Archive for December, 2015

Last blog of the year! I’ve got a selection of pieces I worked on, in Edinburgh, glasgow… and belfast.

I have an old friend in belfast, who has a studio called Skullduggery. Helen had a free work station going, so I invited myself and my tattoo machines, to do some work and to catch up with her. We hadn’t worked together for a long time, so i thought it would be fun.

I did cop some flack for this, of course i could have visited her and just hung out…..maybe i am a workaholic…but if you enjoy your work, what’s the problem with that? I also got to see danny, my customer, who is always great fun.

we are working on a bonkers piece, let me get this right. so, it’s about the goddess of vegetarianism, she is riding a white tiger on her journey to hell, where she will liberate the lost souls and plant flowers. Also in there is a sexy vampire (because danny likes them). We started the goddess, tiger and lotus petals last time, and got to work on those elements a bit more, but not finish them. Mostly I got stuck into the vampirella figure at the back of his arm, which sort of unexpectedly works really well with the goddess. She is like a polar opposite! Not my usual type of work, but i really enjoyed it actually. 🙂


Next time we will get round to doing hell and the damned, bats, that kind of thing, and of course the flowers that the goddess planted.

another sexy babe, kiaran’s hippy chick got some colour. this is a rework/ save of an old piece by another artist, it’s been fun to breathe some life back into her. The tattoo, not kiaran!

and another girly piece, this time the rough outline of an armed geisha. She has a long knife and means business- looking forward to adding shading and a bit of colour!


Gerald the nutter got a lucky cat done in his armpit… this is very much a work in progress, as there is a limit to how much time you can spend tattooing the delicate skin of the armpit. Gerald doesn’t mind, he would have kept going, but if you start layering and going over bits too much, the skin will just burst. It’s so thin.

while he was at it, he got a skull added to his chest piece, as you do. can’t have too many skulls

Alex also has a lovey geisha, and today we added background and more flowers, it’s starting to look like a sleeve 🙂

Our receptionst -and apprentice piercer- in Glasgow is half Cyprian , and likes to treat us to greek coffee. She has this wonderful electric greek coffee maker that occasionally comes to work with her, and I’ve become quite the devotee!

another nice coffee surprise came courtesy of the boy at Artisan Roast (fancy coffee shop on Broughton St, Edinburgh), usually the staff there irritate me slightly with their ueber cool hipster detached-ness, but this positively made my day!

I wish you all a great hogmanay and all the best for 2016! I have the best customers xx



20th nov -5th december

Posted: 08/12/2015 in Uncategorized

It’s been a busy three weeks for me, there was the usual tattooing of course, but I was also a witness in a court case, attended a nerdy beer brewing course and had a stall at a vegan festival! Phew!

The court case was against a guy who had set himself up in his attic as a ‘tattooist’, and was getting in underage girls, who he then sexually assaulted. This dirty old bastard made the girls fill out  a ‘consent’ form, encouraging them to lie about their age, and thought this would get him off the hook. However, when the police raided his ‘tattoo studio’, this pile of forms led them to all his victims.

Myself and George, our piercer, were called in to explain to the jury where a professional tattooist had to touch the client to do the job, and how much of the customer’s flesh needed to be exposed. The defendant had undressed the girls and groped/assaulted them pretending that this was necessary for the tattooing proceedure.

It wasn’t fun. Me and George spent long days and hours waiting around at Airdrie crown court, and giving evidence isn’t something I’m used to.

Now I’m glad I went through with it though, as the bastard got found guilty on 20 counts, now we are just waiting to hear how many years he got.

His name is DAVID RENFREW.

I had booked some days off to go on a course down in Sunderland, a nerdy course about beer brewing- my other passion after tattooing. I only got to do one day of it, though, before I was called back to Airdrie to give evidence in this case as it rumbled on and on. I was massively pissed off about having to leave my course, but luckily they will let me continue it in february.

One last thing before I get started on the tattoos 🙂

Eleanor, my apprentice, and me had a stall at the veg fest held at the SSEC in Glasgow. It was like a tattoo convention, but all about vegetarian lifestyle- lots of stalls selling anything from food to cosmetics, there were talks and film showings, cooking demonstrations, etc. we had one of the information only stalls, where we chatted to people about vegan inks, stencil paper and after care.

It was great fun, and we chatted to some lovely people, and ate plenty of amazing food. If you’re interested in vegetarian things, this is a great day out!

AAAANYWAY, tattoos!

Ross’ wee geisha is getting some colour, this is an old japanese drawing that I adapted, and the placement on the arm is chosen specifically so that she does a bow when Ross bends his elbow 🙂

I think Craig’s sleeve is done! There was a celtic armband in there, which had been lasered, you can just about see some slightly bumpy skin where it once was. the bumpy texture is a combination of the slight scarring that occurred when the band was initially tattooed, and the effects of the lasering, however it will die down – the skin is puffed up, reacting to being tattooed where I added some detail to the maple leaves.

armbands are hard to cover, they are so straight and cut the upper arm into ‘sections’, making them hard to disguise. A bit of lasering does wonders.

little red poppy on mark, to represent his daughter Poppy. par of a sleeve in the making

Leon is after a black and grey sleeve, including feathers, roses and a sugar skull. the feathers were allowed to be quite dominant, but didn’t need to belong to a bird, which allowed me to fan them out right across his forearm-great fun!

Also in for something bold and a bit bonkers is Pedro, his idea starts with a Yew tree on his arm, which is a very twisted sort of tree, it’s to have flowers and insects going on and around it. these flowers and insects are from the countries dear to him, his native spain and current home scotland.

We started with the backbone of this sleeve, the tree, leaving gaps where the other elements will go, and working around an existing pelican tattoo

Kiaran had another project for me, another piece that needed rescuing…this time an old piece on her leg that she had fallen out of love with.

10-15 years ago there was a new influence in tattooing- graffiti. Big, bold and lose, quite revolutionary at the time, quite irreverent. Unfortunately this style hasn’t really held up so well in some instances, and compared to what is being done these days, it looks a bit plain and clumsy.

Kiaran had noticed a resemblance between her tattoo and novelty dish washing brushes…..I can see what she means, all straight and cartoony…not good.

my job was to make it less stick like, and to help join it to the other piece next to it. As we had done quite a bit of colourful paisley pattern style stuff on her arm, I decided o carry on with this and to give the whole piece a bit of flow.

We haven’t decided whether to go for colour on this one, or not

Stephen is getting a japanese sleeve. Today we used a hanya mask to cover up most of an old piece, the bits that are still sticking out will be taken care of with the background.

for the tribal on the forearm i just decided to incorporate it and work around it. Sometimes that’s a more pleasing option, specially if the customer doesn’t like the idea of laser treatment.

pocket watches are popular, Rochelle is getting one to go with her skull lady, roses to be added next.

On the forehead of the skull lady there are three little scratches, I assumed she had a cat. Turns out she had keyhole surgery a couple of weeks ago, to get at an infection deep in her joint. How amazing is that? I still can’t quite get my head around it, but I’m mighty glad they didn’t have to mess up any of the tattoo!

Reverend Diana came to me with an idea hat I loved- a picture from a medieval manuscript! I love these pictures, and always thought they were perfect for tattooing, I just never got asked.


This particular picture is of Saint Cuthbert on his perilous journey to Lindisfarn monastery, a story that means a lot to Diana and her own spiritual path.

next time we will be adding a lush red sky with stars. I wish i could do gold tattoos, but I can’t, you need hard surfaces and reflections for gold to show up. This is my tattoo approximation of antique leaf gold 🙂

Lynn is getting a half sleeve of japanese influence, with a lotus, a koi and some water. That would usually be enough for a half sleeve, but we are working around a couple of existing pieces, and then she hit me with wanting a line of music and text in it. This means reigning myself in quite a bit and shrinking my usual scale down to fit it all in, but it worked out. The existing pieces are quite detailled, so adding other smaller pieces doesn’t look out of place.

I left a gap where the music will go, and will be working on the wee koi etc a bit more next time.


My next customer is from iceland, and wanted a tattoo to incorporate a few elements from home. Sigridur had originally thought of fire and ice as the defining elements of her home country, and this led her to consider a phoenix tattoo. During our chats about her tattoo design the phoenix gave way to an arctic tern- less fiery but maybe more topical, and I’d never tattooed a tern before, so I was all for it.

we will however keep the idea of the ice, they will be chunks of iceberg floating in the sea leading up to the mountain range that flows through the design. I know this sounds a bit mad, but bear with us on this one 🙂 it’s going to be a bit abstract and illustrative.

Stefan’s dragon is done! Woop! One purple dragon  ready to face the world…

david decided a skull chest piece would finish his sleeve off nicely, so we started with the line work and some basic shading.

Another David got a sleeve started, he was after roses, a pocket watch, and to represent his two wee boys, two little birds and some dates, the rest was up to me. I suggested some scroll work, leaving a couple of gaps for the dates in it, and spaces for the roses. seeing as roses and pocket watche sleeves are quite popular, the challenge is to make them look unusual and unique, whilst still retaining the soft grey shaded look.

I started a piece on jess less than a couple of weeks ago, it seems like yesterday actually, and today we finished the piece off. The poppies and moth were coloured last time, hence they look a bit shiny and pale in the picture. I’d love to see it all again once it’s healed, but I’m sure jess will be back. These pieces have a habit of growing 😉

the script in the piece isn’t by me, it’s some icelandic words, done in Iceland.

sorry about the bad photos

well, this blog turned out to be quite a whopper, maybe I should write more often again…..