Monday, 25 August 2014

Tattoo Courses: The Debate

I love Instagram for blog post inspiration. Without it I probably wouldn't have seen this gem if a post from Things & Ink. This showed in my feed last week and I just had to share!

 Tattoo Courses

OK pretty self explanatory on how most tattooists are going to feel about this right? 

Well I thought I'd write about why this image is quite rightly captioned as bullshit.

Now I'm no tattooist. I'd never even try. I have little drawing talent. I'm barely a graphic designer, and that's as close as I'll get to being described as a creative. But it seems from this that even I could "train" and become "qualified" as a tattooist. There's a lot of bunny ears going on here because "qualified" as a tattooist from a "course" is generally unheard of. 

General rule for most tattooists these days is:
  • Draw stuff
  • Draw more stuff
  • Keep drawing stuff
  • Show some tattooists what you're drawing
  • Get an apprenticeship
  • Draw a bit more
  • Learn about the theory of tattooing, the science, the techniques
  • Do a bit more drawing
  • Sell some art
  • Practice on some fake skin
  • Draw
  • Finally and I mean finally do a real tattoo on a real paying person
  • Draw
  • Keep practising, usually at discounted rates
  • Draw, draw, draw
  • Work fucking hard and prove yourself
  • At some point in the future you will finally realise you are a tattooist, but you never stop learning and improving

As you can see there's not really a fast track route, and you need talent.
I could tattoo. I'd get punched in the face a lot and probably sued because to be frank, I would be a shit tattooist. Like really shit. But I know this hence why I write about tattoos and don't do them.

So can you take a tattoo course seriously? No. It's a short cut for people not willing to out in the time, effort or talent into getting there the proper way. Perhaps there should a test for tattooists to rat out those that are unprofessional and unsafe, but then that is why there are health certificates for studios. 

Of course, this is my opinion; so what is yours? 
Should there be courses for tattooists? 
Or is it just a short cut for those without true talent and drive?

Friday, 22 August 2014

Wishlist: Black Milk Clothing does Disney

So you might have noticed that I am a HUGE fan of Disney... like a MASSIVE fan.

When I saw that Black Milk Clothing was releasing a princesses and villains collection - well queue the swoon!

So here are my favourites from the collection - and top of my wishlist - hint hint hubby!

Cinderella Play Dress
This is just perfection in a dress featuring part of Walt Disney's favourite animation; her dress transformation, plus of course every girls dream home - the castle.

Disney Princess Leggings
Bright and fun and covered in some of the most beautiful faces in the world - who doesn't love them?

Marie Reversible Skater Dress
For the girl who doesn't start fights, but finishes them - this super cute skater dress hides the inner bad-ass gal!

Disney Villains Leggings
Because if you have the princesses you need to have their evil counterparts. Buy a pair of each for you and your bestie to wear together! I know mine is getting hers for her birthday presents this year.

Tale as old as Time Scoop Skater Dress
This one I bought instantly - I can personally vouch for how amazing this dress is in person. As a Beauty and the Beast fan (yeah I know you know that) this was an instant must-have. Covered in scenes from that amazing stain-glass that is so iconic!

Sleeping Beauty Long Sleeve Dress
Another of my favourites - it's high on my list of must-haves featuring the classic Sleeping Beauty characters.

Snow White Peplum Skirt
This is such a unique and unusual skirt featuring Snow White and those infamous red apples. This a super cute take on a classic skirt.

Wonderland Vegas Suit
This is just too cool. I would literally have no occasion to wear this, but it is such a show-stopper I had to feature it. Plus I love Alice in Wonderland.

You can find all these and more in the Black Milk Princesses and Villains collection, with many of the items still in stock or made to order.
Plus they offer free standard shipping to the UK, which takes about three weeks to arrive - which to be honest is nothing because this collection is worth every penny and the wait.

What's your favourite piece from the collection?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Questions that tattooed people hate

As a heavily tattooed girl I get asked a lot of questions from both friends and strangers about tattoos.

Some are relevant and good questions that lead to an interesting conversation and debate.
But some are just plain pointless.
After reading this article, it got me thinking about some of the questions I've been asked over the years.

How much did your sleeve cost?

I was asked this last night... and in all honesty I have no idea. I've had so many sessions over a couple of years that I have no clue at its current value.  But it's like asking how much is the contents of your wardrobe? Collectors just don't keep track of the costs. 

Is that real?

This can only be answered with sarcasm. Usually a lot the lines of:

A) No I wake up every morning and sharpie my entire body
B) I'm actually 12 and these are those fun transfers that you stick to your skin - I just never got out of that phase!

Why people feel the need to ask this question bewilders me. I was even asked in a South African airport a few years ago if I air-brushed it on. I had just got off a 12 hour over night flight - I looked a mess, but yes - I just love airbrushing my body!

Did it hurt?

Now I've covered this in my post here. But to sum up:
Sharp needles in skin. It is in no way similar to being licked by a puppy or a unicorn. So yes - they hurt. 

Are you going to cover your whole body?

How long is a piece of string? Are you a time traveller?
If you have a positive answer for either of these then I am more than happy to have a proper conversation with you. If not, then I can't. I have no clue as to how my body is going to turn out

Do you think I should get XYZ tattoo?

I'm seriously conflicted about this question.
I am touched that people want my opinion, although I rarely give my honest opinion - which is - I don't care what tattoo YOU have - it's your body. But on the other hand, I am no expert in how to construct a tattoo and I also do not necessarily know you enough (or in same cases at all) to pass judgement on what will or will not suit you.

Are you going to get that coloured in?

I had this A LOT when my right sleeve was in the line-work stage (I have all my lining done in one session - thank you Lee). In certain styles, I can understand this question as the style could go colourless - however, my neo-traditional style definitely suggests it needs colouring.

So what questions have you been asked that made you cringe?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Do Tattoos Hurt?

It's the age old question, a question that still to this day is not completely answered. It's deeply personal and every person you meet will have a different answer.

Do tattoos hurt?

In short, in my opinion, yes.
But there's so much more to it. Yes they are painful. You have to remember you have a needle, or in the case of shading,  several needles repeatedly penetrating your skin through to the dermis. That process hardly screams pain-free.

But it's not as bad as it sounds. Yes needles are going into your skin, but so do the ones in acupuncture and you don't feel those at all.

The first 10 minutes are pretty tough as your body adjusts to the pain and your adrenaline kicks in. But once you settle and a relax (tensing up makes the entire thing worse) it is easier to take the pain.
Of course I am talking about tattoos that a going to take longer than an hour. The most I've sat in one session is five and a half hours of actual tattooing time. It wasn't easy. It is physically draining. And different parts of the body are different in terms of pain.

Those fun infographics on Pinterest of the pain for different parts of the body aren't completely wrong - although every one will have a different opinion. I think foot tattoos are hard work and incredibly painful and uncomfortable,  where as a girl I lived next door to in halls at university was the complete opposite and had no problems with her foot.

It is also the cleaning process that causes some pain. Wiping that fresh wound repeated is intensely sore and irritating - though it is required. 

General consensus is that it is more annoying and uncomfortable than actual pain. It's a scratchy feeling that gets annoying, plus coupled with an unusual sitting/laying position (you're usually contorted in some way for a long sitting) and hours of being in a similar position, the whole process drains you.

My tips for dealing with the pain:

  • Distraction - watch a film on a tablet or read - keeping your mind occupied will keep you from focusing on the pain and discomfort
  • Relax - try focused steady breathing to get through the tougher parts
  • Talk - also works in the same way as a film, keeping your mind on other things
  • Use Bactine - now this stuff is amazing. One of my tattooists uses this on her clients as she tends to do a lot of whole day sessions and this makes the whole thing easier. Spray on a open wound - i.e. after one layer of shading and it completely numbs the area - but you can only use it on areas already tattooed so you'll have to sit the linework old school.
Don't worry - they aren't as bad as this Youtube Video!

All in all, it's not going to be like being licked by a puppy, but it isn't so bad that you'll be traumatised for life either. 

How do you feel about the pain of tattoos?
And how do you deal with the pain?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

My Reverse Bucket List

This year has been a pretty tough one on a personal level. I've had lots of ups, and a lot of lows. But when I read about reverse bucket lists I thought it was about time I focused on the positives. If I find the link to the original article I will link it - but I've totally lost it now! 

No I'm not where I thought I would be life-wise but I have done a lot of things that should be celebrated.
A reverse bucket list is all the things you've done so far, what you've ticked off your list, what you've achieved in your life so far.

So here's mine:

  • Go to and graduate from University with a 2:1 
  • Ride an elephant
  • Get a tattoo
  • Swim in the sea abroad
  • Feed a tiger
  • Feed an elephant
  • Stroke a cheetah
  • Get married
  • Backpack round Italy
  • Visit Paris

All in all not too shabby a list.

Admittedly my bucket list is a little longer.. but that's the point isn't it - aim for more than you've done already.

  • Ride a camel
  • Go to Disneyland and DisneyWorld
  • See the Pyramids
  • Swim with a dolphin
  • Go snorkling
  • Have children
  • Buy a house
  • Run my own business
  • Write a book
  • Take a taxidermy class
  • Go to Australia
  • Ride in a helicoptor
  • Go in a hot air balloon
I have to say looking back at the things I have achieved has really helped me keep myself happy and realise that I am fortunate in what I have managed to accomplish. I have been given many opportunities and I have worked hard for the others. 
So here's to looking forward to another 24 years filled with life experiences.

What's on your reverse bucket list? Are you proud of what you have achieved so far? And what have you yet to achieve?