From needle to nib: Tattooist turns to new lockdown art career

artist holds up artwork

Tattooist Leighanne Devaney has turned her hand to conventional art in lockdown. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

When Norfolk artist Leighanne Devaney now goes to work, there's no one flinching as she creates her art.

tattooist holds up art

Tattooist Leighanne Devaney has turned her hand to conventional art during lockdown. - Credit: Neil Didsbury


Leighanne Devaney's art that doesn't require a tattoo. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

Instead, Miss Devaney, 31, from Dereham, happily creates intricate pictures of tigers and flowers - but all with a pen or paintbrush and no needles and ink involved.

Tattoo of tigers on each shoulder of a man

Some of Leighanne Devaney's tattoo work. - Credit: Supplied

She's had to put her love of creating tattoos on hold because of lockdown and to keep busy and generate some income, she's turned her hand at artwork on paper instead.

someone doing a tattoo on someone's back of a big tiger

Leighanne Devaney at work doing a tattoo before lockdown. - Credit: Supplied

And the change in career has so far paid off with commissions coming in for artwork depicting pets and loved ones.

tattooist holds up trainers with pictures of cats

Tattooist Leighanne Devaney. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

tattoo of a butterfly and heart

Leighanne Devaney's tattoo work - Credit: Supplied

Miss Devaney, who went to art college, always wanted to be a tattoo artist and has worked for six years from her own studio Devaney's Tattoos and Removals in Dereham's Aldiss Court, High Street. 

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"My mum always said I was going to do something different, I was always putting temporary tattoos on and changing my hair.

"I've got 13 tattoos myself, not that many for a tattoo artist, and my favourite is one on my leg of my cat Cecil. 

tattoo of a robin

Some of Leighanne Devaney's tattoo work. - Credit: Supplied

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"Doing tattoos is quite emotional, it's so powerful and I've cried quite a few times. I was once asked to do a mum's signature and her last heart beat on a daughter and father and I cried afterwards for days. A tattoo is very personal, it means so much to someone. If you are correcting someone else's work because they didn't get it quite right, the pressure is really on."

tattoo of tiger and roses

Leighanne Devaney's tattoo work - Credit: Supplied

tattoo of a bee

Leighanne Devaney's tattoo work - Credit: Supplied

Miss Devaney said tigers and roses were really popular tattoos and some, if it was a sleeve, could take several six hour sessions to finish.

"I've always been into art but I just lost touch with it because I just didn't have the time when I was doing the tattoos. I'm currently teaching myself how to use water colours but I don't use oils; at home I have two cats and it would just be too messy."

She can't wait to be able to open her tattoo parlour again when lockdown eases. But for now, she's enjoying creating artistry  which is ending on people's walls rather than their skin.

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