Sunday, August 27, 2006

After months of waiting, we finally started work on my tattoo again. It's been a long time since I felt the stink of a tattoo gun, and I had almost forgotten it's distinctive touch. The motor's vibrations spread out in waves from the area of impact like an earthquake emanating from the depths of an inky black fault line. The electric tattoo gun has a bite that a hand-driven needle doesn't, but this is offset slightly by the calming buzzing sensation. The front of my torso is an area which has never been tattoo, and different areas respond in their own ways. On my side over the ribs, and the pelvic area on top of the bone - these areas are not particularly pleasant to tattoo. The rest of it isn't so bad really, nothing nearly as bad as having your backside tattooed. The plan is to make this koi white with a shock of red or orange on it's head, something like the Tancho or Kohaku koi varieties. We won't start the outline on the left side of my body until the right side is complete. I'm realizing that photographing the front of my torso presents it's own challenges; namely, that I can deal with baring my ass online but full frontal nudity is a bit much. For now I've resorted to using a none-too-subtle black bar to hide my "naughty bits". Hopefully I can come up with something a bit more subtle without sacrificing visibility.
It's a little scary starting this project, even with the previous experience under my belt. But with something like this, the only way to begin is by jumping in with both feet. And I've certainly done that..


Anonymous said...

Will the outline be all done via machine and the shading all Tebori? Would it just be too time consuming to outline everything using the Tebori technique?

Mike said...
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Mike said...

It's not a matter of saving time. Rather, it's simply using the tool which is most appropriate. A modern tattoo gun makes expressive, consistent lines and fine detail possible. All the shading however is executed by hand. It seems most tattoo artists working in the Japanese tradition have incorporated mechanical "one-point" machines into their process to some extent, some more than others.