Superhero underpants work, y’all. Seriously. You can’t have a bad day if you’re wearing superhero underpants. If I wear superhero underpants when I have to take a flight somewhere, my flight never gets cancelled. It works every single time. So with that knowledge, I wore them yesterday. And as an added guarantee, I wore superhero socks, too.
Why yesterday? Because yesterday I knew I was going to be giving my VERY FIRST TATTOO. (I mean, unless you count the permanent makeup I’ve already done. But that’s different equipment so I’m not counting it.) My mentor, Julio, has a thigh he reserves as his “practice thigh” for those of us wishing to learn the noble art of shoving needles and ink into skin. So I got into work bright and early (if “bright and early” means “noonish,” which, let’s face it, it does for an artist) and Julio let me dive in. Squeeeeeeee! And eeeeeeeeeeep! For my first time, he just wanted me to learn a little a line work. So he asked me to design a frame to put around an existing tattoo he has, and this is what I did:
The longer lines are pretty shaky, because, well, I was shaking like a mofo, because, well, I was terrified. But by the end I was feeling more comfortable, and I’m kinda sorta almost proud of it…for my first time.
While I was finishing up, Julio’s next customer, who I’m going to call Moose*, came in and liked it enough to ask me to do a tattoo for him. So on my very first day, I had my very first paying customer. Whaaaaaaaaat?!!! Double squeeeeeeee! And double eeeeeeeeeeep! That just doesn’t happen.
SUPERHERO UNDERPANTS, Y’ALL. I’m telling you.
So anyway, this kid was all of 22 years old, which explains his lack of fear of having a total novice ink something for all eternity into his skin. It will also explain his choice of subject matter, which you’ll see below.
Since I’ve only learned lining so far (and just barely that), he’ll have to come back once I’ve had a chance to practice a little shading on Julio’s thigh. Then we can add shading and color.
I learned a few things in my adventures yesterday: First, skin is bumpy. Like, really bumpy. So getting clean, straightish lines is tough. Second, the skin on your upper arm is nothing like the skin on your thigh, and the skin on Julio is nothing like the skin on Moose. So even if I get lining down well on one piece of skin, it’s a whole new ballgame on the next piece of skin. Practice will be everything. Third, adreneline makes me shake like crazy. Fourth, I’m glad I’m not 22 anymore.
So, yeah, yesterday was a big day. And I owe it all to superhero underpants.
*If you’re wondering why I’m calling him Moose, it’s because he reminded me very much of this construction worker, Moose, who worked on our house when I was a teenager. Moose was in his early 20’s, and liked to get drunk and do stupid shit. Like, hop onto my horse without permission and get bucked off. One morning, I climbed out of the shower and was dancing around my room while I got dressed for school, and mid-half-naked dance, looked out the window and saw Moose sitting in his car in the driveway watching me. Yup. He was a swell fellow. That weekend, he got drunk and fell out of the back of his friend’s pickup truck and broke his arm. Luckily, that meant he couldn’t come back and work on our house anymore. What a fuckbucket, guys. Seriously. Maybe someone should have gotten him a pair of superhero underpants.