Archive for January, 2012

Neil was in first thing, to continue a Tintin themed 1/2 sleeve that we last worked on 10 years ago! talk about not rushing into things! 😆
Neil is using Tintin imagery to illustrate his own story, and today we used (amongst other things) a shadowy figure of the spirit of the ancestors. he looks like a, unpleasant wee guy, sitting in the cobweb.
We will need more time on this to finish the shading and complete the time piece

then Greg was in, he’s just back from a holiday in Thailand, and surprised me with his tanned skin. I’m only used to seeing pasty white hides at this time of the year!

the next day in Glasgow i worked some more on Kenny’s water and roses piece, keeping it simple and uncluttered. We need one more session to finish it off.

My last customer of the week was darren, sorry about the terrible pictures of his piper sleeve! Will get some better ones next time he’s in.

It was Simon’s birthday, so we all went out to celebrate, yey!  😀

full crew in attendance in tribe 3 on tuesday, including Nick the new boy, who is busy learning the trade.

Alex got some colour put in his peacock, the main blues are still to come, which will make it look super colourful  😀

and mark came in for more ‘scalage’ (made that one up), we should be done with all his dragon’s scales now, apart from a wee tidying up round. Looking forward to getting stuck into the structural shading next

In glasgow on wednesday I did another portrait, for someone who is concentrating on japanese and floral work, i seem to be doing a lot of portraits!
This one is of the singer Jeff Buckley, who died tragically at a young age. It’s always sad to tattoo pictures of people who have died.
This piece is part of a music themed sleeve, which will be quite eclectic, (we’ve already done a very strange surrealist piece on the forearm) it’s an amalgamation of various iconic images that define Bobby’s interest in music.

and the last tattoo of the day was scott, more music here, we added the first bar of a Biffy Clyro song to his memorial tattoo, plus some colour. One more wee session will finish this piece, we ran out of time for another couple of cherry blossoms to be filled in.

On friday I worked in tribe 3 with the ‘southside crew’, Rob, Tiddy and George, I’m only there once a fortnight, so it’s always good to catch up.

Lisa was in first, she looked very familiar, but I knew I’d not tattooed her before. Lisa is Cameron’s wife, and earlier in the week I’d tattooed a picture of Lisa onto Cameron, hence the familiar look of her  😆
Lisa got some orchids on her back, the plan is to extend this piece down her side, very pretty.

Chris was down from up north to get a section added to his koi piece, and I feel another cautionary tale coming on, listen..
I regularly get asked to make a tattoo bigger, come down the arm further or go up more, etc, not ONCE have I heard someone say that they feel they went to big/ far down or up etc. The moral of this tale is: just go for it, you know you want it bigger. Don’t end up having to tinker with it at a later date, it will look better if you get it done right the first time
In Chris’ case we were lucky, the design was easy to extend, and you wouldn’t know we added a bit on.

and the last customer of the day was Robbie, he’s wanted a freehand tiger, or should i say i decided to do it freehand for him, as I felt that would fit on the arm better than a tiger drawn out on paper first. the result is a tiger that moves nicely with his arm, prowling around the biceps and towards his body.
Robbie’s idea of a tiger tattoo was less realistic and quite stylised, so we stripped the design back to basics. I do like a tiger…

On saturday i was in my usual haunt of Tribe 3, and first to join me was Ruariadh, today we outlined the rest of his sleeve, finished the black scales of his tiger and with the remaining time shaded a couple of windbars. It’s coming together now, but still a lot of work to be getting on with.

and last Jayne came in for a wee cover up. this will be the beginning of a tibetan inspired piece going up her back.



remember me saying things happen in strange clusters? I don’t do many portraits, or detailled black and grey really, so it’s unusual for me to have three in a row!
First up was Joanne, we are now a touch up session away from having her fred Astaire and Ginger Roberts tattoo finished, today’s session was mostly taken up with blacking in the figure of Fred. I’d been tempted to invent highlights here and there to stop his black suit from looking so stark, but the reality of it is that it’s meant to be dark. The suit is so dark and simple, it contrasts really nicely with ginger’s frilly white dress, and they not only compliment each other, they intensify each other.

Hope to get some decent pictures of this unusual and striking piece next time.

Then for my next portrait piece, cameron got the first part of his first tattoo.
it’s a beautiful picture of his wife, and he sat well for it, for which I’m grateful. we decided to do the tattoo in two sessions seeing as it was his first time, so her legs and some background will be done next time.

the following day I was working in Glasgow, and the day started off with another detailled black and grey piece, this time it was Josh who was in for his first tattoo.
Josh loves Viking boats, trees, runes and suchlike, so this is reflected in this unusual half sleeve. the boat is a specific boat, currently being restored in Norway, and the tree is based on a photograph of a specific tree, nothing here is accidental, you see   😉
the bottom of the half sleeve will be formed out of gnarled tree roots and a rune carved into wood, with the boat rising out of this chaos. There will be a Romanian metal band’s artwork incorporated in this, as an obscure rock reference. Love it!

and then poor old John was in to get carved up for 2 hours. We drew on the next section of his backpiece, and as we only had a short session booked, I had to get cracking with the lines to get them all done in time. I was taking no prisoners, and poor John was uncharacteristically quiet. But he took it, although I’m sure he was calling me names under his breath  😆

happy belated Friday the 13th everyone! Nothing particularly bad or even extraordinary happened to me, it’s all hype, I tell ya…. 😀

Emma came to see me in Tribe 3 to get some more colour and flow added to her fairy piece, we did it a year or two ago, and she’d been thinking of extending it onto her shoulder a bit to finish it off, so that’s what we did.
The fairy artwork is by the amazing Brian Froud, he did the fairy books and the squashed fairy book, an amazing and entertaining, check it out if you don’t already know his stuff.
this link takes you to his home page, and Emma’s fairy is there peeking out at you at the top

Then Simon was in, we are working on a cover up, he’d had some lasering done and that has helped a lot. Still quite a bit to go on this one

the next day Roz and me drove through to Glasgow, where we had a very full house, Simon, Raffi and Bru were working in the basement studios, upstairs we had me, Tim and Roz, with mark doing the piercing. Phew! Glad wee Maggie was there to help out on reception. This has been a surprisingly busy January for us, not that anyone is complaining of course!! 😀
Tribe 2 is quite the beast when it’s firing on all cylinders.

I had Ryan in, we are still working away at his snow queen sleeve, there is a crazy amount of detail in this, the artwork we are working from is insanely dense in places, and we are having to simplify quite a bit, without losing the essence of the piece. It’s time consuming, but the end result will be so worth it.

And the return of Scott, he was only in on wednesday there, but we knew he was in again soon, so we divided up the half sleeve so that we could continue to work without going over newly tattooed skin. Today we concentrated on the underside of his upper arm, leaving the outside well alone.
it’s a memorial tattoo for his mum, so we included her dates in the clouds

Kicking the week off was Alex, down from Aberdeen to get some more colour put in his sealife and peacock sleeve. The octopus is now done (all those wee suckers were surprisingly time consuming!) but we had some time to get some colour into some of the peacock feathers. Nothing eye catching yet, the feathers will come into their own with the addition of bright blues and black.

I expect we will have to add some more colour into the elbow, it’s not ideal for tattooing and healing solid colour, and a couple of passes will be required.

Also in was heidi, we did a japanese style four elements 1/2 sleeve last year, but there were still a couple of wee bits needing finished off

the next day i was working through in Glasgow. Scott was in to get a memorial tattoo for his mother, it’s also a cover up, but luckily for me scott had had the old piece well lasered so that all that was left was some blue and some grey lines. These will disappear in the new design.
We’re doing grey clouds and colourful cherry blossoms, and the line that you see is the beginning of a piece of music. We only had a 2 hour session, so I didn’t want to get bogged down with detail, but tried to get the basic design and shading in place. Next time we will tackle the underside of his upper arm to make it a half sleeve, and then go back in with the detail and colour, finishing it off.

Then John got his first tattoo, and it’s only a full backpiece and chest panels  😯
I was hoping he’d be able to take the pain, because otherwise it was going to be a LOT of torture for him, all that work! You never know with tattoo virgins how they’ll take to it, but luckily John was ok with it. Phew.

We started with a koi over his shoulder, next time we’ll outline a dragon on the other shoulder and going onto his back. It’s going to be epic!

And the lovely hazel popped by to get a couple of wee flowers added to her tattoo, just to finish it off nicely

remember last blog I said that things can happen in odd clusters? My first appointment on friday called to cancel, he was stuck out in the boonies with a flat battery and no way of getting into town. These things happen of course, not much you can do. That appointment was for 4 hours. Then not much later my other customer of the day cancelled her appointment because she wasn’t well! I went from having 7 hours of work to do, to having none  😯
Unexpected day off!
Did mean i could take my dog to the vet, he’d injured himself and needed antibiotics, so that was good. But I don’t want that kind of thing happening all the time  😆

saturday was business as usual, starting off with BBB who is still getting work done to his Vietnam was scene (after a photograph by Larry Holman)
This is time consuming stuff, apart from being a massive piece around half of BBB’s thigh, it’s also quite complex as a design and I find myself working in layers to get the desired effect, so I’m putting in a basic colour background for now, with more detailing to be added as we go along.

Ruaraidh was also in, we did 4 hours of scales. This is how much you get done in 4 hours, it’s slow stuff, this traditional look!

and last but certainly not least an old friend and colleague of mine Graeme was in. He’s recently had a baby boy, and got the wee man’s foot and hand print on his chest. he also recently lost his rabbit, Bubba died at the ripe old age of 12. twelve! I had no idea rabbits could live that long.
he got a wee rabbit drawing on his leg, taken from a bag of Bubba’s favourite carrots.
Too cute



welcome to the new year, i love january, time to plan all the good things the coming year will hold in store, places to visit, conventions to go to….the sense of optimism i feel makes up for the crap weather.

Christmas is over and seems ages ago, but i thought i’d share a couple of photos from the tribe night out with you, we managed to get everyone from edinburgh and glasgow together for the first time, it was so much fun!
You can play ‘spot you favourite/least favourite triber’  😆

I had a week off between christmas and new year which was nice, but I’m always happy to be back at work, catch up with the gang and get creative again. I regularly count my lucky stars that I love my job, the people I work with and the customers with all their ideas and stories.

My first customer of 2012 was Lee, originally she’d decided that a nice floral tattoo was preferable to the scars left on her arm after a skin graft, but now she’s got the bug and we’re well onto virgin skin 😀

she likes the whole japanese theme and surprised me with her new idea of a waterfall and cherry tree, with the general plan of getting a full sleeve eventually. I’m all for it, of course!
We got the waterfall and tree with some rocks outlined and partially shaded before we ran out of time, there will be a wee tree frog and a butterfly in there, too, which we’ve left gaps for.

After Lee I had Billy in, we started a western style dragon with flames on his forearm last time he was in, and today we worked on the fire. There will be a background of grey smoke and the dragon will be green. This is the arm that will represent the element of fire, and the rest of his tattoos will follow the theme of the four elements ( he already has a large tattoo representing earth and air on his back)

I have to say thank you to both Lee and Billy for making it in for their appointment today. Hurricane Bawbag II was raging outside causing chaos everywhere and sending bins flying and toppling chimneys, but these two weren’t intimidated. Lee said she had to hold on to the bus stop, and how Billy got over from Fife I don’t know, as the bridge was closed. Thank you!

Things had calmed down the next day, and i had no problems getting through to Glasgow. Tribe 2 was quiet with only me, Mark and Tim working, Simon isn’t back til friday and the Italian girls are still in Italy where they spent the festive season.

Dave joined us for the next part of his hell sleeve, with nasty wee hellbugs flying up his arm. The background to this is a vulcano and Martian looking land scape (once we get round to it). The bugs themselves have partial flames for wings and will have some colour added next time.

Sometimes my work seems to come in strange clusters, either thematically or I might find myself working on the same part of the body all day.
This time it’s bugs. My next customer Melissa got bumble bees added to her leg piece, cute ones this time! No hellbugs or evilness, just fun bumblebees  😀

here’s a cautionary tale for you. melissa got a wee bee done on her toe last time, we’d talked about how it can be problematic skin that might not readily hold the ink, combined with the fact that healing the tattoo whilst confined in socks and shoes doesn’t help, and unfortunately her bee faded badly. We added some ink of course, and Melissa will try and wear shoes that wont rub on the tattoo, but it might take a few goes for this bee to stay bright and sharp. If your tattooist is reluctant to tattoo your toes or feet in general (apart from the top of your foot) this is the reason why.

Last customer of the day was Scott, we added some colour to his lotus, which had been outlined by another artist

2011 in review

Posted: 02/01/2012 in Uncategorized

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,700 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.