can I get tattooed today?

1920333_10152487056127712_6697920045449669580_nThis depends on a lot of factors.

You want a tattoo! And you want a tattoo today, or tomorrow. Is it going to happen? Well, if your tattoo is small, simple, and in an easy area to work on, the chances are good that it will happen.

If your favorite shop or artist takes walk-ins or has empty time that day (hint: they’ll usually post on one of their social media sites if they have a cancellation or free time) then it’s even more likely to happen. If all of these things are true, and you call the shop to ask about getting worked on and the counter staff say “come on in, Joe has a few hours open today” then YES, you’re gonna get a tattoo today.

But do you need an appointment?

Usually, yes. Even on that magical day when all those things come together, there will be some things that make an appointment a good idea.

Let me explain what an appointment is, and what it isn’t.

A tattoo appointment is a set time during which your tattoo artist will be doing nothing but tattooing YOU. They will mark that time as “taken” in their schedule.

You will be the priority and that is the time during which you’ll get tattooed. A tattoo appointment is held with a deposit- some artists will take a deposit over the phone, by credit card, or online by paypal or some other means. Others will want you to come in person to leave a cash deposit. Deposits are usually nonrefundable; they ensure that even if you get hit by a meteor on your way to the appointment, the artist doesn’t lose money by telling other people to go away because they’re going to be busy with you. (deposits normally pay for part of your tattoo cost; part of the total you pay at the end)

Without a deposit, you don’t have an appointment. You probably have a consultation. That’s ok, too.

A consultation is a short meeting with a tattoo artist, which culminates in setting an appointment or getting a tattoo done that day.

Setting up a consultation is a good idea, so that the artist can give you a price estimate and figure out the artwork with you. In our original, awesome, everything-goes-right scenario, you’d likely get a consult – jotted into the schedule in pencil, it would mean one of two things.

  1. You will meet up with the artist for 15-30 minutes and discuss artwork, placement, cost, and all the rest. Then they will set up an appointment to do the tattoo at a later time.
  2. You’re next in line to get tattooed, and can wait until your turn to get tattooed that day.

If you have a consult, your artist will meet with you to discuss the tattoo right at that time, but you may have to wait a while to actually get the tattoo. It may need to be drawn differently, or they may need time to figure out technical details to apply it. Someone may have gotten their tattoo started before you arrived, and the artist will finish with them before it’s your turn.

If you’re on a tight schedule, make an appointment, not a consult. If you aren’t sure whether the artist can draw the tattoo on the spot, if it’s a bigger piece or in an odd place (ribs, hands, etc), if it has complicated elements or meanings, or if you know you might have to come back another day, make a consult and bring along your calendar and ideas so you can plan your future appointment. Hope for the best (getting tattooed today!), prepare for the worst (waiting until another day to get the tattoo done).

Here is what I am left with after I have a consultation with someone:

I'll mark placement on a copy of this so I know where it'll be

I’ll mark placement on a copy of this so I know where it’ll be

A rough doodle I made of the art while we were talking. (actually this is a painting by Cy Twombly, but its what all my preliminary sketches tend to look like)

A rough doodle I made of the art while we were talking.
(actually this is a painting by Cy Twombly, but its what all my preliminary sketches tend to look like)

a brilliant idea for what the finished tattoo will look like. (this is Buckminster Fuller, though)

a brilliant idea for what the finished tattoo will look like.
(this is Buckminster Fuller, though)

a bunch of notes in my terrible handwriting that seem to have nothing to do with the tattoo but actually are notes about your tastes, aesthetic, ideas, hopes, dreams, and how awesome your glasses were

a bunch of notes in my terrible handwriting that seem to have nothing to do with the tattoo but actually are notes about your tastes, aesthetic, ideas, hopes, dreams, and how awesome your glasses were, including a deadline by which I want to get the art finished.

lots of coffee, and time

lots of coffee, and time

a sketch finished after the coffee and time

a sketch finished after the coffee and time

resonanteye geometric mandala back tattoo in progress

finally the appointment day arrives and it begins.

Now, let’s talk about just walking in.

A walk-in is simply going to the shop, getting in line, and waiting your turn to get your tattoo that day.

Some shops and artists encourage this and others don’t like it. Best way to find out if it’s going to work? Just call the shop and ask- “do you take walk-ins?” or “does anyone have time for a walk-in today?” They will let you know. If your art is something that needs lots of drawing time,or if a bunch of other people show up at the shop before you, they may not be able to tattoo it that day. They may not have time. BUT! If your tattoo is pretty simple, or if it’s the kind of thing that particular artist likes to draw and can draw easily, then yes you will be able to walk in and wait your turn and get a tattoo, all in one day.

 

Here are some examples of things that I have done as walk-ins:
wpid-wp-1437889848161.jpegflower tattoo11951279_10153168436387712_1654153991962033826_nIMG_20150509_162856tattoo over stretchmarksjalapeno tattooIMG_20150621_165854DSC_0056

You’ll notice that some are very simple, and some are more complex. The complex stuff? It’s all stuff I like to draw, and can draw very quickly and easily right then and there. If you wanted something I wasn’t proficient with, I’d have to make a date for later and really take time with the drawing. Some of these, I had drawn beforehand- in my sketchbook- and people walked in and chose them from my drawings, or asked for something similar and I could use that drawing to work from. So it really depends on the artist, your flexibility, and other factors.

Personally, I always leave free time on the weekends to take walk-ins. I love spontaneity, and I have a big collection of drawings of “stuff I wanna tattoo on people” for folks to look at and pick from. I also like to draw some subjects so much, that drawing  then tattooing them is easy for me (flowers, trees, plants). Usually my walk-in days get filled up by about halfway through, so anyone who runs in to the shop late hoping for time is SOL, though.

Now, I know that a lot of people think things are small and simple- and they’re not. I mean to you it may seem a simple design, but to us it may be a nightmare. There’s reasons for this- difficult placement, redrawing time, drawing time, planning out geometry or something. I can’t go into it too much because there are a million and one reasons why what seems a simple tattoo may in fact be a complex one to actually apply. In a lot of cases, people walk in wanting a thing that looks simple on paper, but then have to make an appointment to get it done later just so I have time to figure out that translation work and prepare the art correctly. Here are a few like that:

DSC_0054wpid-1375149_10151755002212712_1453620961_n.jpg

DSC_0008
DSC_0064megaman tattoo

 

they may look simple enough, but they took planning and redrawing to get right.
So to sum up:
  • Yes, some people take walk-ins. Call the shop and ask. Be prepared to wait in line for your turn.
  • Yes, consults are a good thing. You might get tattooed that day,or you might have to make an appointment. Nothing is guaranteed. You don’t need a deposit to talk to an artist and the consultation itself costs nothing.
  • Yes, appointments are the only way to be sure you will get tattooed at a specific time and day. Many times you’ll need to make one anyway, just because the artist needs to work on the concept to make it right. You’ll always leave a deposit to hold an appointment.

Good luck, and don’t be afraid to email or call the shop or the artist to find out how they handle each of these things. We have counter staff to handle that- we pay them to be nice to you and find a way for you to get tattooed. I like emails a lot, and I do a lot of online consultations too- some artists don’t, this is purely a matter of personal taste. If you have an artist who is responsive about emails, you can always email directly. Don’t be shy, though. We want you to get tattooed, today, or as soon as possible, because we love tattooing you.

bonus: a few tattoos that took consults AND appointments to get done.

IMG_20150509_085325

IMG_20150509_142836

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5 big mistakes people make when planning their tattoos (and how to avoid them)

reposting for info! for you.

15 books that will change the way you tattoo (for the better)

owlbooksThere are a lot of great books on art out there, and I’m bound to miss a lot in my list. These are just books I have found incredibly helpful in my work, and which I refer to often.

These are not books of reference images (although I did come up in the time before google images took over, and every shop had its own reference library on site…I still can’t part with all those books!)

These are, instead, books about art in general, about art techniques, or about being an artist that I think apply very well to tattooing. If you have favorites that I do not list, please add a comment and link me to them! I read voraciously and love to find new sources of knowledge.

At least a few of these are free on kindle/ebooks, most are cheap, one or two are pricey, all are available and not rare.

 

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
To say to the painter that Nature is to be taken as she is, is to say to the player that he may sit on the piano.
~J. M. Whistler

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tattooing on darker, or uneven, skin tones

henna style
I’ve been tattooing for a long time and I’ve worked on every conceivable shade of human skin. I’ve noticed that the most important thing isn’t usually how dark or light someone is (although that matters when you discuss tonal value and contrast) but the hue of a person, the underlying warmth or coolness of their skin.

Skin color is created by melanin, a pigment found in the upper layer of the epidermis. Tattoos lie beneath this layer, in the area between the epidermis and dermis. This placement of the ink prevents it from being shed with dead cells, by the top layer, and by being dispersed into the capillaries, in the bottom layer.

Since the ink itself lies beneath the epidermal melanin, looking at a tattoo is like looking through a tinted window. Except for albinos, everyone on earth has melanin in this skin layer. Some will have a ruddy skin tone, some a cold tone to their skin. Some will be dark, some light. Some freckled, and some smoothly pigmented.

Taking all of this into account when designing a tattoo is important. Tattoo ink is not opaque, but translucent, so you see through one tinted window, then through the ink itself. More than one factor has to be taken into account to make a great tattoo on uneven or darker skin tones.

5 big mistakes people make when planning their tattoos (and how to avoid them)

Comments welcome!

1. Putting the cart before the horse (trying to get art together instead of finding an artist first)

owl tattooYour most important decision isn’t going to be the art itself, but the artist you choose to apply it. Before you even start putting together any images, you should start looking for an artist to do the tattoo. Most people assume they have to come in with some kind of finished piece and then hand that to just any artist, and they will get a good tattoo. This is pretty much backwards!

Look for a tattoo artist whose work you like, who works in a shop with a decent reputation, and who shows interest in your idea. The best way to do that is to simply search online, plugging in the name of your area or region and “tattoo artist”. Or, alternately, ask people you have met who have tattoos that you really like. Word of mouth is a good thing!

Choose the artist by their work. If they are doing tattoos that you think look awesome, it doesn’t matter if it’s the same subject you’re looking for. For example, if you want a bird on you, you don’t have to look for someone who can tattoo a bird. Every tattoo artist can and will tattoo a bird- it’s the WAY they will tattoo it, that you need to think about. Look at their STYLE. Do you like it? Not your mom, your partner, your friends. YOU. This will be your tattoo. So if you like their style, that’s what matters.

You can usually send an email to an artist or contact them online and present your subject matter to them, and see how interested they are. Sometimes your idea is fine but not exciting, and that’s ok…but sometimes you get lucky and the idea you have is one that THAT particular artist would really love to work on, and that’s always a good thing.

Once you’ve picked out a tattoo artist, go have a consult with them. They will make the art for you, as part of the tattoo process. Seriously. Finding an artist whose vision you trust means you don’t have to pay anyone else to draw for you.

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the 6 worst pieces of promotion advice for artists, and the real solutions.

After countless suggestions of sites to use for promotion, I’m starting to realize that several things do not help at all:

1. Selling on more sites, adding more print-on-demand stores, or more marketing profiles.

fff

When you ask most people “how should I promote my art?” you will often get well-meaning people, telling you “you should sell at *printsite*!” or “are you on *marketsy* site yet?” or even “maybe you should sell them on *auctionworld*!”  “Do you have a *deviantshit* profile???” It’s as if they purposely misunderstood your question! “But I already sell on *somesite*!” You protest. “I already have a *americanartprints* profile, do I really need to be on *shirthoarders* too?”
You know, and I know, that you already ARE selling your work on a site like these. There is already at least one site out there with your work on it, for sale, clearly marked prices and all. What you need isn’t TEN MORE OF THOSE, you need PEOPLE TO GO TO THE ONES YOU ALREADY HAVE, and spend their money on your work. Yet asking how to do this never gets that kind of response! This is because most people have one or two sites they have heard of, vaguely, or bought something from once, and so they assume- if you are asking how to promote, it’s because you don’t even know where to list shit.

Most people aren’t trying to sell art. They’re buying it. So yeah- if ten people suggest *randomprintplace*, you should check it out, maybe. Because you already know ten people shop there. But be wary of paying for a bunch of shops or profiles on these sites, because they usually don’t offer much return. (If you DO need to know which sites to sell on, you’re not ready to promote the art yet. concentrate first on listing it, a lot of it, all in one place. I like redbubble for print-on-demand and squareup market for direct sales of originals. )

2. Writing in-depth or posting art directly on social media sites instead of your own.

nooo

I keep my favorites to the left.

Let me guess- you post your work to facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, googleplus, wanelo, weheartit, pinterest, linkedin, and maybe even a few dozen other places like this. You’re exhausted. You put off making stuff because you spend way too much time in an endless round of liking and sharing and pinning and chatting with people who never buy a damn thing. Then you get caught up in talking to friends and family, and somehow the day is gone and you actually didn’t do anything you could call “work”. I know. OH TRUST ME I KNOW. Then you go look at your own site, your own blog on your own domain and there’s only like two views. Ghost town. Well, of course it’s a ghost town! You don’t live there, you live in social networks, and you don’t invite anyone there- you talk to them on facebook!

How many people on there do you NOT know? How many people on there BUY things from you that way? I know I get sales to previous clients or friends on these sites sometimes, so it’s tempting to post there a lot, and spend time interacting, and all that…and call that “promotion”. But it’s not, really. It’s not work-related, it’s not promoting, if you do it that way. It’s either time spent with friends hanging out, or you’re just creating content for free so someone else can make money off of your work.
How social sites work, you see, is that people who make things and write stuff, they post these things on that site. That site then slaps ads everywhere and rolls in the dough. If they find out they can charge you to post your work too, they will. They’ll take the ad money YOU and YOUR WORK attracted, and ALSO charge you too. Without your work and your writing and your time spent there, THEY DO NOT MAKE MONEY FROM ADS or datasharing or…or any money AT ALL. YOU ARE PAYING THEM TO GET PAID. There are solutions to this, which will be in the next section (if you click through)

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6 basic ways to improve your tattoo compositions.

EPSON MFP imageEvery bit of information about art can be applied to tattooing- especially information about composition. Here are some basic ways to do this-

How to prepare specimens safely.

How to get the bones from animal remains you find that still have a bit of meat on them, and which are not dried out:

 Wear disposable gloves. Wild animals carry loads of diseases which you can in fact succumb to, such as rabies, flu, and even leprosy (YES, leprosy).

This is the low-investment method. You can also bury or macerate the remains to get the bones; but maggot cleaning will be less involved. You could get a beetle box, but maggot cleaning is less upkeep.

  • DO NOT BOIL OR SIMMER BONES. Cooked bones can and will ROT! Boiling breaks the fibers that hold bone together, making them brittle, and thinning them. Let nature do the work for you! (and keep the stink outside!)
  • Put them on a piece of window screen that is twice their size, and wrap them up in it. Fold over the edges to close it like a pocket, leaving a one inch opening on one end for flies and other insects to get in.
  • Hang the corpse-pocket up outside. You want it up out of reach of cats and dogs, but low enough that you can reach it. I hang remains from a tree limb near my house. You can also wrap the corpse this way and then bury it a foot deep or less. Either way, insects will do the cleaning for you. This will not work in winter though.
  • Wait a few weeks, less if it is hot/humid. check on your developments. at some point the bones will be fully exposed, and all meat will have been picked away by insects.
  • soak the bones in HOT water and blue Dawn dish detergent. Change out the water/detergent mix every day. It can cool off overnight, just use hot water to refill it each day. Use about two cups of Dawn per gallon of water. Do this until the bones are not yellowish with fat anymore.
  • Scrub the bones in cold water with more dish soap. Then soak again in HOT water, mixed 1:1 with regular old store-type peroxide. YOU DON’T NEED BLEACH; BLEACH WILL MAKE THE BONE CRUMBLY AND WEAK, AND SOFTEN IT. Peroxide and hot water will disinfect just as well, when used in conjunction with the soap soak. refill/continue soaking until the bone is as white as you’d like. I find that it usually takes three water changes to get the ivory-cream tone I prefer.
  • Dry the bones thoroughly, NOT IN THE SUN. Then spray, with a coat of matte UV protectant. Sun exposure, like bleach, degrades and weakens bone.
  • The best way to hang a skull is to string it on thick, soft twine through the orbital bones, then hang that on a hook on a mountboard. I like to attach the jaw as well, and pose and articulate bones- I’ll go over that stuff in a later post.

TEAL DEER: 

DON’T FUCKING BOIL OR BLEACH BONES! IT DESTROYS THEM!

How to disinfect feathers (legal ones- domestic and game birds)

Find out if they’re legal to own!

Wear disposable gloves.

Be especially cautious with feathers, because bird flu is an actual thing. So is west nile virus, salmonella, and more…

  • Figure out if it is a land or water bird. Water birds have oil in their feathers, land birds do not.
  • Figure out if the feather is legal to own or not. You can check the list here to find out.
  • Spray with alcohol (land bird) or tea tree oil, almond oil, or oil-based castile soap (water bird) and let dry.
  • Soak a paper towel with full-strength hand sanitizer, and wipe feather gently, in the direction of growth. Soak the feather well.
  • Tie a string to the base of the shaft and hang the feather, shaft up, overnight to dry out.
  • Using hot water, wipe the feather down again. Let dry. Use almond oil (water bird) or a damp cloth (land bird) to smooth the feather to shape it again. Again, let it dry completely.
  • Smooth out with your fingers to re-shape the feather and re-attach each strand of it.
  • To dye land-bird feathers, use translucent, lightfast inks (FW, or diluted liquid acrylics) and wipe ink onto feather surfaces in the pattern you want, or better yet, spray it on lightly. let it stand until the ink has dried, then wipe gently with a damp rag, using your fingers to smooth the surface and attach the strands.
  • To dye water bird feathers, use an oil paint, diluted with almond or walnut oil. Make sure to re-shape the feather several times during the drying period, or the strands will clump together.

TEAL DEER? MOST FEATHERS ARE ILLEGAL, DON’T BE A DUMBASS.

(you can find my work in these materials here or here)

originally written on: Aug 1, 2012
updated today

hand-painting prints


Sometimes I feel like just making prints of a painting isn’t enough.

I feel like- man when I buy stuff, I buy prints because I like the artist but can’t afford a bigger piece- but I always feel like it’s not as good as an original. So I end up kind of going halfway sometimes, and painting over a print of my own work.

I’ll do the painting first.

I did this in watercolor and colored pencil on plain tinted paper,then painted over the prints with blood and white highlights.

If you plan to try this, make sure your original art has decent contrast and a solid area or three where detail or added color would add, rather than detract, from it.

further instructions after the break:

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talk to strangers.

bride portrait

Originally published 12/5/2011

I was looking at the viewing statistics for the site here and noticed that one person among the couple hundred went through every post just about in the space of a day or two. OMG ARCHIVE BINGE! It made me extremely happy and I felt warm, and loved.

Whenever I find a site or an artist I like online I just read EVERYTHING from them, I will binge until I am reading their diary from ten years ago, if it’s posted. Like when I found crimelibrary the first time, or when I started looking at explodingdog. I just went nuts, spent all my internet time following the trail back to the start. I suddenly realized that you guys read my stuff and look at my site the same exact way I look at yours and that made me feel really good. So thank you, anonymous archive binge person, for making me both happy and more educated about what I am trying to do, and how people feel about it.

THEN- I have gotten a slew of emails from total strangers, asking questions, tattoo and art process stuff, and general sort of things. I LOVE talking to you guys. Man, if you’re reading my stuff someplace and suddenly have a question, and you email me that you like my things and want to know the answer, I get sweaty excited about it. It makes me feel good- I love sharing information, and while I am not the most educated or the most knowledgeable about everything the things I DO know I love to share. And sometimes even if I don’t know, I can send the question to someone who does. And that feels great too.

.

And also- I spent the last few days interviewing a series of artists for a longer article I’m putting together. I’m working hard to write something useful about it. It’s taking me some time to assemble but I think it’ll be good. Talking to new people who get it, and who are working in smaller ways to affect the world- people who put their hands on the work and make things that have deeper meaning as well as visual aesthetics- that’s been really eye-opening and inspiring to me too.

Oh, and, last of all, I spent a day making paper. That was fun as all fuck, too.

I love talking to people about art. I don’t know how approachable I seem but really, I like talking to new people and I really feel great when I can help someone, give information, or just even see that people are interested in what I’m doing. So thanks guys for reading along.

If you have questions for me to answer, let me know in the comments. Or email me!

(you can find more of me by googling resonanteye, I am literally everywhere online. I talk to all the strangers!)

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