Jess Ownes - Neo Trad Portraits

 It's no secret that Jess Owens of The Drawing Room Tattoo Studio, Huddersfield is one of the best realism tattooists around. 

Her tattoos ranging from dark Gothic to pet portraits have earned her a highly respected reputation in the tattoo world - and she's a great girl as well! 

During lockdown the pint sized Alt princess as turned her hand to a new style entirely. 

Creating stunning neo-trad commissioned portraits. she has opened up a whole new creative sideline that people are queuing up for. 

Here Jess talks to us about the process and the initial idea for the project. 

When taking on a new commission how do you make that portrait unique to them? 

"There's one thing that I find that I do with my neo-trad designs, I didn't even realise I did it until yesterday,  I tend to lean towards that person's natural aesthetic. When I did Micky's (image below) He had a very natural viking aesthetic, I didn't pull that out of thin air. He's go the heavy beard, the long hair and a lot of Nordic tattoos, so I leaned into that. 

I'm finding I'm doing that with everyone, I'm looking at what would suit them best, not trying to make everyone look the same.

I'm not following a set pattern for everyone, I'm not just throwing a load of tattoos on everyone, not everyone's face suits that.

Ashley, who I'm doing at the moment, she has a very naturally beautiful aesthetic anyway, so if i stuck a massive piece of script on her, it just wouldn't suit her face. She's got more of a medieval princess vibe. She's got beautiful long ginger hair so I'm leaning into that. The fact she's a very fiery redhead as well, I'm putting a little bit of flare into that.

That's how I'm tackling making sure not everyone looks that same" 

Neo-trad is new style for you. How are feeling about it? 

"'I'm really enjoying it! its definitely passing the time really well. I don't even draw neo-trad. This is the first time I've ever drawn this style so it's cool that people are actually wanting to get this done. 

I was bored one day and did Lewis's for him (boyfriend). I just thought I'd have a go at drawing him as a tattoo. I had a look at other artists and how they would do it and just tried to replicate that.

I took a picture of him and then started to sketch over the top of that. Looking back at it now it's nowhere near as good as the ones I'm doing now, which is really cool because I'm progressing with it.

I have tattooed this style years ago when I was an apprentice. I wouldn't say I was ever good at it. It's just one of those things that you do when someone walks through that door and you say 'yeah I'll have a go'. I think every apprentice is guilty of that. Its like, you know, you take anything you can get your hands on because everyone is scared to get tattooed by an apprentice. When someone does you're just like - yeah i'll do whatever you f***ing want! (laughs)"

Are you surprised by the response you have got so far? 

"Yeah, I didn't think that anybody would want to have this sort of stuff done. So it's cool that so many people have jumped on it.

I've even managed to do some t-shirt designs for a beard oil company!

It's really cool to know that even if I'm not working I can still work.

As a tattoo artist I always though if I'm not working I'm f***ed. So it's cool to know I've got that and I'm very very grateful for the amount people that have kept me afloat (throughout lockdown). Because, you know, I've got no income. If I'm not tattooing I'm not making any money.

So having people keeping me afloat by having my drawings is awesome. 

I'm very very grateful!" 

Check out some of Jess's amazing designs below. 

If you want to see more or have one for yourself drop her a DM on IG @ 



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