About Me

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I find myself in remarkable situations.

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