Tattoo Critique of Apprentice Tattoos

Pony Lawson critiques tattoos submitted by apprentices
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Professional tattoo artist, Pony Lawson, critiques tattoos sent to him by apprentices to see where they are at and offer some guidance on where they can improve.

Video Transcript:

What is up everybody and welcome back to another episode of tattoo critiques, i’m pony lawson, and what we like to do is talk about your tattoos, whether you’re a tattoo artist or a collector, or just somebody who loves tattoo content. That’S what we like to do here. This week we’re back on apprentice, tattoos and trying to break their spirit. Just kidding we’re gon na see where they’re at and figure out. If there’s anything, we can do to help them improve.

So pull up a chair sit on the floor and let’s get this party farted [ Music ].

The first one sent in is from lester jolly moore from ottawa, canada and lester you sent in a tattoo of a pack of cigarettes that is surely going to kill. You in more ways than one you mentioned. This was the first time using color, but it doesn’t really give off that vibe as these colors are pretty well saturated in i like this tattoo. The design overall is well put together and it’s cute, but still menacing, and i like the overall message behind the piece letting all these youngsters know that smoking isn’t cool.

Smoking will kill you anyway. This tattoo is pretty solid. Apart from the arm that you forgot to color, in which you did mention in the email, i’ve definitely done that before myself, when it comes to critiquing apprentice work. Some of the first things i look for are quality of line, work, shading and saturation. These are the key elements in building a good foundation that you can apply to any tattoo, big or small, and you will carry with you for the rest of your career when it comes to the line work, it appears like you’ve, got a good grasp on what Makes a good line: there are a couple hiccups here and there, but again for the most part, you’ve pretty well nailed it a couple of those areas that catch my eye would be the top of the cigarette and the right side of the cigarette pack.

There are also a couple blowouts throughout this tattoo, but they are pretty small. As for the shading, there isn’t a whole lot of that happening here, but in those areas where you do have the shading, it could use a little bit of improvement. For example, the inside of the top of the cigarette pack, the shading – that’s there just seems a little inconsistent. It could be more even across the board in between the black and white stripes aren’t terrible. But again, you could just use a little bit more control in those areas and as for the bottom of the shoes, again, it’s not bad.

I like the texture that it has, but if you want it to have a softer feel maybe turn your mag. The other way and shade that way, because it does look like you’re shading, with a magnet sideways, try turning at 90 degrees and shade it like a rake and see if you’re happy with the results. It’S just going to give you a smoother feel. Maybe that’s not what you want, but it’s just something different and when it comes to the saturation well, i think that’s your strongest suit throughout that yellow and red. I really don’t see a holiday in sight.

Well, aside from that arm, of course, but a pretty solid tattoo overall and a fun design, thank you so much lester for setting that in and letting us talk about it all right. The next tattoo sentence is from jess, and just you say, you’ve been tattooing for about a year and you’re looking to find a new shop that will better suit your needs as an artist. Is that because your current shop is carpeted, you know we can’t have that in case a needle cartridge falls on the ground. I hate for that. To be the first thing i talk about when i critique, but as a professional artist.

That is the first thing. I notice all right now that that’s out of the way when it comes to this tattoo and its technical application. There is one major thing that i’d like to touch on and that’s the shadows that these butterflies have, because they don’t really look like shadows. I don’t really know what they look like. To be honest, they kind of look like force fields, but on a real note, i do think these shadows could use some improvements.

The biggest thing is learning how light and shadow work together. The darkest part of these shadows is going to be right, underneath those butterflies and the shadows aren’t going to be as dark as those black borders around the butterfly. So you don’t have to worry about losing those shadows, but you want the most saturated part of that shadow to be underneath the butterfly and fan out from there. Sometimes, shadows can have a hard edge, but you want the softest part of that shadow to be the furthest part away from the butterfly. So if the butterfly’s wing is very close to the skin, you’re gon na want a darker, more clean, edged shadow, and if the shadow is far away from the wing, you can really soften it up a bit lighten up that shadow and just give it a nice Blur it will really help it appear more realistic.

Also, typically, you want to stay away from outlines and shadows. Another thing is, you want to vary up these butterflies and change up the shapes not only inside of the wing, but the shapes of the wings themself. It seems like the goal of this tattoo is to make it appear like these butterflies are starting off on the hand and flying up and over the arm, but typically butterflies in motion aren’t all going to have the same shape wing. Some are going to be open. Some wings are going to be closed and some butterflies should be rotated in a different angle altogether, and it does look like you started that way with the first finger tattoo, but all the rest kind of fall into the same shape.

Now it is a bit difficult to zoom in and see the quality of lines on this piece, because you did take this photo from a little too far away now, had you gotten a little closer and cut out some of that carpet? It would be a little bit easier to critique those lines, but they do look pretty consistent, so to run it back. I just think you need to focus on those soft shades and getting those shadows to look as realistic as possible. The composition could use a little work on making them appear like they’re, actually flying and one last thing get rid of that carpet. Thank you, jess for sending that in and letting me talk about it.

Alright, the next tattoo sentence is from rain and raymie sent in a pretty nice pair of jordan ones, especially coming from an apprentice of only four months. I’M fairly impressed these shoes have some very nice detail to them and it looks like you really took your time. You’Ve got some nice texture in the darker patches of the shoe, in contrast with the nice, open, clean skin tone, although it does look like a few lines, kind of got away from you in specific the stitching, that’s running through the sole of the shoe at the Bottom, the one detail that i’m concerned about is, if we zoom in really close to the back of this shoe, it doesn’t look like the air. Jordan is technically an air jordan. I do believe these are counterfeit.

Sir. I know there’s not a whole lot of detail happening in those laces. I would have liked to see something a little extra up where those laces are meeting up at the top. You know maybe some sort of light refraction or maybe trade, some of that solid black for some dark shading. But again i am pretty impressed at you being an apprentice of only four months and this being your first attempt at microrealism.

Thank you so much rain for sending that in and letting me take a peek and the next tattoo sentence is from jared. You mentioned you are about six months deep into your apprenticeship. So where do we begin to be completely honest with you jared? There are a lot of rough things happening in this piece. You didn’t leave me any details in the email about what this was or where the design came from.

So i can only use my imagination, i’m trying to figure out what these black oily spots are, and i just can’t come up with anything. You’Ve got blue drips coming off of this cold, looking heart, which i could only assume is water. It just leaves me unsure of what these black drips are and i’m not sure if it’s just black blood or what the deal is aside from the design. This tattoo also lacks a lot of fundamentals, the first being line work. When we look up toward the top of the heart you notice, a lot of these lines are very weak and they’re, hardly in there they’re just barely hanging on i’m not sure how long they’re going to be around for and they’re not very consistent.

They do have an overall rushed appearance. It kind of looks like you rushed through this tattoo rather than trying to do it well and the red in the background, is coming off a bit patchy. Does it even need to be there frail it’s not really helping this tattoo out in any way, shape or form? Had you not used the red in the background, you could have used it in place of that black slime and it could have looked like blood and, as we talked earlier in the episode about three of the fundamentals of tattooing line, work, shading and saturation. Yours just seems to lack all three so at this time.

I do think it would be wise for you to go back and focus on some tattoos that consist of nothing but outlines, because, no matter how good your shading or saturation become, it’s only going to be as good as your line work. So thank you jared for sending that in and allowing me to review it up. Next is a tattoo sent in by carlos from spain and carlos you sent in this picture of an eagle holding onto a cassette tape right off the bat. I think this is a very interesting concept. It’S not very often that you get to see an eagle holding onto something like a cassette tape, although that’s got to be a very large cassette tape or a very small eagle.

I’Ve got something for you, but i do think for the most part, this is a pretty solid piece. The color choices that you introduced work really well together. Those teal blues look bright and vivid, in contrast to those very dark browns and the yellow just comes in to help complement both of those the saturation and shading for the most part is pretty on point. You do have a couple rocky areas in your line: work and those fall mainly in the cassette tape itself. The color in the background is pretty well saturated, but there are a few areas where it looks like the needle kind of got away from you around the edges.

Here i feel like you could have made those shades just a bit more smooth, but i do like the color and i think, it’ll work. I like the use of the thin line for the name on the cassette. It’S a nice change of pace from all those bulb thicker lines. My only other gripe, as i mentioned before on a previous submission, is just to make sure all your outlines are connected. But overall this is a pretty solid tattoo carlos and i appreciate you sending that in all right, that’s going to wrap it up for the critiques this week, but before we go, i want to talk about my favorite tattoo of the episode and that was sent in From brain with these micro, jordan ones, i said it earlier, but i am pretty impressed with you being an apprentice of only four months.

Usually, this is the kind of work that you see coming out of at least a tattooer of two or three years, even though this tattoo is small, it shows a lot of control and discipline, something we should all be striving for. So congratulations spray. On being my favorite tattoo of the week and speaking of control and discipline, that’s going to lead us to our featured artist of the week, and that is alice burke out of the uk. She shows complete control in a tattoo from the beginning. To the very end.

She leaves no room for lacking down to the finest details. You won’t find her cutting any corners and when you initially look at her work, you might think they’re pretty simple or basic, but trust me. They are the furthest thing from it. The techniques that she uses in her hair and fur to her keen attention to detail she is a beast. I find it hard to believe that she only has 25 000 followers.

So if you could do me a favor, if you could do me a solid head on over to her instagram page ally, burke tattoos and give her a follow, let’s see how many followers we can get her before the week’s over, because she’s definitely one of my New favorites, so that’s gon na, be it for this week guys, but before you go, please make sure to subscribe like and comment on this video if there’s anything you’d like to see in the future. After all, i do read every comment and i take your feedback. Very seriously for real and don’t forget, if you want to see your tattoo critiqued on this channel, you can do so by sending it to pony critiques. Gmail.Com also, don’t forget to follow me on instagram pony lawson.

That’s where you can see all my new tattoos, as well as all the fun stuff going on alright. Thank you guys. So much see y’all next week, [ Music, ]

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