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Topic: 16 yo son wants to be an artist  (Read 3803 times)
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miss_understood
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« on: April 02, 2011 04:27:30 PM »

Hello Craftster Artists,
  My son is 16 and just dropped baseball with a possible scholorship to be an artist... a tattoo artist. His first attempt at art was last christmas and it was really good. He expressed to us that he wanted to be a tattoo artist, we have no problem with that since me and my hubby have sleeves and best friends have 2 tattoo shops. But we tried to express to him to use baseball to get to college, nope he dropped baseball = no $$ for college. So my question for you artists are how do I direct him to be the best artist he can be? He wants to go to college where the tattoo shop is located ( not far from us) and our tattoo artist told him as long as he is in school for art and buisness he can apprentance. I want him to know that we support him in anything he chooses regardles it wasnt our plan for him.

Thank you for any suggestions
Tamarah
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sweatereyes
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2011 09:04:04 AM »

First of all, that is great that you are so supportive (although from the sounds of it, you are awesome parents).  Trying to sustain yourself as an artist is not easy, and luckily for your son he already has an "in" with a tattoo shop.  That already puts him light years ahead of the game (getting an apprenticeship is the hardest part of becoming a tattoo artist). 
But, if you want to also push him artistically, the best thing you can do for him is to be his biggest critic.  Of course, I would warn him before just ripping his art apart verbally... tell him that development is hard, and if you only ever gave him positive feedback it would be hard for him to know how to improve.  Depending on his style, or what he is interested in, try and find contemporary artists that he might like and be able to relate to.  Even though he is in school for art, most focus on art from the 1970's and earlier and tend to ignore artists that are actually creating art right now. 
Here is an artist that he might like:  http://www.zaxart.com/ 
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Regain the passion I once carried; do away with all the rest.
I tore the sickness from your bodies; smashed its head against the bricks.
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miss_understood
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2011 09:10:57 AM »

thank you so much for your advice... I will pass on the website to him... I am lucky that the shop he will be apprenticing at is really big in different culture (hispanic) and american history, which he happens to excel in. Thank you again because I am totally lost with this stuff.
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miss_understood
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2011 09:19:18 AM »

Oh I can't wait to show him this website... what an amazing artist...
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Aryante
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2011 01:44:09 PM »

Has he ever taken an Art 101 type class? It'll definitely help to learn the basics, the elements of art, and the principle of design. Smiley Then, with my parents supporting me in my art, being an open, honest critic can be very important; but it's also helpful when my parents pointed out where i was improving, so that I could see my growth and felt motivated to continue learning Smiley
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miss_understood
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2011 11:24:40 AM »

Thanks for the advise... he hasn't taken any classes because baseball and Avid took his electives... he was planning to take a summer class at the local college but they canceled all there summer classes... bummer... he is going to take it as an elective next year... (senior year) he is also going to spend some time with my tattoos artists family this summer to see what it is like to go to work everyday.... clean the shop.... intern stuff... i am very excited for him Smiley

it is hard to be a critic because he takes it personal... but thats part of growing up... !!!
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rawrkelsey
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2011 08:01:09 PM »

It would be good if he practiced things like figure drawing/ life studies and learning things like color theory, perspective, and anatomy. Also I'd recommend going to the library and getting some figure drawing and anatomy books for him to learn out of, they really helped me when I started drawing seriously.  Smiley
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peps1
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2011 04:19:57 PM »

Black books, black books, black books.......get him some A4 black sketch books and a decent technical pencil and encourage him to copy straight out of other peoples books, and trace trace trace.

Good artists borrow great artists steal - pablo picasso

If he has an opportunity to apprentice, thats half the battle won. Now he just has to play about with developing styles till he has a clue what direction he wants his work to go in, as at some point he will have to pick what he bag is....all good tattoo artists are known for having there "thing" be it Portrait, Irezumi, Black-and-gray, vintage 3 colour, Typographic and so one. 

He will never make good money being a jack of all trades, and master of none.

A small $100 investment in a airbrush and compressor would go a long way too, that way he get used to maintaing machinery and will help dramatically with his understanding of colour, shading and hand style for lettering work.   
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ladychris2010
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011 12:06:11 AM »

I suggest letting him create an account on deviantart.com. There he can post any drawings he does whether they're sketches or full blown colored for feedback from other artists. Not to mention there are groups on there in which he can join to get more help in improving his art.
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chapstickninja
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2011 11:09:24 PM »

I think it's awesome that you are being so supportive, though I could imagine your concern with money for college being an issue.  It sounds like you live nearby to the school so maybe rent wont be an issue.  Having gone to art school, I can say while it's great to get that degree and all, the best opportunity that art school presents is the motivation to practice and develop your portfolio.  It seems like in the art world your portfolio is what talks and not as much the degrees that you have. Try lots of things and see what styles fit you as an artist.  It might take a few classes to see that you really love working with oil paints, or illustration is your thing.  Figuring out how to make that work in a tattoo setting will be his unique challenge.  It sounds like he's got all the support he needs and that he will do great!
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thespacequeen87
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2011 03:03:18 PM »

i briefly looked in to tattooing after leaving college and wanted to stress that tattoo art is heavily based in fine art, so i totally second him trying out drawing 101 and fine art courses, if for anything, inspiration. and all artists are their own worst critic, so HELL YEAH for you guys supporting him. you guys sound awesome, and i hope he works it out. it hard to do anything in the fine art world these days, but sounds like he loves it so go him Smiley
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millymollymandy
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2011 11:17:09 AM »

the person who put about deviant art is 100% correct, and i would look on facebook, there are tonnes of tattooists, tattoo art etc on pages on there. i have learnt loads about tattoo art off those types of pages. not because i want to become a tattoo artist in particular, but because i am just interested in tattoo art, graffiti art, and art of all kinds, and i get to interact with all sorts of people, including people like kat von d (tell him if he doesnt know already, that yes, she has her own page on fb, along with other famous and semi famous tattoo artists) etc on facebook. just thought this may be of help, coz (i am actually an artist in the traditional sense) in the same token that i have learnt loads about all these other types of art form, i would have thought that this would also be advantageous to him especially Smiley
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msminnamouse
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012 09:44:12 PM »

In today's economy, or even when it wasn't so difficult out there, artists are having a very hard time making a living out of their crafts. Even if they're incredibly talented. For his sake, I would try to get him to have something he can fall back on instead of his art being his primary means of sustaining himself. So that means, he should pursue his art but also something else more in demand so he can eat.
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sweatereyes
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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012 08:12:43 AM »

In today's economy, or even when it wasn't so difficult out there, artists are having a very hard time making a living out of their crafts. Even if they're incredibly talented. For his sake, I would try to get him to have something he can fall back on instead of his art being his primary means of sustaining himself. So that means, he should pursue his art but also something else more in demand so he can eat.

I would just like to point out that the economy has *never* been prime for artists.  Artists have always (not that I'm saying they will always, nor should always) had to struggle to sustain themselves from their art.  Even the famous masters had a hard time making money during their life time. 

Also, to point out, a lot of very wealthy artists around today are not particularly talented or skilled.  Rather, they had good connections, good business practices, amazing self-promotion skills (to the point of politicians, if anyone has had to deal with big art dealers and curators you know what I mean), creates lowest common denominator art, had the drive to persevere regardless, or all of the above. 

But, most importantly, coming from a young adult, who went to school for art (and relatively sustains themselves off said art), please do not encourage or push them going into something just to make money.  Art requires your attention.  It is incredibly difficult to try to good art while holding a full time job (let alone try to market, promote, apply for grants, submissions calls, residences...) (and I can't even imagine trying to do all this while having an entirely other career).  Not only that, but I'm pretty damn sure that he knows that he is going to struggle for money for a while (possibly for a very long while).  I knew this as a teenager.  I was lucky, my parents never tried to push me into a different career path.  But I know other artist's that did have to struggle against their parent's fears of financial instability (or possibly their parent's own ambitious preferences).  You telling them (or even gently suggesting to them) about the financial issues and suggesting a better paying job will not make them feel happy (or even be appreciative of your concern) it will make them feel as though you do not believe that they can make it as an artist, or that they are not good enough. 
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Ill weave your names into my ribcage; lock your hearts inside my chest.
Regain the passion I once carried; do away with all the rest.
I tore the sickness from your bodies; smashed its head against the bricks.
I made a castle from its bones that you may always dwell in it.
msminnamouse
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012 12:34:50 PM »

Quote
I would just like to point out that the economy has *never* been prime for artists.
Yes, that's why I wrote, "In today's economy, or even when it wasn't so difficult out there, artists are having a very hard time making a living out of their crafts."

Quote
Also, to point out, a lot of very wealthy artists around today are not particularly talented or skilled.
Yes, which is why I also wrote, "Even if they're incredibly talented."

Quote
But, most importantly, coming from a young adult, who went to school for art (and relatively sustains themselves off said art), please do not encourage or push them going into something just to make money.
YOU are very lucky, then. But to the OP, I have this to say: By all means, spare his feelings (if you really think he's overly sensitive and would be offended at your voicing your concerns for his welfare even when you make a point to recognize what is probably very real talent) at the very probable chance that he won't have enough money to care for himself. Unless you're fine with always financially supporting him or having the tax payers do it.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012 12:46:28 PM by msminnamouse » THIS ROCKS   Logged
goddessgarb
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2012 03:59:02 PM »

My 15 yr old wants to design video games and draws and then computer generates characters, so I am figuring out how best to support him there.  I don't feel the parent has to be the harsh critic.  Unconditional honest support seems like a better fit there.  I would ask him what KIND of criticism he wants when he shows me something.  I know as an artist that from my partner, who is not an art expert of any kind, I want to know if she likes it, and why, and I will tell her if I'm showing her something I have doubts about, and I want her to tell me if she agrees it's not hitting the mark, or not. 

If he can't take classes, you can get books.  Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is the best drawing book there is.  For me, I prefer to view tons of art and critique my own work rather than open it up to other people's critiques.  If I think something isn't working, then I'll ask and that's when I want to receive more constructive criticism.  Otherwise, I just want to hear from those who actually like it.  Wink  With him, if I'm not qualified to judge the work (which in the case of characters for video games, I am not) I keep my feedback to what I can say something about, such as color use, proportion, creativity.  I mostly look for what there is to love about it unless he's asking for advice, as well as taking it seriously and helping him learn about things such as supplies, techniques, etc.
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msminnamouse
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2012 09:43:02 PM »

We also have to remember that his work will be on some one else's skin, pretty permanent, even with removal the scar is in the outline of the tattoo. If he can't take criticism in this line of work, then he's not cut out for this line of work. I don't know him and I can't speak to whether he can accept criticism of not.

If he ruins a canvas or something else, then that's fine and doesn't harm anyone.
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UnRuli
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2012 10:52:03 AM »

First and foremost he will need to take some art classes.  These classes will probably be pushing him to draw realistically but even if that is not the "style" he is interested in he should take it seriously because a good foundation will be necessary.  Learning to draw realistically teaches how to match shapes, values and colors so that he can draw his images with more accuracy.

As a college illustration professor (I graduated with my BFA in Illustration with a minor in Painting in May and started Grad school in July.....I've been teaching since last August) the most common thing I see is students who are interested in cartooning who do not take their drawing and/or life drawing classes seriously. They think that because they're interested in drawing in a cartoon style that drawing realistically is of no use to them......WRONG!  Those are the students who wind up not able to cartoon well!  We have a number of students go through our Illustration program who wind up in the tattoo business.....it's the one who take ALL of their classes seriously that wind up doing well.

If your local college doesn't have a really good art program he may want to consider going elsewhere because a poor art program won't get him anywhere.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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GlindaBunny
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2012 02:32:49 PM »

I think lots of professions have a rough time in this economy.  I think it's great that he's passionate about his chosen line of work.  I like the ideas of other posters of encouraging him to network online, learn more about art and tattoos, and keep that passion alive.
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Sparkledust
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2012 09:55:39 AM »

With great support from a loving family there is only one way to go.

I think the hardest battle is believing in yourself, once he starts working as you mention he'll know if it feels right, and then I'm sure he'll be well away, good luck to him and anyone that ventures into doing what they want to do, not what they are told to do!
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CraftyAly
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2012 08:39:25 AM »

First and foremost he will need to take some art classes.  These classes will probably be pushing him to draw realistically but even if that is not the "style" he is interested in he should take it seriously because a good foundation will be necessary.  Learning to draw realistically teaches how to match shapes, values and colors so that he can draw his images with more accuracy.

As a college illustration professor (I graduated with my BFA in Illustration with a minor in Painting in May and started Grad school in July.....I've been teaching since last August) the most common thing I see is students who are interested in cartooning who do not take their drawing and/or life drawing classes seriously. They think that because they're interested in drawing in a cartoon style that drawing realistically is of no use to them......WRONG!  Those are the students who wind up not able to cartoon well!  We have a number of students go through our Illustration program who wind up in the tattoo business.....it's the one who take ALL of their classes seriously that wind up doing well.

If your local college doesn't have a really good art program he may want to consider going elsewhere because a poor art program won't get him anywhere.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

You took the words right out of my mouth. It is a tough economy, but if your son really has some talent he can make a good living as a Tattoo artist. I would really try to get him to reconsider abandoning baseball if he can get a scholarship, because money is money, but in the same breath I wouldn't push him. If he is really serious about art and you want to support him getting him enrolled in classes is key. I would also but him lots of supplies and make sure he is honing his skills on his own time as well. If he really wants to compete he needs to be working on his craft everyday. It might be worth taking a look at Utrecht to save some money on supplies, especially if you buy in bulk. It's really great that he found something he is passionate about, and its even better that you support him. I think that's one of the most important keys to success. Good luck! I hope it all works out for him.
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« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2013 04:52:23 AM »

He should stay in the sport if he can get a scholarship. Finish his degree possibly slower and take the random art classes he feels he needs after reviewing the feedback on that professor from other students. I wouldn't even bother doing it as a minor or second major though he may need to tell the college that to get into the classes. Work or intern at the tat shop part time.

I've never known tat artists that attended school for art, though they are well studied. I find that much of art school is a waste of money. The relevant info is in the books and spending time memorizing who painted what, which year, is not going to benefit him much in the long term, especially with instant info available on the web. He needs a mentor and community of artists to help him improve. In school you are getting a grade, in competition with your fellow students. It is not as collaborative and may be downright cut throat.

With economic projections, you need to be as employable as possible. Especially young men. All of the 15-19 year olds want to be fantastic things that sound cool, and aren't very hard work. I know several of them well into their mid twenties still living at home. If he eventually wants to own his own shop (how you make real money in tats) then he should do business school.
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