After receiving a lot of attention from attendees at this year’s Book Expo America New Title Showcase, C.R. Jordan, author of Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo and This Might Sting a Bit answered some questions for The Book Checkout. Read on to find out more about his books, his inspiration for writing them, and that crying little girl on the cover!
The Book Checkout: Please tell our readers what your books BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF MODERN TATTOO &  THIS MIGHT STING A BIT are all about. 


C.R. Jordan: BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF MODERN TATTOO is a book that was designed for tattoo artists, tattoo apprentices, and those who might be interested in becoming a tattoo artist. Since the industry is so secretive about the process of tattooing I decided it was time to let the basic concepts out of the bag (so to speak). This book will not make someone a tattoo artist by any means, but it will help them understand what exactly is involved in tattooing and where to start the search for tattoo equipment procurement. There are literally tens of thousands of people who try to become tattoo artists each year (in the US alone) and these people are doing it with little guidance or supervision. We advocate that people become tattoo apprentices in real professional tattoo studios (under the guidance of a pro artist with several years of experience).

 THIS MIGHT STING A BIT: EVERYTHING YOUR TATTOO ARTIST FORGOT TO TELL YOU AND YOU WERE TOO AFRAID TO ASK is my response to answering the same questions over and over from clients and potential tattoo clients (customers). This book is really fun. Anyone who is interested the slightest in tattooing can get their hands on this book, and open up to any page and learn something. It is meant to be read out of order, or from front to back. With a ton of whimsical illustrations that were done by very talented tattoo artist Cecilia Galindo. This book makes an awesome gift for anyone who already has tattoos or is thinking about getting tattoos. You a would be surprised at how many people who actually already have a tattoo are unaware to how the whole process works and what to look out for (from both the art perspective and the health aspect of tattoo processes).

The Book Checkout: What inspired you to write these book?

C.R. Jordan: I was inspired to write these books due to the fact that I have been involved in the tattoo industry in some way for the past 15 years or so. I really just want to help young tattoo artists to get their foot in the door.

The Book Checkout: What age group is the book geared towards?

C.R. Jordan:There really is no age demographic for these books. I have seen tattoo clients from the ages of 18 – 75, so these books are definitely geared toward anyone who is curious about tattooing in general. So much has changed over the past few years about the tattoo industry as a whole, and with the popularity of tattoo reality TV there are actually a lot of misconceptions that I would like to help clear up. People just see a five minute clip on TLC of a tattoo being done, and they don’t realize that a really good tattoo can take several hours (and often several sessions). But it is really great to see the quality of the tattoo industry snowball from this increased popularity. I do get some negative flak from some people in the tattoo industry for “sharing” secrets, but it is just part of the territory.

The Book Checkout:  What do you hope readers get from the book?

C.R. Jordan:There have always been instructional texts and videos out there, and I don’t take any credit for the creation of the concepts laid out in these books. I just put my experience and all of the research from things I have read, and seen into a comprehensive guide. One for the artist, and one for the collector (client).

 I really hope that people who read these books walk away with knowledge and appreciation of the art form. In THIS MIGHT STING A BIT, I finish the book by saying something along the lines of: don’t just walk into a tattoo studio and ask “how much is this gonna’ cost me” take time to look at the artists’ breath of work and appreciate the complexity and skill that is required to put on a good tattoo these days. Good tattoo are not cheap and cheap tattoos are not good!

The Book Checkout:  Do you have plans for more books?

C.R. Jordan: I always have plans for more books. I have about three more books that are in the works in some fashion. Mostly in piles of notebooks, and scratch pads lying around my home office. I also have hours of audio recordings of my notes that are archived in mp3 format. It is a tedious process and difficult for me to find the time to manage the websites and still squeeze in writing. There is a dedicated website that goes along with the book BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF MODERN TATTOO. This website allows the tattoo artists to ask questions, post their work, watch video tutorials, and interact directly with me and other professional tattoo artists. Each book comes with a unique serial number that allows the user to register for the website.

The Book Checkout:  Will this be your first book show? What do you hope to get out of it?

C.R. Jordan:This is my first book show. I am not sure what to expect from it. I am really hoping to gain some exposure and maybe someone out there will be interested enough to help me take the books to the next level. I am a self published author and have done everything myself from the layout to the printing process, which in itself has been an amazing learning experience.

The Book Checkout: Why tattoos? What made you want to become an artist and then write about it?

C.R. Jordan: I knew I would become a tattoo artist when I was in 8th grade. I was always the kid doodling on all my composition notebooks in school, drawing on my homework, the rubber sides of my shoes, my guitars, and anything I could get my hands on. I had tons of books just full of sketches. I took art classes as a kid and began painting when I was in high-school. I would purchasetattoo magazines (this was before and I would try to emulate the advanced tattoo techniques on paper. I purchased a tattoo kit when I turned 18 and started tattooing my friends (doing awful tattoos by the way). When I lived in Germany I began a professional tattoo apprenticeship in my off time and started working in several tattoo shops. I eventually got a tattoolicense in Hawaii, and have been tattooing off and on since then.

 I decided to write about it when I was actually researching tattoo books for myself in 2008. I really couldn’t find anything that was on the basic level for beginners, so I decided it needed to be done from a more technical aspect that anything else that was already out there. Then BASIC FUNDAMENTALS OF MODERN TATTOO really took off. The other book THIS MIGHT STING A BIT, was actually started as a joke when another tattoo artist and I made a list of annoying questions we would be asked by clients over and over. I then started to answer the questions and the book was completed in only a month. But it sat on my shelf for a few years collecting dust. It wasn’t until I approached my friend Cecilia to illustrate it, that it became a more serious project.

 I didn’t want the illustrations to be directly related to the story, and I was inspired by a book called REWORK for the layout. So I gave Cecilia a list of all of the chapter headings and didn’t let her see the body of the text, so it was a really fun experience to see the drawings unfold. I think it worked out pretty well. Everyone who sees THIS MIGHT STING A BIT is really impressed with the way it came out. There really is nothing out there like this book. Promoting it on the other hand, has been kind of difficult.

The Book Checkout:  Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

C.R. Jordan: I do want the readers to know, the girl on the cover of THIS MIGHT STING A BIT is my daughter, and she is not really tattooed! She was also handsomely compensated for the photo shoot which only took about 10 minutes. And now she laughs at the event whenever we discuss it.

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