Dave Waugh: Work in Progress Session III (By Hunter Spanks)

By Hunter Spanks
On a sunny June 6th here we are back in Georgetown at Jinx Proof for session three on Lizzy’s backpiece from Dave Waugh. Today he will concentrate on background on the left side of the back, kidney and rib area. Ouch. That’s okay, Lizzy brought a friend with her. His name is Dr. Numb. A topical numbing cream suggested by Dave. The cream has been applied and covered with Saran wrap and parts will stay covered as Dave works until he begins to work on them. Right at 2 p.m. Dave’s needle strikes the skin and they begin to talk about things being thicker and longer. So they are off to a good start…

Dave begans once again with some black shading in the grass area and moving on to dark greens once again. The color palate that he has laid out is a range of blues and greens, as well as yellow. Blues ranging from a midnight looking blue to a medium electric blue. Already eight minutes into it there seems to be a question of whether or not Lizzy’s friend Dr. Numb lives up to his claim. Dave is now shading in a brilliant grass green then moving on to some gunship grey, which I imagine is going into some of the rocks.

Dave dabs out more Dr. Numb which he will continue to work in the skin as he tattoos. He quickly moves on to working in the midnight blue as he begins to work on the water. Dave seems to work by fully completing smaller areas of the tattoo then moving on, working the black shade, then darker colors to highlights, then moving on. So finally, the foul talk starts and we have assured our place in hell by talking about the country singing conjoined twin duo that we had seen on Howard Stern and Jerry Springer.

And how the one girl had to be moved around on a stool, yes, we are terrible people. But somethings are like car accidents, and you can’t help but look and comment. I’m sure we all hope she has a successful country music career. Led Zeppelin comes on the in the shop. A bit mellower in the music department today and not so much doom. I think we are all happy about this. Dave continues to work various shades of the blue into the areas of water in the background as Hall and Oats tell us, “your kiss is on my lips.” We are only a half-hour in and a sizable section of the tattoo is complete and Dave moves back to black and up the left side of the ribs.

David Bowies “Ch-Ch-Changes” comes on and Dave is wasting no time moving up the left side of the ribs starting again with deeper greens being laid over the black shade and Lizzy is assuring Dave that she will be the most fun thing he will work on today. Lizzy is proud of her tattoo, as she should be. Anyone would be proud to sport a back piece from Dave. Albeit this particular subject matter might not be for everyone. Lets face it, unicorns and dick rocks are not for all. As the awe-inspiring voice of Bon Scott rings through the shop, Dave is laying yellows into the leaves on the left side of the ribs and Lizzy gives an update that Dr. Numb may be wearing off in that area.

I have failed to mention in the past that I do feel spoiled being able to come to the shop and document this, not only the great pleasure I take in watching Dave work but the shop is a literal who’s-who gallery of tattooing fine art. Everyone from Ed Hardy, Dan Higgs, Rollo, Jeff Rassier, Mike Davis and countless others. It becomes easy for myself to get distracted and just stare at art and not pay attention to the job at hand. Dave has moved back to blues and is working areas of the water again and they are just under an hour into the session and getting close to a first break. It has just been revealed by Dave that his nickname is “Jelly Balls Waugh.”

I think the origin might have something to with boobs but I am not quite sure and do not quote me on that. It’s a funny one though. All of a sudden, there is second thought that the water maybe should have been brown. Not sure that is what Lizzy had in mind but is a funny thought. Eeeew. Poo water. The blue seems to be giving Dave a hard time and I find that blues give me a hard time as well and apologizes for any discomfort of trying to work it in and it is break time. Dave again expresses frustration with how the blue is working for him. Break time.

It’s 3:10 p.m. and the break is over and Dave is quickly back to work. He now has Lizzy laying on her side in the hopes that he can stretch the skin a bit tighter, making the blues a bit easier to work in. Dave jumps back to working on the leaves that run up the left side of the ribcage. The conversation turns to age and the ever increasing sagging of mens’ balls. “Two walnuts and a paper bag” claims Dave. Finishing with some black shade Dave jumps back to working in deeper blues then on to grey to work on some of the rocks that rise up out of the water midway up Lizzy’s back. So far it seems that Lizzy’s friend Dr. Numb might be doing the trick at almost an hour and a half Lizzy still seems pretty comfortable and not in to much pain as she let’s out a giggle.

Dave works in some medium blues into the water surrounding the rocks and comments that Lizzy laying down seems to be working much better for him. Back now to deeper greens in the leaves continuing to work sections to completion has he makes steady progress up the left side of her back. The energetic rhythms of AC/DC are again heard in the shop. This time Brian Johnson voice rings through the shop over the chatter of tattoo machines buzzing. All the while Dave is back to laying in some nice grass greens and the music continues with AC/DC and Bon Scott telling us about, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” I will have to admit today’s playlist is more enjoyable than the soundtrack to session two. A bit under hour two Dave has completed all the water and greenery in the background on the left side to just under the bra line.

Everyone still seems to be hanging in there even Lizzy’s new friend Dr. Numb as she seems to still be relaxed and not too bothered by the work being done on her ribs. Oh wait, Lizzy just commented that maybe Dr. Numb should do some more research. I guess this means she is feeling it more than she would like to. What would a tattoo be without a bit of pain right. Plus let’s face it, tattoos on the ribs suck and I feel any topicals only take the edge off and that’s about it. Dave is meticulous in his attention to the areas being worked on making sure blends and shades are as smooth as butter as they blend from dark to light. Now back to areas of deep blue in the water which is almost complete on the left side. Dave pauses to pour out more colors and asks if Lizzy needs a stretch. She declines and Dave says they will work for about a half hour more.

Heading into the final stretch Dave will begin to work with a liner to work on some of the smaller details on the left side such as mushrooms and Bon Scott announces he’s “a rock-n-rolling” man as Dave sings along cheerfully. Dave begins to use some medium brown with a liner to work on and detail the mushrooms scattered throughout the grass in the background. Now on to dotting and highlighting areas with white such as the rock formations that are throughout out the stream of water in the background.

After completing a little work with a liner for detailing the majority of the background on the left side is complete. Dave and Lizzy are calling it a day at about the two-hour mark satisfied with today’s progress. So until session four that’s all for now.

(Hunter Spanks is a contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine and was previously in TAM Issue #11. He currently works in Baltimore, MD at Have Fun Be Lucky Tattoo.)


Digital version of TAM #11

Hunter Spanks TAM #11 video download

(Dave Waugh can be found at Jinx Proof Tattoo in Washington, DC)

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