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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Ink Me Tour with Sidney Bristol



Hello Lady Scribes!

I’m Sidney Bristol, you might have seen me around here a time or two before.

Lately I’ve been all over the place celebrating the release of the second book in my So Inked series. These books are about a bunch of female tattoo artists, how they fall in love and sometimes even save the day.
You probably don’t know this, but I’m something of a tattoo nut. I have a bunch, and I’m a sucker for big, brightly colored pieces. So of course I’d write books about tattoo artists!

Since not all artists are the same, and many focus on different schools of tattooing, I thought it was important that the So Inked cast represent the different popular divisions. The heroine of The Harder He Falls is a half Korean second generation artist who specializes in Asian tattoos and artwork. The most popular form we see today are the images borrowed from Japanese culture. While a lot of them are easily identifiable, like the stylized dragon, koi fish, samurai or phoenix, there are traditional tattoo elements which aren’t as popular in America.

When I was digging through Japanese tattoo history I stumbled on this strange little creature called a baku. It baffled me.
Just picture this with me. The body of an ox, an elephant's trunk and head, tusks, the legs of a tiger and the tail of an ox, covered in yellow fur.

Pretty strange, isn’t it?

The baku seems to have come to Japan via China, and while the two cultures have a similar view on the animal, there are a few differences. The baku is known as a nightmare or dream devouring creature. Considering the early Japanese belief about the power of dreams, the baku could be a welcomed or feared creature.

The story goes that a child could wake up from a nightmare, hug their pillow and whisper, “Baku-san, come eat my dream. Baku-san, come eat my dream. Baku-san, come eat my dream.” Sort of like caling Beetlejuice three times! The catch here is what kind of baku are you getting? A baku could come into the child’s room and suck the bad dream away, which helped them sleep and guarded against evil spirits taking up residence in the child. But a starving baku could not only eat the nightmare, but all of the child’s dreams, hopes and ambitions could be sucked away, leaving an empty husk.
Through history, the baku has become a talisman against evil spirits. Families would hang pictures of the baku above their bed to protect their sleep. At one time it was popular to buy baku shaped pillows!
Besides being a guardian of dreams, the different components that make up the baku, elephant, ox, tiger, etc, all have symbolic meanings. The tiger legs and paws, for example, guard against pestilence and evil.

As it turns out, the baku is one of the traditional creatures that has translated to modern times pretty well in Japan. It’s often depicted in modern day as a shy, friendly creature, and is even featured in many anime cartoons.

In tattooing, the baku has generally taken on a more fierce depiction. There’s no arguing that it’s odd coloring and formation make it a unique tattooing piece. Since it’s not often tattooed outside of Japan, the baku is usually included in large, body suit tattoos characteristic of the Japanese tattoo culture.
The baku is one of the strangest mythological creatures I’ve run across. What odd creatures have you found reading or researching?
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It can never be said that Sidney Bristol has had a ‘normal’ life.  She is a recovering roller derby queen, former missionary, and tattoo addict. She grew up in a motor-home on the US highways (with an occasional jaunt into Canada and Mexico), traveling the rodeo circuit with her parents. Sidney has lived abroad in both Russia and Thailand, working with children and teenagers. She now lives in Texas where she splits her time between a job she loves, writing, reading and belly dancing.
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The Harder He Falls, So Inked #2  





12 comments:

  1. Great post! My sister-in-law is ink obsessed and we were just talking about this! She sees her body as a kind of blank canvas she said -the more unique, the better. ! I can't wait to introduce her to your work! Oh...and I've never run across a mythical creature in my Regency research...just some mares and stallions! 😉

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    1. I would be totally lying if I didn't admit I have an ink addiction, but I don't mind it at all. :D

      A lot of tattoo enthusiasts perceive their ink as a blank canvas and valuable real estate. There's a publication called Inked Magazine, and they do a lot of Facebook graphic memes. Anyways, there are several which have a sentiment along the lines of "Your body is a canvas" that are really cool. :D

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  2. They always say once you get a tattoo, you want another. I've stuck with just one, but I definitely have had the fever to get another. Mainly I've resisted, because I don't know what I'd want or where I'd want it. :)

    I think a platypus is the strangest creature I've researched. I had a villain who was obsessed with predatory/deadly animals and he compared his partner in crime to a platypus. It wasn't a compliment. LOL

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    1. The platypus is really a viscous creature! I'm addicted to Animal Planet and they did a special on it one day--OMG! I thought they were these cute, weird creatures, and I was so wrong!

      Studies have proven that there is an oil in tattoo inks that people can get addicted to, but you have to have it in high quantities. The other theory is that the endorphin rush of your body reacting to the tattoo process is that contact high most people chase. It ends up making tattoos sound like one huge drug... said the addict...

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  3. I have two tattoos and I have plans on adding a third before my birthday next April. I have a small rose running through a bleeding heart on my shoulder and on my inner arm I have the a double bow and arrow from Sherrilyn Kennyon's Dark Hunter series. When I had the arrow done I added four colorful stars, one for each of my nieces and nephews. I have run across gryphons,loch ness among a few mythical creatures in novels that I have read. Then there are the paranormal regencies which include shifters, vampires and demons.

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    1. I haven't worked up the nerve to get a book themed tattoo yet. I jut don't know if I can pick just one!!!

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    2. My third one will also be book themed as it's the "fate" symbol from Acheron's cover only tweaked

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  4. Welcome Sidney! I have to say... I think if there was a picture of a Baku above my bed it would *give* me nightmares instead of scaring them away. What can I say? I'm a chicken. ;)

    Good luck with your release!

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    1. I know, right??? The modern depictions used in anime make the baku seem like more of a cuddly creature with a trunk nose, and smooths over some of the more exotic features. I have to say, compared to what other things the Japanese hung over their beds, the baku was pretty tame!

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  5. Well, George IV was an odd bird, but I don't think that's what you are thinking of! :-) The historical figures in the Regency are pretty interesting, though! I have run into some fun creatures for another project I'm working on, but I can't go into it yet!

    Best of luck with the new release, Sidney!

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  6. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Sidney! I love the story of the Baku. But then, I'm a lover of all things dark and mythological. ;)
    I have two tattoos but rarely show them off. After 3 kids, no one wants to see that. Ha!

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  7. Great post! I have had a hankering to get another tattoo but am waiting for my husband to draw one up and my cousin to draw up the other lol I have 2 right now I have "Faith" on the inside of my left wrist and dog prints that are half pink and half green (my sister and my fave colors) beside my right hip bone. I want to get at least 2 more (hence the waiting) one I want on the inside of my right wrist and the other i haven't figured out placement yet. I'm thinking ribs though.....we shall see :) and I love Paranormal books so I have read all the books by Kresley Cole and J.R. Ward as well as a few other authors and have learned about some awesome creatures.

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