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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

Thursday, 11 November 2010


What a proper HUGE monumental week in the land of Frenchie!

Like I said in my last blog, I was to be tattooing myself again. To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of tattooing myself, but I felt I needed to do it again before starting on other people... Just to make sure I could do it! I'd been thinking about what I could do for ages, and it seemed that I was going to have to sacrifice some skin I already had plans for. Kev wasn't keen on that idea, obviously, so he suggested adding to the one I'd already done. What do you add to an 'F'!?!

Eight is my favourite number. It's one of those things that appears in my life all the time. From my date of birth, to the time I was born, the house I grew up in... 8, and multiples of 8, seem to follow me around. So, taking inspiration from the photography course I studied at college last year, I decided to make it like a camera aperture; f.8. It also reads as 'fate'! Magnifique.

I think doing this one was even harder than doing the original F, purely for the position of it. I was working over onto my shin. Firstly, ouch. Secondly, how on earth do you make your leg bend and twist that way for any length of time!? I was wriggling about all over the place trying to get comfy, in the right position. I could tell that my lines were much more solid and were where they should be. The ink was going in, and I was applying the correct amount of pressure. I could do it!

Then my leg went numb, and I got the worst pins and needles I've ever felt! I couldn't even move my leg! Patsy had to come over and move it for me, resulting in lots of squealing from me. Five minutes, regained feeling and got back to work. My shading was much better than my first attempt, I stayed in the lines and it seemed more solid.

And here's the result... I really need to invest in a camera...

It's still a bit scabby, but it's healing much quicker than the first time round, which I think is a good sign! I reshaded the F which had turned out very patchy, and it's healed nicely this time, properly filled in. The 8 is how the F should have been. You can see that it's in the typewriter font I'd chosen, it's not just a wobbly letter like the F. It left me feeling positive, and more ready to take on my next challenge! Kev said it was very strange hearing me tattoo skin, instead of the artificial stuff I'd been practising on.

So Saturday came, and it was time to tattoo Patsy. We were covering up a faded tattoo behind her ear with a pretty red love heart. I wish everything I got to tattoo had red in it! I was quite nervous, it's a tricky bit to tattoo. But when I think back to the first time I ever tattooed, I had no idea what I was doing. Although now I'm still learning about the various parts of the body, and how to tattoo actual flesh, there's so much more now that I don't have to think about. I'm used to the machines, I'm used to the process of tattooing. So I could really focus my attention on the tattoo. And look, I'm getting muscles!!!!

It was tricky, and it was strange being so close to the bone. My first line or two weren't fabulous, but I'd started as close to the ear, anticipating that I might not be great at first, and then the visible part would be better. I had to thicken near the ear, which is a shame, because I'd managed some nice line work later in the tattoo, which I had to thicken up to match. I used a deep red and a brighter red to shade, but should have used something darker, maybe adding some black in the shading, as there are still traces of the tattoo underneath.

It's not perfect, but it's heart shaped, as intended. We'll see how it heals. I asked Kev what he made of it, and his criticisms were what I already knew; I should have used a darker colour, my lines needed to be crisper, and I needed to press harder. All fixable though! Huge thank you to Patsy for having the faith!

After that, Kev wanted me to arrange for clients to tattoo. My step-mum kindly offered as she was going to her mammy's for dinner in Glasgow on the Tuesday. I hadn't imagined it'd be as soon, but it left me little time to freak out about the whole thing! I've designed tattoos for Dawn before (she has a really cute Dodo that I'd drawn for her!) and she asked me for a "butterfly concoction". This was a good design to get stuck into, because the lines could be a little wobbly if they needed to be, but it also made me concentrate on making it as symmetrical as possible.

Something changed in my attitude over that weekend. I don't quite know what or why, but I realised that the only person stopping me from being able to do what I want to do, is me. I was looking at the pig skins I'd done before, and I could see that yeah, I can tattoo. So the problem I'm having is all in my head. I can tattoo a solid line. So there should be no difference between tattooing the skins than tattooing someone else. My mum told me to grow a pair of balls, and I think over the weekend I did! I went in with a gung ho attitude; the least nerves I've had when faced with tattooing, and just got the job done.

Dawn sat like a trooper. I was tattooing on her side, which isn't the most pleasant place to be tattooed, she giggled a bit when it was tickly, tisk tisk! But it was great fun. I was tattooing alongside Kev and he just left me to it. Every line I did, the ink when in first time, I was following the lines, I was confident and chatting away. It was unbelievable! Kev took a look at it once I'd done the outlines, and laughed. He was impressed. I cracked on with the shading, black and red (yay!) and within an hour and a half it was done!

Dawn loves it. I love it! I am so happy! It went so much better than I could ever have imagined, and I've had incredible feedback from it! Thank you Dawn for believing in me, and letting me do a tattoo that means so much to you!

I was BUZZING afterwards, as was Kev! It feels amazing now that everything is coming together. I have clients lined up for the next couple of weeks, I'm trying to fit in as many as I can so that I'm tattooing as frequently as possible. If I keep going, keep getting better and stay focussed, hopefully it won't be long before I'm doing it properly, full time! Imagine! I can leave my other job, stop working 7 days a week, and earn some proper money!

I'm saving up all the money I'm making from my tattoos until I have enough to buy those Vivienne Westwood pearls I've had my eyes on for ever and ever! Living the dream!

If you want to book some time in with me, get in touch with us at the studio!

For now, adieu!

Frenchie xxx

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Bumper Blog Bonanza!

How long has it been!?! I do apologise! I've been kept busy for the past few weeks, and wasn't well for one of them! I think I've been doing too much and ran myself down... a couple of days off work and spent in bed did the trick though!

So, a rundown of the shop news. We have a new member of the Lucky Cat family...

Say hello to Jesus! He appeared one day, as a complete surprise to me... after being told that something would be arriving in the shop that would "blow my mind". After a million and one questions, and being told to shut up several times, I did not imagine that a shiny gold Jesus the height of me would be making an appearance. But how awesome is he!?! He's hanging out in the corner with Mary, keeping an eye on us, and petrifying us all when we come out of the bathroom!

We're as busy as ever, fully booked now until mid-January. So get booking! We've been open long enough now that I'm starting to get to know lots of Kev's regular clients, which is lovely. It's great to come to work and be surrounded by fabulous familiar faces!

Kev and Patsy went away to Dundee for a day to learn about lasering. We're going to be offering tattoo removal in the future. It's a good thing to do in a studio, because we get a lot of people who come in with a tattoo they want covered, and are quite restricted because of the colours in it; like black ink can only be covered with more black. Lasering won't remove everything but can lighten things up enough to be able to put something better over the top. Something that the customer wants, rather than having to get it because it's the only thing that will work. However, I can't say I liked the after effects of the laser. Patsy had some of her arm done, and it didn't look pleasant! I'm so glad all of my tattoos are pretty!

Brian, Kev's other apprentice, has been keeping busy, he's been in the shop most weeks working on some of his nearest and dearest. You can see what he's been up to on our Facebook page. Speaking of Facebook, we've become part of the "Biffy Clyro Tattoo Club" which is an 'exclusive' group for people with Biffy Clyro tattoos. We've been doing a lot of those, but of course, it makes sense! So, if you are one of the lucky ones with a Biffy tattoo by Mr Younger, then make sure you get involved in the group! Here's a rather gorgeous one Kev did recently, how beautiful!

Onto my news. Kev has been abusing my Photoshop 'skills'... When I say skills I really mean, 'Let's see what this button does'. We've made up this flyer, which I'm super proud of, and will also be the basis for some more artwork in the shop!

Tattooing... Getting there. This new practice skin has been great. I've been trying to tattoo as often as I can, and it's really helping me get used to the machine. It's heavy. It vibrates. It's not at all like a pen... So here's some of my efforts:

After doing my anchor and gypsy, I stencilled a lot of straight lines, and tried really really hard to get that perfectly straight line. It was VERY frustrating. But there's a few not too bad ones in there... I tried some stars too, you think stars would be easy, ha! No no, they have to be perfect, and Kev declared my first star would be a 'riot'. He was right, of course. So it became a little star fish instead.

I was quite impressed with myself with some of the lines on this one, the floral design really surprised me! I'd like my compass to be more round, but Kev was impressed with it, at least it suggests roundness! And I think if I could tattoo ships all day, I'd be a very happy lady. After doing this, I moved onto my mermaid, I think her life ring is a bit more spherical!

Every time I try to tattoo a swallow, it always goes wrong. My mum quite fancies a swallow tattoo, and as she's offered me skin to tattoo I thought I should get some practice. What a fabulous lady my Mama is! These wee guys aren't perfect, but they're definitely improving, which is all I can ask for! Curtis is my cat, in case you were wondering.

And there he is in his favourite outfit, aw ♥

Today's challenge... I decided to try something a bit different. I love to look at Japanese tattoos, so thought I'd give it a go. I really enjoyed getting my teeth into this, and had to really concentrate. It started off a bit wobbly, but once I got warmed up things evened out a bit, then I went back and fixed some of the dodgy bits. But I'm really happy with it! Kev's response, "Let's see if you can do that on a person!" One step at a time Mr Younger!

So, what now? More practice. That's all I can do. I need to learn that I can't be perfect all the time. You have to start somewhere, and hey, I could be a hell of a lot worse. Tomorrow I'm going to be tattooing myself again. I'm looking forward to tattooing flesh again. Although the artificial skin is good for practice, it's nothing like real skin; it vibrates quite a lot as there is nothing to absorb it, which, I hope it's not just wishful thinking or making excuses, should help straighten up my lines. Then I'm going to move onto Patsy, and from there, it might be you next! I'd like to say a big huge massive fabulous thank you to everyone who has been in touch about lending me some skin to tattoo. I didn't think I'd get the response I did, and I promise I'll be in touch as soon as I'm ready! It really means a lot to me!

I will leave you with a picture of Patsy and I on Halloween... We had an awesome night at Club Noir!


Frenchie Fab xxx

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Ups & Downs!


Have you seen our sensational new sign!?! If you haven't, come and see us! It's gorgeous. We had a traditional sign writer, Frank Carty of Artisan Artworks do it for us in 24 carat gold leaf. Very swish! It's beautiful, and just what we'd wanted all along. Frank's work is fabulous, you should check him out. He does mad things like murals and paintings on kid's bedroom walls!

Now that autumn is most definitely upon us, the chandelier is on more days than it's not, and the shop is just oozing fabulosity! We've also taken to playing big band music, a bit of Sinatra or some burlesque soundtracks most of the time, it's like being back in the day!

Things are going really great in the shop. We've just published an advert in Total Tattoo magazine, looking for another artist. We're getting really busy which is awesome, but we don't want to leave all our lovely clients waiting months for an appointment! As I write this, we have two available days before Christmas... and we are fully booked until then! It's definitely time to get my bum in gear and get tattooing properly!

Tattooing... It's been a bit of a roller-coaster these past couple of weeks. Some days I've been doing really well, others I've been terrible. I've been tattooing a lot of different things. We've stopped using pig skin, it's a bit minging and smelly, although it was quite good to work with. It was good fun drying it all out too. Perhaps there is a secret taxidermist within me...
I bought some artificial practice skins on ebay, supposedly just like skin and great to experiment techniques or learn on... Baws. I had bought quite cheap stuff, as I didn't want to waste money on something that might be no use. It just would not take the ink. You had to have the machine turned up really high to get any sort of impression into the skin, and my lines were just awful. It was very thin so I had to double it up to make sure the needle wouldn't go right through.

We then moved on to pumpkins. I have no idea why, but Kev suggested it, and I thought it'd be fun. I got myself a wee pumpkin from Roots & Fruits and gave it a bash. The pumpkin didn't take the stencils well, they would just wipe away, so it was a case of going over the stencils with a Sharpie first. But it was good to tattoo, took the ink magnificently and with its spherical shape it gave a hint of what it would be like tattooing the curves of the body. But still, I was terrible. The "witch" I tried to tattoo just looked deformed. My swallow looked like it was vibrating through the air. But I did manage quite a nice bow. I experimented turning the machine up and down, seeing what effect it had, and began to learn a bit more about why my lines were going wobbly and how to solve it. It helped my lines if I positioned my hand so that I had somewhere solid to lean on, and I just really took my time and I managed to get them under control. This was the best bit... The rest is just awful, so it's staying hidden!

I was still a bit annoyed at myself. I was getting really frustrated at my poor lines. When I'd been tattooing the pig skin I was doing really well. And I felt like I'd regressed. I'd lost my mojo! I was apprehensive about getting going again, especially when Kev said I really needed to get some real human people in to tattoo... How petrifying!

I ordered some more high quality practice skin online, in a bid to boost my confidence. This stuff was the same price for one sheet as it was for 10 of the cheaper ones. It arrived over the weekend, and I set about tattooing it yesterday. And woohoo! It was SO much better. Obviously it just can't replicate skin. But it took the ink a whole lot better than the first skins, and my lines were much smoother and more solid. I'd made up this stencil for the pin up weeks ago, and had been dying to tattoo it. I had great fun doing it and I feel much better about everything.

I've learned that you can't be fabulous everyday... But it's fun to try!
So, I'm looking for people to tattoo... if you have a little bit of skin you'd like to donate to my cause I'd be delighted. Get in touch with me either on my blog, facebook, or hit me up in the shop!
Frenchie Fabulous xx

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Mon Cochon!

If you've been keeping an eye on Facebook, you may have seen my tattooing efforts on Mr. Pork, my poor little pig. We decided to try out tattooing on pig skin, as it's the most like human skin, just a little bit tougher. Kev hadn't tried it either, so we thought we'd give it a shot. The butcher along the road kindly donated some pig skin to the cause, and on Wednesday evening we had a go.

I made up some stencils of some "cool stuff" (said Kev) to practice line work on the skin, making sure I had designs that would allow me to try out straight and curved lines; the obligatory anchor, some roses (I do love my roses), cherries, and the Vivienne Westwood orb. I collected my pig from the butchers, which thankfully this time, he didn't wave it about in front of my face, unlike when I went to ask if I could maybe kindly please have some... I'm a recovering vegetarian, so the thought of, let alone the sight of the skin made me feel a bit queasy, but needs must... as long as it wasn't flapping about in my face, and I had gloves on.

It was hairy. Boke. Really creepy wiry white hair. That crunched. Shredded tissue when you wiped it. Disgusting. It slopped about a bit when you were tattooing it too. Gross.

We covered Mr. Pork in stencils, and Kev tattooed first. I didn't think I was going to get a shot! He was loving it! He did a little bit of one of the roses and handed it over to me.

I get really really nervous, in general life, and when it comes to tattoos. But with the pig skin it was totally fine. After all, it's not as if you're going to ruin his life by branding him with a hideous tattoo... If it goes wrong, it's alright, it can go in the bin and no one will know!

Having little experience with tattooing real people, I asked Kev how the pig skin compared. He told me he found it tougher, a bit like someone who had used the sun beds too often. It was a bit strange not being able to, or having to, stretch out the skin, and I could feel the hairs crunching under the needle, euch! I started off going a bit too deep, but then managed to pull back a bit. Kev was showing me the difference between his fabulously wonderful fine lines, and my not so fabulous, not so wonderful, not so fine lines. But I'm glad he's encouraging me to get to grips with the fine line style of tattooing. After all, I might as well learn that now, and not have to retrain myself later. I was trying to just use the tip of the needle to get them as fine as I could, and I could see them getting better as I progressed.

I was quite surprised at how well I did, especially after being so wobbly when I tattooed myself. I suppose the pressure was off and I was more relaxed. After I'd done my first few lines and saw that they weren't so bad, my confidence was boosted a wee bit, and I started really enjoying it! It was great to practice on, and right now it really is all about building my confidence, because that's what I'm having trouble with. I think it comes with being a RIDICULOUS perfectionist, I don't do not being fabulous, and I don't do making mistakes.

It was good doing two roses. I did one first, and then the second rose I did as my last tattoo on the skin. You could then see the difference between the two, and you can tell. People who hadn't known which I'd done first could tell. So that's encouraging, if I keep improving every time, things can only get better!

So I'm feeling good about things, better than I did before. I surprised myself, and Kev too. I'm going to tattoo some more pig skin tomorrow, practice shading, I have some artificial practice skin too which I want to try. Then I'm going to tattoo myself again, and then, if Kev thinks I'm ready, get some clients in to play with! I can't be shaking the way I did when tattooing myself in front of a client, so we gotta get that under control first!

Here is my piggy, which I've since dried out. I'm going to frame them all and track my progress. It'll be a nice thing to have kept!



I'm quite chuffed, so I am! And as a reward for being a very good girl and working hard, Kev tattooed a little French Bulldog on my arm. They are officially the cutest thing ever. When I'm earning and I have my own flat, I'm having one!

In other news, some of the sign writing has been done by the lovely Frank. The corners of the shop now have "TATTOO" in fabulous sparkly gold. Hopefully the main sign will be up within a week or so. I can't wait to see it! We're also getting some wonderful blinds made out of the most gorgeous Japanese fabric, we're getting all measured up for those this week. Maybe one day the shop will be completely finished!

Time to work on some artwork, so for now, adieu.

Frenchie xx

Thursday, 16 September 2010

F for First!


I did my first proper tattoo!!! I said to Kev during the day that I quite fancied tattooing myself, with the response of "How about tonight?" I'd been thinking about it for a while, and wasn't really sure initially if I wanted to. Kev has done all of my tattoos, and they're all so well done and so pretty, I really didn't want to spoil it all! But I thought some more, and it's a right of passage for every apprentice... How can I tell how it feels, if I'm doing it properly, if I don't try it on myself?

I picked my design, a little typewriter style 'f'. I chose the lower case letter as it's cuter, and picked the placement; I have plans for a lot of the bits that I can easily tattoo myself, so thighs were out of the question. My left ankle is tattooed already, so I challenged myself to tattoo the wee bit of muscle under my knee. It's a good job that I'm double jointed!

So, at the end of the day, it was my turn! My mum was there, so I let her watch, in the hope that she'd maybe learn a little about the tattooing process... She cannot grasp the concept of how it all works, so I thought maybe letting her watch would help her to understand. Plus it was nice to have her there for moral support! Patsy stayed behind too for a little while, just to see me get started.

I wasn't nervous, I just wanted to get it done. I was curious; I've planned out my whole life without having ever tried doing what I plan to do for the foreseeable future... We got set up, I stencilled my design, and because of where it was, Kev put the stencil on for me. I loved it and it felt right, so we started.

And that's when I started to shake. Uncontrollably. In my head, everything was ok, my hand was still, and I was ready to go. Of course, it was the perfect opportunity to talk to myself, and tell myself to get on it, do it, pull yourself together. It must have been a total adrenaline rush, because in my head I was fine. It was the strangest feeling ever though, I'm telling my body to do one thing, and it's doing the exact opposite. Extreme frustration to say the least!

Mummy and Patsy offered to leave, they thought they were making me nervous... But honestly, I could have had an all singing, all dancing gospel choir standing over me and I couldn't have cared. It was all in my head. But I just had to get on with it. I've been DREAMING about the day I become a tattooist for years, so I couldn't let fear, or whatever it was, stop me.

I did a line. It didn't work. I did it again. It didn't work. I got angry. It didn't work. But with perseverance I got going. My lines weren't perfect, they were a bit wobbly, but the type I had chosen did allow for this. I was going too quick, and then I was going too slow. But eventually I got into a bit of a rhythm and it wasn't too bad. My leg started to go numb because of the way that I was sitting, which actually helped! No pain! Until the pins and needles kicked in, then it just magnified everything!

The lines weren't fabulous. But for a first go, not too bad. I felt more comfortable doing the shading, well I'd done some shading before. I had to go over things a couple of times to get them black enough, but we got there in the end. Kev said that I held the machine quite naturally, which is good! It must be meant to be!!

There's so much to think about when you're tattooing. Eventually it'll all become second nature, but you're thinking about where to start lines, where to finish them, how deep you're going, where you should be holding the skin, what you can touch, when you need more ink... And a million other things. It was quite exhausting, even though it only took about 45 minutes all in.

And here is the finished piece...

It's not perfect, not exactly how I'd planned for it to be. But you can't expect miracles. I always expect a lot of myself though, I am a perfectionist, but I'm not disappointed! I think I did not too bad for a first go... And surely, the only way is up?!

We're still healing at the moment, it scabbed up quite a bit (probably because I hacked away at myself!) In a week or so when it's all good and settled down, Kev and I will sit and have a look at it, see what's worked and what hasn't. I don't feel quite ready for tattooing other people, so for now I'm weighing up the pros and cons of pig skin and artificial skin. You read so many different things on the internet, some people raving about one, and others slating it. So I might just give both a shot.

In other news, we've finally got our sign sorted, which should be started in the next week or so. I'm not going to say much... but it is going to be SENSATIONAL! We've got our lucky cat graphics up in the windows, which look awesome. Everything's coming together nicely. It's looking more and more like home in here every day! Bookings are going crazy, Saturday appointments are like gold dust! You'd be incredibly lucky to get one before Christmas. It's great, but we're advertising for another artist to come and join the team to take on some of the work. I like it when there's more than one machine on the go, so it'll be fab to have someone else in all the time too.

Kev's started work on a portrait of Patsy's wee boy, Dylan, to add to his portfolio. SO many people have come in and asked to have a portrait done, but we don't have any examples to show them. So Patsy has donated her skin to the cause, and what's been done so far looks fantastic! I can't wait to see it all done.

Brian's been in doing some tattooing at the weekends, it looks like his stuff is getting better, and more confident, so that's good! He's always looking for people to work on, so if you fancy it get in touch with the studio. You can see what he's been working on lately on our facebook page.

I say goodbye for now,
Frenchie Fabulous! xx

Thursday, 9 September 2010


This blog is late... Very late... But I've been a busy lucky kitten (and a very hungover little kitten!)

We finally held the opening party!! Mr Younger sat on his bum and sent out some invites via text message, while Patsy and I ran around the West End like dafties organising everything. We were literally begging, borrowing and stealing from every where we could. Captain's Rest and Wintergills were fabulous and lent us an awful lot of glasses... which all had to be washed the next day. Washing away the remains of alcohol is never good fun when hungover... Patsy managed to organise some very last minute business cards, which arrived in the nick of time, and the whole shop had to be cleared of everything...

We arranged an evening of cocktails, food and music, and invited a selection of lovely regular customers and friends to join us last Thursday. We had our own barman (thanks Dell) whose measures got stronger and stronger... as you can probably tell by my declining sobriety in the photos. I swear I had a three day hangover...

Kev and Patsy came up with a Lucky Cat cocktail, a mixture of champagne, Cointreau and cherry juice. It was delish. There was sushi, ribs, fruit, even a cheese board! The lovely Iona made this fantabulous cake for us, which we are still working our way through... Kev foregoes real food at lunch time to have some cake instead! Thank you Iona!

It was so lovely to see so many of Kev's regulars all together, celebrating all the wonderful things that Kev's done! There were so many people, I don't think we could have squeezed in one more person. AND I don't think I've seen so many wonderful tattoos in one room before! So, I present you with a selection of photographs from the night...

Me in my finest!

Patsy in her fabulous sequins!!! How sensational is she!?!

My absolute bestest friend, Laura, who gifted me with a French Barbie!!!

Hugs for the Captain... (I got emotional...)

The wonderful Iona, master of cat cakes, and with the best taste in dresses ever!

The cutting of the cake!

In other shop news, Brian has been doing more tattooing within the shop's walls! You can check out what he's been up to on our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Glasgow-United-Kingdom/Lucky-Cat-Tattoo-Parlour/106977286023404

It's really good to hear two machines on the go at once... It's the way the shop ought to be... Buzzing!

I will leave you for now, it's well past my bed time, but there will be a blog very soon, with my first attempts at a full tattoo...

Frenchie xx