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!"
Alan and I briefly browsed through the website mentioned above and "Kemuri" section. We can't believe some place is seriously using the Gibberish Chinese Font as is! We will be on the lookout for gullible customers with embroidered butts.
from: Karl B. to: firstname.lastname@example.org date: Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 3:34 AM subject: Restaurant sign
Hi, There's a sushi restaurant in Stockholm with this sign which is obviously not japanese, but even in chinese it doesn't *appear* to say anything coherent. Care to shed any light on it, despite it not being a tattoo?
定価 = listing price 中 = within 低 = lower 冬季 = winter 大人 = adult 千円 = thousand yen 村 = village 高 = higher 内線 = inner line 年賀 = new year's greeting
from: Gary B. to: email@example.com date: Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 1:59 PM subject: Tattoo translation help
Lovin' your blog.
I got my tattoo aged 17 and it means a lot to me as it's meant to be the initials of people who are important to me, but I fear that I may well have been tattooed by someone who didn't actually know what they were talking about. It's meant to read:
JSG PB R
I know now that the Chinese alphabet doesn't have these letters, so I'm not hopeful, but intrigued to know what it means.
Many thanks for your help, it's really appreciated.
from: Lisa R. to: firstname.lastname@example.org date: Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM subject: Tattoo Translation
My sister got this tattoo on her arm about ten years ago. It is supposed to mean "warrior" but we both highly doubt that that's what it means. Could you shed some light? We'd love to know what it REALLY says!
from: Kfir F. to: email@example.com date: Sun, Oct 17, 2010 at 11:36 PM subject: Tattoo translation
I have a friend from work who has a tattoo on his arm. Since I knew about your blog I tried taking a pic of it & check with you if he really knows the meaning of what he has or not. He said it's written in Chinese and it says something like - there's nothing like mom.
Thanks a lot & love your blog.
The first character does not exist in written Chinese. However, there is one character 冇 only exists in written Cantonese, which means "not have". Of course, that is not what has been tattooed here.
Tattoo does not mean "there is nothing like mom", rather "not have the likeness of my mother".
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...
You know how it's been trendy for a while for white Americans to get Chinese or Japanese characters -- sorry, "Hanzi" or "Kanji" -- as tattoos? The idea seems to be that if you get the English words "STRONG" or "BEAUTIFUL" tattooed on your arm, you look like a bragging retard, but if you get it in Japanese, it is suddenly meaningful.
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!!
Despite the great calligraphy (calligraphy as in fancy artistic penmanship), there is a huge typo on this person's torso.
Bushido, the way of the warrior in Japanese is written as 武士道, not with 侍 in the middle. 侍 itself means samurai or warrior, but 武侍道 makes no sense in Japanese. Especially considering Bushido is a Japanese concept.
"Bullshitdo", the way of bullshit, would be more fitting.
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...
from: Andi F. to: firstname.lastname@example.org date: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 11:31 AM subject: Kanji translations
Hey there! I totally LOVE your blog!
ok, so I have 2 different Kanji tattoos. I researched them myself, and was after the Japanese meanings of the characters. I didn't trust a tattoo shop book for either one. The fire/Ice tattoo is supposed to me "to be devoted". The kanji is composed out of the negative space. I was after a verb form, and I am most worried about this one.
Tell me I did it right!! Otherwise, back to the needle I go!
Granted this tattoo intended to be read from Japanese perspective, but 沒頭 literally means "no head" in Chinese, in other words "lack of common sense".
Alan has the following to add:
The tattoo is evidently 没頭る, which appears to be a "slangy" way of writing the Japanese verb "hamaru" which in itself is a slang way to say "be a fan of," "be absorbed in" or maybe "be devoted to" something like a rock band or a manga or some other pop culture phenomenon.
Originally, the verb hamaru was written 嵌る or 填る (or sometimes ハマる), but evidently due to the influence of the noun 没頭 [bottō], which means "devotion to" or "absorption in" something, people started writing the word like 没頭る but still pronouncing it hamaru. Perhaps one reason why people started writing the word with these new characters is because both of the old ones 嵌 and 填 were removed from common use in Japanese.
This use of different characters to write words is called 当て字 (ateji) in Japanese. These 当て字 can be used on a whim and there are no particular rules except what becomes popular.
from: Sarah C. to: email@example.com date: Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 5:53 AM subject: My husband's old tattoo!
I stumbled across your blog and have had a great time reading it!!
My husband is an unfortunate teenage tattoo victim. He very proudly displays this tattoo on his shoulder blade which he swears means "dragon". However I've looked up the character for dragon and it is nothing like his tattoo!
Does his tattoo have any meaning or is it an attack of gibberish?
辰 represents the fifth zodiac year which happens to be "the year of dragon", not the actual dragon. However the tattooed character has an unnecessary extra bit at left upper corner.
Dragon is typically 龍 (or 龙) in Chinese, and 竜 in Japanese.
from: Maija M. to: firstname.lastname@example.org date: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 11:21 AM subject: A promise to my Mom
I got this tattoo to honor my Mom after she died from early onset Alzheimer's. At the time, I went back to school while I took care of her and got a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The location has a special meaning to me and the characters were written for me by one of my teachers.
The two characters are supposed to read "Ma Carol" and the squired symbol then makes it Ma Ma and Carol Carol (my Mom's name and my middle name). Also, I believe the characters can be read as "path" and "promise" as in I promised to help care for others on my new path as a healer.
However, I'm embarrassed to say I've forgotten which character is which and also want to find about about other possible interpretations.
from: marisa r. to: email@example.com date: Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 7:24 AM subject: My husbands Tattoo
My husband being the hero that he is when stationed over in Bahrain (where tattoo's are illegal) went with some friends drunk to a guys HOUSE!!!! And my husband looked through a book, found the symbol for "strength" and got it.
Thanks so much
First of all, the character is mirrored.
If it is be read as one single character 慉, it means "to bring up, to raise".
from: Joe I. to: Tian date: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 7:20 PM subject: Tattoo Translation Question
I found your website about a week ago and was wondering if you could translate what this says, the picture comes from a good friend. There are two different things, with the top character being separate from the other ones. I'm not sure what the top one is supposed to mean, and I'm pretty sure the bottom one is supposed to be her name. After reading through your website though I learned that there really isn't a way to translate specific characters, like for names so I'm interested in what the heck it actually is.
It might be in Japanese, I forget what she had told me.
Top character 氷is Japanese-specific, meaning "ice". Second character 加 means "add".
from: Dana H. to: firstname.lastname@example.org date: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 5:51 AM subject: Tattoo Question
A girl I know from high school recently got this tattoo on her arm. She says it means "beautiful", but a friend of mine says that isn't so, and that 美 is the Chinese character for beauty. The top part even looks like a series of triangle brackets, not like any Chinese character.
So what does this really mean?
災 means "calamity, disaster, catastrophe", and definitely not "beauty", which is 美.
from: W.J. H. to: email@example.com date: Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 11:43 AM subject: Please Translate Ex-Boyfriend's Tattoo
My ex seems to think that his tattoo means "Hell's Warrior". The fella isn't the brightest crayon in the box and I would honestly be very surprised if he managed to get an accurately translated kanji tattoo in rural Idaho. Care to clarify it's meaning?
Top two character 地獄 does mean "hell", however 武 by itself alone does not mean "warrior".
from: Jen W. to: firstname.lastname@example.org date: Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 10:28 PM subject: To Fight is to Suffer?
My neighbor directed me to your site after I mentioned to her that my husband had a kanji tattoo.
He tells everyone that it is supposed to mean something along the lines of "to fight is to suffer", and then it later came out that he had gotten the tattoo for his ex-fiancée soon after they split up (before we ever met).
I would be VERY interested to know what it translates to, because he says that he researched it really well before he was inked.
PS- He has said before that the dragon and the kanji are not related, and that they were drawn up at different times.
from: vicki to: "email@example.com" date: Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 10:52 AM subject: please help me translate my tattoo
so, i got a tattoo on the back of my neck on my 18th birthday and was told it would be the kinji symbol for "princess".
through recent research via internet, all i can find is "princess" being 2 symbols not one. can you ease my mind and hopefully let me know this means princess? if not, i would love to know what it means and which language is actually on my neck.
thank-you in advance!!
宮 by itself alone means "palace", not quite princess.
from: Brian L. to: firstname.lastname@example.org date: Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 3:36 PM subject: Tattoo
I apologize for emailing you out of the blue but I’m hoping you can help me.
Many years ago I got a tattoo that was done by an artist who was allegedly Japanese and claimed could read Japanese. Today I now teach Japanese martial arts and I’m embarrassed to say that my tattoo doesn’t mean what it was supposed to. Can you help me translate this?
I’d greatly appreciate the help.
寂 means "lonely" & 実 means "reality", however the compound phrase 寂実 does not exist.
from: Crystal F. to: email@example.com date: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 7:53 PM subject: wisdom and transience?
I stumbled across your blog, and through my reading, I remembered my friend's new tattoo.
So, he claims the crane represents wisdom, and the characters mean "transience," (He posted the photo on Facebook, and in reply to a friend's comment asking what the characters meant, he said, "In this case it means transience.")
Additionally, he received his new branding at the *famous* Ed Hardy's Tattoo City SF (Yes, the Ed Hardy.)
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...