Archive for October, 2011

I was working at Tribe 1 today, and my mission was to convince Rob to take a stall at the Edinburgh tattoo convention next march (the applications need to be in already!) I think his style as an artist and person is really unique and creative. As a tattooist his style is bold and decorative, as an artist and photographer he has a real eye for the macabre and twisted. If you have never seen his ‘dollies’, here are a couple for your enjoyment  😈
(He’s agreed to work the convention I’m happy to say, now the rest of us have to worry about being upstaged by his stall decorations!!)


anyway, I got cracking with scales, Alan’s dragon was looking a bit naked, and still is in places… those scales take time, and we’re not done yet!
Sorry about the pictures, I don’t think i can take them next to the window, too much cool light coming in…

Next up was martin, he wanted a half sleeve in black and grey, he liked a lot of drama and movement in his piece, just so happens to be my favourite, too  😀

We got a load done for the first session, it’s all still a bit rough round the edges, but the adorable regular reader will know that that is how I like to work, refinement will come during the following sessions.

My saturday was spent in Tribe 3 with the regular crew of Alex, erik, laura and Roz, and my first customer was katie, we still had one rose to finish off.
This new one looks a bit more orangey, but the thing about red is that it heals a bit darker than it goes in usually, so I’ll let it heal and look at it again then. Any necessary adjustments to the colour will be easy providing it is too light or orange, if it were too dark, we’d have a problem! I like to err on the side of caution.

then Brad came in to get some more work done to the piece we started at the last Edinburgh tattoo convention, it’s based on a photo of a battle field in the Vietnam war, and it’s a part of his ‘protest’ themed leg tattoo. This is going to be a large piece covering his whole leg, Brad is booked in regularly from now on, and it will be cool to see it all develop, he’s got some great ideas for this.

Another old regular is Roddy, we started another section of his polynesian body suit, having pretty much covered his torso, we are now moving down the leg. It was time consuming making the design fit the knee, a notoriously difficult part of the body to fit a pattern onto, so we just had time to outline the basic shapes. I will be blocking in and making final adjustments before adding the detail, as things might change slightly once we see the negative shapes.

the new week started off with lee in tribe 3, last time she was in, we tattooed a couple of japanese style peonies over an old skin graft. They have healed up well, ans now lee is so happy at not having to hide her forearm any more, that she wants to continue with the theme up her whole arm, and then the other one  😀
Not bad for a first timer! She just wishes she’d done it ages ago, those scars have been an embarrassment to her and now she’s got something she’s proud of instead, that’s a great turn about.

We will be adding leaves to the background of the new flowers and still have a couple of the leaves from the first session to colour.

then peggy was finally in to get the last of the tiny bit of background shading put in his horror sleeve. The wee face looking at you there is Oona O’Connor, a  figure that pops up in the background of horror movies from back in the day, she played the role of the terrified onlooker. I think she’s my favourite part of the whole sleeve  😆

I also had Mark in, he who is getting the humungous dragon on his back, but completely forgot to take a photo. Oh well, he will be back. ( See what I did there)

The I had a weegie wednesday, starting off with derek  and his dragon Berhard (named by his wee daughter, who went from not liking it, to naming it and now trying to talk to it  😆 )

we’re done with this apart from a wee touch up session where I’ll check how everything has settled around the elbow area, always a tricky one. We’ve already established that his elbow doesn’t take the ink particularly well, a combination of tough skin and lots of movement during the healing.

I’ve taken a load of pictures to give you a better idea, always hard to photograph a sleeve

Last I had Ian in, and his tribute to his american dad, we added some script to the piece and extended the clouds

I’ve got a load of photos for you today, and they are all black and grey! Not a drop of colour in two days’ work, how’s that for a strange coincidence, not even a wee pink cherry blossom anywhere  😆

starting it off was Joanne, in for her first tattoo, and she’s not messing, straight in there with a large piece on her upper arm. This is a really unusual choice of design, it’s Fred Astair and Ginger Roberts dancing. Joanne is into the old school glamour and these two are just that personified. I love it!
Not finished yet, as it was her first tattoo and she lives locally, we decided to break it up into two sessions

then Ross got his phoenix finished, this piece is also unusual, due to the placement Ross had chosen. After our initial consultation for this piece I said I’d need to think it over and try a couple of sketches on paper first to see if I thought it would work, but having thought about it I decided it would make a great tattoo, and the placement makes it really different

Not an easy one to photograph, it’s one of those pieces that looks best when seen on the person and in motion.

the next day was spent working in Glasgow for me, James got another part of his traditional dragon coloured in, plenty of scales here, next session will be the background and other shading, plus there will be some red

and then darren finished off my black and grey bonanza with his piper piece, we did some more work on the main figure, the tartan plaid.

back at work in tribe 3 after my adventures out in the big wide world (Leamington Spa! Hamburg! Who said i don’t live dangerously  😆 ) and it was good to see wee laura, Erik and Alex again.

My customer for the day was Thorsten, to continue a piece I’d started in Hamburg the LAST time I was working at Jungbluth studio there. He’d booked a flight etc as soon as we’d completed the last section, and by that time I hadn’t booked my next trip to Hamburg yet, otherwise i could have tattooed him closer to his home. Oh well, a wee city break in beautiful Edinburgh never harmed anyone. Thorsten also got some really good deals, by flying with Ryanair from Bremen (close to Hamburg) and staying in a hotel called easy hotel, he really didn’t spend much.
In fact, he probably would have spent the same amount getting tattooed in Hamburg paying Jungbluth studio prices!

Last time we’d done a cute voodoo koala bear sitting in a tree shaped like a women, and today we continued with the theme of being governed by outside forces. We added two puppets to the composition, one male and one female grim reaper, and also some thistles to continue the plant part of the composition, but with a scottish twist

next time we’ll probably work on the bit of background we have left behind the puppets, and also Thorsten has a ton of other ideas we can dip into to bring the piece further down the arm.
I apologise for the photos, i took them with Erik’s camera phone as I’d left mine at home

I also had Duncan in, we did a sleeve a while ago that has a few empty scrolls as part of the composition, the idea being that they will get filled in with lettering and numbers (in this case) as significant events unfold in Duncan’s life. great idea!

This photo was taken with Duncan’s phone, thank you for forwarding it Duncan!

Then on wednesday the usual trip to Glasgow, to work with Mark, Simon, and Raffi! yey, Raffiraf is back from Italy  😀

Tom got some colour in his tiger! Colour and attitude.

and melissa needed some work done on her foot tattoo, which had been done by another studio. She wasn’t happy with the leaves in particular, and the way the seemed overly dominant and clumsily placed. I disguised them with some extra filigree to distract from the bulk of them, toned down the colour to bring out the sunflower instead, and then added a third leaf to draw the composition up the leg a bit and shift the flow away from the foot.
It looks more feminine now, even though there’s more of it
(and check out those cool toe nails!)



My first tattoo on the thursday was a new customer, she’d booked in to get a gladiola tattoo on her side. Obviously I’d never met her and there had been no consultation with me, so it was a bit of a blind date (something I’m going to work on with the dear peeps at Jungbluth, I prefer to have a chat, even a couple of email exchanges with the customer before we meet for the appointment, to give time to mull things over)
I’d researched the gladiolas (gladioli?), counting petals etc and examining the structure of them to find out what makes them look like gladiolas in case i had to freehand and/or stylise them, but I had to wait and see what she actually wanted before i could plan it all out properly.
We had a chat and a look online at photos of gladiolas, and in the end it was a case of using photo reference and freehand some bits to make it fit.

I thought it worked really well, specially as I’d had reservations because those gladiolas are very upright and rigid looking, not so suitable for enhancing the female form…

Another day, another flower design, this time the customer natalya had been in before so I knew what to expect, except she’d changed her mind from magnolias to hibiscus, but that wasn’t a problem. I knew what we were wanting to achieve here, a more muted, old ‘tinted engraving’ kind of look. next time she’s hoping to add a hummingbird to the top

then i had a fixer-upper to do. All I can say is, if he’d shown up at our studio he would have been sent to Roz for extensive lasering! I couldn’t do that of course, and here he was hoping to have his tattoo sorted out, which I did to the best of my available options, but it was still riddled with compromises. Compromises i wouldn’t have been happy with if I’d have had more time to do this properly.
main thing was that he was happy, and he was. Job done.
And no, I’m not posting any photos of it, I didn’t even take any  😯

I did, however, take a photo of this pile of crap. It’s art apparently. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not a believer in conceptual art and i can’t wait for it to blow over.
This one is called ‘the artwork that doesn’t want to get wet’. Sigh.

also took a photo of this, it translates as ‘two for the price of two’, sounds like the Germans haven’t quite got the hang of good advertising yet! 😆

I also watched a phenomenon called the beer bike, check it out!Party while you pedal

this is my second visit to the Jungbluth studio, so it felt more like home than last time, I was looking forward to seeing all the people again that I’d met last time and I knew where everything was  😀 .
What is different this time is that I’m working in the big room that they call the atelier, it’s seperate from the main shop- around the corner and upstairs- and it’s much bigger and more comfortable. I’ve not got a pillar in my worspace that I need to work around, and there are no people squeezing past me to get to the sterilizing room which is nice, but I’ll miss the hustle and bustle of the main shop and having a receptionist on hand. The atelier is more of a quiet custom space, where myself, the main Jungbluth artist Mo and another guest from L.A. called Dan are working.

Last time I was here I was given too much work and not enough time to do it in, I think they thought I did smaller tattoos than I do, so this time they’ve given me a much less cramped schedule. I’ve also noticed that the other guy Mo is their main japanese tattoo artist, so anything like that automatically goes to him I’m assuming. The only japanese style piece booked in with me is a fixer upper, probably one Mo knocked back  😆

I’m happy to do lots of floral pieces, my other main area of interest, specially as most of the customers booked in are continuations of pieces I started last time. I’ve been really pleased that so many people from my last guest spot here waited for me to come back, and it’s lovely to see them again!

The first one of them was Nina, we did a phoenix on her leg last time, and this time she wanted me to tattoo her other leg, a continuation of a piece she had done by a thai artist a wee while ago. I wanted the style of the piece to look consistent, so I stuck pretty faithfully to the original type of rose, just added 3 more to bring the piece up her leg a bit better

my next piece was sort of a walk in, but one I couldn’t resist doing, as I loved the design! It’s by an american artist called Jeremy Fish, who does some great cartoony illustrations, check out his website!(you need to scroll the pictures sideways to see more than a couple, took me a while to suss that one out,doh!  😆 )

Christopher, the customer, was a big Jeremy Fish fan and had the chance to meet and hang out with him, and at the end Jeremy fish drew this rabbit specially for Christopher. The significance being that Christophr’s second name is similar to the german word for rabbit, how cool!

I also did a tattoo on Femke, who was in to see me last time I was here, we’d tattooed some lilies and a bit of swirly stuff to disguise an unexciting lower back tattoo, and in the meantime Femke has got the bug and wanted the lilies going all up her back, possibly even tumbling down her arm  😆
Not the best pictures of the tattoo, sorry

I also had time to go to the Hamburg art museum and have a good look around. I love the history of art, it’s what I have my degree in, so if I get a chance I like to go and see what treasures there are to explore.
I came across this picture from the 1920’s, if you’d been into tattoos 90 years ago, this is what your collection could have looked like  😆

also came across this cool but strange bust, here eyes were inlaid with dark red glass.(I think it must be of the greek woman who forsaw a war when she looked out to sea and it was of blood, not water, I forget her name, ancient Greek mythology was never my strong point)

and these cool dude camels

or how about this wee lamb? You’ve got to love the details in the backgrounds of old paintings, it’s where the artist had the freedom to stamp their mark on the piece and be a bit more inventinve, as the subject matter and foreground belonged to the person who commissioned it

I also like spotting the artist’s self portraits in the crowd, they liked to sneak one in and you can always tell them, the serious face peering directly at you as they studied themselves in the mirror.
I specially liked this one, it looks like he’s got a portrait of his wife in too. I can just imagine the conversation
‘look honey, I’ve included myself here’ ‘wow, that’s amazing!I want my picture done, too, can I be in it? Please?’ ‘Oh, ok, I’m sure I can squeeze you in somehow…’  😀

I had saturday off work as I was getting the train down to leaminton Spa for this convention, I had to be there first thing on sunday. It was a really early start, the orgaizers wanted us there for 7.30 or something crazy like that to set up for the opening of the show at 10am. Needless to say we were there more like 9am. it really doesn’t take me that long to get my stall set up.

I was working it without Roz for a change, as she is on holiday in South Africa, but my old friend helen was working alongside me and she had an assistant called jenna with her, so it didn’t feel lonely.
In fact it was great having time to spend with helen again, she’s got a studio in Belfast called Skullduggery and i was keen to get all her news.

The convention was in a place called the Assembly, a fancy old building like a victorian theatre. It was quite small, but then this was a small convention, so the venue was perfect.

It didn’t feel particularly different from any other small convention, the fact that we were all female was nice, but not really particularly or noticeably different from any other convention. There were great artists and not so great ones, custom artists and flash ones, artists who had specialised and all-rounders. There were artists who thought they were something special, and really down to earth girls who were having a laugh.
Much like any other convention.
The supply stalls were ok, but I’d just gone shopping at the London convention, so I wasn’t really looking for anything.

Here’s a couple of pics of Helen and Jenna in their stall, mine’s the one next to it -looking empty, as I was it’s only occupant and I was the one taking the photos  😆

I had Kaz in first thing, she wanted a giraffe under a tree on her calf, not usually a problem, but I didn’t have a bench for her to lie on and the tables looked pretty wobbly! We managed to get it done, in various positions that were extremely uncomfortable for both of us, but in future I’m not going to take any bookings for leg tattoos at conventions unless I’ve got a bench, it#s just too hard.

this giraffe tattoo isn’t finished yet, it will have a background and a horizon, more tree in the distance and some grass for the giraffe to stand on  😀

I had a wee break to get some lunch and then Kitt came along with her partner Dave, we were going to add some extentions to the two flowers we’d done at a convention previously.
The two flowers were cover-ups, so they were quite chunky and bold, we kept that look going for the new additions, but it was nice to have virgin skin to work on!

Kitt’s favourite colour is orange in case you hadn’t noticed, and although she liked a basic symmetry, she also wanted there to be differences between the flowers, so we changed the colours a bit for each one

Everyone seemed to pack up sharpish and bolt, we hung around a bit and watched a really good band called the toy hearts

there didn’t seem to be any after show party organised for this event (if there was, no one told us haha) so Helen, Jenna and me went back to our hotel room and chilled out. Not very rock ‘n’ roll, but nice!