September 14th, 2012

Tattoo Artist Specifics and Advice

Hello All,

I’m trying to write tattoo fic, and the fic centres on the artist and the client conversing about their lives over the course of several hours.

I’ve got most of the basics down and I’ve been trawling through a lot of sites*, but I’m at the point where I could do with some advice from people rather than just the internet. I'm looking to see which entry routes are most common, and what sort of qualifications are the most useful/desirable to the artists. Personal anecdotes would be massively appreciated.

It's set the USA, roughly present day, and my artist would have turned 18 in the late 1990s. I'm considering setting the fic in Seattle, but any US based info would be fantastic.

There are a couple of things I’m trying to achieve to make the story work:

  1. I know you have to apprentice to be a tattoo artist, and I know that there’s no set timescale for that. When you’re fully-fledged though, how much do artists tend to move around between shops? I want him to be somewhat displaced, but with a good reputation; how much movement would be reasonable without suggesting problems?
  2. I want my artist to be somewhat emotionally distant, but I realise that he can’t be too shy or else he wouldn’t get any work. Is it realistic for me to give him a high amount of skill and let his work be the reason that a lot of people chose him, even if he himself is rather quiet?
  3. How large/detailed does a tattoo have to be in order to require two sittings? And how far apart would those sittings usually be? Does including colour change anything here? I’m torn between two separate sittings, and the client just needing a short break between the outline and the shading. But a few hours (6+) to work with is essential.

Thanks in advance for all your help and advice. I seem to have bitten off more than I first thought with this one.

*ETA: I used a whole bunch of search terms, but the articles that I found the most useful were:
[http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/jul/11/women.leoniecooper] Interview with Kat von D, of LA Ink Fame. Interesting, but not too sure how typical her story is.
[http://tattoo.about.com/od/tattoosgeneralinfo/ht/beatattooartist.htm] Seemed to be interesting, but didn't really give the full picture.
My keywords have mainly been "Tattoo Apprenticeships", "How to", and "Becoming a Tattoo Artist", so if there are any more useful/descriptive keywords anyone can think of, I'd be grateful.
  • Current Mood: curious

19th Century Homelessness

Setting: Early 1800's era with magic and a few bits of anachronistic technology.

I'm trying to find some resources about Regency/Napoleonic era homelessness as well as evaluate the actions of one of my POV characters. She's what's called a gutter magician in my world, but what others would call a hedge witch who uses a bit of magic and urban climbing to scale buildings. I've had her sleeping in flophouses when she has the money and sleeping rough when she doesn't. Given her abilities, she sometimes sleeps in abandoned buildings or on rooftops/inside cupolas and belvederes. She's still exposed to the elements, but it does however give her an extra bit of security if no one else can reach her and in fact most people don't know that she's there.

Is sleeping up high a viable thing to do or would she be better off on the ground? She doesn't have to worry about falling off rooftops thanks to the magic but obviously wind is an issue, as is the smoke from chimneys. At the moment it's the end of spring and entering summer so the nights are either mild or hot. The climate is fairly temperate - close to that of a coastal city in the southeastern US.

Are there any books you'd recommend? Wikipedia has led me to Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London and Jack London's The People of the Abyss both of which deal with the poor and homeless, but take place in a later time period. I haven't read much of either one yet.

Search terms used: homelessness 19th century, sleeping rough 19th century, homelessness regency england, 19th century street people