livestrong is incorrect! PSA. PLEASE SHARE.

PSA: SHARE!!!

if you have read/are using that site as a source of info about tattoo inks please PLEASE be aware-

THE SOURCE THEY CITE IS COMPLETELY NOT CREDIBLE WITHIN THE TATTOO INDUSTRY.

THE SOURCE THEY USED IS INCORRECT.

THE INKS (BRANDS) THEY LIST ARE REALLY TERRIBLE FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS AND YOU WILL NOT FIND A TALENTED PROFESSIONAL USING THEM.

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they used a fake, crappy online “tattoo school” scam website to get their info. the inks listed include two brands with recalls (!!!!!) and a brand that has really low pigmentation. those brands were listed as “good” only because they’re potentially available to non professional artists!!! Most amateur grade and publicly available inks are made with all sorts of contaminants, and some are dangerous.

The scam school website they used as a reference is NOT a reliable source for information.

THIS IS A BAD SOURCE FOR INFORMATION ABOUT TATTOO INKS.
professional grade tattoo inks are not available to the general public, contain nothing extraneous, and you won’t find out about them through “how-to tattoo dot com” or some crap like that.

tattoo inks available to professionals show no toxicity in ingredients, are not hazardous, and are usually vegan (some brands of black are the exception to that).

if you have questions about ink, ask your tattoo artist. we will always answer questions for you and we have msds sheets as well. (these images are an example, from a brand used by many professionals.)

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(this is from one of several brands often used by professionals)

I’ve seen reference to this website several times now, so I decided it was time to let people know this is NOT CORRECT INFORMATION.

 

Please, please. If you have concerns about the inks, ASK YOUR TATTOO ARTIST. If you do not trust your artist, FIND ONE YOU TRUST. Get tattooed by professionals only!

Seminar: Passive income and social media use for tattoo artists

13912592_10153856265657712_6602799035210498873_nSeminar: Passive income and social media use for tattooers.

Even though we all make our daily bread tattooing, we all are also human beings, living inside bodies that can get broken or worn. When you’ve got slow times or an injury or illness, passive income is a good backup, and if done properly it will complement and improve your work on skin.

If you’re using social media at all- to share your tattoo work – or if you would like to start selling your other artwork online to reach a wider audience- this class is for you.

If you see the internet ad social media as a chore, hate pinterest, and fear theft- this class is for you.

Learn to use social media properly — without compromising your copyright.

This class relates to the sale of secondary mediums beyond tattooing, and will go over the relationship between your existing client base and the collectors who will buy your work on paper rather than skin.

We’ll cover print-on-demand services, pros and cons of social media use, networking as a strategy to find collectors, consolidating your media management, and getting more reach with your work online.

Seminar text and cheatsheet handout packet, aftercare instructions, and legal consent form templates included.

electric eye candy tattoo convention, seminar info

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LINK TO PRE-REGISTER HERE

ONLINE AVAILABILITY OF WRITTEN MATERIALS HERE

On Sunday, September 11, I’ll be teaching my seminar on the use of social media and the internet for passive income, for tattooers. This seminar includes a huge packet of resources and information as well as access to a private group on which you can ask follow up questions, get recent information on changes, and talk and network with anyone else who’s taken the course. Location: Electric Eye Candy Tattoo Extravaganza
you do not have to be working at the convention to come to this seminar.

It’s a two-hour seminar- usually runs a bit longer for questions. I cover “branding”, username and site selection, basics of building a site, consolidating media, passive income streams, how to leverage your client base and word-of-mouth to reach further online, how to protect your copyright, and go over free or cheap tools you can use to share your work.

Even though we all make our daily bread tattooing, we all are also human beings, living inside bodies that can get broken or worn. When you’ve got slow times or an injury or illness, passive income is a good backup, and if done properly it will complement and improve your work on skin.

If you’re using social media at all- to share your tattoo work – or if you would like to start selling your other artwork online to reach a wider audience- this class is for you.

the course does count as continuing education credit for two hours. (I know a lot of you may not need that accreditation, but in some states your license requires this and yes, this seminar counts)

at this convention the seminar will cost $100 per person. tattoo artists at any level AND apprentices, are welcome. if you are an artist in another medium you may attend as well, although a lot of the information may be things you cannot utilize the same way.

to pre-register, email me at resonanteye@gmail.com. I accept paypal and Square. you can also show up on Sunday and pay at the door with cash or credit.

Bring pen or pencil, a piece of art you’ve made (or an image of one) and your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. there will be a wifi hotspot in the room for everyone to use as you follow along with the class.

If you’d like to speak to people who have taken this seminar to find out more, you can ask Curby Dickens, Bonnie Gillson, or Joanne Martian. All three have put a lot of the information to good use.

I can’t wait to meet you guys, I hope we have a good turnout, and good questions asked at the end! xox

all quiet on the eastern front

I’m in PA. (full tour tattoo dates are here). Here’s the trip, in all its glory. photo-heavy post after the jump.

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(more…)

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.

 

materials post: oils, article in Brut Force

 

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I wanted to show you what I use with my oils. in this photo you can see at the top left an expandable wash bucket. I use detergent in the water, this is for any washing I have to do with my brushes, but I usually don’t. if you paint every day and rinse the brushes with turp when you’re done they stay soft.

in front of that you can see a good example of modernization. in the left is a bottle of “copal”. this new product is not copal, which is made from amber/pine resin, instead it’s some citric junk. next to itf you can see a corked bottle of real copal, which I’ve got a jug of hidden away from many years ago and dole out to myself in small quantities. I’ve been using this small jar for about a year.

in front of that is a sealable jar I use for turp. I get the odorless but it still stinks. I use this while I’m working to wipe paint off the brushes. nothing else.

on the right
you can see my paints. they’re antique, I inherited them. the cadmium paints I use aren’t hues (substitution colors) but real cad reds and yellows. it’s poisonous so I can’t eat a sandwich while I work. I’ve got a smallish tube of real rose madder which I hoard. this and the ultramarine are also very old. I think maybe 40s-60s era based on what I was told. they’re heavy pigments, really rich compared to the newer brands I tried. I use lead white from the same batch as well, I’ve got a lot of that. more poison!

the brushes- that big one is hog bristle. the next biggest is synthetic sable and very soft, I use it to blend. there’s a stippler there I use for scrubbing color into or off of the canvas. a few filbert and bright firm synthetics, small chisels, and then a really nice long real sable rigger.

I use a mayo tray as a palette, I’ve bought a few over the years for tattooing but this one got dented while I was traveling so it’s a palette now. I cover it with clingwrap at the end of the day so my paint stays soft.

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Here you can see everything set up for working. I use a mayo tray that unfortunately got dented as a palette. I’m working on two paintings, more about those in a minute. you can see I use a lot of paper towels too as well as a rough old rag. The not-paint-water mug makes its usual appearance, though when I work in oil it just holds the brushes. I don’t trust my brain. There is a bottle of Bob Ross gesso in this photograph. It is empty, I like having it there though. It reminds me not to eat paint.

 

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This is an underpainting, I don’t do them every time but this time I did. I then screwed up the painting beyond repair with some bad composition choices so it’s going to get scrubbed and I’ll reuse the canvas for another thing.

Here is a terrible blurry photo of the little seascape, which I think will turn out just fine.

This is a thin first layer just to lay in shape and tone. It’ll get a second layer, some detail and smoothing, and a glaze.

IMG_20151210_175013

I don’t use a lot of medium, I have liquin if I’m impatient and a stand oil too just in case but mostly I work fat, just paint, and heavy and thick. it takes a long time to dry but I like the look. the copal is my glaze at the end.

I use liquin early on, I like the early layers to dry fast. I keep two or three pieces going at once in oil, so something is always ready to be worked on. Going back and forth from watercolor is like stepping onto the ground from a carousel, though. Takes me a minute to get my sea legs back.

 

You have seen my watercolor setup, which is a lot simpler.

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I trust myself more when it’s water and not turp in the mug. All these things have been put away for a few weeks so I can work with oil for a bit. Then the oils will get packed into the box and these things will come back out. I used to have a few dining room tables, each with a different medium set up on it, so I didn’t have to pack things away like this. Right now my space is very limited so it’s one thing at a time. We are supposed to be putting in a shed studio though, so maybe that will change.

 

 

I also want to mention the fantastic magazine Brut Force, which recently interviewed me. The whole magazine is great and I feel a little out of my depth being in there among so many beautiful creative artists and their work. You can read about that here. I usually do not use the telephone but the interviewer had a good bedside manner and he got me through it with aplomb.

 

As a last thought, I’m planning to start scheduling posts by topic; I think mondays will be tech/materials day, tues will be tattoo advice or informaion, weds will be process shots, thrs or fri will be tattoo or other photos.

Video seminar is live!


This streaming video contains about 2/3 of the information I present in my seminar. You can stream it as much as you like, pause and play, rewind, and take notes all you want.
If you’ve taken my seminar in person, email me to get the free version of this. If you stream this and wish to take my seminar in person, email me and you will get a discount when you attend!

All feedback is welcome. I hope this information helps you- it’s hard-won.

 

Seminar at Portland Tattoo Expo, sunday Oct 11!

EPSON MFP imageI’ll be teaching a seminar at the PDX expo in October!

Click through here for more info and to sign up. Bring notepad, pen/pencil, phone or tablet, and questions when you show up for the class. Counts for two hours of continuing education!

Leveraging Social Media to Sell Art Online, for Tattooers

Learn to use social media properly — without compromising your copyright. We’ll cover print-on-demand services, pros and cons of social media use, networking as a strategy to find collectors, consolidating your media management, and getting more reach with your work online.

This class relates to the sale of secondary mediums beyond tattooing, and will go over the relationship between your existing client base and the collectors who will buy your work on paper rather than skin.

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

indochina_17

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

why that tattoo pain chart is meaningless.

I’m sure most of you have seen this image, or a similar one,  floating around the internet by now:
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I’d like to point out that these images aren’t really telling you the whole story. As I’ve posted about before, several times, placement is only one of many variables that will make a tattoo hurt more or less. I’ll begin here just by saying- your frame of mind, your health, and your general attitude about the tattoo matter more than anything. Tattoos, generally speaking, don’t hurt very much. If you have had waxing done, if you’ve ever broken a bone, if you’ve ever had road rash or a bad cut…you’ve been through worse than a tattoo. You can do this. It’s on the level of…a beesting, a cat scratch, an annoyance.

But let’s take this chart for a minute, at face value- and just talk about areas where tattoos may hurt more or less.

The first thing to think about is your own personal sensitivities. Are you ticklish? Do you have previous injuries (even long-healed ones) in an area? Do feet freak you out? If you have any kind of area-specific thing going on in your mind or body, that’s going to affect how you feel while getting tattooed.

Then, there’s the idea that joints and areas with thin skin will hurt more. This isn’t necessarily the case. A tattoo on the side of the neck seems like it should be the worst thing ever, by these rules. Hell, in the image it’s a red zone! But in the image the center of the neck, the throat, is the red zone too- and those two areas feel very different. See, the only areas where you really have a big cluster of extra nerves are the

  • hands
  • face
  • genitals
  • solar plexus
  • throat
  • nipples

Everywhere else on your body is pretty much the same, as far as the sensitivity of the skin itself. Now some areas also have bone or underlying structures without much padding of muscle or fat. For some people, these areas are EASIER, for others, HARDER to get tattooed. It all depends on what kind of pain you dislike the most. If a deep throbbing or any kind f pressure just slays you, then areas without bony structures are going to hurt more- areas like

  • stomach
  • sides (below the ribs)
  • side of the neck
  • inner arm and armpit
  • inner thigh

if, for you, a stingy sensation is the worst thing, but you don’t mind pressure very much, you’re going to have a hard time with areas that have muscle right under the skin. Areas such as

  • lower back
  • top of shoulder
  • deltoid/front of arm
  • tops of thighs
  • calves
  • buttocks

Now if you don’t mind stingy feelings, and throbbing and pressure are no big deal, but you don’t like the feeling of papercuts or slices or the like, you may dislike bony areas the most. It seems to me that most people feel this way. This means that to at least some degree, the image has a few areas properly labeled for someone like that. The areas that would hurt would be:

  • ankles
  • hands/wrists
  • feet
  • collarbones
  • center of chest
  • shoulderblades
  • spine near center of back
  • ribs
  • kneecaps/elbows

Your body’s size and shape and composition matters too. If you have a lot of fat deposits, your hips may not be such a bad spot. But areas underneath rolls might hurt more, as they’re less exposed to sensation and touch in general. If you’re big and muscular, areas with tightly-stretched skin might hurt more- meaning a calf, one of the places the chart says is EASY, would be more painful to you. If you are scrawny and bony, areas with visible tendons may be the worst.

All of this talk of pain is so variable that you almost can’t pin it down and make any sort of universal chart.

Now let’s talk about where this dumb and inaccurate chart actually came from.

 

Something you can do, though, is make a chart showing areas that are the hardest for the artist to work on. This chart looks almost exactly like that “pain” chart, and versions of it used to be used in shops to show which areas would cost more than others for the same design. I have a sneaking suspicion that some client, at some point, saw this pricing chart and assumed we charged more for “hurty stuff”. This is not the case.

In fact, in some shops, the pricing system was worked out by square inch and placement, not by time. In the Before Times many shops would have all the available designs and flash up on the walls with prices attached. Nearby would be a chart exactly like the “pain” chart, saying, “areas in red cost $20 more, areas in blue $50 more” or something to that effect. This was not done because of how much those areas hurt the client- it was done because those areas are harder for us to tattoo.

acetate with square inches marked off.

acetate with square inches marked off.

So you lay that clear sheet with the inches marked on it, over the tattoo design. Any square containing ANYTHING counts. You have your minimum price, then you add however much per inch. So a shop with a $50 minimum, 20 per inch, a tattoo that is 2″ costs 90 bucks, base price for the easy-to-tattoo zones. Now you go to the chart. You want it on your wrist? Price goes up by ten bucks. You want it on your ribs? Price goes up by thirty bucks. And so on…This is one of the old ways of pricing tattoos, and strangely enough it often works out almost exactly what a tattoo would cost hourly. Those expensive areas just take longer so the time is extended anyway. Also, some areas are risky to us so they cost more.

If I am working on an area that is difficult to reach, my chance of a needle stick goes up. Slippery, sweaty areas are especially scary this way. If I’m working on an area where the skin shifts in response to ANY movement by the client (like ribs and center chest, for example) then I’m going to have to work harder to pull a straight line, to get things even and perfect. This extra work translated to extra pay, based on a chart like this one.

It had and has nothing to do with how you, the client, feel during the tattoo. The original of this color body chart is simply a  pricing guide for tattooers, not anything to do with what you will feel during a tattoo.

 

handy pricing chart used in some older studios.

handy pricing chart used in some older studios.

If I were to make a chart about the actual pain? I’d simply put a blank body form and have people print it out and color it in.
Put red any place where you are sensitive to tickling or have any kind of weird feeling about being touched. Also any place that folds over, where the skin touches itself and is rarely exposed to air or touch.
Put blue on your genitals, hands, and face- AND on any area that has a previous injury, even a healed one.
Put yellow on any place that is often exposed to touch and friction, that has a lot of exposure to air and sun.
Put green everywhere else.

This is your personal, very own pain chart. Everyone will have a different one. Unlike the tattoo artist’s perspective, where all armpits are pretty much the same to work on, the perspective as a client will be totally individual and unique.

Here’s a few stock images you can color in.

fat-slim-woman-white-background-30620793 Posture Template 1woman

 

 

Oh yeah- you’ve probably seen this garbage floating around as well. It’s crap, and it’s demeaning to you guys who are my clients, and I hate this kind of shit. Strangely enough I don’t have too many clients who pay no taxes or go to prison. There’s some slut-shaming in there too. What a load of crap.

tattoo-locations

 

(for a great article about pain and tattooing in general, my friend Deb wrote a great one here)
(for a chart to figure out how much of yourself is tattooed, you can look at matt gone’s awesome post about this here.)

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