A HEREFORD man made a colourful impression at a tattoo convention when his huge Japanese mythology effort won top prize.

Bill Naylor’s symbolic tattoo, which covers the majority of his back, was judged best in Large Colour during the Derby State of the Art Tattoo Convention.

Applied by Paul Beard in Kington over a total of 70 hours, the giant masterpiece took more than two years to complete and contains symbolic references to Bill’s wife Mandy and other family members.

A dragon emerging from water covers most of his back. It is clutching a pearl of wisdom with lettering symbolising his wife while there are other references to his son and daughter.

“It’s very intricate,” said 45-year-old Bill, who works for city-based IT and internet specialist Lawyers Online. “I have always liked dragons. It is something that has always fascinated me.

“I got talking with Paul about the design and from there it just took on a life of its own.

“I’m really pleased with it.

It was only completed two weeks before the competition having been started in February 2009.”

Bill, from Portfields, says Mandy, who has a couple of tattoos herself, is happy with it despite the finished article changing in size from what was initially planned.

“The tattoo is a lot bigger than she first thought,” he said.

Bill said the tattoo cost him “a lot of money”, an amount he “doesn’t want to think about”.

He has a couple of other efforts from when he was younger, although the latest easily dwarfs them.

His reward for the competition win was a trophy but Bill says the real prize was the kudos and the recognition for Mr Beard.

“Paul is brilliant,” he says. “He really is awesome.”