Archive for March, 2016

I love the Scottish tattoo convention, it’s in Edinburgh and therefore my home turf. The benefits of this are that you don’t have to travel for it, and you can bring half your studio with you if you like- comfy chairs, work stations, good lighting and massage tables. Another plus is that there are lots of our customers at the show, stopping by the booth to say hi, and showing off our work to the rest of the people. That’s good fun, specially if you’re used to traveling to conventions and  being pretty much on your own in a foreign place.

We were only allowed two stalls per studio for this convention, as the organizers are swamped with applicants wanting to work, this year it was olivia and me from tribe.

The convention kicked off in style and it was busy from the get go, unlike quite a few other conventions I’ve been to/ worked at lately! There was a real buzz, and people everywhere were interested in getting work done- another thing I’ve not been taking for granted lately, times are tough.

I had a full schedule, however, so i couldn’t accommodate any more customers. My first one was Brian, we did some more work to his backpiece, this got a lot of attention from passersby and the odd photographer. here is a fab one that photographer Paul Campbell took

and one i took of his backpiece

Next up was Laurenne, we added some more flowers, a rabbit, a dragonfly and a tiger moth to her collection. I didn’t get round to finishing it but we got a fair bit of it done. laurenne wanted a dragon and a tiger, as they signified special people in her life, but in keeping with her tattoo, changed them to a dragonfly and tiger moth respectively. That’s as clever as it is cute!

Laurenne had never been to a convention before, so this was a first- and she got tattooed! She took to like a duck to water, charming the punters and handing out tribe business cards whilst getting tattooed- what a girl 🙂

the next day i had Brad in, and  swear to god, as soon as he sits down, the photographers show up. It’s like magic, every time! here is a link to one that aforementioned paul campbell took, (and if you want to see more pictures of cool people getting tattooed at the show, keep klicking, there are some crackers there)

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of him, too, here he is making Nik look petite

I was working on the crown of thorns around Brad’s neck, and the sacred heart between the Banksy doves on the front got some colour.

I took the opportunity to add some more cobwebs, leaf skeleton and moth gothiness to laura’s hand. I need another session to fine tune and blend the whole sleeve here and there, but it’s nearing completion.

Last but not least a wee cat, work in progress as there will be another cat and some more detailling in this one. very cute idea

I took some photos of our neighbours at the convention, to our right were the gang from Custom Ink in glasgow, and to our left the lads from inkdependent in edinburgh. Marcin from Inkdependent won best of day on saturday, congrats to him!

there was also a guy wearing lederhosen, now that’s a bold fashion statement. he rocked them, though.

Nik was selling his prints on my stall, he fair took over- haha!

There was a great aftershow party, with free tequila shots (oh dear) and limbo dancing contests, I managed to avoid limbo dancing, but a couple of tequila shots did hit the spot…

An amazing convention, all in, and I’m already looking forward to the next one ❤

I had other work in progress in the studio of course, here are a few of the ones I’m working on at the moment

Steph got more colour, this time we tackled the elbow. God loves a trier, but if the elbow skin doesn’t want to take the colour ( always a possibility, it’s so thick) then there will be a paler leaf. That’s not a problem, as we have designed the possibility in.

Paula started on a sleeve of ( what will be ) pink roses

Stevie got the first of some colour in his chrysanthemum

Another flower, Douglas is working his scattered pieces into a sleeve, so we started with two grey roses and some waves

and Tony got more colour in his backpiece.

American tattoo artist Dan Henk was here for the convention, and as always stayed at my house for a week or so. This has become  sort of tradition, as he adds a few days work in the studio onto his stay here. Dan likes his horror and creepy stuff, so I took him to Surgeon’s Hall museum to look at all the horrible specimens. One of the specimens was of a piece of tattooed skin, off a sailor’s chest. I’m certain I wasn’t meant to take photos, but I just couldn’t help myself. Look at how fine those lines are! Pretty nice piece of work- usually you see these old piece on old people whose skin has blurred the lines over time. Seeing something looking like it did back then is really  interesting, the tools they had then were quite crude compared to our today, but this is nice quality considering.




Raffi and me packed our stuff and went down to manchester, to work at the convention called the Tattoo Tea Party. I’ve worked at this one three times now, i think, and it’s usually good fun. the organisers only invite UK based artists, so it has a different vibe to other conventions. it’s also a very beautiful show, with a circus style  stage and fun fair rides like dodgems and merry go rounds, and an entertaining stage show. Some of the tattooists put some real effort into decorating their booths , Aurora studio brought half an antique shop with them!

Oddboy did some oil painting on the sunday, sort of a demonstration/chat sort of thing, like i did at one of the Edinburgh conventions. I hope this catches on, for the artist it’s a fun way to spend the day, and for the people who are interested, it’s a nice opportunity to chat about painting. (The only problem is that it doesn’t pay, and you still have to pay for your booth! that old fun v cash dilemma…)

The show featured a whole squad of body painters, who had their own competition going on. Some of the results were quite amazing, hard to believe the person was practically naked in most cases- they were painted so cleverly it looked like they has clothes on.

This guy had a stall selling pretty unusual jewellery made of laser cut perspex, and I loved his bugs bunny jammies! That’s a confident fashion statement right there.

I promised I’d post a link to his website

here is mine and Raffi’s stall

and a couple of pieces that i did

maxine’s space tiger, what we didn’t finish at her last session in Glasgow, we did today

and a cute little lucky cat on nathan. I met nathan at the last Tattoo Tea Party I worked at, and had promised him this cat then. Nathan is a prolific collector of japanese tattoos, so I’m pleased he kept a wee space for me at the side of his knee 🙂

it bends surprisingly well, hardly any distortion

No blog about the manchester tattoo convention would be complete without the usual pictures of the trafford centre, a bizarre shopping centre where no cost has been spared to lure you into some sort of spending trance. The place draws you in with it’s mix of exotic and theatrical fascades… one minute you’re in ancient egypt, then new orleans, Then versailles and then a cruise ship…round the corner it’s a victorian orangerie, etc etc. I usually see this place first thing in the morning, or just before closing time when it’s empty, depending on whether i’m going to or from work at the convention.  It’s a bit eery, so one day i’ll make sure i see it when it’s jumping with consumer ecstasy during peak hours.

we ate in ‘china’

other work I did includes Alex’s tengu and geisha sleeve in Glasgow, we are adding more colour than originally planned, but Alex has the bug. Those pretty flowers will melt the stoniest of black and grey hearts!

Paul got some colour in his magpies piece, not done yet, it’s going to be bright!

Leon is sticking with black and grey, his sleeve is going to be wing feathers, roses and at the top a sugar skull. The slightly abstract feathers here and there are purely decorative, and don’t belong to any particular creature, and why not. It’s all about a flowing composition that compliments the arm, and sometimes there’s no need to be too literal.

Rochelle got a pretty rose

and Stewart got the start of a dragon, covering up an old piece. By me. A very old piece, maybe 20 years old (gasp!) it was a fly on a surfboard. stewart felt he had outgrown the design and wanted something more mature maybe, and certainly bigger. No problem.






18-2nd march

Posted: 03/03/2016 in Uncategorized

we’ve said good bye to tribe 1 on west nicolson St! Our wee old place opposite the pear tree pub is now Deadhead Comics……after 17 year there we have moved out!

the reason for this is that the opportunity arose to get a lease on a much larger shop- in the same awesome street- and so we swapped with the comic shop. he doesn’t need a big shop and was struggling with the rent, whereas we were always bursting at the seams and spread out between two different shops. with the new shop we will eventually be able to all work together and just have one big studio, which will be amazing.

For now, while the new studio is under construction, all of our business will be out of our broughton street studio, so if you have an appointment, or want to make one, we will be waiting for you there. Once we have the new premises licensed, we will move all and sundry there, but that might take a while…knowing what the edinburgh council licensing department is like.

here are a couple of photos of our old tribe 1, we had to put the stairs into the back of the shop where they originally were, and put the floor back, paint it, etc. Looks so different!

the back of the shop where the stairs now are, plus some of our shop furniture before we moved it out

here is gav, who is the new tenant, before he moved his vast amounts of comics in

My last ever tattoo in tribe 1 was the lovely Martje from Hamburg. We added a little colour to her sweeping delicate shells and flowers piece

Ross is working on a pair of sleeves, one is the geisha and flowers in warm colours, looking cute and calm (some lasering in progress at the top)

the other is a fighting scene with a samurai and demons which will be in cool colours and have quite a different energy

Emma had some lasering done on an old piece on her upper arm and was now ready to get a nice big kitsune piece. Wikipedia has this to say about them:

Kitsune (, キツネ?, IPA: [kitsu͍ne]) is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yōkai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shape shift into men or women.[1] While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.

a pretty cool subject matter, I’m sure you’ll agree!

more cool subject matter,  cute rabbits for Alex to go with her wee chickadee and flowers 🙂

A dragon that’s a bit different. Nicola looks after a herd of dairy cows for a living, so she wanted her dragon to have a slightly soft and cow like look, so we gave it a cow nose and big dark eyes with long lash type brows, subtle differences that add up to quite a different look to the usual dragon.

Brad was in after having quite some time off, so we worked a bit more on his chest and neck piece. Today we added the outline of a sacred heart below his neck, and a crown of thorns around his neck. Pictures of this to follow, but here’s a great one of Brad with his hair tied up! This photo would make a great painting

Rev Diana got her medieval St Cuthbert piece finished, I love medieval manuscripts and was thrilled to get to do some artwork like this

Karen got her ivy finished, she decided she liked how subtle the runes were hidden in the leaves here and there, so we left them as they were. You need to look quite hard for them.

the pieces on her back were there already, so we worked the ivy around them

Paddy’s mad Nick Blinko art sleeves are nearly done. Nik said they look like a japanese acid trip- I love that! Nick Blinko’s art is dark and mad, and I loved putting the pieces together as if we were dealing with a fairly traditional japanese concept. It works surprisingly well and looks wonderfully dark and bonkers!

Then for something quite different, Lynn wanted a soft pink in her lotus flower, but done in dots, so we did 🙂

And Tony was in to make a start on his back. We are following the theme we started on his arms, with water, flames and insects. This piece will spread, there is a master plan!