I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo lately. And by lately, I mean the last decade or so. I’ve been in Las Vegas many times in the past decade and the place is lousy with Tattoo parlors. Hell, Vince Neil had a parlor there and I was even in town when it was still open. The closest I ever came was walking out of Aureole after a chef’s choice of twelve small plates each paired with wine. Apparently there are rules about drunk people getting tatted up.
So, I guess the bottom line is I’ll probably never get around to getting inked, which is kind of a pity because tats are pretty cool. If you get a good one, that is. With my luck, I’d end up with the American equivalent of this:
Definitely not going for the Chinese characters. I’d consider Japanese but that’s only because I work with a guy who actually knows Japanese and could steer me away from nonsense terms.
The Asian character, cool though they may be, really pale in comparison to what you can get when you get an actual tattoo artist who knows how to draw a tattoo. Those guys are amazing and the intricate details they put into their art are what really set them apart. Because, let’s be honest, why would you want this:
When you could have this:
Which leads us to the book review portion of this rambling post about tattoos and Patrick Swayze centaurs. Most book reviews are of novels. I feel pretty comfortable writing those because I’ve written novels. I know what goes into a novel and have a pretty good idea of what I like in them. Paul Brownlie’s Tattoo Style Art is a whole other beast because now I’m looking at art. Very good art. Personally, I’m terrible at art. I passed drawing 101 in college by the skin of my teeth and I think it may have only been because my graphic design teacher convinced my illustration teacher that I would never enter her classroom again if I passed the class.
I’m going to fall back on the old standby “I know what I like” model of art review and say, “This is a good book.” I like the art. I like the style. I like the fact that these are the classic, old-school, kick-ass tattoos that define what a tattoo is instead of a single Chinese character that may or may not mean Happiness in the Mouth. The meaning of a classic tattoo is “I was enough of a badass to get this kick-ass design inked into me.”
Here’s another one. I’m not a huge fan of clowns, so this one’s out for me, but it’s still a skillful design and execution.
Now, here’a bit of a personal note for you: I love watches. When I finished Henchmen and hit publish and that sucker went live I decided to celebrate with a new watch. I found a Swatch with a koi on it and thought it was perfect. I wear it to work regularly and honestly don’t care how it looks with slacks and a dress shirt. I love that watch, largely because of the koi. For those who don’t know the koi are symbolic for, among other things, perseverence and good fortune. I figured after writing a first novel, I had earned the perseverence part. I’m still waiting on the good fortune part but, as we’ve already established, I’ve got the perseverence part down.
Which leads here, to a tattoo I’m seriously considering getting, if Paul okays it, of course.
If you’d like to see the rest of Paul Brownlie’s amazing tattoo art, you can get a copy of his book Tattoo Style Art for only a $1.99. Trust me, if you’re interested in tattoo art, it’s 2 bucks well spent. Who knows, maybe you’ll find one you like. If not, there’s still some pretty spectacular illustration in the book.