Short ‘n Sweet: Q & A with a Tattoo editor!


Shorecrest’s own, critically-acclaimed literary arts magazine, Tattoo has been diligently dedicating their time to lace together their second full-color print publication of the 2019 school year. Boasting forms of creative expression from unique poetry and short stories to art and photography, it’s no wonder that any edition of Tattoo is satisfying to flip through. But, how does the staff continually produce such high quality work? What’s involved in the process? The work is anything but simple. From software editing, hosting extra-curricular events, and regulating submissions, an anonymous editor on this year’s Tattoo staff explain the ins and outs of the experience.


Q: Describe the culture of Tattoo. What aspects of Tattoo do members try to emphasize, and with what purpose?

Around Shorecrest, there are numerous ways to immerse yourself within the community, express your individuality, and strengthen the people around you. Trying out for the cheer team, going to the robotics club, or stepping out of your comfort zone by participating in a theater production. For us, Tattoo serves as a way to get involved and express parts of ourselves through art. As you may have heard, Tattoo operates by student jury selection by allowing students of Shorecrest to submit art pieces that are later voted on for inclusion in the magazine. An aspect of the club that I find enormously empowering is the freedom to which students can submit. We, as the Tattoo staff, emphasize the acceptance of all pieces from all people, not just the artists or writers. With this mindset, we also believe that the equity in which these pieces are selected should be guarded with all of our effort. So, in order to emphasize equity for all of those that submit, the Tattoo crew conducts voting parties where we vote on the art pieces without knowing who submitted them. I feel like this emphasis on the freedom of submission and selection really moves Tattoo along, and makes up the culture of the club.


Q: So, you mentioned that voting parties are a crucial part of the Tattoo selection process. How does producing a single magazine typically work? Do you have a specific cycle that you follow?

Yeah! So, as I mentioned before, the Tattoo magazine culture really focuses on freedom, equality, and expression, which we carry out via our submit-select processes. For a typical Tattoo edition, the crew will dedicate a solid amount of time. The club produces two magazines per year: a Winter book and a Spring book. Regardless of the edition, the process typically starts simply by us opening submissions. This means that all students interested in submitting, or having their work printed within the magazine, will upload their artwork and writing through a submission form that’s located on the Shorecrest website. Students who submit may submit up to four pieces of writing as well as (up to) four pieces of artwork. Typically, we receive about one hundred submissions. Then, when the deadline for submissions is reached, we close submissions and focus in on what we’ve received. During this time comes the fun part: selections and voting. Here at Tattoo, we (like I explained a bit previously) like to keep our selection processes fair for all, so we hold voting parties. Voting parties are short and sweet get-togethers during the weekends where we snack on free, DELICIOUS goodies, see friends, vote on which submissions to put into the magazine, and earn community service hours at the same time. Being completely honest, voting parties are so cool! They’re open to all students, and involve free food, friends, and community service hours! Normally, we get around fifteen to thirty students, and we all have unlimited votes towards the works we received during submissions. After the voting period, the staff combines the works with the highest votes and best fit for the magazine. Here, we edit, manage, and organize the selected pieces (typically fifty to sixty) into the order that we believe is most logical. Then, we send our page plans in to our book company, who publish the final product producing around two hundred copies of the edition. Lastly, the staff receives the printed books and organizes ways to sell and promote them (for $10 each book). Whether selling them at a stand during lunch, online, or via the announcements, we try to spread the magazines in really fun ways. I’d say that the entire process is exciting and follows a logical order, which makes club members constantly motivated and enthusiastic towards their hard work!


Q: What comes with being in the position of a Tattoo editor?

Seeing as this has been the first time I have been able to serve the magazine as an editor, I would definitely say that the role includes emphasizing the culture of the club to a great extent! Constructive criticism, blind judging, and respect are all crucial parts of our vision whether we are editing the art piece’s color, adjusting sizing, or placing it in relation to other pieces while using Adobe software. In the Tattoo submissions selection process, the Tattoo staff are allowed to put as many pieces into the edition as we want, so we try our best to get a variety of work to fit our pages best. When editing the pieces, we tend to place quite a bit of importance on color. Typically, we only have a limited amount of ink for colored works, so the vast majority of the art is printed in black and white. In order to decide which colors to print a piece, we decide which pieces would be benefited the most by color. For writing, we go through pieces looking for typos, grammar mistakes, and try to fix as many as needed. Among the editor staff,  we really focus on individuality and freedom of expression, so the editors try not to change pieces that are going into the magazine too much. Through working as an editor, I think that an important part of the process that not very many people know about is the bio writing. For every submitter into the edition, we divide (among six editors) up names. As a team, we collectively write short, quirky, and funny bios for everyone. This part of the magazine producing process is one of my favorite parts of being in Tattoo because I think that it really highlights community and accents unique traits about people in a fun format. For example, our bios might describe a strange umbrella collection that a submitter has, versus a typical bio about age and grade. In short, it’s quite fun being a Tattoo editor.


Q: Wow, that does sound like fun! Do you have anything else to tell readers?

Sure! Tattoo is a lot of fun- whether experiencing the magazine as an editor, submitter, voter or not. I think that for everyone, Tattoo is a great way to get involved with Shorecrest in a unique and fun way, and that it gives quite a bit of confidence and bravery to all those involved. If you’re too busy to come by Tattoo club that meets on Mondays in Ms. Marshall’s room (M249) during lunch, you can always come to Tattoo-hosted events! Coffeehouse, a popular event that’s hosted by the Tattoo staff, involves gathering with friends after school at night, and reading- surrounded by tea, food, and a welcoming atmosphere. Speaking of which, Tattoo is hosting another one this upcoming Spring, which you should totally come to! (Make sure to watch out for our fliers). So in conclusion, I want to express to you just how much fun getting involved with Tattoo can be. Drawing, writing, and producing art forms is already fun by itself, and seeing your work within a magazine, published, is an incredibly satisfying feeling. Whether or not you consider yourself “good” at art, do make sure that you submit to Tattoo!


Artwork: Emma Howlett