South Korean tattoo artist Le jardin de Zihwa, known simply as Zihwa, creates delicate drawings on the skin. Opting for soft black shading and thin lines produced with a single needle, her style favors subtlety with soft shading and realistic rendering. The aesthetic is fitting for her nature-inspired subject matter; the blooming florals, slithering snakes, and coy foxes recall technical drawings you might see in a textbook. Zihwa’s compositions, however, makes the potentially modest drawings seem magical, and they feel like part of a fairy tale on etched skin.
Zihwa was originally trained as a graphic designer and began her tattooing career several years ago. The designer’s training is evident in the placement of her tattoos, and her illustrations often wrap around parts of the body in a deliberate way—like they were always meant there. In one tattoo, a snake trails down the middle of a client’s chest while another design showcases how flowers and birds are a perfect fit on the side of the neck as they settle just underneath the ear.
Since gaining fame as a tattooer, Zihwa has started to create products based on her drawings. The likes of hand mirrors, pouches, and temporary tattoos are now available in her online shop.