Linework is linework. Whether it’s tattoos or illustration, simple and precise lines can make all the difference. It’s a lesson that Nep Cardenas is taking to heart in both fields. With illustrations heavily influenced by comic strips and manga, and tattoos inspired by classic Japanese and Sailor Jerry styles, the young artist is quickly making a name for himself.
Originally from Batangas City, the 22-year-old Cardenas is now located in Pateros to be close to his new home, Good Hand Tattoo. It’s the shop where he moved up from scratcher to apprentice to staff. Gone are the days of victimizing uncles and childhood friends, and he now sends strangers home happy to have been inked instead. “I worked an office job for about six months after college,” he says. “But I was quickly fed up with that life, so I quit and decided to tattoo ’til death.”