Live Leaf Tattoos by Rit Kit

Live leaf tattoo by Rit Kit

“I’m a nature lover, so most of my sketches are related to flora,” Ukrainian tattooer Rit Kit explains. “But the more I drew, the more I wanted something fresh and native, to feel the plants without any steps in between.”

Searching for a more organic design process, she started dipping live leaves in tattoo stencil ink, pressing them directly on her customers’ bodies. “We don’t know the definitive look when we start, just the colors, the mood and basic shape. It’s my favorite way to make tattoos, and I think the most natural. They’re like botanical fingerprints on the bodies of other brave nature lovers.”

Top: Fern leaf pressed on skin.
Live leaf tattoo by Rit Kit
The final tattoo accepts naturally occurring asymmetry and imperfections.
Live leaf tattoo by Rit Kit
Pigmentation is inspired by both the thriving and decaying states of plant life.
Live leaf tattoo by Rit Kit
The purple stencil of fresh jasmine is gradually wiped away during this freehand tattoo session.
Live leaf tattoo by Rit Kit
An outline of wheat buds serves as a guideline, while the actual tattoo can edit mistakes for a cleaner design.
Live leaf tattoo by Rit Kit
Patchy negative space is embraced and even emphasized as part of the natural design process.
Live leaf tattoo by Rit Kit
Black and grey tones can simulate an x-ray or fossil imprint.
Live leaf tattoo by Rit Kit
A photoreal fern tattoo held alongside the frond that designed it.
Images © Rita "Rit Kit" Zolotukhina
Morgan English

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Morgan is a New York-based curator of contemporary tattoo art. She is Founder and Editor of the digital gallery tattrx.com, works as a freelance tattoo writer and an agent for modern artists. Follow the author @ Twitter , Instagram, Facebook and view more articles.