Create Captivating Color Surrealism with Autumn Hudson | Painful Pleasures Community

Create Captivating Color Surrealism with Autumn Hudson

Color surrealism can be tricky to master. Learn the art of nailing this wonderfully weird tattoo style with Autumn Hudson.
by Danny Tress Last Updated: December 5, 2023

Conquering color surrealism ain’t for the faint of heart. Unlike cookie-cutter styles, surreal tattoos are… well, surreal. Each one has the potential to be a unique masterpiece, practically fingerprinted to the artist. And crafting them is no small feat—a tightrope walk of contradiction, balancing realism and abstract elements. Nailing a portrait or abstract tattoo is one thing, but blending them into surreal excellence? That demands next-level skill and commitment. 

For surreal tattoos that turn heads, Autumn Hudson is your go-to. Her body of color surrealism tattoos is a mesmerizing fusion of ambiguity, abstraction, and vibrant color. In this blog, you’ll discover all the secrets behind her astounding abstract creations so you can nail the surreal vibe, too.  

Get ready to be… captivated. 

All About Autumn

Brain and hand color surrealism tattoo by Autumn Hudson

One look at Autumn Hudson’s Insta portfolio and you’ll find yourself in a world of color. Abstraction. Delectable weirdness. 

But her work is more than just jaw-dropping imagery. All of it comes from personal and philosophical inspirations. Peeking at her body of work, you’ll see a human heart with a fiery sun at its core (sunlight is always within!) You’ll also spot a portrait piece of a woman with hair made of honey (a symbol for love dripping from the comb!) You might even spot a tiny planet Earth held in a latex-gloved hand (isn’t the Earth so small?) In short, Autumn infuses big ideas, raw emotions, and a dash of pure, colorful awesomeness into every piece she creates. 

Hailing from southwest Montana, Autumn Hudson is self-taught, a pioneer of her twist on the surreal style. She’s dedicated over thirteen years to her craft. After owning a shop in Livingston, Montana for eight years, she took a bold leap to Grand Junction, Colorado, where she now creates stunning masterworks at Elysium Studios. 

Aside from helping you create your own surreal tattoos, Autumn can also help you advocate for your own unique vision. She exclusively tattoos pre-designed works she has available on her site. Thus, she only tattoos what she wants to tattoo… and clients eat it up because her work is that damn good. Showcasing her tattoos on her site also ensures her artwork finds its perfect canvas. 

Red-tinged skeleton tattoo by Autumn Hudson

Peak Solice Pro 

Autumn’s hands dance with the Peak Solice Pro tattoo machine, a fully adjustable masterpiece of precision and adaptability. With its fully digital readouts, needle dip, and adjustable spin, the machine acts as a versatile extension of Autumn’s artistic vision. Autumn wraps the machine strategically so she can still spin it to adjust her needle depth on the fly. This affords her a seamless workflow where she can make adjustments mid-tattoo—an essential convenience, so she can switch between packing in vibrant color to crafting delicate surreal details. In fact, the fully adjustable features of the Solice Pro allow her to accomplish all the essential techniques for her brand of color surrealism: from bold lines to the finest ones and lurid colors to the softest shades. 

Fusion Tattoo Ink 

A color aficionado, Autumn is constantly on a quest to breathe life into her work with vivid hues you can’t forget. That’s key to crafting surrealism that’s true to your brand: selecting colors that stand out and differ you from other surrealists on the market. And Autumn’s got an unforgettable palette. For that, she turns to Fusion Tattoo Ink. Fusion’s extensive color options allow Autumn to navigate the color spectrum with finesse. She’s a big fan of the darkest shades available for certain colors—of note, an ultra-dark green from Liz Venom’s pro line that she uses to create a Green Lantern tattoo (see the video below).  All in all, Autumn’s mastery lies in selecting rich colors that make her surreal creations feel, well… real. This doesn’t mean you have to rely on the dark hues that Autumn favors. You have total freedom to build your own surreal palette. 

Peak Triton Needles 

Peak Triton Needles are Autumn’s companions in maintaining consistency and precision. She favors bugpins for achieving her most intricate details and sweeping strokes. Delicate details and intricacies are a specialty of Autumn’s in fact, and they’re crucial for nailing one-of-a-kind color surrealism (the devil is in the details, after all). So, she also depends on a tight 5 round liner (and occasionally a 3 round liner for when she’s feeling ‘a little crazy’ in her words). But intricate details aren’t the only aspect of Autumn’s color surrealism. She also needs to pack in color, especially when focusing on bright, bold subjects inspired by pop culture. For big areas of solid color, she depends on large variety of magnums, such as a 17 mag curved edge. 

Hive Caps 

With so many colors at her disposal, Autumn has to keep the rainbow under control somehow. Hive Caps allow her a super-organized, stackable palette that won’t spill while she’s tattooing. Hive Caps are especially helpful when she’s taking on longer sessions (and color surrealism can tend to last a while, since there are so many details involved). During those longer tattoos, the stackable Hive Caps help prevent Autumn’s inks from drying out mid-procedure. Whether or not you’re a color surrealism artist, these stackable caps can help you organize your palette with ease.

Hustle Helper

For a needle that glides, Autumn’s secret weapon is Hustle Helper.  With a foamy touch, she applies it during breaks and towards the end of a tattoo, turning the tattooing process into a soothing ritual. Beyond its practical benefits, it becomes a tactile and sensory experience, infusing an extra layer of comfort into Autumn’s tattoo experience (pleasant for both she and the client!) 



Melting portrait tattoo by Autumn Hudson

Try an adjustable machine to switch up your techniques. Build a palette that says “you.” Use Autumn’s favorite needle configurations. And try some other Hudson-essentials that make your setup more efficient. These are just a few of the building blocks that can help you make your own surreal marvels.

If you’d really like to take a leaf out of Autumn’s book, try pre-designing your work to make it more exclusive and ensure you’re only tattooing what you’d like to tattoo.  Don’t forget to show us what you create on Instagram! We love getting surreal with you.

Follow Autumn on Instagram at @autumnhudson.tattoos. 

Comments are closed here.

Follow us @ Instagram