Sunday, March 15, 2009

Practice Tattoo Skin

I have a lot of mixed feelings about how this turned out, I think trying a design this complicated rather than just a simple shape to fill in was a dumb idea, not because I got frustrated with the tools, but being overambitious to start can sometimes lead to immense failure and worse yet can be so disheartening you give up.

I guess it turned out ok for the first time with me using a machine, obviously there is a lot of trial and error, even more so since you have to run the machine at a higher then you would on real skin. I was using a loose three round, and a tight 7 round, didn't really like the 7, but I think that also has to do with the machine because it got super hot in under 30 mins which probably means the capacitor is shot.

One problem I ran into over and over again is just reinforcing best practices, like keeping your hand at the propper 45 degree angle, to move the machine front to back so the needle is coming out of its groove, but the worst was that tattoo skin, or at least the MOM's brand sucks. Beyond running the machine higher, because it's so smooth and slick the stencil transfer was a bitch, it smudged every time I did it so I basically freehanded it all on there. Another huge thing that bothered me was that is didn't take the color worth a damn, what you are seeing of the yellow is more of a stain than the ink sitting in material, which probably means the black is doing the same thing it just is a stronger pigment.

That was pretty dissapointing just because I was excited to start working in color and shading, even though I don't have any magnums for shading there is no reason you shouldn't be able to do it with a round, and after reading the Guy Aitchison manual I believe that even more, needles are like brushs, they can do any job they just do it very differently. I'm fighting off a cold so I haven't had a chance to draw much this week, blog much, or get my portfolio completely together, so maybe I can get to all that stuff this week...oh and go buy some grapefruit.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tattoo Practice Skin vs. Grapefruit

Sounds like an epic battle...or not but I can now offer a little perspective on both, pros, cons, and personal preference. There are substantial differences between the two and I went into my testing thinking that practice skin would be far superior because it was supposes to mimic skin, but after testing both "products" I have come to a different conclusion.

Practice skin is manufactured by a few companies and mine came from MOM. Upon opening the package I found it to be a little rubbery but not nearly as flexible as I had hoped. The one cool thing about this is that you can rubber band it to sections of your body if they aren't too curvy so that you can simulate tattooing on a specific area which is a huge plus. As I started using it I noticed something right off the bat, the ink didn't seem to take very well (this could be my lack of experience and being a total newb), this bothered my greatly because I was having to overwork areas. One of my problems I think was after reading the Guy Aitchison manual he talked about running his machine at as low an ampage as possible so that he can make lots of passes over it. I had been working it at 6-8 but when I cranked it to the 10-12 range I found it going into the practice skin far easier.

Now for the grapefruit I didn't make a stencil to transfer, just freehanded a nautical star. One of the more inherant problems with grapefruit are their shape which makes stencil transferring pretty I suck at it still. I personally don't like the shape of the grapefruit because even for small designs it obscures your lines from your vision, it makes the process a little slower because you have to readjust so often. Despite these flaws, the ink goes into the grapefruit effortlessly... and even more so when you clean up your work you don't lose the ink as much.

The problem that I now face is which is more accurate? You can't practice your stretch on grapfruit but I'm pretty sure it's a more skin realistic surface, I'm going to continue working with both because I need to build up handstrength, and practice is practice but this is one of many reasons I am discovering I need to get into an internship fast, I have too many questions that my materials don't answer, and that other people won't help me with.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Don't Label Me a Scratcher

So it is probably inevitable, but someone at some point is going to call me a scratcher until I get into an apprenticeship. A scratcher is someone who does crappy work out of their house elsewhere who is unlicensed, unsanitary, and probably an idiot in general.

I don't plan to tattoo anyone, or even myself until I am in an apprenticeship and know what I'm doing, I have bought some tattoo machines and everything I need to do a tattoo, I have read the basics about machine operation, maintenance, and construction from the Huck Spaulding Tattoo Bible and also the basics of performing a tattoo, however I don't feel qualified at all.

I hate steep learning curves and feeling inadequate which is pretty easy when you take on something new and so I have been trying to learn as much about the art and the craft involved with tattooing ahead of time, another resource I purchased and have been studing is the Guy Aitchison Binder and while a lot more of what he presents is theory and less instructional I have found that to be just as useful because of it's artistic principles.

Over the last week I have set up my machines to be running like I think they should, but who knows if they are running correctly. All I have to base this on is the information I have read and the experience of hearing a machine run while I have been getting work done. It is painfully obvious I need an apprenticeship after playing around with ink on the practice skin which only does a semi adequate job of simulating the real thing I've heard, the ink does take as well as it does to skin, it doesn't allow you to work your stretch, and even if you rubberband it to yourself it is kind of rigid.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Ink Blot

The purpose of this blog is to talk about tattooing, tattooing related things, sharing tattoos of mine, of others, of sketches, of anything interesting and worthwhile. It is also going to be an online catalog of my learning and journey to find an apprenticeship and become a professional tattoo artist.

First I need to make a template because this thing is ugly and I can't stand it.