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Ian Parkin has a style all to his own, a mix of traditional, some fine line and a little erotica. He's known for his girls they the stories they tell. I like that Ian holds no apologies for his work and continues to produce art on his terms. I was able to ask him a few questions because I was curious. Here's what he had to say. I hope you enjoy his honesty and willingness to give. Please FOLLOW @IanParkinTattoo
Ian - My style basically evolved from the way I drew naturally - however I was already tattooing for a couple of years...and struggling to get a ‘tattoo’ feel to my work. I was trying too hard to draw super traditional (this was before we all had the internet for reference) and so it didn’t look natural. One day I thought ‘I don’t care what any other tattooer thinks’ and just drew how it felt good for me. I think that was my turning point. After that, it was just a natural progression
The biggest influences for me personally as a tattooer were Charlie Roberts and Doug Hardy. Charlie has guested a few times at my studio and he really is a brutally honest and a very old school tattooer with the great technical ability and no delusions of grandeur. Doug always has the very best insights into the craft, and he’s a very honest and sincere tattooer, and certainly, the best thing about him is his humility - they’re both great artists. I regard them both as great men and great friends. As far as art goes; I love Frank Cho, Gustav Klimt, W T Benda, Vargas... basically anyone who can draw the female form with grace and sensuality
The biggest struggle for me in my tattoo career has really been trying to figure out what it is I wanted to do, artwork wise. There's such a huge variety of subject matter and styles in tattooing that it can really be daunting to sit down one day and think ‘right...from now on I’m gonna draw ‘x’ until people start coming to me and asking for it in my style’ ...but you gotta knuckle down and stick with it, until you become that dude.
I use a mixture of photographs and stuff from in my head. I love classical art poses, and there’s a tonne of art model reference out there on the internet. Nothing beats using a life model that you can direct though, and sometimes clients can have pretty specific requests, and drawing bodies at certain angles can be real tricky haha. Faces..gypsy girl heads etc...that stuff just comes from my head though. I’ve drawn so many that drawing a face on a pinup is the easy part haha
Words of wisdom? Yeah ok. Keep drawing. Finish every drawing. And figure out what you love to draw and then keep drawing it. Draw ten thousand tigers and then you’ll become the tiger guy/girl, and people will come to you because of that. Pick a shade of pencil, a paper that you enjoy working on; and use those forever, so you have a continuity of style that becomes yours. Don’t listen to people who try and dissuade you. There are 7.6 billion people in the world. You can be...
....one of the millions of tattooers in the world did say, ‘traditional’ tattoos...or you can be the one person in the world doing YOUR tattoos. Either way is good - but just remember it’s your choice. If you can’t draw a wolf; trace a real wolf a million times until you can. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t become excellent. Any negativity in a creative field such as tattooing or ‘art’ only every comes from insecurity or jealousy - so be positive and ignore the rest.
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