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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

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