Weekly Tattoo Wrap-up 4


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Had some fun tattoos this week. Got to do my first chest piece. The customer already had the wolf and moon, as well as the roman numerals, but he wanted to fill in the rest. So I added trees and clouds that blended into the clouds on his arm. I also added shading on the lower part of his pecs to give the illusion that he has a bigger and more chiseled chest. His comment: “I look like I’ve been going to the gym!”

Isaac - chest piece

Another new customer has very little open skin left to tattoo, but has “the itch” again, so we found a spot for this little gem. Get it? Little gem?

crystals - Amanda Bretz

The next one tugged on my heart strings and made me feel the feels. Of course.

daddy's little girl - Brittney Thompson

And my favorite of the week was a walk-in who wanted a bear, an octopus, or something Star Wars-y. So I showed him some of my watercolors and he opted to go with the octopus and add a watercolor background. I have to admit, I’m proud of this one. I really love doing this style, so I hope I get more requests for stuff like this.

Octopus - Matt Onley



Lions, and Elephants, and Dancers, Oh My!


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I’ve been playing around with ideas for watercolor style tattoos for a couple weeks on my downtime at the studio. Since some of them are really fun, I figured I’d go ahead and share them here. If anyone wants me to tattoo one of them on you, holla. The first two are different concepts for the same dancer. The lion and elephant aren’t related, but I’ve seen a lot of people getting generic tattoos of lions and elephants, so I wanted to play with making them really unique.

Dancer black and white tattoo idea_compresseddancer-color-watercolor_compressed.jpgelephant-in-headdress_compressed.jpgRoaring Lion_compressed

Weekly Tattoo Wrap-up 3


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I had several memorial tattoos this week, which was pretty cool. It’s a really special thing to be part of helping people heal by documenting a loved one’s special role in their life. I commemorated everything from grandparents, to parents, to pets this week, including one guy who wanted his dog’s tooth mark (from when it bit him) tattooed on to look like a mole. I also got to help people document the latest phase of their lives and remind themselves of who they want to be going forward. And in between, I got to watch several pairs of sisters come in, and it was a blast watching them crack each other up and support each other through the pain of getting a tattoo. Aside from a couple people who I realized part way through tattooing were actually drunk and/or highly unstable, all in all, it was a good week. So with all of that in mind, here’s this week’s tattoo wrap-up:

butterfly on finger

crowns - Katie and Buckly

St Brigid cross - Mary Lumpkinmandala anklet - Mayawisdome circle - Nicole Finley b&w

be brave arrow - Kelli WilsonBonnie's turtles_compressedKim Bella ankle compilationliz-wilsons-sweet-pea.jpg

Weekly Tattoo Wrap-up 2


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As promised, here’s my last week in tattoos. I’ve stopped snapping pics of every single tattoo. I mean, I ran a special in preparation for OutRaleigh’s festival this weekend and did a whole bunch of rainbow hearts, equality symbols, and an asexual flag, and they were all that unique or interesting, so I didn’t bother getting pictures of them. But I did want to tell you about them because it was a wonderful Saturday full of love and I’m totally going to do it again next year as a fundraiser for Raleigh’s LGBTQ center. I also didn’t snap pics of the several tiny little stars or treble clefs or triangles, etc, nor did I opt to photograph the pentagram and goat head I did yesterday (but I’ll be sure to post a pic of the cover-up of that one when he grows up and realizes his mistake and comes back in 5 years, lol).

So here are the ones I deemed worthy of a photo:

Ginko - Rachel Faison_compressed

For an environmental scientist

juggling - Kathy Carson_compressed

For a professional clown

owl - Katie Samuel_compressed

In honor of a grandparent

star trek - Gigi_compressed

Added the words to the existing star from the Star Trek badges.

And finally, the piece de resistance: a customer requested a full-figured pinup in Day of the Dead makeup with a line body that would “make [his] mother uncomfortable.” So I gave him this:

I Got a Job


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I got a job. Yup. I did. A part-time job, but a job nonetheless, so I may have a little less blogging time for the forseeable future. I’m working as an office manager and business development specialist for an internal medicine physician who practices pulse diagnosis neurological acupunture and herbal medicine. How was that for a lot of fancy words in one sentence? Really, I’m a glorified receptionist who tosses out innovative ideas like, “Hey, we should make some videos for social media!”

As part of my compensation, I get weekly acupuncture and herbs, which is cool, but very weird since it involved disclosing my medical history to my boss on the very first day. “Hi, I’m a hot mess who shouldn’t even be able to get out of bed most days. Surprise! Aren’t you glad you hired me?!”

You all know how much I didn’t want to get a job and lose time in the art studio and tattoo studio, so I was hoping my job search might take awhile, but nope. I got the first job I applied for. Stupid competence ruins everything. Luckily, the hours aren’t bad and actually break my day up a bit, so I spend less time crankily sitting around waiting for walk-ins at the tattoo shop. And it seems that I’m getting more tattoo work now that I have less time to be tattooing, which I guess is a good thing. But I only get 1 day off a week now, which is a less than good thing. And my new bosses asked me if I could work on that one day this weekend, so now I have to practice setting my boundaries and actually say “no.” Laziness Work-life balance and all. I like the physician and his fiancee, though, and so far they like me, and I think working there could actually end up being fairly rewarding. You know, helping all the peoples feel all the good feelies.

I’ve been taking fewer pictures of the tattoos I do because I guess I’m not feeling the need to document each and every one anymore. I’ve finally lost count of how many I’ve done. Does that make me a veteran tattoo artist? Not sure 6 weeks of tattooing qualifies me as one, but I’m going to pretend it’s true. That being said, I’ll still take pics of the more interesting ones and at least do weekly tattoo wrap-ups for those of you who don’t already follow me on the InstaBooks and the Facegrams.

Weekly Tattoo Wrap-up


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I did a few tattoos this last week or so that I’m pretty happy with. I might have even danced a jig after the giraffe one. But there’s no video evidence, so I get to pretend I’m not that big of a dork. Thought you’d enjoy seeing some of my favorites:


origami elephant

Taylor's giraffe and sunflowers bwTaylor's giraffe and sunflowers color 2

It’s official. I LOOOOOOOVE tattooing realistic animals and tattooing other stuff in the style that looks like a sketch. Love love love it. Love. It.

Mandala Tattoos


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Right now, I still have a lot of down time at the tattoo studio as I wait for word of mouth to do its thing and bring me more customers. I’m putting that time to use playing with ideas for tattoos. I’m ever so slightly obsessed with mandalas at the moment, so I thought I’d share some that I’ve been doodling and noodling around with. If anyone is interested in getting one of these tattooed on them, let me know! I started with just a couple simple mandalas joined together with some paisley:


This one has already been claimed, but I can create something similar.

mandala ohm

I followed that up with a mandala peacock:


And then I got totally carried away and created several mandala and elephant drawings, which one of my genius friends dubber Mandalephants:




And then I made a copy of the last one and colored it in just for funsies:


I’m actually kind of wishing I’d left out the pink and purple, but whatevs.

If you have an idea for a new subject, like, say a lotus flower, or a cat, or a buddha, etc, feel free to suggest it!

Acrylic Painting Tutorial for Solace


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Here’s a tutorial for how to teach (or just paint) one of Artistic Abandon’s most popular paintings, Solace. Enjoy!

Watercolor Tattoos


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I am LOVING these splotchy watercolor tattoos, y’all. They’re just so cheerful! And I can see my own progress from the first couple I did to the one I did today. In the interest of the tattoos holding up over time, I’ve made sure to include strong blackĀ  images that won’t fade as much as the colors. These days, though, tattoo inks have gotten pretty good and they’re lasting a lot longer, so it may not be as much of a concern as it used to be.

Here are the first couple that I did:

no day but todayconstellation watercolor

But I wanted to play with this style some more, so I decided to actually do some watercolor paintings. There’s a fabulous photographer whose work I love named Terry Davis (seriously, go check out her work), and she posted a photo of a daisy, and I loved the shape:

terry davis sunflower

I mean, isn’t this stunning?! You can get prints of it on Fine Art America.

So I used her photograph as inspiration for a watercolor daisy:



I have been forbidden by my tattoo mentor and by my husband from giving away any more tattoos, so I decided to auction this one off. I posted it on my Facebook page and let my friends bid on getting this tattooed on them. The friend that won requested some color changes and asked that we make the colors more splashy and less drippy. So I did a little tweaking and here’s what she got:

Bonnie's daisy

It’s such a happy tattoo! If anyone is interested in doing the original watercolor I’d auctioned off, let me know! It’s about a 2-hour tattoo.

And just for funsies, I took a picture of the tattoo before I added color, and I love it, too, as a stand-alone tattoo, so thought I’d share it with you.


In Defense of Facebook


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Okay, hold your fire. I just wanted to put in a good word for Facebook for a second. You’re free to go on hating it, but listen for just a second. I love Facebook, and here’s why:

First, I would never have gotten through everything I went through with my dad were it not for Facebook. I got SO damn much support on there from people who would never have known what I was going through because they live far away and I hate talking on the phone to anyone other than my mom. I’m honest about what I’m going through (within reason…I don’t, like, post about every fight I have with my husband or coworkers, etc) in my life, and people respond. They give me words of encouragement, or they say, “Yes, I’m going through the same thing. Thank you for saying what I’m thinking.” And my community is so much larger because of Facebook. My parents’ friends could stay up to date on what was happening with my dad by just watching MY page for updates. And while some people just lurk and “like” posts, other people comment with kindness and love. When he died, I didn’t have to email or call everyone who needed to know, because they saw it on Facebook and responded. That took a big burden off of our shoulders.

When I’m depressed, Facebook becomes a lifeline to the outside world that I’m physically avoiding. People I was never close to have become dear friends thanks to private messaging on Facebook. Some people are better at being honest and open in writing than in person. Sometimes I’m one of those people, so I get it. Facebook helped us find each other, identify a kindred spirit, and open up privately.

I’m in a couple of support groups for chronic illness, and I never would have found these women without Facebook. I have a worldwide community because of social media. Ditto for blogging groups, and art groups, and various other interests. They’ve helped me grow as an artist, a blogger, and a person.

Are there negative people on there? Of course. It’s the internet. Shitheads love being shitheads wherever they can. But I’ve only had to unfriend one person ever, and it was for way more than just what was going on on Facebook. I’ve read blogs saying that Facebook makes people feel bad when they see other people posting about what fabulous lives they have. My friends don’t do that. I mean, they do post when exciting things happen, but they also post when tragedy strikes, or when they have a huge pimple, or when they’re bored or hungry or experiencing any of the wide array of emotions and experiences a human can go through. So I do, too, and then we can all rejoice with each other and take care of each other when needed.

I have friends with a variety of political and religious leanings. It’s good for me to see their posts and have to examine my own beliefs. It’s good for me to be reminded that there are people that I love because they are good, smart people, who believe some stuff that I don’t necessarily agree with. Not everyone who has a different political affiliation is a bad person, and my friends are proof. We come from different places and life stories and cultures, and Facebook reminds me that a) they are different from me and b) they are like me.

As an artist and a small business owner, Facebook has been an unbelievable asset. Unlike taking out an ad in the paper or on TV, which will cost thousands of dollars and rarely get actually viewed and even more rarely viewed by the specific people who would be interested in what I’m offering, with Facebook, I can target exactly who I want to reach and it costs a fraction of what I’d pay for print, TV, or radio advertising. Since I’m a VERY small business owner, I don’t have a big advertising budget, and I’d be screwed if I didn’t have this resource. And being able to post my art somewhere a bunch of my friends congregate has resulted in several sales without me having to do any paid advertising at all. I can avoid groveling to art galleries and watching them take half of the sale price and essentially negate any profit for me.

As a consumer, I like that Facebook isn’t showing me ads for a bunch of shit that I have zero interest in. Why would I want to see ads for guns and toupees when I’m not interested in either? How do they know what ads to show me? Duh, they keep tabs on what I post and react to. This does not surprise or offend me.

Does it suck that the Facebook platform has been used for underhanded political purposes? Fuck, yes. Do I 100% blame Facebook? No. Yes, they do have some culpability, but I don’t blame them for trying to figure out who we are so that companies can market more effectively to us. Hell, it’s a free service for us, so if I have to see a few ads for things I might like, I’m cool with that. And I take responsibility for double checking the factuality of stuff I see posted by my friends. If someone posts that 99.3% of Americans like bologna, I’ll fact check it before reposting it. That’s my responsibility, not Facebook’s.

So, you can delete your account if you’re mad at Facebook. That’s cool. If you’re concerned about your privacy, alright. I don’t judge you for that. But I’ll miss you, because realistically, I’m not likely to call.