Mark's preliminary drawings are unreal... but as tattoos, they are insanely and infinitely better.
It's hard to believe that there are clients that come in and actually say, "So, when I come down for my appointment, are you just gonna tattoo it without a drawing or will you draw something first?" REALLY!?
The bottom line is... tattooing is not a game of chance and it should never ever be. We don't put the needle in until the client ok's the image and the placement of the image. Preliminary drawings are usually done in most cases. The ones you see in this blog are just some examples. You will see black line, and some blue pencil.
Look how good these are, and they are only the lines... when they are color pieces or shaded pieces, they will look a million times better. Look how awesome these are already!
Aron has a good collection of prelims on the go.. sleeves, backs.. large pieces.
Drawings never show how the tattoo will actually look finished because it's impossible to get the same smoothness or textures when drawing with a pencil as you would tattooing on skin with sharp needle groupings which have way more versatility than a graphite pencil or colored pencil wearing down on a textured white piece of paper.
Sasha stashes all her drawings... only found a few on her work area. Great sh*t. Look at the giant t*ts on the warrior woman.. hot.
When it comes to specific images, stencils have to be used. If a client asks for a portrait, or a logo... it would be silly for ANY artist to try and draw their rendition of that image, freehand. That's why, when portraits or logos come in, we ask for clients to bring us laser copies of their images so we can trace over them on stencil paper to get all the subtle shades, lines, eyelashes... lip texture, wrinkles, shades in the eyes as well as highlights and not miss a thing.
It would suck to have a portrait of your loved one end up with crooked eyes! There is a scientific and and specific technique to achieving perfect portraits, it's never a crap shoot at the Funhouse.
Juan's mirror is covered with blanket of drawings!
Whether we draw on paper, or whether we draw directly on the skin with a pen, the results are always unbelievable. Everyone here is an incredible artist. So versatile and so accommodating. We still say "there is nothing we can't tattoo!"
Found this online.. at the time, I was skateboarding professionally and tattooing to supplement the income I wasn't making from skateboarding. This was 1988 and if any of you remember the 80's... I think the first word that comes to mind is "the music sucked, the pink clothes sucked, it was a shitty time...". It wasn't easy being heavily tattooed in an industry run by NON skateboarders. How do you market this to the kids? Look at it today... they're all tattooed...
Scrappy consistently wins competitions. Plain and simple... the guy is a world class tattooist from Mexico City. He specializes in portraits and realism... black n grey. His work can be used as a standard to compare whether or not some one's work is up to par. Really... black and grey uses techniques that artists who only do color and bold lines would not understand. It's safe to say that if you understand these techniques, all the rest will be easy.
We get lots of people who come into the shop who have been tattooed in Mexico.. usually at a resort town.. and they always laugh and say "I know it sucks, I got it in Mexico." The thing is, just as in the United States or Canada.. hell, the whole world for that matter, there are shitty artists and great artists. You just have to find them. If you plan to bring home a souvenir tattoo, why not bring in a good one?
Scrappy sets a high standard.
We're proud to say that he uses Godoy Machines... it's an honor to see this excellent work done with our machines!!
This was an episode of Guinness Prime Time on which I appeared. It has been shown world wide since we appeared on it in about 1996. Julia's facial tattoos are way brighter then than they are now. She has been undergoing laser treatments to lighten and remove some of the work so that she can re do and re design her facial tattoos.
This show went world wide. A few years after the show aired in the U.S. and North America, I received a letter (not even an email, a paper letter!) from a friend in South Africa who said he saw it! Another in Australia... it had been translated into several languages and shown world wide!
Wanna say thanks to Daniel for forwarding me the link to this show!!
Aron McKenzie is back at Funhouse Tattoo after some time away tattooing all over Canada, he's back in Vancouver! Aron and Mark used to work together years ago in London Ontario. Though their styles are different, their dedication to the perfection of their art is the same.
Aron has over 15 years tattooing, he has experience in every style.... black and grey, traditional...portraits... freehand... you name it. Even if you have purple skin, he can make the lightest colors show up!!! If you want a kitten chasing a ball of yarn, he's your guy... if you know any deers who need to be put out of their misery... he's your guy... if you need any advice on natural cures or remedies... maybe ask some one else!
He has tattooed coast to coast and has some of the best stories around... no f*cking joke. Come down and get tattooed by Aron!
Please call the shop to make an appointment. 604-879-4114
Probably the most important industry text book any professional tattoo artist should own.
The cover art was done by Mark Lankin of Funhouse Tattooing in Vancouver and was written by Art & Steve Godoy.
The function of the tattoo machine is everything. It controls the force at which the needles penetrate the skin. Understanding this function, in detail, will enable any artist of any skill level to reach artistic goals which weren't possible with an un tuned machine.
These days, the tattoo industry is making money. The silly t.v. shows have glamorized the industry so much that everybody and their brother wants to become a tattoo artist. Elevating their status from fry cook to "tattoo artist" has created the backyard scribbler. Now he has "star status"... he can get his "sleeves", meet chicks... be recognized anywhere and work in his unregulated and unsterile environment! Though through the decades, there have always been backyard scribblers, there are more now than ever before! Some suppliers, without ethics, sell to anybody... why? because they are motivated by money.
The tattoo industry is making money, suppliers are making the most money. They are buying cheap and selling high. Most of the machines they sell are manufactured in China and sold for as little as $20.00 a machine. It's really become a throw away world! And why not?? the price is right... if your machine runs like sh*t, throw it away and get another $20.00 machine. Maybe the supplier may even have a sale... you can get it for $15.00!
A good artist should be able to diagnose problems, repair and tune his/her machines. That artist should understand the function of that machine in association with artistic technique. This is the difference between real professionals and amateurs. The difference between gliding through a 1 hour tattoo as opposed to suffering for 2 or 3 hours using a machine which it not tuned.
The machine can't be bought (usually) and expected to perform, right out of the box. Unless it was built by artists/builders who UNDERSTAND what that machine needs, in order to achieve certain results.
This book is the only definitive industry text book of it's kind. This book provides a complete dissection of the electomagnetic tattoo machine, the function of each and every component and it's role in a fully funcitoning well ltuned tool. It will be available by September 30. $140 dollars is nothing to pay for 25+ years of tattooing experience. It is a soft cover with full color images, machine gallery, artist gallery and information you will find only in this book. Educate yourselves and you won't have to feel taken advantage of... see why it has been the most downloaded bootlegged book in the industry...
Ok, Here's a great piece... Juan doing a Bob Marley tribute piece. You will find Bob in it, of course, his Les Paul Junior with a single cut away, a Lion statue... Bob's house... excellent piece. Even Juan is all smiles about it! The guy getting the tattoo was flying to the Carribean during hurricane Katrina! F*ck that!!! Turbulence on a normal flight is one thing, but going from one island to another in a propeller plane during a hurricane sounds about as fun as sliding down a razor blade on your b*lls and landing in a pool of alcohol... anyway, he said it was that trip that turned him on to reggae music.
That was a great day, the conversations at the shop are the best. You can really learn a lot. Because of the open floor plan, everyone has a chance to join in the conversations. There are so many knowledgeable people that come into the shop that you can learn everything from facts to how to do repairs on cars, where to find parts, access services like machining, computer services, hair cuts, where to get fancy shoes... you name it.
The week before, I was in Mexico at tattoo convention. Here's a picture of the plane entering Mexican air space.
This is the first day, in the first 20 minutes of the convention. The place got real full. Conventions in Mexico are the best. It's not a huge money maker but the experience is the greatest. You can't put a price on it, especially in a city as huge as Mexico City!!!
There is some real talent there. Not just in Mexico City but the whole country! Look at this tattoo. The guy who did it, uses our machines. The smoothness of the shading and solidness of the color says it all.
Mexico is known for it's black and grey artists. These 2 pieces (above and below) were done by Kique Sanx from Chilpancingo in the state of Guerrero.
I always use black and grey as a reference as to the artist's ability. The techniques needed to do these realistic images is not only a question of eye / hand coordination, but a question of understanding the techniques needed to make your machine, needles and diluted ink achieve this. Light even shades are the hardest to do. Especially if the areas are huge!
Skin type plays a big role in this as well. There are some types of skin that are very receptive to the faintest shades of diluted greys, others are not so lucky. As you can see from these tattoos, there are rarely outlines, the edges are implied with different grey shades and hard edges. You can see this in the noses, shapes of the eye sockets, eye lids and so on. None of the facial features ever gets outlines, surprising to some of you, not even the eyes!! If you ever look in the mirror, there is a shelf that the eyelashes grow out of. That is defined by shades, not lines...
It takes a real "eye" to spot this. There are tons of artists who attempt portrait work and fail miserably because they tattoo what they "think" it looks like and NOT what they see...
Here's Fester doing another FINE piece!! Perfectly executed Chinese letters.. complete with brush strokes. You could see all the tiny lines from the camel hair brush that it could have originaly been painted with! Don't know if that's what they use in China for brushes...
Fester tattoos with confidence and precision. Natural instinct. He has years under his belt of hardships & good times. He's had to jump some hurdles in his lifetime! All of these things can side track you from your trajectory of being a professional tattoo artists. He stuck with it and now 13 years later.... greatness.
Sasha does too! I don't think you will find another quite like her. ...This feather is so clean and well done. All this talent and ability is from YEARS of work. Working on your own legs... guinea pigging friends, working on Ryan! The amount of dedication it takes to do what she does is unbelievable. The anxiety and stress in the early years from trying to push your limits and occasionally falling on your face compares to accidentally cutting off the wrong foot of a patient with gang green in his toes... well, maybe not as bad. We have all been through it and come out the other side!!
It's as if one day, a light bulb goes on in your head and all of the sudden you're doing stuff like this:
or this shell by Sasha:
Now, because of the TV shows on tattooing, tons of people want to get into it. It's not the Outlaw art it used to be. It's great for business but it's lost it's edge. There are tons of kids who want to get an apprenticeship, or think it' s an easy job. It' s not. People think that just because you're a good artists, you can do this. Or just because you have a degree from some art school that you will be attractive to us to bring you in as an apprentice. Not true. We get tons of inquiries about an "apprenticeship program" or if we need any apprentices. Nobody ever NEEDS one... really. Maybe a helper to clean tubes... sterilize, answer phones... but to find somebody who is willing to dedicate YEARS of their life to learning this trade is a rare thing. It's even more rare to find somebody who is WORTH teaching this to.
I had an apprentice once - Jeremy Riley. He turned out GREAT. He was with me for 9 years!!! He now owns Tattoo Union on Broadway... right down the street from where he started.
For me, every aspect of tattooing is important. It's not just the art of tattooing...Here's a bit about what I do on the side... building tattoo machines.
This is the NEW steel BLACK WIDOW machine. It's coils are not only triangular in shape, the space between the protruding tops and bottoms allow for more winds of wire. It is a strong smooth running machine, yet sensitive and versatile enough to execute the finest details with the smallest needle groupings as well as subtle grey shades.
Most machine suppliers will sell a machine for the fair market price, but now that China is involved, the price does not always match the product. Most artists want to buy a machine which is ready to go. Buy one of those and if you don't know how to adjust of modify it, the price just wasn't worth it. Our machines are ready to go, tuned and set up to be able to perform whatever function you need to perform.
This is the Godoy Machines V3 machine. This piece of machinery has had year of designing and testing. It happens to be our 3rd patent in the works!! The way this machine runs doesn't compare to ANY machine out there. Every component has been dissected and re worked for function and ergonomics. From the precise machining to the tight layer winds, from the deluxe powder coated finishes to the minor details like fasteners and terminals... this is a piece of highly functional art. Because of the coils shapes, there are more layers of wire than on a standard machine. It will operate at between 6 and 7.5 on a regulated power supply. Which is a higher than on our V2 and Black Widow machines. This does not change function. You will not find a smoother feeling machine than this one. This is the Mercedes of tattoo machines.
The Godoy Machines V2... what can I say. Before our office actions with the square coil patent, we were experimenting with a V series coil. The shape of the coil, the angles of the coil... and of course the wire gauges were all things we were studying. We were also concerned with the magnetic field and how to direct it to where we wanted it to go. We slanted the coils, away from each other to re direct the magnetic field to either end of the moving armature bar, and here ya go... the V2 was born. Future modifications lead us to now, where the rear coil is straight and the front coil is angled.
BACK TO THE SHOP....
We believe in advancement. We support creativity and originality. The shop environment, though light hearted and fun, is also serious. We are serious about the service we provide and the ethics we keep
Cover ups are serious business. They are a great way to get rid of regret, wether it's the memories of that Vegas trip when you got married by Elvis and got your future ex husband's name tattooed on you or wether it's a souvenir from your f*cked up teenage years experimenting with sewing needle and india ink tattoos! Emotional regret is a different story!!
Cover ups don't have to be so complicated. Any quality artist SHOULD be able to cover a tattoo. The "normal" way to cover a tattoo is to use a color that is darker than the colors used in the tattoo to be covered. Most artists (the mediocre ones) would have chosen a design which was mostly BLACK to cover this tribal, like another tribal or a mountain gorilla or... When in reality, a color that is the same value of the tattoo to be covered will work to blend it into the new design or to cover it. The tattoo in picture is greyish... a dolphin would have easily covered this, leaving plenty of clear skin to put a rainbow coming out of it's ass and not have the colors muddied up by the grey tattoo.
If you look at photo number one, the tattoo looks dark on the skin because the only color to contrast it is her skin color, but if you took a blue ball point pen and drew a line on the tattoo, you would see that the pen is darker than the tattoo and you would know that you have more options than you think!
Tattoo colors in their bottles look thick, dark and dense... they are much like tempera paint, or poster paints, the difference is in the surface they to be applied to. On paper, the color will be opaque, that is to say "solid" because the surface is not as porous as skin is so on paper, these colors can cover spots or patches which are dark. IN the skin, the colors go in transparent so there's no way you can cover a freckle with yellow, or pink or anything lighter in value than that freckle. They will show through, some darker scars will too... birthmarks, the same... GET IT?
how bout now?
In this tattoo I (Art) used shades of battle ship grey and watered down black to do the "base coat" of the tattoo... creating a foundation which would make it easier to add lighter colors around those areas to create depth.
If you need cover up work, think of the images that you like. It's up to us to make it cover that ugliness. You should be open minded because NOT all images will cover all tattoos, for example, a bright yellow happy face would never cover this grey tribal tattoo. The only other option, if your tattoo is super dark, besides tattooing a big black patch is laser treatments... which can be used to lighten the tattoo in order to have more options for cover up designs, or to get rid of it all together.
If anyone can do it, we can. Got one to do really soon, the clown who did it originally, knows who he is. Have a few ideas in mind just in CASE Your original idea doesn't work.
JULY 9 - 11 in Langley. 2 artists per day at our booth. If you want to get tattooed at the convention, please call the shop to see which ones of us will be there on what day. Should be a good event. For more info on the show, go to : http://www.westcoasttattooshow.com.
COME GET TATTOOED BY SASHA!!!!
OR BY FESTER!!!!
OR BY MARK!!!
OR BY JUAN!!!
OR BY ART!!
If we're busy, come by anyway, make an appointment to get tattooed at the shop! See you there!
About 8 years ago, the shop was open on Broadway and Ontario. I was in need of another artist to fill a chair and Mark walked in. When potential artists come looking for work, I usually look at their portfolios and take a day or 2 to decide, unless it's real mediocre stuff or poor stuff, in that case, I shut 'em down right there. But Mark was a whole other story. I said "can you start tomorrow?" Ha!! He agreed. Now, we had another secret weapon in the shop to combat any mediocrity in the city.
Every artist has their own style and some artists, these days, don't. They have someone else's style. This can be seen in the trend of repetitive traditional tattooing. Some artists don't travel outa their comfort zone. Mark doesn't have a comfort zone, he's uncomfortable all the time, that's why he does great work like this!!
If I was to categorize his style, I would say it's a cross between action hero comic books and realism. See these dragons he's doing, that's what dragons look like in real life, for your information. And this is what Heather our shop helper and owner of THE GOODS SCREENING AND APPAREL ON BROADWAY AT KINGSWAY just across from the KINGS GATE MALL looks like when she's on the toilet! Go talk to her, maybe you can buff her flamed helmet and then, she can buff yours... if not, go purchase some of their items, or get some shirts printed.
Maybe you're just like the rest of the world and really enjoy collecting fetus skeletons and want to pay tribute to your collection with a tattoo of one in a test tube! Or maybe you are a girl who likes to drive tanks and destroy sh*t. BAM!!!
If so, Mark will do it.
Maybe you want that portrait of your dalmatian. Y'know, that special photo you took of him before he died from smoking may mean everything to you. At least you got one before he died!! And now, you could remember him FOREVER the way he was when he was happiest...before the tar in his lungs turned into tumors and suffocated him to death.
Whatever it is, realistic, Japanese, bio-mechanical, color, black and grey... come down and talk to Mark. Come down and talk about hobos, government, food, Bart Simpson, the dumpster, the broom...christmas socks.
Some of what we do is stuff that most artists in the city won't do. Saying that we do the impossible is close, but if we can do it how can it be impossible? It's skill level that makes it possible! Sometimes, an artist will say "it can't be done that small" and sometimes it's true, there are pieces that can be too small, like some high detailed fonts, but most of the time what these are really saying "Ican't do it that small." Professionally, it would be better to tell it like it is to a client because the client will then decide wether to search for an artist who CAN and not have to compromise their original decision on size or settle. Some clients are open minded enough to let an artist "try" or go with it and accept the tattoo in a larger size. John Day's angel (above) took 4 hours... no outlines...just shades of color. No compromising here.
This is Yolanda's cover up... a mediocre under water scene is replaced by a high detailed realistic coral scene.
It boils down to skill level. Some artists will even say "in 10 years the lines will be fuzzy and the details gone"... another excuse. That is something that is impossible to predict! Exposure to sun, their pre disposed aging due to genetics, elasticity of the skin... after care, weight gain, muscle gain... all these things are factors!! But, let's just say, if that were true, that "in 10 years, the detailed, fine line tattoo will look like a turd", then so will the thick bold black lines they prefer to do! May be even worse!!! I don't know which would be worse a faded single needle line which could turn a light grey with shading that will disappear, or a dark bold line which will only get thicker with a grey fuzz around it.
Portraits and realistic work are standards used to measure an artist's general skill by. It takes eye-hand coordination to do these. First a stencil is placed on the skin, marking every subtle shade or wrinkle, the eyelashes, the highlights... and then it's up to the artist to translate the shade or value for that particular area wether it's by mixing the color or thinning down the black ink with water, BY EYE. Some artists excel in "traditional" style tattooing, which today is recognized as trendy, just like the tribal armband of the 90's. It does take some skill to draw a tattoo to match the style of tattooing's early pioneers (skulls with square eyes..), but the technique used to actually tattoo this style of work is rudimentary. Lining with a 7 - 9 needle liner and doing solid color is what most artists learn in their first few months of holding a machine.
This portrait was small, the guy's arm was skinny so he didn't have much room to work with, the face alone was approximately just over an inch wide so imagine the size of the eyes. This is single needle stuff!! The shades making the muscle tones, and facial details wasn't all done in blacks or greys... I won't let the cat out of the bag but any GOOD artist will be able to look at an image and instinctively know what to mix to get there.
Some areas are hard to work on. Just look at the surface of the skin! There are dips and valleys, occasionally there are creases, moles... going from soft areas to hard bony areas!! It's not an easy job... a professional can make it look easy but it can be the most frustrating thing ever.
Some clients have great skin to work on! Even the subtle-est greys show up on them. This portrait was a pleasure to do!! This was freshly done so there is a little redness but you can see on the hat and the collar that Seio's skin was great for portraits. Don't mean to toot our own horn... TOOOOOOOOOOOOOT! But this is what WE CAN do. We are doers. As Wentzle Ruml would say, "I can do it, I'm doin' it." He's the guy 27 seconds in... you must see this movie, even if you don't skate...
SO, after work, do you know what time it is? Hungry?
how bout now?
Work all day... eat in the evening... digest all night... sweat all night digesting meat... wake up, put out a bi- product that looks like the baked beans in the picture.. with a side of what looks like the lemonade in the picture... clean up and do it again.
This woman had cancer and both breasts were removed and reformed with implants. The problem was that during the operation they even remove the nipples! She came in asking about having the nipples tattooed on, she had seen it done in photos at her doctor's office but the work was VERY BASIC - not much more than a pink circle. Since her niece was a client at the Funhouse, she asked her about us and if we could do the job. She came down to consult and I told her that on the day of the appointment, to bring in pictures of what she'd like. Size and shape are crucial!!
A few weeks went by and the day of the appointment had arrived. I got to the shop early and started to set up the privacy area. She arrived on time and I asked "Are you ready?" and then told her the usual "this is going to be f*cking great!" She was a little nervous, and understandably so! When she took her shirt off it was as if she was sexless... what I mean to say was that she didn't seem to feel any modesty or embarrassment, she was totally expressionless. There was no effort to cover up or hesitation to show herself in front of a stranger. It wasn't as if she was an exhibitionist, more like she had no nipples to identify her as a woman so she didn't feel like a woman, and didn't feel that it was offensive to expose herself to anyone. She layed down and I drew the nipples on with a pen, centering them exactly where she liked them to be and started to work.
Her sister was there for support and as the first one was finished, I noticed the look on her sister's face. I finished the first one and gave her a quick look and moved on to the second one. In total, I think the job took 1.5 hours. When I finished, I asked her to go to the stand up mirror and check herself out. She got up, NOT COVERING HERSELF UP in any way (as she was used to this), and when she saw herself in the mirror, her hands immediately and instinctively raised up to cover herself! What she saw was not the sexless torso that the cancer had left her with... she had tears in her eyes!!
Tattoos are great. They do alot for people... wether it's a portrait of a friend...
or these fairies like on Tammy's arm, from her favorite book...
Anything is possible you'll know when you find it and you know where to go when you do!