Crown and Scepter: Artist Review

Cartridges here, Cartridges there, Cartridges everywhere. With rotary machines becoming more and more popular by the day, it seems like the number of cartridge lines on the market are growing at the same rate. Now that the market is so saturated with cartridge needles, it’s easy to end up with one that is subpar, or, in some cases, total shit. Now, we could go on about a certain new line of needle cartridges made by Kingpin, but we’re biased, so we sent our Crown and Scepter Cartridges over to Russell Van Schaick (aka Find Your Smile) to share his opinion on them.

Russell is known as a watercolor artist, although, it’s not accurate to sum him up that simply. His concepts come together in a unique and, frankly, astonishing way. His tattoos are comprised of a watercolor style that looks as if you could breathe on them and move the ink across the skin to reveal the systematic chaos of hundreds of lines over time, and the composition of his pieces fit his client’s as if the tattoo was always meant to be there.

While it takes a great mind to create great artwork, it is the tools that the artist uses that help make it real. “I hear a lot of artists say they can use any cartridge. ‘It doesn't really matter’. But for me, I know what I like, and I stick to consistency”, Russell tells us. So, having stated his standard, we let him go to town with our Crown and Scepter Cartridges and talk us through their overall performance.

The Lining: “With the 14 Round Shader and 9 Round Liner Crowns, the consistency is the biggest thing for outlines. The ink flow works perfect for me”. He adamantly preaches that all artists should try new tools of the trade and to never be stuck in their ways. "I've tried about 4-5 different brands of cartridges. If one is a better fit for me, then I owe it to myself to use it. Finding Crown and Scepter seems to be it".

The "Sketching": Russell says a Scepter 3 Round Liner is what works best for him because there is not a lot of sway from side to side, which eliminates ink splash while strategically blueprinting his client’s skin. "This is one of the most important parts of the tattoo, so the harmony of the machine and the cartridge have to be balanced".

Coloring: This part hurts like hell. “Find your Smile” is a fitting Instagram handle because he looks like a mad dentist drilling away when he’s coloring. "It has to be that way! Bugpins are the way to go with the range I need for coloring", he says while laughing at the dentist comment. After the tattoo is done, it's wild to see the finished product and the way he adds those dried textures of watercolor to the skin.

Russell has created a cult following with his winning personality, which has led to plenty of questions about what he uses every day in his setup. His response is to reiterate the importance of trying new things. "Kingpin has a wide variety of a lot of the things I've been looking for, and has continued to be trusted in this industry. It's important to look at track record with a company. In Kingpin’s case, it's easy to say that when they come out with new products, tattoo artists should be ready to give them a try”

Use code CSCART at checkout to save 10% on your next order of Crown and Scepter Cartridges!