By Sara Barnes – Faustine Tarmasz, known simply as Tarmasz, is a French illustrator and tattoo artist who also has some impressive ink of her own. I had the opportunity to speak with her about her non-traditional tattooing style as well as the awesome adornments on her legs, collarbone, and back. There aren’t many illustrators that double as tattoo artists, but Tarmasz does it, and does it well. Learn about her own ink, tattooing others, and how she creates her signature illustrations, too!


How many tat­toos do you have?
Well, it is quite dif­fi­cult to count tat­toos, but I would say around 20, big and small pieces.

How old were you when you first got tat­tooed?
I was 17, I did 3 tat­toos the same day, and now all of them are cov­ered… tat­toos before 20 years old are mistakes.

Did you design any your­self?
I would say that half are designed or tat­tooed by myself. It was a way to train myself at tat­too­ing when I started to prac­tice, but I stopped tat­too­ing myself, because I want to save some space for all the super great tat­too artists I am tat­tooed by!


Are there any spe­cial sto­ries attached to your tat­toos?
I like tat­toos for what they look like and not for what they mean. So, I do not have deep per­sonal emo­tions related to my tat­toos. But, each of them of course has a story, depend­ing on the tat­tooist, the sit­u­a­tion, the place and the way it has been done.

One of the things I really like about tat­too­ing and get­ting tat­tooed is that you meet so many peo­ple! Illus­tra­tion is a lonely activ­ity, you spend your time draw­ing all alone at your desk; tat­too­ing is for me a way to go out and social­ize. I already met so many awe­some peo­ple thanks to tattoos!


How did you get in to tat­too­ing? Did you ever envi­sion your­self doing it?
Well, I started to tat­too because I was in a period of my life where I really wanted to exper­i­ment with dif­fer­ent art medi­ums. It was basi­cally curios­ity but, I started to like it, and shit got seri­ous… but I never planned to do it as a job since I never thought there would be enough peo­ple request­ing my draw­ing to get tattooed.

How much of your time is spent tat­too­ing and how much of it is spent illus­trat­ing?
I tat­too 1 week a month and the rest of the time, I spend draw­ing illus­tra­tions and work­ing on comics.

You men­tion on your Tum­blr that you don’t design any tat­toos — they are all exist­ing draw­ings you’ve done. Why is that?
I used to take orders and draw for com­mis­sions for each cus­tomer, but I started to have more requests and I couldn’t find the time to do all of it any­more, since tat­too­ing is not my sin­gle job. So I had to make a choice: give up illus­tra­tion and just tat­too full-time, or just draw some flashes and let peo­ple pick. I chose the second option and stopped com­mis­sions. And since I tat­too each flash draw­ing only once, my tat­toos are still unique and the cus­tomers still have own­er­ship of it.



Where do you nor­mally tat­too? (At a spe­cific shop? Do you travel?)
I tat­too each month at the stu­dio Sweet Nee­dle in Fonte­nay Sous bois (Paris’ close sub­urb). Some­times I travel in France but it’s really rare. France is not a big coun­try and most of peo­ple pass by Paris at least once a year, I do my best so I can fit the appoint­ments in when they come. I don’t usu­ally leave France for tat­too­ing, but last Novem­ber I went to Brazil with 2 of my tat­tooist friends, for 1 month, and it made me feel we should be doing that more often!

What is the most mem­o­rable tat­too you’ve given?
I have a lot of good mem­o­ries related to the tat­toos I’ve done because I tat­tooed a lot of my friends, and even my mother! But my most awk­ward tat­too expe­ri­ences were the early ones. My friends who were my guinea pigs were so relaxed and trust­ful, while I was freak­ing out.

What’s the inspi­ra­tion for your illus­tra­tions?
I am really a big fan of mythology, antique, medieval arts… I like all of this because it is really fixed, graphic, pic­to­r­ial, and void of any per­spec­tive and dimen­sions. I like strong pic­tures where sym­bols are more impor­tant than real­ism. My favorite artists are Mike Mignola, Car­son Ellis and Keith Nei­gley.


How long have you been illus­trat­ing?
I’ve been draw­ing as far as I can remem­ber, but it started to be my job 3 years ago. After high school, I went through 2 years of illus­tra­tion formations.

What tools do you use for cre­at­ing your work?
I do my sketches with pen­cil and then I use a light table for the clean ver­sion. Some­times I use ink or water­color, and most of the time I finally color it by Photoshop.



Any excit­ing projects on the hori­zon?
Well, I have a comic book project, which should be ready for Sep­tem­ber. And as I said ear­lier I plan to go back to Brazil tat­too­ing, and maybe to reach USA and Canada. I’d like to travel more and to make more books in the future.

Thanks, Faus­tine! Be sure to fol­low her on Tum­blr and check out her online shop.

About the contributor

SBarnes_portraitSara Barnes is a Baltimore-based blogger and project planner. Her background is in illustration and fine arts, and she writes for sites like My Modern Met, Beautiful/Decay, and Craftsy. In addition, she runs her own blog called Brown Paper Bag that celebrates beautiful and clever illustrations. It highlights the field in its many changing forms and finds inspiration from illustrators working in ceramics, paper sculpting, tattoos, embroidery, and more! Follow Sara on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.