Wilhelm Scherer is a Tattoo/Visual artist who has been working in Portland, Maine for over 25 years- Originally from San Diego, California, his background includes drawing, painting in acrylic and watercolor and wood/metal sculptural work - He specializes in custom designed tattoos, done in collaboration with the client in order to achieve the highest quality results-

“ In working with people in this field, I feel it is important to get a good sense of what the right fit is for the tattoo, that the client have certain input into the process in order to make the piece live up to their vision, while offering guidance as to the best way to design and render the content effectively on the body, in order that it will be the most aesthetically pleasing-”

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Years of accumulated experience have allowed Wil to become well versed in a wide range of subject matter and styles, some of his specialties include aquatic/undersea themes, spacescapes, and natural landscape/animal rendering- As well as tattooing, Wil also designs and casts his own tattoo machines, which are used exclusively in his work- Wil is Co-owneratSanctuary Tattoo in Portland, Maine, at 31 Forest Avenue in the heart of the Portland Arts District- He is a resident of Portland, and spends his non-working time absorbing the beauty of the Maine coast, spending as much time as possible on the waters of Casco Bay and beyond for inspiration for his art-


Working with Wil

The first step in getting tattooed in any situation is to have at least a basic idea of what you want for subject matter and what if anything you would like the tattoo to express to YOU- I feel these are above all personal artwork, and the person who wears it is the most important observer, as they will carry the tattoo for the remainder of life- The work should be done in a way that is pleasing to the eye of outside spectators as well, with thought given to placement in the context of the client’s lifestyle and the shape of the body- Tattoos can have meaning, but it is not a necessity and they can be enjoyed purely as visual art-

Second in the process for the client is the gathering of references for the subject matter of the tattoo- These references do not need to be the exact images to be used in the tattoo, unless it is a SPECIFIC photo reference that the client wants rendered- In this case, the photo must be as high resolution as possible and the EXACT pose the client wants-  in other cases, if the subject is more flexible and open to interpretation, I would ask the client to gather a limited variety of images that they find pleasing, and when we consult I can pinpoint the features that will be best suited to incorporate into the piece- Generally for larger pieces I work out a basic layout, sometimes with all elements included, sometimes only the focal points included in the early stages- predicated by the amount of detail and complexity of the piece- I do not do elaborate finished drawings of the work I do beforehand, otherwise I would have to charge a lot more as the drawing would take as long as the actual tattoo- I do composition and layout studies when I feel they are necessary to the final work-

Once I have a clear understanding of the client's wishes, from there we can go on to the third step, which is making an appointment- I require a non-refundable (with exception) deposit of $100 to hold the date- This deposit goes toward the final cost of the tattoo, and carries through to completion of larger multiple sitting pieces- I try to keep my bookings down to no more than a two to three month wait and generally this holds true, but is always subject to change- For multiple sitting work and for people who need specific days of the week, I encourage booking multiple dates in order to complete the tattoo in a timely fashion-

The day of the first appointment arrives, and you are ready to get tattooed- Step 4- You have eaten a good meal within a few hours of starting, had a good night sleep and are psyched to get a great tattoo- for the most part, the best way to approach getting many hours of tattooing- You should wear clothing that you are not attached to, and depending how modest you are it is a good idea to have an article of clothing that can be cut so the work area is exposed but you are not out in the breeze (this is Maine, people)- and regardless, it is easy to get cold during this process, as the area being tattooed is letting your body heat escape- Depending on the part of the body being worked on, you may be either sitting in a chair or laying down in a variety of positions, so bringing personal comfort items such as pillows, a blanket etc. can make the experience much more pleasant- Depending on the positioning I allow the use of electronic devices, as long as head phones are used- Once we are all set, and everyone is comfortable, THE TATTOO BEGINS!

Depending on the size, intricacy and area of coverage, the time and price of getting a tattoo done can vary greatly- Sometimes a piece that is only a few square inches can take longer than something three times as large that is not as involved- When I am tattooing I am working as efficiently and accurately as I can as the quality of the work is important to me- I can’t rush but also try to be mindful of the time and your wallet- I don’t mind talking during work but at certain times in the process my focus needs to be total, so if I need to have this I will let you know, and am not trying to offend- I want the experience to be positive and the client to feel at ease as much as possible, with the end result being a great tattoo and a happy customer-


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Scroll through the galleries on each page to view samples of Wil's amazing work.

You can also use the search tool if you are looking for specific images (examples: fire, octopus, birds, windmill) or tattooed body areas (examples: sleeve, back, chest, lower leg).