Dan Martin

Rehash of old thread...

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Months back I started a thread about tattoo time vs drawing time. The original post read :

...I was just curious as to how much time other tattooers spend drawing for tattoos outside the shop. On average for me, I can spend an hour or two doing research and/ or looking at reference before I actually start drawing. And an additional 2 to 4 hours ( depending on subject matter ) on drawing something about the size of a foot ball or say half sleeve...

I'm Reopening this because I'm curious as to how much is two much. First because my time estimate was way too low (spending upward of 8 hrs many times) and then realizing just how often I struggle to get a piece to where I am happy with it. It seems i've set a certain standard for myself and although I'm always trying to push higher and above that standard, I try my damnedest not to drop below it. I realize as with everything the more you do the better you get but my question is, where do you draw the line. For me it's difficult because I'm not where I want to be, but I truly don't have the time to push harder (longer) Is this just a case of excepting my limitations? I'm pretty sure lots of other tattooers have experienced this so... What's your thoughts? how do you get better? How do you not kill yourself in the process?

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For me, it is often different and depends on what I'm drawing. I don't have specifics but I do know that the more time I spend on the drawing (sketching, shading, redrawing, tweaking), the less time I spend on the tattoo, itself. Also, if you are a street shop tattooer, like me, you do not always have a chance to spend hours and hours on the drawing. There is something to be said for being able to sit down, draw something up and tattoo it. Most of the guys that tattooed me followed this formula. I tell them what I want it, they draw it on paper or on skin, and then tattoo me. So, I guess my thoughts are that everyone is different. How do we get better? We keep working hard and our work will get faster, cleaner, bolder, and better.

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Keith, that's true. There is a fine line between bold and refined. I've had a few great tattoos drawn up on the spot too and they look amazing. I have noticed that I have over worked stuff before and it became rigid and stale so maybe I'm being hyper critical and it really doesn't matter. It's just hard to see the big picture when my Heros and influences range from clunky old school to fine art illustrations.

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Dan, I'm right there with you. I was once critiqued by one of my favorite tattooers and he said I was stuck between traditional and new school and I needed to choose a direction. I still struggle with that today. Also, I'm not even sure what the big picture is half of the time. The funny thing is, that depending on who you ask, the answer will be different. Some guys want the exposure of magazines and websites while others want to go to the same shop everyday and be busy. We are in a business where there are no wrong answers, I guess. Just depends what you want to be and what you want to get out of it. I've always been convinced that hard work pays off and, ultimately, gets us where we want to be.

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