Tattoo Art For The DIY Crowd
By Adam Hernandez
Los Angeles, California January 26, 2007: With popular culture's recent interest in tattoo arts, it's no surprise that the web has been inundated with various tattoo related sites. Perform a search in Google, and you'll be amazed by variety of results. Some sites function as an introduction to a tattoo artist or studio, while there are some that gleam the web for pictures and stories surrounding tattoo culture. Other sites are merely portals hoping to make a quick buck off tattoo flash. However in my search, I happened to stumble across a tattoo blog that dares to offer the chronicle of two brothers learning to tattoo themselves. This should be good.
"Ink Trails" is a journal of two brothers, Jason and David who set out to learn how to tattoo while documenting the entire process. The blog starts out with the simple premise that one need not have a desire to tattoo professionally to work within the medium. According to comments posted on the site, a traditional tattoo apprenticeship can be very difficult to find, and can require the student to spend years working as a lackey before ever laying the needle to skin. Tattoo artists tend to be very territorial, as teaching an eager student their hard earned skills can create instant competition and are a liability to their main source of income. There is also those that see tattooing as a trade and therefore expect those interested in learning to be wholly committed to learning the craft as tradition has prescribed. If TLC's Miami Ink is any indication, the job of an apprentice can consist of little more than moping floors and answering phones for years before they are entrusted with the knowledge of the trade.
While the first few posts on the site document the trials of finding out what supplies they will need and how to operate the equipment, it's the posts of their work that provide the most interesting reads. Filled with stories, pictures, and even video clips of each tattoo, Jason (the main author) documents the mistakes made and lessons learned with earnest voice and a remarkable clarity. One of their first tattoos on a friend even shows a video clip of the exact moment when David fudges a line! While I'm glad it wasn't me, it's this kind of unflinching honesty that makes the site stand out from so many other sites trying to capitalize on the upsurge in popularity.
Surprisingly, in a little over three months, the work featured on the site has improved dramatically. Many of the new completed pieces actually have a rough, yet stylized traditional quality to them. Of the most recent, David finished a sailor tattoo based on a traditional flash design that looks authentic. They seem to be getting increasingly more comfortable with the tools and their work speaks to this fact.
While the brothers caution that they are not in the business of teaching anyone the right way to tattoo, they sure offer enough information to get the newcomer started. For any body interested in learning to tattoo, or just understanding more about what goes into the tattooing process, this site is an invaluable resource. Keep up the good work, fellas! I'll definitely be a regular reader.
About the Author
Adam Hernandez is a freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online publications. For more tattoo art and the Ink Trails brothers' tattoo blog, go to http://www.ink-trails.com.
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