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I find myself in remarkable situations.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Long time...

I've been neglecting my little blog... :(

Things are really picking up in Lucky Cat.  We're all so busy.  The busier Kev gets, the more work I have to do for him, and the busier I get, the more I have to do for me.  Sometimes you get that feeling that you're stuck under an avalanche; there's always a pile of stuff to be done!  I've also taken over running the shop two days a week, which does give me some extra cash, which makes life a bit easier, but it also means a lot of the time I'm running the shop, dealing with customers, and doing work for Kev.  So, I've been a busy bee!

I'm starting to realise that tattooing most definitely isn't a nice easy 9-5, or 11-6 job.  It does take over your life, entirely.  You're always thinking about work, about tattoos you've done, or you're about to do.  Tattoos that you'd like to do.  Artwork you need to work on, how you could have made something better.  There's always something going on.  Plus, as I get busier, with more appointments, there's a lot of work that I have to take home with me, that I would have done in here a few months ago.

I'm not complaining though!  I honestly wouldn't be anywhere else.

SO. Since last time.  The Scottish Tattoo Convention.  It was great.  It was a very very very very long weekend for us...  We were the last team to leave the convention both nights, now that's dedication.  We didn't get much sleep, and we were on our feet all day.  Kev tattooed until 10pm on the Saturday.  It was awesome though, we got a really good response, and the first Scottish convention couldn't have happened at a better time for us.  The first convention, our first year.  There was a real buzz all weekend.  It was good to have a wander round too, there were some amazing artists there!

The following weekend we were featured in the Scotland on Sunday's 'Spectrum' magazine!  A while back, myself and Kev were interviewed and photographed, and were in an article written about tattoo culture and the convention.  It was a great article, and we were chuffed to be chosen for it!

So, tattoos!  I did these wee cherries on Honor, who I've tattooed a couple of times before.  She loves these and I was really happy with how they turned out.  I'm really happy with my shading, after a long time of freaking out about shading, I'm finally ok with it!  I need a cherry tattoo, must do something about that!!!

My flatmate's friend Alyssa was visiting from America, and while she was staying with us, I persuaded her to get a tattoo ;)  She'd be thinking about it for a long time.  I did this in a grey ink, so once it had healed it would be more subtle and delicate than if I'd used black.  I really enjoyed doing this, as I've not had too many opportunities to work in tiny little sketchy lines.  I love drawing in this way, so it was cool to have a shot at tattooing it!

I did this chain on Karen's foot, another returning customer!  We were going to make this go right around the ankle, but she has some tattoos there already, so we finished off the chain with some more blossoms.  I used grey again to line this one, which is funny to do.  It's quite difficult to see the ink going in as you tattoo, especially with a stencil underneath.  Practice makes perfect though!

More Cheshire Cats!!!!!  I am a cat lady, so any cat tattoos, I love!  Especially something fun and bright like this!  We'll be finishing Sarah's off soon, and I'm sure it's going to be added to as time goes on!  I loved the polka dot cherry blossoms!

This tattoo was a challenge... on so many levels!!  Ken competes in Strongman competitions... He's a big boy, and I'm only wee!  It was quite ridiculous to see!  I'd also never done any proper text before, so was absolutely bricking it before this!  Then, about three lines in, I wiped the ink away, and the stencil underneath just disappeared... This is bad.  Especially with lettering!  Daddy Kev came to the rescue though, and helped me get the stencil back on, and I carried on, slightly harassed, but was very happy... and shocked... at how well it turned out!  Anything is possible!!

Laura, one of Glasgow Roller Girls, had been in touch about getting some old school stuff done.  She seems to have a list of things to work on, so this is good for me!  I love anchors, and she'd seen one on my blog that I'd drawn, and wanted something similar.  So this is what we came up with...

Excuse Laura's derby bruises!  It wasn't me!!  I was dead chuffed at how this turned out, I had good fun with the colours, adding some highlights here and there, and being a bit more playful rather than frightened to do anything!!

 This next piece has been planned for ages, and had to be rescheduled a couple of times, but in the end, I'm glad!  I wouldn't have been able to do this justice a few months ago.  I really enjoyed working on this, although it did wipe me out afterwards!  I really do like working with black and grey, and adding a little bit of colour is always fun.  I also used white ink in this in the highlights, for the first time!  White always comes up more when it heals, so I'm looking forward to seeing this piece again!  Thanks Martin for letting me give you your first tattoo!!

Who knew octopuses were so fascinating...  They have three hearts!!!  I don't even understand!!  And they die after mating...!?!?!  Anyway, facts out of the way, this ROCKED!  I loved doing this octopus on Sarah, another Roller Girl!  Obviously, our as yet unnamed friend, still has a lot of colour to be done, but he's looking good! It was great to get practice at some longer lines, and have the chance to do a bit of freehanding too!  I'm really looking forward to getting this piece finished in a couple of weeks.

I've had a bit of a quiet this week, I suppose it's a nice change from running about like a dafty all the time!  I've managed to quit my other job, which is amazing, having night times and weekends to myself for the first time in I can't remember how long!  I'd been working there for four years, and they gave me a nice bottle of rum and a Vivienne Westwood voucher... get in!

Patsy's building up her laser removal clinics now, which take place every second Saturday.  The laser is great, the results are really good.  It's horrible to see people who are upset or unhappy with their tattoos, so it's nice to be able to offer them a solution.  Although, I don't think I'll be getting it done any time soon!

As usual, I will end my blog with an appeal for anyone who wants a new tattoo and has some spare skin for me to play with to get in touch with me at the Parlour!  info@luckycattattoo.co.uk

For now,

Frenchie xxx

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Frenchie has been a busy bee!  I've had lots of exciting things to work on, which has been awesome. I've had a few ongoing pieces too which is great.  It's really cool to watch things progress and grow... 

I started this piece on Pamela, a friend of the ever-returning Katie.  This was Pamela's first tattoo!  No holding back!  This was a really fun piece to work on, I could have fun with the placement and really make it flow with the body and make the bats look like they're flying.  I'm getting a bit more confident with the placement, and really liked the idea of having some of them overlapping.  I've been having a few issues lately with how deep to take the needle, taking it too deep will make the lines blur out over time, and being too tentative makes it difficult to get a line in at all.  I seemed to get it just right with this one and Kev seemed really happy with my lines! The original plan was too have all of the bats filled, but now Pamela's been thinking about it, we might leave a few just outlined, which I think will look awesome, and a bit different!

I got this little walk in, another first tattoo!  I seem to be doing a lot of these!  I felt a lot better about doing the solid black shading, which I've been finding hard, but it came together on this one! 

Mrs Cherry Blossom, ie Honor, was back for some more.  It's lovely to see people coming back for more!  I must be doing alright!  The trickiest thing about this one was the placement of the stencil.  Kev had to step in because I was getting so frustrated.  Wrists are funny things, they're not the shape that you think they are. They tend to be wider on one side than the other, and getting something positioned straight and centered was SO HARD.  After about a million attempts, Kev came to the rescue, but it did take him two attempts!

Honor also let me check out her cherry blossoms now that they're all healed up, and I think they could be my favourite tattoo that I've done.  They've healed really well, and quickly too. She's already thinking about adding to them!


Next up was Callum, a friend of John who I tattooed the skull and lightning bolts.  He wanted a little love letter with the lettering underneath.  I was a bit nervous about this tattoo as it involved quite fine, straight lines, and I was desperate to get the lettering spot on.  I was really happy about how it turned out, I love old school stuff like that.  I don't think I could have done the lettering any better!  Lettering is one of the things I want to be really good at, so hopefully this is promising!! 

Our fabulous friend Iona, and fellow Vivienne Westwood enthusiast, asked me to do this Westwood logo on her while Kev was tattooing her friend.  Of course I jumped at the chance.  We decided to do it in the red rather than solid black, and I love the way it's turned out, it's like it's been stamped on.  I'm very happy with my lines on this!  Also, note Iona's ripped tights... Instead of taking them off, her genius told her to just rip a big hole... I don't know whether it's genius, or just mental...?

I've been looking forward to this one for aaaages.  I love skulls and skeletons, especially ones with hats on.  There's a lot of shading in this, which was a bit daunting. Even though you're trying to cover a large area, it's important to make sure you're concentrating on a small section at a time, ensuring that's filled properly before moving on, it's not at all like using a pencil!!  I feel myself getting quite impatient when filling in large sections. I had so much fun doing this though, I'm really enjoying shading, especially black and grey, and am getting much more confident with it.  Before, I would always make a copy of the stencil, and shade it in before hand so I had something to follow and would know exactly where I would be putting each tone or colour.  Now I'm just enjoying working with it, and trying new things out! I suppose nothing looks the same on skin as it does on paper, so it's good that I'm getting used to doing it more freehand.

Katie and Alexis were back for some more, surprise surprise!  They wanted these awesome bat-swallow-devil-guys... These were super fun to do, and gave me a lot of practice stretching skin etc, and I got to play with colours, yay!  Yellow is a funny one.  It's really hard to see where it's going and if it's actually going in, a little challenge!  I'm amazed these girls have any space left!!

For a long time, I've been fighting with what's going on in my head... getting too nervous, freaking out, worrying about everything... I'm pretty much over that.  But now I'm fighting a bigger battle... with my body.  Excuses excuses, but I'm just so wee!  Everything so much harder.  My hands are little, so stretching the skin is tough.  I have no strength whatsoever, which causes problems pretty much all the time.  I get really tired, and strained, every bit hurts!  It's hard, because it's not something I can fix overnight.  I don't have time or money for a gym membership, so I'm working out using tins of beans as weights, oh dear.  I'm trying to find ways of making my hands and wrists stronger, especially my left which is so weak.  It's really frustrating! 

There's lots of exciting things about to happen for Lucky Cat... I'm keeping quiet for now but watch this space.  Our merchandise range should be ready soon, which is very exciting.  There's some really cool stuff, so start saving your pennies!  We're getting all geared up for the Scottish Tattoo Convention at the end of the month, which I can't wait for.  Kev is now fully booked for the convention, and will be working on some awesome pieces, so make sure you come and check us out!

As always, I'm on the lookout for some skin to tattoo...  Get in touch with us if you fancy it!  You can email me at: info@luckycattattoo.co.uk

Until next time,

Frenchie xx

Thursday, 17 February 2011

You win some, you lose some...

Aghhh. Tattooing is the most frustrating thing in the world. I wish I was consistent. I can tattoo really well one minute, and then really struggle the next. It's a great feeling when something goes well, but when you know you could have done better, it can be really tough to pick yourself back up and get going again.

I got a couple of walk ins one day when Ross wasn't in, which was great. Two really nice guys with lots of stories to tell. The first was the Black Flag logo, which gave me good practice at solid black shading, which I'm still finding difficult.

Later that day, Jonny came in. He's a stage manager and drum tech who's been working with White Lies, and had just returned from New York. He had a cover up done while he was out there, a solid black band to cover an old Celtic one, with the Maori style detail around the edges. He wanted shading added to the triangles just to bring it alive a bit. He was really happy with the end result, and sat like a trooper, even when we got dangerously close to the arm pit. Ouch.

Anyone who knows me will know how PETRIFIED I am of dentists. It's actually ridiculous how scared I am. I still can't believe I tattooed a dentist... and she was lovely! Elinor got in touch about getting a unicorn tattoo. Having one myself, and a love for the fantastical creature, I was super excited to do it!

Having a tendency to go too deep, I was trying to be really really careful when doing this one. Ribs are sore, there's not much flesh, especially on Elinor! You really can't afford to go deep here. I think I was maybe too tentative at first, and had to go over a few lines. It's really hard finding that happy medium! Elinor loves it though, and came back with some cake, a card and a cute cat and unicorn necklace for me! Thank you!

Then it was my turn! Yay! I'm always gagging to get tattooed, and it just doesn't happen enough (hint hint!) I've wanted my hands done for ages, and Kev decided it was time! It took about 4 and a half hours to get it all done... but I love it! They healed so much quicker than I thought, and have turned out so well! I did have elephant hands for a few days and had to reschedule a few tattoos because the thought of even just putting on gloves made my stomach turn... The last 45 minutes or so really hurt, and my hands were tender for a good few days after. But it was worth it, my hands are so pretty!!

Kev's wife runs the Glasgow Roller Girls, and had a couple of visitors over from America to train with them. While they were over, they wanted their tattoos added to. They each had the world map tattooed on their thigh, but one in reverse, so that when they stood together it made up the entire map. It's a really cool idea. They travel a lot so wanted to get some little bits added wherever they go. Here's a couple of bits that I added:

I really really loved doing this next piece... Honor asked for some watercolour cherry blossoms, which were a challenge but really fun to do. There's so much to think about doing something like this, when there's no black outline, you're going from lining with the darker shade, and then shading with that, lining with the lighter colour, and then shading, and so on. It's not like your straight forward line the piece then shade it after. I love the way it's turned out! Honor is planning to come back for more, so that's always a good sign! (Oh, and thanks for the PILES of cake!)

Honor's friend Kerri came in with her, to have an Om symbol done. This was her first tattoo and she was quite nervous. I find tattooing wrists really difficult. First of all, they are creepy. Secondly, you have to be so delicate and I'm still having difficulty stretching the skin sometimes. This is why my lines have gone wobbly on this one. I got so annoyed at myself as I'd done so well earlier that day, and then what should have been fairly straight forward, I struggled with. I'd like to get Kerri back in and see about sorting those lines.

It really takes it out of me tattooing for longer lengths of time. Maybe doing the two tattoos back to back made me too tired...

Then Mama Fabulous came to the rescue! She was through visiting on her time off work, and saw the cherry blossoms I'd done and decided she wanted some too. She can't wait for summer now so she can show it off!

I added some more colour to Vonnie's owl & the pussycat piece. It's interesting getting to see some of my earlier pieces now that they've healed and are settled into the skin. It gives me a much better idea of what I've been doing right and what I've been doing wrong. I fixed up a couple of the older lines before shading, but I'll go back and retouch some more as we keep going with this piece.

And Katie was back again... Surprise surprise. Katie, is there a blog you haven't been in!?! She asked for a diamond to compliment the graffiti style piece she has on her leg. I was scared of the big long straight lines in this one, but she said she wanted big chunky lines, which made it easier for me! The colour worked really well in this I think, I'm being a bit more adventurous and trusting my instincts a bit more when it comes to shading, and it paid off in this tattoo!

Several blogs ago, I wrote about Laura coming in to have a heart tattooed. When we did it, she told me she had plans to add to it, but couldn't make up her mind whether to incorporate an anchor, or make it into a locket. She opted for the locket, and as a treat to herself for working hard on her dissertation (snore), she came in to have it extended. I really enjoyed this piece! We're going to add some colour to the roses, but leave the locket in the grey tones. I'm becoming more aware of my limitations, time wise. Of course it's worth pushing myself a little bit, but sometimes it's better to stop rather than forcing myself to continue and not doing it as well as I could.

Many many moons ago, Karen got in touch wanting some cherry blossoms on her wrist. Due to several complications on both my part and hers, it has taken till now to get this done! I had the fear before starting this, and it's not often I get that these days! I was scared to tattoo another wrist again, but after a pep talk from The Captain, and the promise of theee most fabulous GIANT cupcakes which Karen brought with her, I just sucked it up and got on with it. I lined the blossoms in grey, to make it a bit softer than a harsh black outline. Lining with grey is weird, you can't see what's going on as well as you can with black. Karen seems really happy with it, and I'm sure she'll be back for more!

I can see that I'm getting better. Slowly... Some days I feel great about it all, and others, not so great. I know that I have a long long way to go, and sometimes it bothers me. But I have all the time in the world to become a superstar ;) I know I'm so lucky to be where I am.

I'm always on the look out for people to tattoo, so if you're interested, drop me an email at: info@luckycattattoo.co.uk

Until next time,
Frenchie xx

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Busy Busy Busy!

A bit late... but Happy New Year! I decided that 2011 would be my year. This is the year when everything will come together and be ultimately fabulous. So, here's hoping!

FINALLY things are falling into place! I feel like in the past week or so everything has started to make sense! Hallelujah!

I've had some really fun pieces to work with which has been great. Things that have been a bit more challenging and time consuming.

An old family friend, Dave, had asked me to design a badger tattoo for his leg, based on a brewery logo. He wanted his birth year too. I photoshopped a design together for him, and got to work on it before New Year. I hadn't seen Dave for years, he was reminiscing about wetting my head when I was born, and telling me his wee boy is now seventeen... This is the result:

Getting neat points is really tricky, so this was great practice. I really enjoyed doing the numbers too, I was really pleased with the way they turned out. At this point I still wasn't feeling entirely in control when I was tattooing, so I was really happy that the numbers were as accurate as they are. It was good practice for shading as well, expanses of solid black aren't as easy as you'd think they'd be... You don't want to be going over areas too many times, but it is quite hard to tell if you've got it black enough. I used the liner to shade into the points and edges and used a larger shader to fill in the rest. It was Dave's first tattoo, but he sat like a pro, and was SO happy with the result! He kept telling me how amazing it was and I was... Thanks Dave! He's already planning more; we're going to add two little baby badgers to represent his kids. Oh I should mention, Dave's old rugby nickname was "Badger"... that's why!

Katie was back for more, surprise surprise! Katie's great, there's always something she wants done! She came back to get a matching rose like we'd done before on the other side of her tummy. This time in purple rather than red. We toyed with the idea of doing a zombie style rose, but using the purple and green was close enough. Unfortunately Katie had to dash off so we didn't get it finished, but will do in a couple of weeks! It was looking good!

I'm sure I've mentioned before how weird I think it is that people actually read this blog. I always feel like I'm just talking rubbish that no one will be interested in, but it was so nice to have Jim come in, who's been following my blog, and is looking for an apprenticeship himself. His artwork is amazing, and I was so excited to be tattooing it on him.

This was a tricky one to photograph, and to tattoo! The curve around the edge was a tricky one, but luckily the design had dark shading following the line, so it allowed me to fix up any wobbles in the curve. Luckily it didn't need too much fixing! Jim was really pleased with it, and so was I, I'm really enjoying using colour and shading. I hope he'll be back, I'd love to see more of his artwork! Kevin remarked on how funny he found that someone was asking ME questions about tattooing...

Then something remarkable happened. I got really busy! I had a tattoo booked for nearly every day. It was crazy, I still find it strange that people want me to tattoo them!! I started the week off tattooing the ever so lovely but ever so crazy Emma. We first encountered Emma after the Biffy Clyro gig, when she spied Kevin, and ran up excitedly shouting "You're Kev Younger. You're amazing!!" It was hilarious and we've been laughing about it for ages. Anyway, Emma got in touch and asked if I could do some lettering for her, and I need some practice at lettering, so said "Of course!". Then she told me what she wanted... "Amazing", to mark the most embarrassing moment of her life... Love it!

This was a bit of a sore one, a wee bit nippy! It was good practice for me, and Emma had picked a font that allowed me some leeway and although of course I aim to be as precise as possible, but should the worst happen, it allows some artistic license and lets me fix any errors. However, it went well, although I did find the stars quite difficult and I went a bit too heavy on the bony bits, sorry Emma! I'm starting to get to grips with how deep to go; a lot of it is confidence, and knowing that you're in control. If I feel that I'm not entirely in control, there's a tendency to feel that you need to take the needle deeper than it needs to be. I'm happy with it though, and I hope Emma is too! Here's to more sneaky tattoos on your lunch break ;)

Next! The lovely Nicole, also a bit of a nutter, is obsessed with the number 13. This was to be her 13th tattoo, so she wanted it done on the 13th. She came through from Fife for a nice three hour sitting (her longest and my longest time tattooing!) She'd sent me a Cheshire Cat design, and wanted it done about 8 inches high on her thigh. It's a super cool drawing, dead sketchy and looked like great fun to do, so we were all pretty excited about it! None more so than Nicole though!

I absolutely love it when someone is so happy with their tattoo, Nicole was jumping up and down exclaiming that it's her new favourite. Glad I could be of service! That day I felt like a proper tattooist. I felt like I knew what I was doing and my hands were doing what I told them to do. I've been doing exercises to make my hands stronger, and it seems to be working. I've been able to stretch the skin much better than before, and my hands aren't getting as tired as they did. Got to practice grey shading again, which I've not done much of, and got to use the shader in a more playful way!

Wednesday and Thursday out of the way, Friday was a killer. For both me and my customer. Nik's quite a skinny boy, and he asked me to tattoo his chest. I warned him, it'll hurt! But he insisted, and we were going to tattoo this really cute illustration by a guy called Scott C, you can see his blog here.

It was a difficult tattoo to do, but still had some artistic license too. It was really painful for Nik, so we just did the outline, and he'll be back in soon to have it finished... He hasn't been put off! It's a really colourful piece, so it'll be great to have it all finished. I love playing with the coloured inks!

Saturday, I had the lovely Elayne in. She's a friend of Henry's, who I tattooed the anchors on, and wanted a feather design on her shoulder. I LOVE THIS. A tattoo like this, the placement is really important, it makes the difference between an ok tattoo and an amazing tattoo. Luckily, I got it placed well the first time, and had a great time using really little thin lines, and grey inks. No black at all!

I think this is my best tattoo yet! I managed to go really softly, I've finally learned the right sort of pressure to apply, I stretched the skin well, and everything went swimmingly! Elayne's very happy and has given me our next project to work on, yay! Another happy lady!

The aforementioned Henry has asked me to do a pin up for him. Although I feel I'm progressing, that's wayyyy out of my depth. I could attempt it... but then Henry could end up with a terrible tattoo. It's all about knowing my limitations at the moment. Pushing them a little bit, but not too much. I can only imagine how terrible I would feel if I completely messed up someone's tattoo, especially on such a visible area like the forearm. So, Henry has decided to wait, but I'm totally up for it when the time comes!

I have quite a quiet week ahead, only one booking this week. At this time of year, it's expected that business will be quieter than usual, although of course, Kev's booked up! I'm working on some drawings at the moment to be made into prints, which is exciting! Hopefully have them ready in time for the Scottish Tattoo Convention where we will be working of course! The convention is being held at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh on the 26th and 27th of March. We're working on some Lucky Cat merch too, for all those who've been pestering for some t-shirts etc! I'm looking forward to the convention, it's like my coming out into the tattoo world!

I really must make an effort to write blogs more often so they're not this long!! Again, my usual appeal, if you'd like something done, hit me up at the studio, info@luckycattattoo.co.uk, or on our Facebook page! It's always a pleasure to meet people who've been reading my blog!

Until next time,

Frenchie xx

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Did we all have a fabulous Christmas? Miss Frenchie was spoiled!

Look at my shiny pretty machines! I can't wait to give them a go! I'm looking forward to getting to know them, every machine is different, and I've been working with Kev's machines, a different one each time. It's nice to now have my own, extremely pretty, machines!

It's been a while since I last blogged. Excuses excuses, but it's been a busy few weeks! I've been getting right stuck in tattooing, trying to get as many clients in as I can, which has been great. We had our Christmas night out, Kev took us to the Corinthian where we had dinner and champagne, I could get used to that, and sang along to Elton John songs (We love a bit of Elton!).

Onto the tattoos...

I did these matching hearts on two of Kev's clients, Sandie and Lauren. I was a bit freaked out about tattooing wrists. They're so weird and grizzly, and veiny and just creepy. But it didn't feel too bad once I got going. I wasn't really tattooing over the tendon or whatever it is, which was fine. It's interesting getting to see how different each bit of the body is, and how much it varies from one person to the other! I guess you can never really get used to that.

Katie was back... Again. We've decided that this is quite a dangerous combination... She just loves to get tattoos, and with me here... Uh oh. As soon as we're finished with one she's ready for the next! Red ink is quite possibly my most favourite thing in the world. It just looks amazing when you're using it! I love roses too, so I really enjoyed doing this one. I'm still having skin stretching issues. My left hand is weaker than my right (not that either of them are particularly strong, wimp that I am!) and having quite small hands as well makes it quite tricky to stretch the skin, particularly on certain areas of the body. The tummy is a hard bit to work on, and when you don't get the skin taut enough, your lines will wobble, as the needle vibrates and shakes the loose skin. Again, it's just practice and experience that will make me improve, so I just have to keep going, and try my hardest not to get too upset when things don't go to plan! I'm happy with the end result though, and I think Katie is too, which is the most important thing!

An old school friend got in touch via Facebook when she saw I was looking for some guinea pigs. Laura who I tattooed a while ago had bought Lisa a gift voucher for Christmas, so she put it to good use getting this chain done around her ankle. It was certainly a challenge! Lisa managed to make it through from the east in all that horrible snow... Kudos to her for making the effort!! One of the most difficult things about this tattoo was the positioning of the stencil. You can have a perfectly straight chain drawn up, but as soon as you place it on the curves of the body it will distort. It involved a lot of cutting and sticking, and reapplying to get it right, but it ended up sitting really well, and was worth the effort. I've found that the positioning of a tattoo can make it or break it. Something could look alright in one place, but even just moving it a few millimetres can make it look amazing.

This was my most detailed and intricate tattoo I'd done. I really had to get the lines spot on, there wasn't much room for error. I was about three lines in, and Kev had to leave to catch a train to London to go and see Biffy play at Wembley (JEALOUS), and due to the weather he had to leave earlier than planned. AH! I'd never been left to tattoo on my own... and this was a difficult tattoo! I then realised, and Kev did too, half way to London, that he'd never shown me how to mix grey ink. I mean, I had a rough idea, but you don't want to go messing about with it... Luckily Ross was at hand to show me how. It turned out a bit darker than I had planned but I'm still happy with it. We then added a little heart charm to the bracelet, as Lisa wants to add charms to it at significant times. I love it!

Next in was John. Kev has tattooed John in the past, and he popped in to the shop with this design hoping that I'd be able to do it. I was excited about it, despite being a girly girl, I have a bit of a thing for skulls and skeletons, and I'm really enjoying using colour now too.

As you can see, John's not the smallest of boys... which was the biggest challenge for me, being so wee! I had to stand for most of the tattoo, as when John lay on his side, I couldn't reach! Oops. I got some of the lines really perfect which I was dead pleased about! The positioning works really well too, and every tattoo is good experience. I was on my own for this one again, using Ross' room. It's quite strange being on your own, I like the banter of several people being in the room! It's nice though that Kev is trusting enough of me to let me do it though. I still made sure that Kev saw the stencil before I started, and I always show him the line work before I start shading. John's already planning his next, so that's a good sign!

The next tattoos I did were the most nerve racking and challenging tattoos I've done. I loved the design, being into all things sailory and nautical. Henry is another client of Kev's, and a lovely chap whose confidence in me really helped me to stay calm throughout! This was another instance of the placement being really important and also difficult. Henry has work on both his arms and on his chest, so it was important that we found the right spot and got the anchor sitting at the right angle so that the whole thing flowed together.

It was my first star, a twenty five million pointed star... and stars are hard. I just took my time and tried to get the lines as crisp and solid as I could. Again, this was a hard area to stretch the skin, I was all over the place trying to get myself at a good angle to work from. I was sooooooo pleased with the finished piece, I'd been concentrating so hard I was a wreck afterwards. I could hardly see, my brain was like mush and my hand was stuck like a claw... Henry was happy, Kev was happy (it earned me a hug) and I felt great! It was my most challenging tattoo, and I'd done it probably better than the simpler things I'd worked on... Apparently I work best under pressure! The plan was to do the same image on the other side of Henry's chest the following week, and I'd hoped to get some practice in between to make sure that I got it spot on again. However, my clients I had booked in during the week had cancelled, so I was worried I'd be a bit rusty. Some of my lines on this one weren't as good as they had been previously, but I managed to rescue it, and it looked good in the end. We spent a LONG time getting the stencil on, taking it off, putting it back, trying to get it at the same position as the first. It's not as easy as it looks!

Karina was back to have her Edgar Allen Crowe finished, I loved the image and couldn't wait to get in there with the colour. (Excuse my finger in the photo!) After the stressfulness of Henry's anchors it was nice to relax a bit and do some block shading. Although it's not the easiest either. I'm finding it quite difficult getting the colour right up to the edges. It's a confidence thing really, and practice. I'm still learning about using the machines, and it's quite hard seeing exactly where the needles are going, particularly on a shader. I love traditional tattoos, and loved working on this, and I'm sure Karina will be back!

The next one I worked on, I'd been looking forward to this for ages! Due to various issues, the weather, my sick cat, this kept being rescheduled. Vonnie who owns the Life Craft on Byres Road had called the shop after reading my blog wanting me to do a half sleeve based on the owl and the pussycat story! I love the story, and I knew it'd be great imagery to work with! Vonnie was inspired by a print that her husband had given her, which was very cartoony and simple. She also loves the work of a fabric designer, whose name escapes me right now, who uses a lot of amazing colours in her fabrics, and wanted her tattoo to take some of the colours from the fabrics. It meant I could just have fun and fire in as many cutesy girly colours as I could. It was so much fun! It's a work in progress, and I can't wait to get my teeth into it again. It's so cool to be able to work on bigger pieces, things that I have to think about a bit more and get to put my stamp on them. I'm still amazed that people have the faith and the trust to let me work on them, especially on such big pieces and on such visible parts!

On Christmas Eve, my mummy came in to have her tattoo finished! It had healed quite well, and had been admired by lots of her friends and our family, which was nice! When I'd been tattooing her the first time, her friend Jane was being tattooed by Kev, and he used this wonderful peacock blue in her tattoo which my mum loved and that was her only request for the colours. I wanted to keep it quite simple, without too many clashing colours, but keep it bright and bold. It was tricky getting the shader into some of the small points but I just took my time, and used the edge of the needles, rather than keeping it flat to the skin. It's amazing how much a bit of colour can make the tattoo come alive. Mama loves it, and I'm so glad! She's already planning her next one, which she wants done before we go to France in the summer. She's got the bug!!!

Again, I want to say a big 'Merci!' to everyone who's let me tattoo them, I am so grateful! As always I'm looking for more people to tattoo, so if you have an idea and some skin to spare, get in touch!

I hope you all have an amazing time at New Year, and hope to see lots of you in 2011. Where has the time gone!?!


Frenchie xx

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Bonjour mes amies!

What is with this weather!?! It might be pretty... but it's getting really boring now...

A lot has gone down in the past few weeks! We'll start with the shop news... We have a new artist in the house, the lovely Ross Duncan, formerly of Caledonia Sun in Stirling. Ross has joined the team on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. His work is lovely, and for now he'll be doing walk ins as well as appointments. You can see some of his work on our Facebook page.

We're getting all geared up for Christmas... we've got plenty of gift vouchers, which make the perfect presents! So get hinting to your nearest and dearest ;)

In the land of Frenchie, it's been pretty full on! I was buzzing after I did the butterfly tattoo on Dawn, and wanted to keep up the momentum. The fabulous Katie, one of Kev's regular clients donated some flesh to me, and we tattooed a pretty purple bow. Katie's covered in zombie art, all in greens and pinks and purples, so this fitted in nicely. It was a challenge. Lots of long lines and it was the first time I'd done any proper shading.

I was disappointed with my lines. After the high of pretty much knocking out a perfect tattoo just days before, I wanted this one to be just as good. I suppose when you're learning you can't get it right every time, but it was frustrating none the less. After having practised previously on materials like pig skin and silicone, which you don't have to stretch, I find stretching the skin a bit of a challenge, and I think this contributed to the wobbly lines. Kev had given me a thinner liner than I had used previously, which he says is a bit harder to control. However, Kev was pretty impressed with the shading, which was what I had been worrying about. When you're lining, you have something to follow. When you're shading, that's a different story. You're effectively freehanding, which is quite scary when you think about it! I make sure that before every tattoo I make a copy of my stencil and shade it in, so that I have a guide to follow which takes some of the pressure off. I did get myself a wee bit down, but I just had to get over it, get back on the horse, and carry on! I'll go back over the lines soon with a thicker liner and get it looking tip top!

Then I tattooed my mummy! She didn't have any tattoos, but kindly offered. I worked on a design to go on her shoulder; a swallow, a heart and some roses. We added a scroll with the text "Mes Filles". I wanted to wait until this piece is finished to post a picture. We worked on the lines and black shading, which helped me to sort out a couple of wobbles. Overall, my lines were much better, but still not the standard that I wanted them to be. Mummy loves it, of course! I'm looking forward to getting the colour in, we want it nice and bright and beautiful!

Next on the calendar was some Chinese lettering. Graham, who I work with in my other job, had asked for me to do these a while ago, his sons' names in Chinese on his forearms.

These were good fun to do. It was a challenge getting the placement right, having to measure and make sure that they were even. But I got it right first time! My first couple of lines were a bit wobbly, but the design allowed me to sort these without any problems. As I progressed they were getting better, and doing something quite simple like this really helped my confidence. Graham loves them, and I'm really happy with the end result. I felt like I was back in the game after finishing this one.

Next up I did a heart on an old school friend, Laura. She's studying in Glasgow now too, and it was good to have a catch up! First of all she wanted an anchor in a heart, simple outlines. However she couldn't make up her mind between the anchor and getting a heart shaped locket. She settled for just the outline of a heart, as she knew that she definitely wanted the shape, and can always add to it in the future. It's on her thigh, and we got it positioned so you can just spot it when you're looking from the front.

The top curves I found a bit tricky and had to thicken it up, which was a real shame as the other edges I'd done really well. Laura will be coming back when she's made up her mind where she wants to take it. So, I was getting there, I could see a definite improvement and found myself getting less nervous and worked up with every tattoo I did.

My friend from college, Karina, had asked me to design her an old school crow. I was SO excited about this one, it was right up my street. Old school is my absolute favourite, and it was quite a challenge to turn the crow into something properly old school. I added a rose, and found online a really cool crow tattoo which had some bright blue in the shading. Making something old school is all in the shading, so decided to go with that.

This is a work in progress, next time we'll be shading the rose and adding the colour to the bird. I had the best time doing this! I made sure I took my time and tried my hardest to get the lines perfect using a nice chunky liner. I am uber happy with how it turned out, and so is Karina! I think this was the longest that I'd tattooed for at any one time, and was wiped out afterwards. You don't realise how much you're concentrating, and it does fry your brain!

Alexis, Katie's girlfriend, asked me to do some bats for her on her side. Although they look quite simple, it was quite challenging, with so many sharp points, which aren't the easiest to do. I just got my head down and tried really hard. It really is all about focussing and making sure you get it right.

I'm really chuffed with these! Alexis sat really well, even though she said that it was quite sore, and let me get on with it. She's already offered herself up for more! I'm getting much better at using the shader, my shading is becoming more solid, without the patchiness of my first couple of tattoos.

This week I also learned how to set up my own machines, which I was quite nervous about! I am not a fan of technology and have no idea how anything in the world works, and there was something quite daunting about it! Kev sat me down, gave me the machine, nozzle and needle and left me to sit, put it together and take it apart again, over and over. I don't know what I've been so scared about! So, I've been setting up for myself, which is nice. I feel a bit more self sufficient and not quite so reliant on Daddy Kev for everything, but I still get him to check them over before I get started, just to make sure.

Before I tattoo, Kev gives me a little pep talk, and some pointers on how to do the tattoo, always finished with, "Are we going to do a great tattoo today?", and I'm starting to feel like, "Yes I am!"

As always, I'm on the lookout for more clients. If you have some skin to offer me, I'm charging £20 per session, just get in touch with us at the shop and we'll see if it's something that I can do!

Until next time,

Frenchie xx