At this step in my journey, I have been practicing a lot; everything from stenciling to set-ups, from hygiene to line work, and of course filling in and dot shading. I have been practicing for hours upon hours a day, every day, with a damn near obsession for the craft in its most ancient poke and stick form. I have been drawing some flash as well, but I have been a professional artist for decades and have sold hundreds of art pieces, so art is my forte.
Traditional hand poke tattooing is a craft like any other, and with practice, you hone your craft and get better and better; if you couple that with research, study technique, and tips, and watch others tattoo (YouTube is great for this), you can expedite your growth. I have been obsessive, but then again, that’s how I study everything I want to learn, I obsess over it, over the small details and the larger picture, I have to know the ins and outs, and I have to find what works best for what and why. I wake up thinking about tattooing, and I go to bed thinking about tattooing, it envelops me, and while some jump in head first, I face plant through it and land tongue first on the bottom of the pool!
So, I have been practicing a lot, watching a lot of videos, reading a lot of articles and books, and enjoying myself the whole way through. I am ensuring that when I make the jump from practice skin to flesh and blood, I’m confident and capable of doing what I need to do, to be competent enough to put ink into the second layer of skin…
… and to do that I sit at this step, practicing until my hand cramps, practicing through pain and soreness in my fingers… practicing.