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I find myself in remarkable situations.

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

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

And it begins...

Well, big sis got hitched, I cried... The photographer wants to feature me in her blog as she's never photographed anyone at a wedding who has tattoos. How bizarre. I never say no though, so we'll see what happens! It's been a busy mental week, I had three whole days off from the shop!!

I had a rather amusing request from the Best Man... As part of his speech he wanted a fake tattoo on his stomach to "commemorate the day in his own special way" which he unveiled to the crowd as his finale. Daniel was a good sport, and didn't complain too much about having to have his stomach shaved. I used permanent marker the day before, and then touched it up on the day. It looked pretty good! It was good practice for me too, making stencils, getting used to placing tattoos etc etc.

But now normal life resumes... I got my hair cut, which was AMAZING! I think I've had it cut twice this year, and I'm very hair-proud! And more importantly now I can get tattooed again! I'm dying to get my French sleeve finished, a Moulin Rouge dancer pin up, a Marie Antoinette cameo. Now it's just finding the time with Kev to get it all done.

But the most exciting news... I tattooed! Just some black shading, but actual skin to needle contact! Kev's other apprentice, Brian, was working on a tattoo he'd done on himself, with Kev assisting, and I got to play too! I thought, me being me, I'd totally freak out about it, over think it and have a fit. But no, I just did it. Deep breath and just got right in there. I did pretty good! The machine feels quite top heavy when you're holding it, but once I got going I didn't even notice it. I thought I'd get freaked out that really, I'm hacking into someone's skin with a needle, but I didn't. It's really hard to describe how it felt, I suppose I was so excited everything has gone a bit hazy! It felt great though, and now I'm just gagging to do some more! I was buzzing for ages afterwards, Kev took my packet of Skittles away because I was too hyper! Hopefully I'll get to tattoo myself this week, it's kind of like a right of passage for apprentices, so I can't wimp out of it!

Here's me in action!

Believing is just the beginning...

Frenchie X