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Can you be a tattoo artist without knowing how do you draw?

I have a whole lesson planned for you.”

“I do it for myself. You may want to have a look.”

“That sounds a lot better than ‘no art’ I say, “but I’d rather know, you know, like where I’m trying to draw it or what I’m trying to do.”

“No, I don’t want to know what you’re trying to draw. Don’t take what I’m doing ‘wrong’, that’s what’s wrong — I’m saying it’s wrong. No one’s trying to do this and it doesn’t matter how you draw it. If you want to learn to draw it, go on and learn how to draw it. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“Good. So you draw a fish? It’s kind of fishy I can see.”

“Yeah, it is, you know… I drew a pretty damn good fish.”

“Why, it’s the most awesome fish I’ve ever seen.”

“And? You like it?”

***

The next morning I’m dressed rather oddly: a grey beanie, a grey sweatshirt, and a pair of long black jeans. I look about 50: I don’t look like a cartoonist. In fact, all of the drawings I want to draw, as soon as I sit down at my computer I know, will be either a joke or a satire, because I am not going to draw the most accurate or interesting-looking version of myself, like most cartoonists. I am going to make my drawing character in the most accurate and interesting-looking way possible, like a painter or a sculptor. It’s as if I am not looking at drawings but at a painting.

I turn my page and see the results in an instant. It’s really a drawing about a boy looking at a girl he does not like, who is just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it has that effect on anyone who looks at it. I know from experience that when you look at an image of yourself that it has an effect, and I now know that it has to have an effect, because I’ve said “Yes!” to that drawing. The next day my boss walks through the door, and there are three other drawings on my desk. Three drawings about women with long legs, all very good, and I have drawn the same girl-woman-woman-woman as I did just the night before, just with