Archive for November, 2011

friday I worked in Tribe 1, with Rob, George and Tiddy  😀

Kevin was in first, Roz had been lasering a couple of old tattoos on his forarm, and now it was time to get stuck in and give the man a japanese sleeve! Traditional dragon and koi combo, there will be some colour in the animals and cherry blossoms, with a black and grey background,  a classic.

then another koi, Marting got his second and final session on this piece, wish I’d got some better photos of it!
I did ask him to pop in at some point when it’s healed so that i can check it over, hopefully get some better ones then.

On saturday i was back in Tribe 3, no Glasgow for me this week!

Alan got the background to his dragon shaded

and Roddy got more done to the polynesian style work on his leg. the knee…ouch

just one day’s work this blog, i had wednesday booked off for family stuff.

My one day i spent in tribe 3 with the usual suspects, Alex, erik and laura, plus two of my customers, Alex and Mark.

Alex was in two weeks ago when we started a 3/4 sleeve with a peacock, an octopus and some terrapins, in a japanese style with water. i love this piece, something a bit different   😀

got some of the shading done today, sorry about the blurry pictures. i suspect there was a great big greasy finger print on the lens….

Mark was in for a couple of hours on his monumental backpiece, we are still working on the scales

That’s it! I’d forgotten how quick one day blogs were to write  😆

the reason I started writing two day blogs was for youse who have subscribed to this blog as opposed to the peeps who follow it on our forum, i didn’t want to pop up in your inbox all the time and annoy you, so I thought twice a week would be better. I’ve got quite used to it!

Friday in Tribe 3 started with Stewart, a customer of rozannes for some lasering, and now that she’d lightened the undesired part of his tattoo sufficiently, it was time for me to take over.
he had some maori work done abroad by different artists, and he liked the first section but felt that what was added to it was poor.  So, Roz lasered the upper section and left the band at the bottom, it was to form the base of the new tattoo.

I’m struggling to come up with a decent name for this placement… it’s not a half or 3/4 sleeve as it doesn’t go up to the shoulder, it’s not a forearm piece… what is it?  😆

next up was Alan, we finally finished the scales on his dragon, and added some shading here and there. It’s looking like it’s nearing completion, this one took a good while as the scales are so time consuming

On saturday Roz and me drove through to Glasgow, we had a full house there(Mark, Simon, Tim, Raffi, Bru, Roz and me) and at one point was wondering if we had enough chairs! Mark was kept on his feet all day, looking after us all and our customers, and doing the piercing, too! Tribe 2 really comes into it’s own when it’s firing on all cylinders like that  😀

My day started with Dave, who hadn’t been in for a while due to work commitments and today was a shorter than usual session. we got some of the yellows and oranges into the background of his evil bird, which is the first part of his sleeve about fire, negativity and compulsion- the opposite of his nice watery, cute animal sleeve on the other arm.

Tom came in for two hours, too, and we got to within one session of finishing his backpiece, some more shading in the rocks the tiger is standing on, and some general tidying up and we’ll be done!

Darren got another section of his piper themed sleeve, this piece is growing, but it’s not really going to make much sense until it’s all in place, so you’ll have to wait until the end to see how it all fits together.
Today we added a picture of darren himself, on his motorbike, riding off into the distance

starting the week off was dean, he’d not been in for a while, but his japanese sleeve still needed some colour and shading. It’s now almost done, but we’ve just got to tweak a few things here and there and finish the colour off
sorry about the bad photos

Another customer who had not been in for a while was sadie, last year (!) we’d made a start on covering her stars with stylised roses. The stars were the only tattoo Sadie felt she’d rushed into without thinking about it, and now she felt it was lacking something. The roses go better with her other sleeve, which is of stylised cherry blossoms, also no black and lots of pinks  😀

the next day was weegie wednesday, and ‘welcome back Bru’ day, too! She’s been in Italy for far too long, but now she’s back and had a load of custom work lined up, so she’ll be up into the wee hours drawing her amazing artwork for people.

my first customer was Greg, we did the finishing touches to his first tattoo, a sleeve of roses, a skull and some filigree

next up was Scott, who isn’t a scot at all, he’s from belfast. Last time he was in I’d bluffed my way through most of our conversations, but today I’d decided to come clean and confess that i can’t understand most of what he’s saying.. he was very graceful and made me feel better by saying that he gets told that a lot.

Scott had a half sleeve started by Didi while he was still working for us, he now decided he wanted colour added to it

On friday i went to the Southside to work in Tribe 1, I’m only there once a fortnight so it’s always good to see Rob, George and Tiddy.

Pauline got a pin up started by me two years ago, and hadn’t been back to get it finished as life took various turns for her and she had more than enough on her plate, these things happen, I’m just glad she managed to come in for the piece to get finished.
The brief was a voluptuous pin up in a chef’s jacket with black stilettos, and the rest was pretty much up to me. Fun!

then greg was in to get his first tattoo, a koi on his calf. There will be some colour in the koi and the cherry blossoms of course.
I know that cherry blossoms and koi jumping upstream are not something that happen at the same time of the year, or that it’s a combination that is used in traditional japanese art. I know. I’m doing it anyway, and i like it  😛

then on saturday i was in tribe 3, with a full house of Alex, erik, Roz and nic, who was standing in for laura, who had the day off. Nic is learning the ropes on reception, so if you see him there, don’t be surprised if your complicated questions are met with a bit of confusion instead of the slick professionalism you’re used to  😆

Brad was in again, we made a start on the next section of his Vietnam war scene, very basic for now, more to come of course

also making an appearance was Malcolm, last time he was in we covered an old tattoo with a koi, today we cntinued but are not quite done yet

and Roddy got some black added to the polynesian style composition around his knee, next time we’ll add the detail and finalise the shapes.

I started the week with a new project, Alex was down from Inverness for a 5hr stint under the needle, he had ideas that ranged from a peacock to an octopus over various sea creatures, a butterfly and a daisy  😆
Nae bother, found space for two terrapins, too! Alex has long arms, being a tall person, so plenty of space to crazy on. Outlines and a basic bit of shading done today, he’ll be back in two weeks for the next instalment

Gareth had a sleeve done nearly 2 years ago, and finally came in to get the last tiny bit of shading done on his chest, it only took an hour  😆

then in Glasgow i tattooed Sam, she got a picture of her gran living it up at a holiday camp in the 50’s, her gran sounds like a hell raiser, some people just know how to live! Good for her

I also had Martin in getting a wee bit of colour touched up on his nightmare before christmas tattoo that’s been a good few years in the making and finally got finished a while ago.  I didn’t take pictures of it, I’ve had photos of it in my portfolio before last- that’s how long it’s been on the go  😀

Mark and me were spending some time working on the new website, it’s starting to come together and I’m not saying too much yet, but it’s based on one of gerry Gapinski’s photo montages of ‘Edinburgh’, if anyone remembers the art exhibition we had in Tribe a couple of years ago, they will know what I’m talking about, everyone else will just have to wait and see….

A new one for this blog, I’m bringing you an interview  😀

Neil has popped up in my blogs over the years here and there, I’ve bumped into him at conventions and snapped the odd picture of his cheerful face, so I thought you’d like to hear from the man himself! He’s kindly humoured me and answered some questions for us, here goes!!

me–Congratulations on being the hard working editor of the UK’s newest tattoo magazine, correct me if I’m wrong, but I would classify your ex-magazine Skin Deep as an entry level, broad based UK tattoo magazine for beginners and the generally curious, as opposed to the more specialized, (maybe nerdy even) publications aimed at the international aficionado market.
Where do you pitch Tattoo Revolution in this, what would you most like your magazine to do? Do you have a mission as such?

ND– I’m not too sure if I should be congratulated; maybe certified more like!
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my job and the craft that I work within (tattooing) but it is extremely hard work, but beats digging a ditch for a living. I feel truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to put TRM together.
We are hoping to offer an alternative to the other tattoo magazines currently available by offering the reader a well-produced and informed tattoo magazine that (excuse the pun) gets under the skin of those wishing to not only celebrate their skin art but to explore the deep meanings and history behind tattooing. We took the decision to make Tattoo Revolution a classy, almost coffee table magazine that gives the reader a whole month’s worth of articles with an emphasis on extremely good photography and editorial content from around the globe. We aren’t afraid of ruffling feathers to spark debate and get conversations flowing within the tattoo community either. It’s good to talk.
I’d like to think that Tattoo Revolution is aimed at those wishing to view and read about tattoos and the craft, where I know other magazines seem to cater for the ‘lowest common denominator’ and are only interested in generating sales by having barely tattooed but scantily clad models on their covers. Our approach won’t make us millionaires but TRM is more about helping to celebrate tattooing, not feeding off of it.

me- -I know you are putting together your first tattoo convention (which I’ll be working at, looking forward to this!) Apart from the obvious question of ‘are you mad, don’t you have enough on your plate as it is’ ; I’m interested in whether this convention is an extension of what you are trying to do with TR or if you just fancy a right good knees up with all your tattoo connections from around the UK 🙂

ND– It’s going to be called the Tattoo Tea Party, are you planning something different from the traditional convention?
Now you know why I don’t have any hair!
The aim and thought process behind The Tattoo Tea Party is to celebrate the UK and Ireland’s rich tattoo history. How many shows have you been to where the organisers fly in big named tattoo stars from abroad and pay for their hotels, travel only to have the UK artists (whom are as equally talented, if not more so in some cases) almost treated as second best and have to pay their own way.
You know that Artists rarely make any money working a convention (closing the studio, hotel costs etc) and I feel that this creates a two-tear system.
Tattoo Tea Party plans to celebrate the British tattoo scene in all its glory and therefore will be only open to studios and artist working in the UK and Ireland. It is also an invite only show so you can be guaranteed of the highest calibre of tattooist attending.
We have an incredibly rich and colourful tattoo history and some amazing talent that can be easily compared to any other artist in the world, so let’s celebrate them at a proper convention!
We have big plans for many attractions and I can announce that UK Rock band; Terrorvision ( will play in the evening creating not only a unique tattoo event but a knock out gig to finish off the Saturday night.
Having been to over thirty shows this year alone, I like to think that I have seen the good and the bad shows, so we aim to make The Tattoo Tea Party a culmination of all the great elements of those good shows. (fingers crossed, haha!)
Go to for more information as we will be updating the site with new features daily.
We have some very unique ideas for the show including the chance to win a collaborative tattoo from Matt “Oddboy” Barratt (Real Art Tattoos, Leicester) and Matt Lapping (Creative Vandals – Hull) to be tattooed at the show. Keep an eye out for this and more tattoo competitions in the next issue of Tattoo Revolution Magazine. (on sale 30th November)

Me–You can be found at all the main tattoo events around the world, you often get asked to judge at the tattoo contests and you photograph thousands of people and their tattoos for your magazine. The amount of tattoos you have seen must be mind boggling.  If anyone is in a position to spot a global trend, it’s you! Is there one? Has something struck you as being ‘the next big thing’?

I think there is a huge and growing interest for the more graphical style of tattoo as done by Simone and Volker of Buena Vista Tattoo club. Also guys like Lionel (Out of Step – France) and Belly are doing this stlye of work. I do remember putting one of Lionel’s Tattoos in a previous mag I worked for about five or six years ago and was universally hated and slagged off for publishing this so-called “childish” style of tattooing. But it seems to be “The” style now…
Colour portraits are still big business but I do think that there are some artists that have nailed this style (Mike DeVries, Cecil Porter, Nikko Hurtado et al) And there are some that clearly should leave this hard to do style to the experts.
Also, I’m seeing a lot of cartoon style work from Matt Lapping & Andy – Creative Vandals, UK, Kelly Dotty – Off the Map Tattoos, Scott Olive – USA,  Jesse Smith – Loose Screw Tattoos, USA, Tanane Whitfield – Studio Evolve, USA are just a few names that spring to mind.

Me–I’ve noticed over the years that tattoos from eastern Europe have a tendency to the softly shaded, monochrome and horror genre, whereas the Us artists like more colourful and chunky comic based art. Do you think this could be mostly down to local fashion and trends or do you view tattoo art as a more deep rooted reflection of a peoples’ history and culture?
How does a convention in the US differ from one in Poland or even Asia?

ND–I get the feeling that the colourful tattoos from the US tend to reflect their positive and upbeat attitudes. Black & Grey horror tattoos also come out of the States but as you say, Eastern Europe seems to have a penchant for this style of tattooing. Could this be due to the social hardships and economic atmospheres that these artists are coming from? I’m not too sure…
I’m am sure that we are seeing an incredible influx of outstanding tattooists appearing from countries such as Poland, Hungary and Russia. These are the guys to look out for at the moment. Many are coming direct from a high end art school backgrounds and are taking to tattooing like duck to water. If you don’t believe me, check out a 21 year-old girl called Katerina ‘Mikky’ Volkova (Bunker Tattoos) from Russia.
Oh my lord, she’s good!

Me– I was interested in your decision to get Tattoo Revolution on the shelves as a paper edition, as opposed to publishing it online. I’m assuming the future of tattoo magazines is not net-based for now, but how do you see the internet and exchange of information affecting the tattoo industry? Do you feel that Facebook, twitter and blogs will have an impact on how the tattoo scene evolves?

ND– TRM was doing well and holding its own as a digital and website paper version but in order to increase sales and attract more advertisers, we felt it was a logical progression to get TRM onto the newsstands here and abroad. This has been a good and bad decision.
Sadly to do this we have to pay each newsagent (WH Smiths, and others) to have shelf space. Not too many realise the hurdles we had to jump and the extortionate amount of money we have to spend to do this each month.
Still, I suppose you have to speculate to accumulate…We have bills to pay but we aren’t greedy and have always promised to give back to the Tattoo community – hence the Tattoo Tea Party.
As for a purely Digital Mag, Well, we have some plans for a FREE, Yup FREE digital magazine soon. This will be available from the TRM website in the not too distant future. (Who needs sleep eh?)

Those who have not seen a copy of TRM can download the first issue for free in either a Mac (App) or a PC (Exe) file and these can be viewed on all smart phones and tablets as can all the digital editions.
We hope that Tattoo Revolution Magazine in Paper and Digital formats will run side by side.
Tattooing is one of the fifth growth markets in the UK, so we at TRM are trying to show this industry in as positive light as we can.

Thanks to Neil for finding the time to chat to us!

it’s Movember, dear people, I’m hoping to see some weird and wonderful moustaches on our male customers, all in the name of charity of course!

sporting no moustache (yet) was Tom the marine biologist who got his octopus tattoo finished. This was a load of fun to do, the googly eyes perched on Tom’s shoulder and the wriggly legs writhing all around, placement was key in the piece.
It doesn’t take a great photo, like most pieces that enhance the movement of the wearer, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Or ask Tom out for a drink and get him to take his top off and demonstrate  how his tattoo moves 😉

then more black and grey, boxer Kenny is still working on his sleeve of lilies, we have to fit the tattooing in around his training camps for fights so progress has been a bit haphazard. Now it’s starting to take shape properly though, and like Tom’s tattoo it looks best when in motion. The lilies and stems follow Kenny’s muscles and joints, twisting and popping when he moves his arm.
You wont need to ask Kenny out for a drink to see his arm in action, he’ll be defending his Celtic title on the 10th of december- just get yourself down to Portobello Town hall and watch him  😀 (there will be a few of us Tribers there)

The next day Roz and me were in Glasgow, my first customer was Melissa, she wanted a bird like a phoenix on her leg, we got most of it done, except one of the wings and the colour in the background. Although this is a mostly black and grey piece, Melissa fancies some coloured shading in the background i think it will look great, unusual

Then David got his 3/4 sleeve finished, we just had some bits and pieces to tidy up, and there it was. It was developed in stages as david took it further up and down his arm, but we managed to keep the design bold and fluid and it works as a single piece

I had a major short notice cancellation today, so I only tattooed for 2 hours today  😯 but actually it came as a bit of a relief, i really needed some time to do my prep for the week.
The Glasgow studio is in the process of having to renew the license, and it’s a time consuming and tedious pain in the neck that swallowed my drawing time for the week. So, having tuesday practically off was a blessing in disguise.

I did have Scott in to add some finishing touches to his warrior sleeve, now we just have to wait for the lasering to do it’s bit on the upper section where there is an old and failed cover up attempt (by another artist) that I’ll be sorting.

Wednesday i went through to Glasgow as i do, for a day of nice girly tattoos.
Natalie had contacted me about getting a peacock tattoo on her back, with some cherry blossom branches in the background, and hoping to incorporate and cover some of her existing wee tattoos.
I got as far as outlining the peacock, but natalie had to tap out after that. I think she wasn’t quite expecting it to be as intense as it was, as her other tattoos are very small by comparison. Well, now we know, and I’ll be suggesting some numbing cream to help the process, otherwise we will maybe have bitten off more than we can chew.


Later that day paula got some colour added to her flowers, this piece is starting to come together, and is doing it’s job of covering up scars well. there will be some background shading to tie it all together