Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tattoo Apprenticeship : Sketches VI

We're only one day away from the Halloween debauchery ladies and gentleman... I'm so incredibly excited I can't even deal with myself... wow... So let the 24 hour countdown begin... and to help you pass the time, please enjoy these illustrations of yet another assignment from Cooper involving the legendary Phoenix, some more snakes and some roses.

Thanks for checking in 
and take care until next time!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tattoo Apprenticeship : Sketches V

I hope you all have your costumes ready for the Halloweenie Holiday... just around the corner... I'm still trying to figure out how to dress myself or even compose myself for that matter... it's every dark heart's favorite time of year, where we get to play up those animal instincts on all the spooky levels... But before I can cut a rug with the rest of you ghoulish bugs, here are some images from my sketchbook to get you in the spirit of the season for screamin'. 

Coop always says you can never draw enough snakes, skulls and roses... and then I think to myself... fuck yeah... of course you can never draw enough snakes, skulls and roses... pssshhh... why the hell wouldn't you? 

It took me a little while to get the hang of drawing a believable skull over and over again from memory, but here are some examples as a result of multiple skull assignments over the past few months. I wish I had put a quarter next to these thumbnails, most of these little sketches aren't much bigger than a silver dollar... but hey, they say size doesn't matter, right?

Thanks for checking in
and take care until next time!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tattoo Apprenticeship : Sketches IV

I don't know if I'm ever going to adequately explain how thorough Cooper is among an industry filled with so many wild cards. From the get go, Cooper had an intricate set of assignments planned within an even more organized timeline for my apprenticeship. 

"We're going to divide this apprenticeship into three parts. The first part will be the bulk of your first year and it will include drawing here at the shop under time limitations as well as illustration assignments at home. The second part will encompass all of the technical skills needed to understand the mechanics of your tattoo machine and equipment. Part three will be the heavily supervised application of tattoos." 

It was pretty intimidated by the work load, to say the least, but the structure of Cooper's apprenticeship helped me to mentally transition into the fast paced, carnival hustle of a well-functioning street shop. When the assignments began, Cooper didn't hesitate to start familiarizing me with some of the more cliché tattoo themes that I would most likely run into from walk-in customers.

"You need to have a skill set that will allow you to take whatever request walks in that door. And until that starts happening, I'm going to give you a list of tattoo genres that would be beneficial for you to know and at least execute well."

Whether a tattoo is cliché or not... all of them seem pretty rad to me. The images below are one example of the many assignments from Cooper preparing me for whatever might walk-in the doors of a tattoo shop. 

This episode is highlighting the "floating or severed head" tattoo theme. 

Thanks for checking in
and take care until next time!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tattoo Apprenticeship : Sketches III

Aaron Della Vedova (tattoo artist and owner of Guru Tattoo) and his wife Holly Della Vedova (mommy extraordinaire and co-owner of Guru Tattoo) have created an incredibly professional as well as inspirational environment for artists and clients alike. Everyday I walk through those glassy, double doors I can't help but feel honored by the fact that I get to be surrounded by so many talented, hard working artists. It's definitely intimidating and motivating at the same time... I really hope that one day my tattooing will be up to par with these individuals. 

Since the official inception of the apprenticeship I've had the privilege of observing Cooper, a master craftsman in his element, from conception to creation to execution as he methodically plans out every single one of his epic tattoos. Watching the other artists around the shop is pretty mind-blowing as well... I love how everyone's approach to a tattoo is so different. From the way someone handles a client, to the way someone plots and preps the part of the body that will receive a fresh new tattoo... not to mention the different techniques all the artists use when implementing a tattoo.

Hats off to Aaron and Holly 
for assembling such an incredible array 
of time tested talent.

But enough gushing... I could do that all day... 
here are some more early illustrations from Cooper's assignments.

Thanks for checking in
and take care until next time!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Spirit Mask Series II

I'm proud to present the second stage of development for the "Spirit Mask" illustrations! The first blog post in this series highlighted the line drawings which are part of the prep stages in my artistic process. The pictures below show the first layer of watercolor after I've transferred the drawings to the paper... 

So please enjoy my progress...

Thanks for checking in,
and take care until next time...


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tattoo Apprenticeship : Sketches II

It might not be a bad idea to provide a little background as to how I found myself at Guru Tattoo with Cooper. It was definitely one of those serendipitous moments that make you wonder if something or somebody, somewhere out there, might be watching out for those of us that appreciate the power of a strong thought or wish... if you will...

Coop and I happened to cross paths for the first time at San Diego Comic Con International back in the summer of 2011. We struck up a quick conversation about art and tattoos, to which I had the audacity to ask if he'd ever be interested in teaching anyone his craft... (but more specifically me).

Cooper was nice enough to indulge my idea and gave me his contact information in order to get in touch with him later at Guru. Eventually I mustered up the courage to follow through with the idea of contacting him for an apprenticeship, and in November of that same year Cooper decided to put the wheels in motion for me to attain the more serious and official position of his tattoo apprentice.

Between the end of November 2011 and the beginning of April 2012, Cooper allowed me drop-in a few times a week and help around his area of the shop -to see if I had what it took to assist him in a place like Guru Tattoo. He also went to great lengths to make sure everyone else in the shop felt comfortable with the idea of another apprentice entering the mix.

If I've learned anything about Cooper thus far,
it's that he's quite the thorough fellow-
at the very least...


Thanks for checking in
and take care until next time!