It was just part of the deal. Every week, we had to have our assignment in on time, no excuses. Every week we had to sit through a critique of our assignments. Whether by procrastination or by busy schedule, we had to drag our sleep deprived bodies in with whatever excuse we had for that week’s work. It was always there for everyone to see who the most talented artists were and who the hardest workers were. If you were smart, you figured out that the best way to bypass all the brutal assessments from your classmates was to step up and be the first to totally rip your work so that the others could only really be left with discussing the positive elements in your work. This was art school.
With the rise of the new school style and even Ed Hardy’s formal background, the different perspective gained from the art school experience has long had its claws in the tattoo profession. As I’ve watched a number of my friends from school enter into tattooing and truly build an impressive career, I look at the benefits that being in that environment gave them. A good work rhythm, disciplined sketchbook habits and foundational skills are just a few things that can be gained from this experience.
However, not every artist can go to school and there is no shame in that. It is costly, labor intensive, and time constricting. Many people aren’t very well suited for the structured atmosphere. Some people are super intelligent, but have never flourished in a classroom style setting. Whatever your dilemma, there is always an alternative way to gain certain skills and knowledge. As you may be aware, our fearless leader here at the Tattoo Improvement Network has been working tirelessly towards expanding how we serve the tattoo artist community. The fruits of this labor eventually resulted in the creation of our first Find Your Style online course.
We are about halfway through our first pilot/beta group and really enjoying the work they are doing. Teaming up with Memphis College of Art instructor Adam Shaw, Jake has created the perfect hybrid program to teach fundamental drawing skills to the working artist. They have taken the basic structure and modified some of the most elementary assignments from what would normally be drawing I, drawing & composition, and a life drawing class. Then they geared it towards common image problems that we encounter as tattooers. A materials box was given to each participant and they have weekly assignments that are then constructively criticized by Jake and Adam. All this is tied together by a private group-wide discussion board on Facebook.
To be quite honest, Jake and Adam take all the drama and anxiety out of a normal critique situation. They do a weekly video critique of everyone’s drawings, with no names. They are both very good with constructive criticism and positive feedback. Not to mention you will never hear the words, “have you ever considered a job in the food service industry”, which was one of my painting teachers favorite catch phrases.
There is a use of different drawing tools, starting with charcoals. There is also tailored instruction through the video critique responses. With some of the feedback I’ve gotten from our participants, the charcoals seem to be a challenge that has drawn them out of their comfort zone and pushed them to look at value differently. I’ve had several comments about the return to basic principles that often get overlooked when we just draw for tattoos. This leads to a greater appreciation for drawing from life, not just drawing from google.
So, if you are ready to take your tattooing and drawing to the next level. If you are ready to be more than just a tattooer, more than just an artist, then consider joining one of our up and coming course sessions. Be sure and get on our mailing list so you can get updates. Remember to check out our website and see what is going on. Most of all, remember that The Tattoo Improvement Network is here to do exactly what our name says, help you improve and grow as an artist and tattooer.
So what do you say? You in?