happily away upon release.
Could you imagine waking up one morning with Happy Baby on one arm and Sad Baby on the other?