Create Winged Lightning!

A few months after being struck by lightning,  my amazing daughter asked me to design a tattoo for her that represented her survival. Even though her spine was badly injured, she has since resumed many of the activities she enjoyed before the strike.

To create a similar design, refer to the directions below.


Colored pencils are an amazing medium for designing tattoos. Just remember that the final canvas for the design is human skin – so keep your colors very bright.

1. Lightly sketch one wing and the lightning bolt.

2. Choose a palette of colors and shade your design.

3. You then have two options to complete the design:

Option 1:  Draw and shade the second wing and outline the entire design with a sharpened black colored pencil. If you need help, refer to 1.2.A3 Shortcut for Drawing with Symmetry in the Pro lessons (free until June 16).

Option 2: Scan the wing and lightning bolt and bring it into Photoshop or similar software. Use a thin brush tool to outline the shapes. To add the second wing:

  • Widen the canvas enough to add the second wing.
  • Select the lasso tool and copy the wing.
  • Flip the design horizontally, paste it, and move it into place.
  • Trim the edges with eraser tools.
  • Flatten the layers and flip the design again (optional).

About Brenda Hoddinott
Award-winning artist and author; illustrator, art educator, curriculum designer, co-owner of, owner of Drawspace Publishing, and retired forensic artist Brenda has developed art curricula and taught multidisciplinary arts since 1980. During her 25-year career as a forensic artist, Brenda worked with diverse criminal investigative agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Department of National Defense, private investigative agencies, and municipal police departments. Brenda and her partner John live in the suburbs of Halifax, Nova Scotia with their two SPCA rescue dogs: Timber the Huskador and Katie the Pitweiler. Their blended human family includes five adult children and two grandchildren. Books by Brenda Hoddinott include: 2012: Introduction to Contour Lines (Drawspace Publishing) 2012: Introduction to Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2011: Illustrated Dictionary of Art-Related Terms (Drawspace Publishing) 2010: Getting Started with Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2004: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing People Illustrated (Alpha Books) 2003: Drawing for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc.)

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