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Inside the Mind of a Tattoo Apprentice

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Every artist starts somewhere and these days, IF you want to be a legitimate and respected practitioner in the field, that means earning your right to a tattoo machine through a tattoo apprenticeship.  For every apprentice out there trying to do it the right way, there are hoards of unethical & untrained hacks more interested in short cuts then they are in getting better, (or in the best interests of those they are scratching up, generally speaking.) You see, tattooing didn’t start with reality television. It’s a time-honored tradition. The art & craft of tattooing is something that has been passed down for hundreds of years from trained masters to eager young artists who can show they have what it takes to make an actual contribution to the industry.  For the professional tattoo artist, finding someone who brings this sort of grit and potentially something new to tattooing can be extremely exciting, as every great artist once began at the bottom of the tattoo totem pole. That being said, Ana Nasuro of House of Color Tattoo in Bay Shore, New York, is here to share her voice on the life of an aspiring tattoo artist. “I knew that I wanted to tattoo since I was in high school. It was something I had always loved and been fascinated by. But it wasn’t until I got my first tattoo at 16 that I decided that it was what to do for the rest of my life!”  Like many artists in the industry, ... Read More »

Step by Step: How to paint a Zombie Eye in oils, by Ettore Bechis

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Here’s a nifty little Step-By-Step article by Ettore Bechis for painting a ZOMBIE EYE in oils. These creepy effects can be applied to any piece! – Enjoy! 1. Spray your frame (new or old doesn’t matter) with black varnish. Cut a piece of wood same size as frame glass. If you are slow-moving and don’t feel like drawing an eye, look up an image on the internet and print the size of the piece of wood; other wise draw an eye the size of the wood. Paint the piece of wood with Verdaccio Acrylic Paint. (To make Verdaccio mix colors; white, yellow, 1 drop of red, and couple drops of black). Dry overnight and sand the wood panel with fine sand paper. Transfer the image with carbon paper and pen or pencil. Trace the outline with acrylic paint in color burnt umber and make the highlight with white. Oil colors: Black, Brown, Burnt sienna, Burnt umber, Yellow medium cadmium, Cadmium orange, Alzarin crimson, White, Neutral 7, Neutral 5 and Neutral 3  from the John Howard Sanden set portrait. Brushes:       Filbert 4, Filbert 2Liner, 0 Liner 3 Other material: Cold pressed linseed oil, Paper towels, Mona Lisa odorless paint thinner Paint everything starting from the darker color ending with the lightest color (creating a somber effect). Make sure to not make the color look to thick; if so you won’t have a reference for later. Shade with a dry brush on the painting, continue until the painting looks smooth. Remember to ... Read More »

Are Tattoo Conventions Sanitary? Helpful Guidelines–


Tattoo conventions certainly have a lot to offer tattoo enthusiasts and the local communities, starting with access to some of the best artists from around the world, without the expense of flights and accommodations. The question of sanitation at conventions has long been a topic of concern debated by artists and collectors in the community…how can you protect yourself? As far as artists and sterility goes, you’re fine- the same professional level of cleanliness is mandated by the local governing bodies and health departments. In many places the artists are required to show proof of their own health licenses, if not acquire temporary ones from the city hosting the tattoo convention. So, that’s not the real problem. All the same sterilization techniques are used, their machines and equipment is covered, cleaned and/or disposed of between each tattoo. And all tattoos done at the convention site should still be properly cleaned and wrapped prior to anyone leaving the booth. No problem, right? So what’s the concern, then? Not much at all, until you visit the bathrooms and find dozens of those fresh, bloody, tattoo bandages discarded in the waste receptacles, lying around on the floors or even sitting on the sink countertops! Cross-contamination concerns abound! Once that bandage is removed, the safety barrier protecting their bloody wound from the outside environment (and vice versa) is gone. Without proper knowledge on sanitary procedures, everything those people touch after that bandage becomes a possible reservoir for disease- doors, sinks, stalls, mirrors, walls, furniture, bars, stools, ... Read More »

How to paint Danny Trejo w/artist Ettore Bechis

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by Ettore Bechis Danny Trejo is one of the most easily recognizable tattooed actors of our generation. From Desperado to Heat and his solo film, Machete, Danny’s tattoos are nearly as famous as he is! A big thank you to artist Ettore Bechis for submitting this article to TAM. Enjoy! Read More »

Workhorse Irons: Better Tools For Better Tattooing

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Can you tattoo over my scar/stretch marks?


That’s a question we tattoo artists get asked a lot- “Can you tattoo over  scar tissue?” The answer to this question is yes, no, and maybe. It is possible to tattoo scars, (meaning, you can insert ink into scar tissue), but it’s important to realize that scar tissue differs from the rest of one’s flesh. It’s rough, rigid and much less porous. We’ll go into some detail below, but I want to say, first, that I’m no expert in dermatology; this blog is offered only as a starting place and guide to help people with scars and questions to navigate their options. My opinions are solely based on my experiences tattooing on and around scars, and on a very basic, working understanding of skin anatomy, (which every good tattooer should grasp.) For the general client looking to work over and around scar tissue, here are some basic questions to explore with your professional tattoo artist: What kind of scar is it? Is it a stretch mark? Was it from a cut? How deep was it? How deep does the scar tissue go? Are you prone to keloid? Is it a raised scar? Scars aren’t the exact same type of tissue as regular skin, and scar tissue tends to be more sensitive than routine skin. Is there nerve damage in the area of your scar? If so, the nerve damage may increase the discomfort you feel when you get a tattoo. Are you wanting to alter the texture of a scar? Tattooing ... Read More »

Aftercare: Skinlock product info


Skinlock is a supporter and paid advertiser of TAM, they also happen to offer one of the most unique aftercare product lines around, with some top notch names supporting them. I really can’t wait to try it out, myself. [NOTE: This is for artists- Skinlock sells only to tattoo shops and professional artists via reputable supply companies. Inquire for more info.]  SkinLock Summary: Applied immediately to a fresh tattoo, SkinLock quickly locks your ink in place, stops all of that nasty “oozing” and protects your fresh tattoo with a 100% transparent, flexible and antimicrobial barrier.  With a quick spray, SkinLock replaces all of those messy, unsanitary and hard-to-apply meat pads, vet wraps and plastic wraps with a clear, breathable solution that is easy to apply to ANY part of the body in seconds.  Plus, SkinLock helps to speed up recovery time.  Within three hours, SkinLock will have delivered better results and will have protected the integrity of your tattoo better than any other product or method can deliver within several days.  There is no other product available today that compares to the benefits of SkinLock. SkinLock is used daily by hundreds of the most talented artists around the world including Roman Abrego, Jack Rudy, Bob Tyrrell, Joe Capobianco, Charlie Cartwright, John Montgomery and many, many more. Remember, a tattoo is not fully complete until it’s fully healed.  Don’t compromise your fresh ink… demand the best.  LOCK IT IN with SkinLock. Key Features & Benefits        Locks ink in place;        Stops ... Read More »

Price of tattoos: why cheap ain’t good!

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The Pricing Of Tattoos. Some basics to consider. -By Crash There’s an old saying- “Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good.” – Let’s talk about why. Once the decision has been made to get a tattoo, the next thing people generally want to know is- “How much will it cost?” Though typical, it is my contention that there are far more important questions needing answered first that should guide the next steps of those seeking their first (or next) tattoo. Quite often it is what one PAYS for a tattoo, (rather than what it might COST them in the long run), which can most easily send the gullible down dark alleys and into the back-room dangers of illegal, unlicensed, and untrained “kitchen magicians”, (better known as “scratchers”). (Hear them howl!) People are sucked into this delusion/illusion of (e)quality by the misguided BELIEF that they can obtain some the MYTHICAL ‘deal’ by going to a non-professional, (*in GENERAL, a non-professional is one willing to do tattoos OUTSIDE of a shop. Period. Even if they ‘work at one’, or ‘used to’, or ‘are going to, one day’, etc- they are conducting themselves in a non-professional way, ALREADY, and it is at your risk; so it becomes very easy to imagine ALL THE OTHER health and safety guidelines they’ll choose to ignore, on your behalf. **NOTE- it’s NEVER too late to WAKE UP and start making better decisions– ‘Artists’ and customers! Trust me, we ALL do, eventually, no matter where we start from. So relax and join ... Read More »

Tattoo Removal: HELP! I got a bad SCRATCHER TATTOO!

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Tattoo Removal Tips From The Pros A tattoo is something meant to last a lifetime. Regrettably, what an individual wants on their body today may not be what he or she wants 2 or twenty years from now. Regardless of that fact, it assumes the tattoo we’ve chosen is actually what we want…and it also assumes the person doing the tattoo does satisfactory job on applying the tattoo. If the job is bad, even though the idea is right, regret occurs almost immediately. When you take into consideration the chances of getting a “good” tattoo from an improperly trained, unethical & unlicensed “SCRATCHER” tattooist being, honestly, about nil to none; (for reasons too numerous to mention. Start HERE for more info.) We (TAM) are here to HELP PEOPLE, (help YOU), learn about good tattoos and good tattooers, because we want you to KNOW what’s really at stake BEFORE you go ahead and get that little tat from “neighbor/uncle/cousin Steve” or that guy up the road. Please take this article into consideration before settling for a ‘cheap tattoo’ because both the procedure and the expense of acquiring GOOD TATTOOS are fairly minor in comparison to having them covered up or removed at a later date. Well, here’s some helpful advice if you find yourself regretting the decision and looking for solutions. One of the most commonly used methods for eliminating an unwanted tattoo is also one of the least attractive. The skin-graft technique involves taking out an area of skin from a less-noticeable part ... Read More »

Nick Baxter: Notes and Advice 9


By Nick Baxter “If you wish to make certain your painting will succeed, a minimum of three things must come from you–and only you. The first thing is knowing why you want to paint your subject, the second is an analytical grasp of what you see, and the third is the skill to control the process of painting.” –Richard Schmid This quote I recently came across, written by a wise and very accomplished alla prima realism painter, got me thinking about the underlying structure that comprises the task of creating art. Schmid divides this structure nicely into 3 primary, foundational elements. This striking simplicity belies the complexity inherent in most forms of art, especially realism, and that simplicity bodes well for artists and laypersons alike–the so-called “uncreative” types, those who mistakenly regard themselves as “not having an artistic bone in my body.” Here’s my interpretation of Richard Schmid’s quote, expounding on his 3 main tenets and how they (encouragingly) apply to everyone: “Knowing why you want to paint your subject” refers to concept and theory. In other words, the philosophical side of the craft, the ideas and meaning the artist is working with or wishes to communicate through their work (I’ve written a lot about this here and here, with a future post coming as well). This relates to the study of your own mind, to “knowing thyself” and formulating ideas about life and the world around you. I believe that everyone has ideas about themselves and the world around them, because our living brains ... Read More »

Jeff Gogue on attracting large scale tattoo clients


By TattooNOWTV Jeff Gogue, internationally known for his famed original tattooing style and amazingly popular tattooing seminars, talks about how to attract large scale tattoo clients including backpieces and sleeve tattoos. Jeff chats about how the Shige and New Skool Collective backpiece books and his own experience getting a backpiece have help open clients vision. He is also asked if he feel like his work plateaus, and about learning to tattoo better. Whether you are a tattoo collector or just someone vaguely interested, this is great advice from one of the worlds top tattoo artists. Avoid tattoo mistakes that are easy to make but difficult to fix!… to watch this 2 hour episode in its entirety which also featured famed tattoo artists Jeff Gogue and Nikko Hurtado who answered a number of fantastic questions via Skype and Canman who was in house and talked about his style and what he learned from Guy Aitchison’s painting critiques. Originally streamed from in Easthampton Massachusetts   *To see MORE and learn about some of the MOST AMAZING tattoo artists of our age, check out these deals from Tattoo Artist Magazine! There’s a reason tattooers themselves consider TAM the most informative and important tattoo magazine ever –   *Be sure to check out the digital issues of Tattoo Artist Magazine ON SALE NOW– JUST $2.99 – $7.99. TAM DIGITAL ISSUES And look at our $.99 collection of  TAM VIDEO Downloads available now! Either way, See the BEST TATTOOS from the BEST ARTISTS in the world. Add to ... Read More »

Russ Abbott/Guy Aitchison Collaboration: TODAY


  Russ Abbott and Guy Aitchison are gearing up for a major collaboration, which will be webcast live this October 22-23 from Off The Map Tattoo in Easthampton, Mass., where you’ll see biomech, ornamental and dimensional graphic elements fused into something totally new. The first session’s webcast will be free to the public, where you’ll be able to observe the unfolding of a major leg piece, and can submit your questions for the artists through the TattooNOW chat feature. The second day’s session will be for professionals only and will get into the in-depth technical aspects of the project, from layout to machines to rendering techniques. Tune in to on Oct.22 to check it out, or you can sign up in advance for the paid seminar. Advance tickets are $175, and tickets sold during the event will be $200. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn from two of the industry’s leading educators in a single high-powered event! The good folks at Wacom will be giving away a free tablet on the 23rd!  Don’t miss out! To purchase tickets, go to: Starts at Noon eastern time. and can submit your questions for the artists through the TattooNOW chat feature. The second day’s session will be for professionals only and will get into the in-depth technical aspects of the project, from layout to machines to rendering techniques. Tune in to on Oct.22 to check it out, or you can sign up in advance for the paid seminar. Advance tickets are $175, and tickets sold during ... Read More »

Alex de Pase on the World Wide Tattoo Conference

By Nicki Kasper What was the inspiration for the World Wide Tattoo Conference, and who’s idea was it in the beginning?  The project WWTC (WorldWideTattooConference) was conceived in 2011. The original idea was to get together different talented Tattoists in an itinerant multicultural context who would travel around the world, stopping over in significant European and American spots to share and offer their expertise and personal views of their work to the global tattoo community. The initial idea was mine. This year’s conference is in Venice, Italy… Where have previous conferences been held?  Did you find that each event had a different vibe? 2014 is the year to get back to the origins… After the first edition of Rome 2011, the WWTC is going back to its home country, Italy. So far the WWTC has been held 5 times, once in Europe and once in the States alternatively: 2011 was in Rome, April 2012 was the turn of Chigago, then September of the same year in London… 2013 was in Boston and 2014 will be Venice (actually it is in Mogliano Veneto, 10 minutes from Venice). Each edition had definitely a different vibe, specially if we distinguish between Europe and the US, but I guess the most distinctive one was the atmosphere perceived in London, as this conference was much rougher and wilder than the other ones, being it held in the same premises of the 8th London Tattoo Convention and just before the very same convention.   How has the conference progressed ... Read More »

Guy Aitchison – Jeff Gogué tattooing


In this one hour clip Guy Aitchison and Jeff Gogue join talents for this unprecedented tattoo event. Guy and Jeff come together to create a large collaborative sleeve tattoo that includes both traditional Japanese elements and some more modern techniques and effects. This is an amazing opportunity for you to sit in on a unique project. This one hour clip brought to you by and Cheyenne Tattoo Equipment You can view the full 8 hour collaboration by visiting the link below:…   Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #15 features Jeff Gogué, Shige & more… Get issue 15 Featuring Jeff Gogué here | Enter code October at check out and save 65%   Jeff Gogue – honesty…from the gut By Crash Shige – Yellow Blaze Tattoo By Horitaka Scott Sterling – The Bridge between Paul Rogers and Dringenberg, Cain and Ciferri is pure Sterling By Shane Enholm Book Reviews – Original Cliff Raven Designs, Bella, Vintage Tattoos Asian Art Museum – State of Grace By Horiyuki News Flash – Featuring Aloha Monkey Flash (Hardy and Arment), Richard Stell Sailor Jerry Letter – Experiments with Sailor Jerry Tattoo Photography – Basic Principles By Max Dolberg For The Record – Tattoo Design Origins: Hot Stuff By Tattoo Archive Professional Product Review – Critical Tattoo Supply Models CX-1 and CX-2 Read More »

How Rinsecup Cleanup Came About

How Rinsecup Cleanup Came About

By Dan Mcnab I’m a tattoo artist in the city of Huntington Beach, Ca. I own and work at The Tattoo Gallery with four of my very close friends. After years and years of leaking trash bags, I decided one day to put an end to it once and for all and created RinseCup CleanUp. When I designed this product I made sure it is the best that exists and can not get any better. Also, it’s non-toxic because our trash gets put into landfills and that would only hurt the environment. I believe as a whole, us humans do enough of that! Disposing of our rinse cups and ink caps this way is the safest method and eliminates cross-contamination in our trade due to the contaminated liquids we produce. Once in the landfill, RinseCup CleanUp slowly releases the water and improves soil conditions through aeration. It’s less expensive than using paper towels and safer than dumping it down a sink. When that method is used more toxic chemicals are needed to clean the area it was dumped in, which leads to poisoning our environment even more. Now we are in many countries and the response is amazing. So much support from this trade! The only advertising I have done is thru IG. It’s spreading like wildfire and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. It’s only been about 6 months since I released it for sale! For more information about Rinsecup Cleanup, email: Read More »

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