Inking Ink

Ink for Beginners

Retrofit/Big Planet

Words/Art/Everything: Kate Leth

Published by the wonderfully independent publishers/collaborators Big Planet Comics & Retrofit (find more info on them here), Ink for Beginners is a book that captures the essentials of getting tattoos as well as tattoo etiquette for new folks. The book is written, drawn, designed, colored, etc. etc. by Kate Leth, who is currently writing Edward Scizzorhands and has a super cool looking creator owned comic coming out called Power Up (Boom! Studios, July, be there). Some may also know her from her work on the Adventure Time series or for her hilarious webseries, Kate or Die. She also has a fun podcast you can listen to called Less Than Live with Kate or Die WHICH you can check out on The Village Soundcast Network or on iTunes or wherever you listen to things. 

Look, I am no stranger to tattoos, having some sizable pieces of my own. However, that wasn't always the case (obviously). Most of the information I received before taking the plunge came from my wonderful wife Jordy, and honestly, it was a little intimidating at the time. What we get from Leth is an in depth, honest, visual look at the whole process from conception to after care (that kind of a makes it sound like having a baby). She gives good tips on topics such as which area of the body will be the most painful, what not to do before hand, all that jazz. Oh and she goes into tipping the artist, which I consider pretty important. The reader will see a variety of opinions not only from Leth but also from various tattoo artists. Each subject or topic is made relatable with personal experiences all matched with fun panels. A knowledgeable approach is an appreciated approach!

If you are familiar with Leth's work then you are familiar with the amount of charm in her dialogue. Though this is a very informative book, it is literally Kate walking you through these steps, which provides a much more personal touch. She uses terms and dialogue mixed with modern humor to make the process seem a little less daunting (which it really doesn't have to be). That being said, she also stresses the importance of realizing that this art style is, for the most part, permanent and doesn't shy away from the fact that sometimes it can hurt. Throughout the book there are quotes from a whole mess of tattoo artists and what is really respectable each gets as much credit as possible on the last page. What a nice extra touch!

Leth's art is fun and funny while giving practical examples of what she discusses. Her examples range anywhere from informative diagrams to before and after panels (those are my fave). The coloring is used in a great way, as it all includes shading and color schemes that are reminiscent of the style of traditional tattoos. I mean look at that cover! Great stuff! I'm going to talk about this in my next podcast, but I really appreciate when tattoos look natural on characters. In this comic especially, they all fit for each person, whether it is as a joke or a practical example. The cartoony visuals and unique coloring create a humorous and easily approachable guide.

So if you are thinking about getting inked for the first time then check out this book, if you like Kate Leth and her writing/art then check out this book, if you like tattoos as a medium and think them interesting then pick up this book, basically it's for pretty much anyone. Normally, Ink for Beginners isn't the type of thing that I would discuss on this blog, but it is a creator owned title that does teaching right! You can pick up the book here physically or digitally for only $3.99! I would hurry, comics like this don't typically have more than one printing, so jump on it! If you order it super soon then you might even be able to get it signed at Special Edition: NYC!

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