you just found the perfect tattoo idea online.

listen to me.

if you see tattoos and artwork online that you really like and would like to have tattooed on you, that’s totally a good thing. the next step is not to copy that thing exactly, but to find a tattoo artist whose work you like, bring them that thing, and say “I want something like this, and I like this piece because (reason you really like that idea)”

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the tattoo artist will tell you they can’t copy it, and will draw you your very own tattoo using your taste and that idea as a starting point. that’s what good tattoo artists do.

it’s OK if you printed it out, traced it, or saved it to your phone for us to look at. don’t panic. it’s OK. just tell us that you found it online and want something like it because (reasons you like it so much). seriously, it’s OK, bring it along and tell us why you like it.

it’s good when you find things you’d love to wear. showing us that stuff helps us figure out what your taste is, what qualities you want in the finished piece. it’s totally fine to want similar ideas to other people’s tattoos. it’s just not OK to try to copy exactly.

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find a good tattoo artist, then talk to them. show them things you like. show them that perfect tattoo and tell them why it’s perfect. they can make it fit YOU.

we get into tattooing because we like to draw. part of our job is to figure out how to draw a thing that fits you and nobody else.

the other part of our job is to be able to reproduce a thing exactly. so if you find tattoo flash, (it’ll be labeled “tattoo flash” and have the artist’s name attached) let us know!

because usually you, or we, can buy the rights to do that. cheaply. plenty of artists draw works that are designed to be sold as tattoos. if we know the source, we can often get permission. you can also ask us what we have drawn- most of us have flash, prepared art, ideas and sketches of things we’d like to do.

 

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keep in mind you don’t HAVE to find exactly what you want. find your tattoo artist first, then show them the things related to the tattoo you want. we can work from stick figures and bad explanations! it’s part of the job.

(also, if you lie and say you drew it, we know you’re lying. although the internet is big, the tattoo industry is small and we all know each other.)

 

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safety pins;

if you are capable and willing to defend someone who is being harassed or harmed, this is a great idea. I’m fully in support. there may be some naysayers but I think expressing this willingness to help others is a good thing.

you shouldn’t feel bad if you can’t help others or may be victimized yourself; but if you are able and willing to step in and stop others from being harassed and harmed this is a good way to express that, just in case.

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because I support this idea, on November 20 I’ll be doing safety pin silhouette tattoos (visible places only, wrist/hands/neck) or semicolon tattoos (any place on ya) for $50 (below our minimum.) first come, first served, from noon till five.

for each tattoo I do I’ll also donate ten bucks to the Southern Poverty Law Center to aid in their efforts to stop racism and misogyny.

 

I’m doing the semicolons as well, because not every person is able to step in and help others. some are not physically able, others are likely to get targeted themselves, or have other reasons.

bullying is often a contributing factor to suicide and suicide rates spiked in vulnerable populations this past few days, so I’d like to support those who are struggling with that, as well as those who are allies willing to step up and defend others.

 

feel free to share.

in other cities/areas, for safety pins,

Brent Schlemmer , (Indiana)
Kimber Teatro, (Portland, Oregon)
Curby Dickens (Salem, Oregon)
Club Tattoo Scottsdale (Arizona)
Suzen Tattoozen-Tanton (Eugene, OR)
Denise Gardner (Corvallis, OR)
Jessica Parrish, Ink Dreams Tattoo (TN)(will be donating to local soup kitchen for each tattoo done, the 21st)
George Long (Seattle, WA)
Premium Tattoo (Oakland, CA)
Steph Burnside (San Diego, CA)

 

I don’t know if they’re donating to anything, what day they’re doing this, or what they’re charging but you can look them up to find out.

 

if you’re a tattoo artist or shop doing something related, please comment- I’ll add you to the original post. then we can all share it so people in different regions can find someone who’s doing these.

xox #safespace #support #ilovemyclients #safetypin #semicolon #spokanewa #spokanetattoos #solidarity

next year’s agenda

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So far, my plans for next year are sparse. I’ll be wintering in Spokane until March, when I’ll be working at the evergreen convention, then a week or so at high priestess right after. 

I’m hoping to work the Portland convention in the fall- depending on dates. I’ll likely work at the eye candy convention in NY state next fall again, too. I have not yet made any other plans!

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I’ll definitely be back in Seattle for at least a week or two, here and there, and I’ll try to make it to az/lv as well. I’ll be on the east coast in September/October if all goes well, too.

 

do you live somewhere I haven’t been? do you want a bunch of tattoos? drop a comment and let me know, I’ve got time for at least one distant drive (within the US) that I haven’t planned yet.

 

Northern California is possible, as is the Southeast.

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side note: I hate driving through Texas, so if I’ll have to do that, you better be ready to make me some dinner.

No, the magic is not gone.

strength tattoo on women

(originally published 07/04/2012)

I was reading both a blog post, and some forum posts, about the state of tattooing this past week, and had a startling realization.

There are tattoo artists out there who have never worked in a studio without being asked about a TV show.

The demand for tattoos, good tattoos, and the number of people tattooing, makes this a completely different subculture than it was when I started out.

Does this mean the magic is gone? Am I no longer a wizard? Did reality TV really eat the soul of tattooing?

Maybe a year or two ago I would have said yes, and ranted for a while about it. But right now- No. I don’t think the soul is gone, we are still wizards, and the magic is still there, and as potent as ever.

(more…)

some works from the archives.

These are the more popular things I’ve made available as prints over the last few years. They’re not all my own personal favorite pieces, but they’ve gotten the most attention and love from you guys. I think collecting them together here might give me some clues about what you all like so much, maybe.

Also I won’t be posting for a few days as we’ll be celebrating solstice here, but I’ll be back right after, on the 23rd. xox

“Down with the Ship”
This was a piece of tattoo flash I did as part of a series, and people really seem to like the sideways lighthouse in it. I did it at 11×14″ in watercolor, and did the linework with a nib pen and ink. The original sold and the prints have sold a lot too, I don’t often draw ships but I think I did a decent job on this one. You can still get some sizes of prints of this, here.

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“Einstein”

I did a little contest on my facebook asking people to tell me the funniest story about someone falling down. My friend Tiny told a great story, and was the winner. The prize was a portrait of anyone famous they liked, they’d get to keep the original art. He chose Einstein, and man was he fun to draw. Lots of people seem to like this one. I tried to give him nice gentle eyes. Yes, there are still prints of him. I did this one at 8×12″ in colored pencil.

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“Red Highway”

The original of this, I gave to a collector of my work. It was a 10×13″ watercolor. Of all the landscapes I’ve done, people seem to be most interested in this one. Maybe it’s all that hot dawn cloud color. I’m not sure.

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“Dahlia with Dice”

Of all my still life work, this one gets the most attention. Maybe it’s the format, that high vertical? It was originally a 12×16″ watercolor painting. The prints of this one are popular and I’ve made a few handmade runs of it, as well as the open edition prints.

EPSON MFP image

 

“River Otter”

A lot of you guys love the animal totem series, and this guy is the crowd favorite. He’s a little more simple than some of the others, so I think a lot of people just really, really like otters. Colored pencil on handmade tinted paper, 8×12″.

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“Weeping Doll”

I’ve done handpainted prints of her. The original sold as soon as it was finished. I’ve redone the entire image twice and both reproductions by hand sold immediately. And the open edition prints…people really like this beat-up old doll. She’s pretty melacholy. It’s originally a 10×13″ watercolor on hotpress.

EPSON MFP image

 

Then, there’s “Shy Owl”. The most popular of them all. Due to the buyer of the original schmoozing me out of open edition printing, (I was an idiot and won’t be doing that so cheaply ever, EVER again) there are only cards available of this guy. Every print I did make of it, that limited amount, sold instantly. People email me asking for a print all the time. I’d be at least a few hundred dollars richer if I’d never said I’d only make a few prints of him.
An expensive lesson.

I'll never give up my reproduction rights so cheaply ever ever again.

I’ll never give up my reproduction rights so cheaply ever ever again.

 

Using the internet to find your next tattoo? Read this.

The internet has so much imagery in it, it’s understandable why you’d want to use it to find good ideas for your next tattoo. But there are a few things to watch out for, and a few things you definitely shouldn’t do.

will bodnar, cicada tattoo, anji marth, high priestess tattoo, at tattoo convention

an artist using antique, copyright-free woodcuts as reference

When you have no idea what you might want, it’s really tempting to just start googling “tattoos” or “tattoos for girls” or something, and look around at what other people have. There’s nothing wrong with this; this is a great way to get ideas, seeds of ideas. You have to be careful though, because these tattoos belong to other people. Either they belong to the tattoo artist or the wearer, one or the other, no exceptions.

They own them.

So, yes, use the images online of other people’s work to get ideas for subject matter or placement- but not as an exact thing to get tattooed. There are reasons for this; ethically, it’s theft for the tattooer who ends up doing your tattoo. They don’t get to really do their best work, because you’ve instead asked them to steal art from someone else. Legally, it’s also theft. The original artist who drew and tattooed it owns the no-shit actual copyright to that tattoo. It’s plagiarism and is considered theft.

You can bring in these images as ideas, as things you like the style or subject of- but you shouldn’t try to get someone else’s tattoo exactly copied onto your own body. I think everyone is entitled to their very own tattoo, and I think artists are entitled to be paid for their work in drawing and designing the tattoos.

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The best way to use the internet for tattoo ideas is to follow the advice here, and use the internet to find the artist that did an awesome tattoo. That way you can go to them and tell them “I liked this piece you did and want something like it” and you will get exactly that, without any ethical problems. You find the artist you want first, then figure out the art with them, this is the very best way to get a very good tattoo done. (this applies to big or small, extensive or simple tattoos.)

big or small!

big or small!

If you bring in someone else’s tattoo and the artist is willing to steal it, they probably are not very skilled to begin with. Good artists won’t steal. Copying someone else’s tattoo is really, really a dick move. It makes you a thief, really and truly it does. I promise that if you find a tattoo artist whose work you love, they will do a MUCH better version of the idea for you, that will suit YOU and not some other random person you’ve never met. Find the tattoo artist you trust, whose work you love, and you won’t have to copy someone else’s tattoo to get something awesome.

ink travelers tattoo convention

Note that while this applies to other people’s tattoos online, it doesn’t work the same way for art in general. If you see a painting you love, and want tattooed, contact the artist who made it and tell them you want to get it tattooed on you. A large majority of artists will just say yes, go for it, or at most they will say “buy a print first please then go right ahead!”

There are very few artists in this world who object to people getting tattoos of their work- but you should always ASK first anyway, because the artist owns that art. They own it. They own the rights to it, and using without permission is stealing. This applies to paintings, photographs of flowers or wild animals, every image has an owner. There are exceptions (copyright-free websites, tattoo flash that your tattooer has paid for, etc) but things that you find on google are NOT NOT not free for the taking. Those images all belong to somebody. If you can’t figure out who the original artist is, ask your tattooer to help you out. A  lot of the time we can find out for you.

lyle tuttle tattooing.

If your tattoo artist has flash on the walls of their shop, or books of images for tattooing, it’s because they paid for the rights to tattoo those images. This means they’re not stolen, they’re totally fine to choose from.

For tattooers, take your photographs so that the tattoo is seen at an angle or so part of it is obscured. Use a strong watermark across the image to make theft more difficult. And rest assured that only assholes steal; your work being stolen is not any detriment to your reputation, but to theirs.

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A real asshole can and will use your tattoo image to make a stencil of sorts:

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But if the image is at an angle, their finished piece will never look quite right. Symmetry and details will look skewed and wrong. This helps a lot. Try it.

Further advice for tattooers on retaining copyright is available in my seminar.

 

The easiest, best place to get a tattoo.

I know that the real wise advice I could give you would be; “Get it where you want to see it.” Because after all, the pain is temporary, right? The tattoo is what lasts. But I get asked this question a lot, so I’ll give you my honest, true answer.

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actually, inner forearms are cool too. For all the same reasons. They’re just harder to hide when you visit grandma.

Get it on your outside calf, shin, or on the front or outside of the thigh.

These are the easiest areas to get tattooed. They hurt the least, look the best, and last the longest with clarity to the original. Even if you gain and lose weight, these areas won’t change much. Even when you get ancient, the wrinkles on the rest of you won’t really effect these areas so much.

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If you have to hide tattoos for work, high socks or knee-length skirts will cover one or the other of these. The areas are capable of being used in either a very soft, flowing and feminine way, or a blocked, solid masculine manner- so either way, the space can be used how YOU want it to turn out. It can emphasize the curves or obscure them. It can accent muscle or smooth it.

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A design with a strong s-curve looks great in either place.

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The skin structure is good and will be more solid and consistent than ANYWHERE AT ALL ON THE TORSO. Your torso twists, bends, and the skin changes all over it with every pound gained or lost, every gym day or potato chip, every pregnancy, every time you reach for a thing your torso skin gets stretched a tiny bit. Every wrinkle and sag is concentrated on your ribs, waist, and chest. It’s the worst possible area for a tattoo really.

watercolor landscape tattoo

Going back to the start of this whole thing- calves and thighs hurt less than any torso tattoo as well. AND they will last longer. It’s win-win.

sugar skull pinup tattoo

So, if you want my real advice, and not just the thing I am supposed to say, then listen to me and get your calf or thigh tattooed. It’ll look amazing there. Promise. Big or small, get it there.

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Small tattoos look great just above the ankle bone, or just below the hipbone on the thigh. Big tattoos look great all over the leg.

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The only “bad” leg areas are the knee, the foot, and the groin. All of these areas have odd skin and won’t last as long or hurt as little as the calf and thigh. Plus the nice, flat areas of the calf and thigh make the design less likely to get distorted with movement, making them a good place for geometric work, or images with faces or human figures in them.

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Get your legs tattooed. It’s awesome.

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all-saints’

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I’m not religious by any stetch and no amount of ceramic dominicans can change that.

all-saints’ day. i’m not religious but i was mainly raised catholic, my middle name is a saint’s name. patron saint of migraine sufferers and writers. she liked to read. she was a rebel at home so they sent her to the convent, which was a lot less strict than her family had been.

she of course was religious but not nearly enough. she had malaria and seizures and visions, and decided to promote reform in the church. “The only right prayers are those that create actíon. Prayer without action does go unheard.”

this was a bit of a mistake. the catholic church persecuted her and disliked that a woman was ‘teaching’. she lived a good long time though.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=208

I’m pretty sure that my middle name was intended to be the name of the “little flower”, st. therese. however it’s spelled as the english version of st. teresa of avila, which means they done screwed up and gave me a hotshooter as a namesaint rather than a quiet little girl, and I’m ok with that.

tomorrow is all-souls’, or dios de los muertos if you’re latinx/excatholic. a much more meaningful day for me. but I figured I’d share this tidbit about saints and middle names. what’s your middle name? who’s watching out for you?

geometric tattooing, discussion question and thoughts.

let’s discuss.

Geometric tattoos and “mandalas”, while they’re in resurgence in every part of the globe right now among modern tattooers, are a very old way of marking the body.
Given new technologies, they’re different than traditional geometric work, but do they follow that same tradition? Is this really a trend within tattooing, or has it been there since the beginning? Do you think we will see more of this in the years to come, or will it peter out (like westernized tribal work has petered out a bit)?

These geometric designs aren’t limited to one region, race, or culture- from the far north of europe and the arctic circle all the way around the globe, equatorial and islands, jungles and deserts- straight down to the southern tips of Africa and the Americas, these sort of designs are found everywhere. Most modern interpretations draw on multiple sources, new and old, and don’t snag directly from any one tradition, don’t appropriate meaning the way some westernized tribal art did. (Although there are exceptions as always). Almost every person can look back to their own heritage and find base images to begin working from- or they can use modern maths to create something entirely new, that fits within this style.

I’ve been planning a few art brut tattoos lately, using this sort of layout for the body forms, and have done my share of geometry and radial symmetry tattoos as well. I’m wondering what everyone thinks of this little surge in demand for these.

Also here are some amazing images culled from various sources, of tattooing in this style. Feel free to add your own images or thoughts in the comments.

 

 

Miahwaska Tattoo Artist - Oakland, CA

Miahwaska Tattoo Artist – Oakland, CA

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Mianmar woman

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ancient Pict

 

Traditional Croatian Catholic Tattoo

Traditional Croatian Catholic Tattoo

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Roxx at 2Spirit Tattoo in San Francisco

Roxx at 2Spirit Tattoo in San Francisco

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Kalinga tribal tattoo artist Whang-Od. Photo via Lars Krutak.

Kalinga tribal tattoo artist Whang-Od. Photo via Lars Krutak.

 

by Nate Euvrard @ Secret Society

by Nate Euvrard @ Secret Society

motivation.

23992_336294633370_1510191_nI have always had trouble with motivation. I have great ideas, and understand what I ought to be doing at any given time, but actually DOING it is sometimes a struggle. I suppose this comes with the territory of depression, but I hate it. Over the years I’ve tried everything, just about. Here are a couple things that have worked for me.

1.Put on your shoes.

I just- put my shoes on. This means something to my mind, apparently, because once my shoes are on, I start doing things almost right away, I don’t know why this works, but it does. Socks are a half measure and will get me to the kitchen for coffee but no further. Pants will get me from the bed to the couch. But shoes? I’ll end up doing something useful within an hour or so.

2.Close the bathroom door and turn the water on in the sink.

I have had a long hard fight with maintaining hygiene over the years. If I don’t think to myself “I’m gonna brush my teeth” but simply go into the bathroom and lock the door, then turn on the water…somehow I immediately brush my teeth. It’s like the shoes- it just works. I don’t let myself think about it. I just turn on the water as soon as I go in there. I usually have to use the bathroom right away when I wake up, so I turn the water on right when I walk in. I know it wastes a little water to have it run for a minute, but it’s the way that works, and I stick with what works these days.

3. Keep medicine next to the bed.

This works for me because I take my medicine in the morning and at night, not during the day. Except for one medicine, which I just take with me.

4. Don’t bring your laptop or phone to bed with you.

You will HAVE to get up to entertain yourself. Even just to entertain yourself. It’s way too easy to start reading something online and laze around with it.

5. Don’t rush.

I have been waking up at least an hour before I have to get ready, this past year. This gives me time to slowly wake, to get my head together before I have to get out of bed. I can get pants on and socks and get coffee early then relax for a while if I want, but on days when I really need to kind of slowly rise from the depths, it’s a lifesaver.

6. Have your clothes ready and some food ready for the morning.

Since I am at my perkiest right before bed, I grab my clothes for the next day and set them out. I try to also put out the things I need to make food with in the morning too. In fact, the more nighttime-me is considerate of morning-me, the easier mornings become.

As for cleaning the house and stuff, I have no idea. I go long times not wanting to do anything, and then suddenly have a zeal for it and will whirlwind my whole house. Sometimes just one area, sometimes everything over the course of a few days. I am still figuring that one out. Any suggestions?

 

 

(this post was originally drafted, in a much shorter form, on: May 15, 2012)

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