Phillipus on 01.25.16Birmingham, UK
I'm new to the forum and I'm a tattoo apprentice based in the UK. I have been an apprentice now for 8 months on a part time basis(Lucky i know). There are 3 artists at my shop( 4 but owner retired whom I was originally his apprentice until his wife got ill). I like the guys at the shop but 1 of them doesn't really like me as much, their work is good(not great but not bad either), I can have fun and they treat me like an adult, not some cleaning slave like the other shops in the area, which I've heard some shaky reviews from. They are flexible with me and the atmosphere is great. However, I have enjoyed my time at the shop up until very recently. So here is my long winded essay of this past week.
So I have two machines: A swiss rotary which I use to line with and a Tim Hendricks one off mini-coil to shade with. Which I love to bits, I would have it by my pillow at night if I was allowed to take it home. i've taken it apart, built it back together and I can run this machine on 7-9 volts and feel it's mighty power!! I have been practising with these machines for a good 3 months, mainly on pigskin covering flat surfaces, various objects that look and feel like human skin, like this one time I used a postal tube, wrapped in 1cm foam that you get in packaging then wrapped in cling film for hygiene purposes then pig skin over the top. Done all sorts of other strange things. I enjoyed it a lot.
I tattooed myself(my very first tattoo on human skin) last week, which was a fun, yeah but what if I did this or that "just f'king do it" session for about an hour n half. Only a small tattoo of a flower and some leaves above the knee. It looks dreadful, don't want to look at it, awful tattoo, however it may be fixed by a super awesome tattoo artist elsewhere. I did this tattoo in the morning as my mentor had a half day session in the afternoon from about 12pm, so I only had a 3 hour window in which to prepare my station, tattoo machines, stencil and tattoo myself. Almost like as if I was experiencing what my mentor states as a "Walk-in" tattoo customer. I felt kind of let down by it as I wanted to take my time and he initially promised to do a whole day. Just one to one with my mentor.
With this tattoo I used a 5 liner and a 7 mag.
so my first line didn't look like it had registered very well, so I checked my needle depth which looked fine(2.5mm), then thought i'd turn my voltage up to 11 as it was originally 9.5. Then did a 2nd line, it felt okay but looked at the line and it was kinda similar. So I stopped to have a little think as to why it's not registered so well and then one of the other artists in the shop came over put my needle out further and turned up my voltage and then he did a line to show me and told me it must be at a higher angle than what I was using, I was going in at around 65 degrees(45 degrees for shading). Which also looked shit, I had a go at him as he didn't wear gloves. And he snapped at me saying lay off with the attitude(I've been warned before about my answering back, as I do have a cheeky/sarcastic attitude, it's just my sense of humour but he is the only one who takes it seriously) and just do as I'm told. My mentor just sat there and did nothing to defend me. He just sat there drawing whilst I was tattooing myself. I just couldn't believe it. So the other artist buggered off when I called him a wanker and told him to leave me alone and a little rant about how he is not my mentor and shouldn't be involved in my tattoo at all. We had a clear the air moment later in the day where he apologised for being hard on me. So anyway I did my lines, felt okay, did the shading, it was okay. a little more painful since the voltage was on 12.5. My mentor decided to keep it at the same as what the other artist said instead of reassuring me to take a break or stop and discuss why those first lines weren't registering, just told me to keep going and not worry about it.
My concerns are mainly about how my lines now look blown out. I'll show a picture of it when it was done and what it looks like now(after a week) but I don't know how to do this on here(if someone could tell me, that would be great). I understand that it is still healing but I mean I am seriously concerned with how it is healing. I'm covered in tattoos and I look after them very well but this one just doesn't look right at all. I have most likely blew my lines whilst tattooing but never really felt that much pain to feel it blow out, surely there must be like a moment where you can feel it go too deep? those 1st 2 lines since it has been healing has come up better and don'l look like they're blown. The guys at my shop say they don't know why I'm getting so worked up about it as it's my 1st tattoo on skin and it will always look shit. It might look shit but I don't want to blow my lines!
But anyway, after this experience it has made me extremely aware and concerned about my next tattoo and learning NOT to blow the lines and being able to apply the right amount of pressure to the skin. But also whether the shop is the right place for me to continue. I want to continue and just get over the idea that I blew the lines on my 1st tattoo and just focus on getting it right for my 2nd tattoo. But it's bugging me.
I personally feel I need to step back and re-evaluate what I can improve upon and why my 1st tattoo is so fucking unbelievably shit, and why the tattoo i've doesn't match the effort and time I have put into practicing. I am concerned about the direction in which my apprenticeship is going, feel as if I'm being rushed as they want me to tattoo myself again soon after my current tattoo has healed. And get me tattooing other people asap. I'm currently arguing that in order for me tattoo customers I must get my next 2 or 3 tattoos on myself good first. I don't want to tattoo someone and then it turns out to be shit.
Any pointers because my mentor just doesn't seem to be arsed about it anymore. If my 2nd tattoo doesn't come out as well I as I want it to or if I got it critiqued on here and the verdict was nil points then I'd stop tattooing and go back to drawing and painting.