M· - I

Placing images on the human body is hardly a new' craft, but the recent popularity of tattoo art seems to have reached critical mass. You can barely turn on the television, open up a magazine or view a stranger's ann without seeing evi-

deuce of this trend.While th art has earned rhe a,cceptance of the public and adoration of InaI~y it is a form of artistic and ritual illustration rhar has survived t01: thousands of years,

SOI.ne historians point ('0 a. period that may

Perspective &: History


One of the nzal1ycoimfiti tattoos you1l set! :t'tlustratcd in this book this pisto! andjlow{!r tlrrangrfHU!nt has hem pla.{;,e.d in a su.btle location.

have been ~ ~ar back as 12000 Be when the fil's.r use of ink-on skin was seen" The record

books aJ€ a; bit .dtel:lChy that far back} but there is evidence many ,€_:ady civilizatlons used this technique to mark the flesh. The word tattoo, is

takEn from the Tahieian word "tatu, n~, 'which n1C;}nS EO mark something, early tattoos were

used to imt1j,fate ~ person's: status, drill Ieve] or availabilitYa6 a mate, The Egyptian people were some of [he flrst 00 use' inks co mark human

He h'l and the practice traveled to China as early as 2000 B(~.

Tattoos were used by the Greeks to show the pmHciency of their spies) whilethe Romans illustrated their slaves and criminals, Many

rimes) sin~,e women of other [aces wore ink to indicate their availability (0, single men and the married WtUl1€ID wore ink to. do. the same After

A ni~ ofpmud td;ttO(t recipients POSt!:> to show off lbdr ;'l~ and ha,ving two uomen wetiring sanoos in IDe ~lUne i'oom mi:at h.a.1Jt been quite Tare. Pollack

As ifgetting tattoo u}or:k wasn't strar~ge ,e1.lO,'ugh in the 1930s .. hav,ing.1l nak,ed man do the n.eedle work must haue bean ,a real oddzt.J" Rich "Tyro') Polldck

takingrhe h.ead of an ,opponent, a Dayak soldier would receive a tattoo. on his hand to illustrate his prowess as awarrior, Western culture also used tattoos to highlight a variety of classes, and the Danes and Saxons were alnong those who had family crests tattooed onto their flesh ..

Of course with any popular trend; there 'w~n be those who stand against it, 787 AD saw the han. of tattoos hail from Pope Hadrian, and Britains use ~'ould cease afte.r the Norman Invasion of ] 0.66. Mter existing and thriving for tho usands of yea rs, western cui rure would 11 at see tattoo an again until after the 16th century.

Fast £orward to tbe lareer pan of the 17005 and we find Captain Cook making his journeys toO the south Pacmfi.c"and returning with tales of illustrated people, After one of his sojourns he


.As OrIC'of the main attractions in the' Ringling B:rO'thers circus, Betty Brodbenr earn,ed a place in

h', duri h' 191,f}'O-'~ R:,"h'- {;{D '. J~l::l/'r'--k' tstor]' ··.urzng t., e , .... J 'S. r sc i.J1ro .'. ouacs

brought home a Polynesian native who was heavily tattooed, and this seemed to re-ignite people's desire to get '[heir own. Of course one needed to be discreet 'when making "this decision and even more discreet when having, the work done.

As ineriguing as having. their ,own tattoo may have been back then, the process was nowhere near as fast or comfortable as coday's work" With a hand-formed needle being 'tapped by hand into the skin) the process was arduous and quite painfuL Taking at due from Thomas Edison's electric pen mar 'was used to mark paper pat~ terns, Samuel O'Reily patented the first electric: tattoo machine in 1891. This revelationmade the prooess far less painful as wdl as providing greater control ofrhe ink when held in skilled hands,

The birth of ' the 1900s saw tattoos faU into 'the dark: shadcwsagain. People wanting to have .one added ro their skin needed to travel to the seedy underbelly of the dty to find an artist, overall the art form once again became something of a black art. The only people thought to he desjring such a thing were criminals and thugs. This was .UOt really the case, but the stereotype gJrew. B,euy Brodbenr was the "tat-

dladv" d d h tho h Iifei

tooe . a y anc rna e . er way' .rougt _ irein

[he fie·ak show of Ringling Brothel's Circus in the 19305., As popular as her pa.rt of the show was) it was h.a~·dly considered something for a proper woman to do.

V.,S. Soldiers heading overseas to do battle in the Korean) or European, conflict often wore art showing, their dedication to a. loved one or their combat unit . .Although completed in typicaUy

Although sailors getting tattoos 'Wits not U'1'lUflJIl~ ,having ,a iooman do the w()rle W{f..S prohdbly a b.itlJjf thl!beaten path. .Rich "Pyre" Pollack

simple "fQ,ym, t:bese bits 'Of hand 'crafted art ,provided t daHy reminder of whar they were proud of.

After~the' Second World. War ended, tattoos once aJgaill found themselves 'being pushed into rhe dank!, dark shadows of American culture, Even r li Jlf W:3S known for his reclusive life s,rrJe, George Fosdick was one of the most celebrafed inkmasters Though Georg~ died in

IM6. his ~ege;nd lives on todayin the hist-ory boob [nd tales 'Of yesteryear ..

Past forwa.rd 'to the newmillennium, and we find the art of tatroos once again becoming a hugtly popular method of displaying your own p:e:rsona[ colors .. Anyone curious about the P'f'0CrtsS1 hoping 130 learn more about those iJlVo~ved,- need only turn on the television) or vi8'iu their lacru news stand. A variety of lprograms that chronicle some of tadar's most

limcms artists can be Vc~ewed 011 any given nigh t of dle week. The tattoo an may be somewhat muddled by the required on-screen drama of eadl ep]sode;;. but they reveal one level of the modem tattoo arena."

7ftjti~'g a cLue fi~om lh'(}ma& Edisoris electric

b ,,,,,,.4.,.'<1'# ';"h'tr 'u',,,·,d· to m ark r~'~ ~~~t. ., ...

papel' pattel ns, Semue] 01?ei~pqtentf1d the first electric tatt'()() machine in 1891.

Alth.ough he~foJly clad for this tattoo, bis sh.op looks to be less tha~n sterile, judging by the dirty sill that

. d R· h' ~(D j~ R~l'l .'L

w'o man is state Ofl..Jt: ... ' .1.ryro ,'. ouace


One of [he best and most effici,en, ,vays to expose yourself to the universe of tattoo artists is. Ito visit '" co rive nrion ,01 c' f [ili1'''''

iI,:},I .. , a "_" _.J;, '. ··,IF' -_ -_ .•. '- ~ I:.~ ,""""

hundreds that criss-cross the country each year, the H,dl City Tattoo. Festiv,aI is rated as one of the best by critics and tattoo fans alike, The 2006 event 'was heid

in Columbus, Ohio and was ,expec ed to draw near .. Iy 8000 people through the doors .. Once insidevrhey could visitwith almost 60 ,different tattoo anises f:1"ol1'1 across the country~ Many people waited months, or rears:) .for their opportunity to be inked by theiat' favorite out-of-state anis,t,while others were forced to stand by and 'watch, as time was Iimited. '~'llk' ng the aisles of artists, vendors and related craftsmen gives you ,9.\ real sense of 'what can be achieved once you've decided eo get some work done, There appears to 'be no limit to the, creativity and, dare I say, depravitY' of some of the artistsv Not everyone is happy with ,a smiley-face tattoo" Even the decor of the site was taken fron) carnivals of the past, wL h colorful banners hawking the circus enterrainers in their finest display of oddity. Tattoo con ... tests; educational seminars and filUll i-media displays are' all ~1 part of the show) and 'make it aworthy event for anyonewith curiosity about the craft,


17w1 main jZc)'or' of'the Hell City 1k,ttoo Festiv4~ held in ,Columbus" Ohio~ was action paclud with v'tnrlofJ' of flit stripes.

With the main jl(}orparkeil additionalartist: lJnd vendors could be jinmdo1l .the b:aicon), O1Jerlool?i11g the main floor:

The three day event indudes a variety of things [0 sse .and do, including the Hock City section for th€' kids., Chns Sablone

and DJ!l rb Morrison are the gende:111enwho put on the shQw, ::J;J,lid have their 5 tli annual spectacular set for August ~f 2007 in

PhO~I::IiK~ Arizona.

As history has proven, rhetattoo has been scorned and mdo'[,ed by many~ bu t remains a popular choice for those wanting '[0 wear their eolers permanently

Created on-site at .the Hell Cit), Festiual was this 1tUlrgay cat arttoo rk.

This C/}lorfol macaw was created' in Horida and is just one of the many styles of'ink youZljiru:! in this book.


Larry Brogan

Tattoo City

With hisinterest in art beginning at a very young agel peopleknew that Larry Brogan would follow some path in that arena; they just weren't sure which Of ie, He studied. an in both high schcol and college, and went on to begin doing tattoos over 16 yeatrs ago. His work has become well

respected in the industry, and the: walls of bi~ Sb.0PI Tattoo City; are covered in trophies} plaques and awards from shows and magazines. While he h~ 'his portfolio walking around on the streets" the in-store awards are one '\vay for a person WI gauge' his success.

With a well earned reputatio» as a tattoo artist: whO' works in the horror field Larrys latest ,effort was to create a ~'7eafmar/~ character for his client..Wlth Halloween a strtrngjactor., and an image offiu:k Nicholson fm- impimr cion) .. Larry sketched (jut then put to skin this highly detailed black andgraJ1 piec«


· a big Nilil :ij{ the Halloween season"

had inSJJrnM(~d. Larry to create a "leaf mad" next bit &f lFl~. 'Walking from some refer~'"J,,""".Fl~""~ inci1JJ.jing one taken from a popular movie, tatry ~ketdted up the illustrarion.

this basic drawing shows us his. abiliry to erein a {In, ,ilmtrrJ:1eDS'ion.,al form, but this is only of the ke0elrg W.h~11 it comes to (he actual Fm.mki,e 11e\t~®d the drawing, and after a ~"UjIU""" SlllggsS1ilDllS they selectedthe proper loca-

hi's 10wef l~ :fO.r the needle work. h: was !'l!'''&Ii'''~ 00 ifJ«' a ~la9!k and g;ray piece" and ] wonhl)w l!bfement ,h,e process would be when were 1\10 &1@i~~liS mn the finished, tattoo.

Oncefranlbi:e~s leg was prepped. and shaved, tral1rsferreii ti1le: image 'to his skin. A few fina] a felt 19 "en eompleredthe required

lines ::end Ltiry was ready to get [0 work, putJvin~,a &il!i"l,e needle [0 the skin, he always , the .m"1!~lill~S Qf the hardware through a. jew}i:¢ saws tbal: even rhe factory-sealed,

_~lIl'~A L~ b U'L k d" _.

IlU1;tlU~ 't~tlil nave .' ent or nooxe nps,

a lot of paint :and resultingin a lower quality if aft. with the-shrupness ofthe selected 7

mag me_edll~ 8€lrs, he loads them into [he ma.m.ilRle'S.- hvqr used a! disposable tube for 13 ma!~fi,e~ml'€ because he was running

of (h~ sooe~ ~Fi,es that can carry the bigger set. uses, tIh_(S~ ,djwo6able tubes when traveling a'S' a W~f '00 (keep his flying weight down, av;pi<11 na~iJil~, tQ drag homea bunch 0 fused


nil this beiiRS mae fir.s,t blackand gray piece .I

II._W~~,I:&& ] uked what Ith.a.nges in the process

be used. The layen;~d look of the leaf man's would re~l!li~ lIJine facial. features to be darker tl\e U~weFl1fiJ.0Sl1! would be a. bit lighter for

No bla~ @uttJiilJ:i1e was used on the face .and i:IIhtsu:uion., only shadingand contours

define ~brat~~I!:!Eion. A fe\\" of the upper leaves gtt an &tttliwlt, if only [0 set it a.part f~om,

ill higllfeclide6nirion.

ith a GGj'" d 6u; eriginal sketch as well as at ...... -L' ... n of, ~ m1S)vi.e star's grimacing face, Larry needles 001 ~t2Irk. Beginning around the lips, and 'lms~, tb sa:ape of the faoe quickly rakes

Findi.ng this image on the internet, Larry used the grimacing focial fiatures asa guide when drawing up his own illustration.

After a few minor chan~es to the skt,tch) Larry tes.ts the size andplacement on Fr_a1'lk-ie~ l~g.

Now seated' in-the chair" Larry ,'reps the area to be' ink:ed by wiping it doton with ctctl1'tsing soap prior to shaving the' calf


With th,e ,trllnsj--er p.aper removed we can see the ink blue lin:es that w_i Ii guide' L.a.rry ,throu.gh the process.

Larry spends a few minute: making sure ,that ,every line of the piece is ens)!. to see' before getting started and uses a filt tip p.en to ,add missing lengths of line.

• • •• '

A mt),lded trI:tJ holds ,htl hlack ink in 'place tIS well as the thinner shades of gray that will be employed dari'n,g th.e 'w:()'rk.,


This blat~k' and gt:ay tattoo willlNt pro:du,ccd using only 2' needle sets" and' each is pre-lo.adedintO th~~, own machine before the process b.egins.

A 7 mag set b,egins the basic work ,oj,me piece~ lh_'f very little' ,(),tttlining will be done due to th.e bittd' and gray emoork that is scheduled,

Lan,; has b,egun work artJund ,tn.egrinning ,moiJpoj the leaf man and shades each area ctl,refolly tollflilti up the' shadow! tu~d shapes.

\Vh~IDIwJ.!)rkil)g in the black and gray .s:~ie, deffinilii@ll.e£sluple and contour tills place 81aw1yas to. avoid turning any area into a ref b~a€k. Sm·all sections of ink were

J.nstlJI!€~1 lea.vlng behind a subtle shape that would imm 'i n.;~arly 3~dimensional fo rm as he p £0-

JlII'IIOU'i'll':l )]'jlf! eups of ink were .fH led with a pure ~,~J!l as: a few rhat were thinned-out with cer: ~r dl€ gray in-between shades, Given this Jimit.t4lILMrn.g~.of density; I was surprised to watch as

the rattiiOOllQMe to Hfewn ever-expanding derail,

H villg l~aliAed about eight tattoos ago not to ask qu.tstiml~s; 'Q,lfwhy something was being done, it was ama.zi~ at) see Larry work: his magic using onmy

shaH @J Mack.

40 "rutimre the depth. and definition he

rtq1;lil'~f,J., Lany also 6Ued in several well pb!;ced areas ~ltr~li nearly pure: black to make them appeal' as bad~Wf' areas among the highly detailed. Ail I

told him during thework I'd be happy to be able to am..w.with such clarity and detail, let alone translate It in~m !i rattoo, As they say on TV" don't try thisat bomt ..

ftlkw breaks, were taken during' the' prooess, out the ltl!t~ W0rk still progressed quickly and the tartoo c00kfJil mere life with ev:ery passing siting' of

th netdlts. iPranki;e~s discomfort seemed to be high~ tdlera~ £ro'f about 950/0 of the work, only sq'UirDlim~ ·,._~m:um certain sections of the calf were darlrem:ed. M()t being a beginner at geu~ ng new ink, be had bteJn ready for whatever level of pain might oaol[i. ~ in .aU he said rhar other pieces he 'wears WeJl &'1' Wfl)rse.,

tali. wedted. .steadily, and the piece grew in Lntefl$biy asdle continued to an the needles" place

ihe ink mtd wi,p'e away the excess. Every once in

av hj), he would wipe the work dean to reveal his progrnss, ,ud that wou~d tell him mor-e clearlywhat n_m 00 lJe addressed. His eye £0[0 detail was 2S[OUD~n..] as he saw and added small bits that didrut eeen i&l1lalll to be required. The size of the art and me pJI~e:nt on Frankie's calf required. him to change ruts posi [ion often so Larry could reach every WJ1J1ef ~E ehe guide lines, When placing the 'transfer onrr0 hj~l~", Larry left room for the next lnstallarioo bich wiU be an evil jack-o-lanrern that will

/IeG.tJe between the leaves of this mythical creature.

Even lacking tbe usual black outline we can quickly see the 3-dim'ensi.o'n effects of Larry} ink work.

Holding the leg meat of Frankie' tllught~ Larry CQn ... , tinues to apply small sections of black andgray ink.,

Small details (In' added as thetedioIls prOtess moves along; ,exposi'ng mare and mor« of the epidural


Shiading ttroufl,d th.eeyc$' willenh.ance the uacan« ,(}rhs that 'will b'e highlighted in a later step ..

The [a t eo 0 required nearly seven hours inthe chair, but in the end. al] parties were very satisfied with the results, It woukitake another week to tell days for the piece to heal completely, but the imm~ diare ·effects: ofLarrys talented hands were obvious, During me creation of this tattoo, several people came into, or called the shop inquiring about get"" ting W'O[k:. done, Sadly-for them, Larry had to explain that he was hooked fur nearly 2 monrhsin adlvance. This long lead time is ,on~y OlH~ more Wa'J to gauge the talents ofa gifted artist fi:OlU [hose; who may s!t:Ul be learning (he crafcBeeween rhe awards in. his shop, and the amount ofea:g~r di~nt~ waiting 00 receive his work it was obvious te me that Larry has earned alr0p spot in the crowded world oftattoo artists,

The evil gri,mac(J of the piece begins to talr'e shape as Larry $,tep.'S back to review hisw()rk so fo}".,


Thr il!tl'lles TIf1tlr the face will be done in d:arke1' shades of black tIJ!lcl.gray. while those toward the top of/hi piece toilt r~tJ(!Je into lighter levels.

Subdt! tfJntours q/ifitch leaf must be' built-up slowly to alJ(jU tm'ning (flO dark and appe.a.ring lJniy as blttck chmrps.

Anotbrl' ttcp baek foo,m .the wort? sa for reveals Larry~ pogrtJS (ff1:d gives: Frankie lzl)1',iejrespiu from the

sri nghtg ner!dle!.

An area it], b,etween some of'the leeues will be much darker to enhance the depth of the piece.

The sh.ado'wyarea behind's(}.me of the ft011:tat leaves will create more lift when the tattoo is complete.

USing the wider 13 ?nag needles" Larry turns the machine sidetiJll:Ys to create a zhin detail wi.th the bigger irtstru'!lUtnt.


Not sU"'C if'they art! leaves 0'- Jil!lebztr,~7J~ bu,t Larry turns his attention to the fowlng lines ,thtU surr()1-~nd t.he m'outh.

Smudges of black i},'J,/r soon turn into amazing det:ails under the conirol of Larryls talcnte,d ha'1.lds ..

Certain areas a/the tattoo ere corn.pleted with long sweeps of tile needles win'ie S{l112e require smaller movements.


The areas' of p'l!me .black will contrast n_ice6i agai'lft the lighte~ more detailed' sections oftbe ,w{)r/e~,

Lanys ,efforts are' rtu)t.trded with a section of the fo€c ,that seems to be almost phot()grttphic' in its detail"

Again~ the large,'; 13 'l'JItag ne,edle is l:{£(!d toftll ill a bigge,.,. s,~grne1Zt of the art.

Moping tDwan:ls tht, central regio''fl of the tattoo, Lany c.()ntinlJc'S to create eacb leaf in small steps for t/~ greatest r.qalfsm.

To my unt1'ained ~JeJ> the initial stepS' always look fomy CJ"ttlil, bu: will quickly develop into terriflc deMil

Titnling,the width ,o/the 13 1nag l'leedles one way or fllJtJihtR' allo'ws Lt1r1]~ to crease a 'l!.ariety of tine


The' ongoing detail WI) rk on the leajjl flCf! continues and we can see how Larry} carefit! steps have created a layered look on the flat stu/ace.

Once ,agairl;the e.dg(!ofthe larger 13 mdg needle is used to create a thi'n line ,of ink.

~ can now see the ,beginnhzg of'Larrys efforts to go' from dark to light leav:es as he movies upwa;r:cis 011, the tattoo"


TO. augment and accentuate the lower sections, more ,black ink is used to define the sbadoios.

Making sure chlit the eyes of the leaf man stand out; a layer.of white inie' is used so highlight the vacant orbs.

Unlt'ke the lower leaues, the upper ,bits will be outlined in black so compensate for' their lighter shade when filled in.


U'iing bath sh.ading and outlining' ensures that the upper leaues are set apa1~t from those lower on the piece.

The leaves that' will be seen against the emptjl skbA are to be' outlined as wellfor better d~finiti(Jn.

Slowly we see the ,blue guide lines being l"eplaced GJ the permanent ink.

i:n:g two women ki$~b;.tg wh1ke 'they smtdd:le a

fu'a~hine -g1l!;n,., .

Whit/I imll'f!'ovwints do ypu see .tamingi·n. tbe· tat,... t'()() i;ndust:ryt .

Tke .maahin¢s ~kem;selv~s a're only· gLQxiije-d door ·l!~H.s). acnai I a:oil,t see Mum cb.:an:ging4n ihrat :tega.citt FJ.ies.m, atld Tl2'.'id.ly talen:tedl artists" ar-e, malE.; itl~ a big· di£fer~n"e ~tI!o1llgh) as rhey .im.prove the "X~y p'€QP,I~ .Sie~. etlr f€u'~ of ~t as just that.

Tell us ,a.bout la:ttt),fJ Cif!j

BOlJ,:F X6aI$ ake.1f! starcin&, I wanted to open. my own.shop~ r foun:d;this .laC~tj;on 'for .rent, ana we b~, in 19'~4!~ Thi~ ,se'Pttln:d -se'ction 'Of the busjn'es~ ope:ned 'in 2'004, tlflJ.i caters mote to, the0ustom cltsip'e~, and. crear~a in.~. w.~ have :3 other artists wot:king her€, ,2' tQ,u:C4UgOS and one 6)'l" pietdngs.

Ylha.t M'ind,()fa.rt 'baikgr.aundd(),:!:(!ttc.htwe?·

I was dra,~.ing tM,in,s. ,even as' ,a kid.and' ·t.l1),dk a ton. ·'Ofa'ft classes, j~n. hight. s~htlQl and colh::~, I never ."got ~ farmaI' ·de.gfee~ . bu t $tHl· create paintings and i'lhillstmtibns :@aMidle ·df th€ tateoo wo.i5td. .. ·

.Phe watts ana. shc/i)c£ in L.arrl·f . (JtJJSt(Jm~ !ShtlWrfJom are cave~fd wi#hrh'e trophies ~nt! ~ward$' he' has WlJnfo,r 'hi!. t.a?!tfllJ' 1(f/o.r'th· and'set hi"m apart froth many 'other ,d,IF:tis.ts..



Sor1'U! l)f',the' sh:ad£wlg is qM,i'dt~, eccomplisJ.,ed :using the foIl width of the 13 lnag needle set.

Progress has been stead" but most of the upp,er Leaves .have )fe't to he filled' i~~ 1!vith the black lInd gray in!e'.

Some foi,~iy lafge portions ()f,th,~ leaves are nour ,addre:~$ed as [twry co ntinues thl(? steps, .neaJing c()m,pletim'l.

A flcIWier (Jutliue is now app lied to the upper edges of thi iet( mans foliage for ,added distinction.

~lladi.ng of the t~pper gret!nery tak'(;s shape as Larry mOclJi 'S,{:tu.m place to plact, making subtle additions tit evtfj'Slr;p.

Anor«rMlrge bllJtch of ink is thrown into the blend, wit}] .he ttl.,tt()(}S t'omplet£on drawing near.

The uppermost seC#OJJS of the leaues are now filled in with contours and shadows.

Only a few more leaves remain to befilled in) and will require tess time and attention thal'l th .. rest due to their lighter density.,

Bold use of the bLack ink will be wiped away leaving behind a gentle curse that accents the shape.


Although subtle:. each step taken by Larry leaues behind another whiff of tlN{ jin£S:/1ed piece.

The curving ,edges ·(}f the leaves are darkened with additional ink b :lildi'F~g their intensity.

U0rk begins on the lass of tbr1leafmans fleial foliage.


Tbe contours of eat:h leaf diffol~ h-ri:nging added dimension and realism to the oterall tattoo,

With anI] 2 or 3 leaves left to be filled ill, we' are gettlngexcit.ed to view the completed work:

The previously outlined leaf designs an! now getting thei» share of'sh.adowy detail

tVith t/j'e upper sect-ion. now complete, bmy Jftmds bad? to look for an)! additional,dettlils he fiefs 1'U!f;'Cl to be added.

Here we can see most of·the·fi;ont section, ~~eve(ding the details. (onto urs and shttding that have created a realistic tdtt(),()~ even though it lacks any form of color:

The backside of the piece is equally detailed, and will soon be joined by an euiljack-o-lantern that Larry has ltb~eady draum up and integrated into the tayottt of the leaf,mttn ph!" e ..


Top Notcll Tattoos

'Once Cleen has discussed the needs and thoughts of the client, he begins to visualize the work that will end up on the skin. Setting his pencil to paper allows him to put his thoughts into a visual format, giving the recipient some-

thing 'to approve before work begins. Many that come: to him merely make a suggestion of what they're after and let his fertile imagination do the rest, Their trust is seldom if ever shattered as Cleenstechnical ability is on par with his creative

As a fixture at Top No,tr:h Tattoos; «D'rIlS~ spends his days installing pie,rci,ngs on clients for ,the shop. With a canvas of skin that has already been decorated with other ink7 it seemed to make sense that hid let Cleen work his br_andof'magic on this piece.


skins .. When faoed with a blank canvas of skin, and the slightese due fhJl]n rhe client) he set's into


Preparation is a hIg part of the process, and Cleen is clinical in hisarrangemenr of the required inks, tools and working supplies, Top Notch goes through miles of paper towel and other sanitary supplies intheir que-SI to avoid infection. The 'WdUS ma.y be covered with artwork, but: the :floors and counter tops are as neat as a pin. Once rhe rools of rhe rrade have been set our, he begins the pfooess.

Spraying the 'targe'[' areawitb 'Green soap, the skin is shaved clean to provide the bestworking surface, This smooth surface is then marked wich the heat nansfer layout created from, his initia] sketch. The simple black lines will provide Cleen with a basic guideHne, and changes win be made as he gets further into the tattoo. 111 rhisexample, he felt the lleed [0. fie-shape the curve ofthe skull for thebest result. Much. ofthis work is done with a baU point pen drawn directly on the skin.

His technique begjns by applying black ink

to the outline of the; piece, Even this seemingly siInp le task requires skin and an artistictouch, Unlike many other forms of art, once this ink is applied) there's no going back tore-do your

motions, Certain changes can bemade later to the muoo) but doing them correctlythe first rime 5av,es a lot of grief Satisfied with theapplication of the black outline, he sets into motion 'applying the shading required to bring depthto the art" Viewing this

process reveals a. su btle yet distinct changewirh almose ~€~y buzz of the machine ..

The applicarion of a multitude of colorswill

Within the space of mayh'c 15 minuses, Cleen has created the illustration tha.t tlJ.ill be used for the tattoo, Some of his Jtt:ljftak'es: days to c:om::Plete their desired art; but it typicaliyd~J1mds Ofl hoio ornate the piece will be.

,On,ce everyone is satisfied with the image:~ it is n:amftrred onto a shee.toftracing paper:



,Cutting around the art, it is the,n Jai(/ onto .the locasio» to be inl?ed. ThiS: assures th'tlt the ima~e £5 the ,corre(ft dimensia n ,for ,tht! area receiving th.e art.

After milking a photo copy of th.e ·tr.til:in~ another copy is made, but thu time 1.tsingthermal fax paper; tmdit ;will be used to' place the outline ,on:t1J the skin before the tattoo can ,begin.

Top Notch .takes an extra measure rI cautio» and cooers ,all th,f!' telatedfJ.a,. with plastic to avoid tra:mfor of any' bodily fluids from one client to tht· nexs. This includes ho'sts, cablr:s1md spray bottles.

Preparing the mttchin(! for use requires inserting the chosen needle into the tuo'e, A 7 round needle' will be used for most of the work.

If '}zo·t s,ec'U'f;et4 the needle .would vibrate .freely with.in the tube Ult!'h disastrou: results: A set ,of tubber

bands, designed for this use, d()' thetritk'.

.A 'Sh,r:e.t of clean pllper towel is set down before' arranging a small quantity of moistttrizing com .. pormt/, used' to ,ke'lp th.e small cup's foam tipping.

After spraying .the target area with ansi-bacterial Green S OtlP, the region is shaved dean.

Carifidly aligning the bea: tr:ansftt; a final check for position and location can he made'.


'The' tr:ansfir is .then placed on the'skinan,d'gently rubbed to make a clean imprint of the outline,


Once the backingp'aper is remoued; we can Jet! the sketch which will become the road' ,map for the ink.

Filling one of the cups with black ink~ ,the machine is loaded with the color: To avoid prerntlmre drying,th,(! r:emaining colors 'will nat be poured until needed.

,Ou,tiining the art is thefint 5tep"and requires a steady hand: 'The entire tramfer will need to be out-

tn4 i ,b: I L ,b.·.~'£'·'· ' in» Il', '~" '. ". ···.t·'-,·· .. t: ca ·b- , .

L ea _ n f.UC~ . (fore any lluatt1()na wort< can . tgtn.


cOlnplete the work, bur the selection and use seems to happen with littlerhyme or reason. 'Only after viewing the repeated choice of CQ,~0J\t and techniques can we see the evil gf:nius of Cleen coming to Hfe., Some of his mo,(esapp~ to be quite random, but make more sense wi~h every passing motion. He also 'works in small areas :at a. rime, moving around to reduce distG'J!il" fort ro the tarrooee,

Each time themachine touches the skin, a~ the mechanical buzz occurs, it locksas if only a small blocch of ink has been applied .. Once di€ excess is 'wiped Clwa.ywe can see the trausfonm:" don happening. Often times) repeated use of d!jf· ferent hues and intensities are required to .ach]e~~ the desired shape or color .. Working quickly b~~ steadily, the final contours come ro·life ..

Blending ink colors to create the exact bu~ ii common with Cleens work) and the outcome makes his efforts become apparent. Even the smallest details, like the curvedteeth on this s1mll

~' . .

receive numerous layers of colors to achieve th~ three-dimensional shape that comes from the multitude of mOE ions. As] watch the ink being applied, I often wondered what me end result would be for anyparticular region, Oinlyatt·er seeing the repeated use of colors and shapes am his work truly be appreciated.

Some sections ofthis piece only required a single color to .fill in the shape, but even this task is done in smaH sections, often adding a s,~ight1, different shade to achieve a, deeper leve~ of tex,. rure and de(aiLWith this: tanoo being the fIrst I had. everexperienced in-process, the illeveJ. of art required made .my head hurt. ] had trouble s:ra:ringwithin the lines of a coloring book, and I used fairly sharp crayons to do the job,

Severa] times in the p'Iocess) 1 'was certain that an areawas complete, Little did 1 know t'h~] Cleen still needed to add another touch of colQF here} or more contours there. Although done oW a" one-dimensional surface, the skull soon cook ~11 new levels ofderail that made it appea.r to grow from the skin. The glowing red burst that emanates from behind the growling skull hr.] Wl~

1iJ "educe the discomfort level for the client, Cleen oJiPl moves fiom one area to another to spread the setJJ1ttion a1'o'und:

Tbe process moves to the' upper edge a/the piece and lrogress is swift.

11 r;{rntainer of hot water all()wsCleen to rinse the previous ink from the machine before beginning the sh:ading andfilling.,

With the black ,(Jutliru: complete, etten terns his attenti01:lS to filli1'lg in some of th.e black sections of the tattoo.

Each buzz a/the machine lays down another segment of ink) leaving a beautiful contour behind.

Cieen has a well-earned reputation for highly de,tailedtatt()t).s~ ,and thispiece will be no different. M£nltt1! sections of the art are filled' in as he moues from one area to the next.


WOrkingftom dark to light again" (1 small bit of Jark blue is ,t.M,ed

A constant applicttt-i"on oj:moisturizing ointment helps to keep the skin: moist and recepm« to the colors bdng used.

Stepping to the next pbsse, a slz'ght~ brighter shade of blue is used to enhance the lower jaw oftbe skull


'e ~ ... ~ .. ,

Cken sets out the uariou» ink colors abead of time.

another level of depth to the completed piece; although it was done somewhere in the middle ~ the entire job. 'Having a fairly good ga.me plan before starting each job allows Cleen to move around the site, although to 'the. untrained eye r~ appearsro be. a. random process.

As we can see from viewing the. step' ... by-stefl images, no masking, templates or friskers were uSled ro creare the image .. The raw talent of the artist, and his grasp for 'the technical aspects wa~ aU he needed to transform ordinary flesh into wo.rk of art. Patt of the technique used in appqr. ing 'tattoos is selecting the proper voltage from the power supply~ This \eve\ Qf 'pow'·e-r needs tl.l ~ adjusted to' meet with the section of skin in qu· tiornas w,dl as the customers own special con:d



Wi' a;foH c(Jmpliment of in,k at hiJcommand Chm:rften .blend! the hues to meet with his specific needs.>

A ~ofiS't'4nq' application of m,o'isturizing ointmen t

helps to ~eep the skin mois.t and r:eccp.tive to .the colors being used..

Al/iJ;itlonallight blu'(! is used to set the jl,erce teeth tfA1tt{iom the' backgrou.nd.

Although only a small amount a/ink has been tl_pplied we can now see the sh.apes and direcsion of t.he tattoo .ta.king shape.

Before changing ink colors again, ,(J few more minor de.tails are seen to ..

Ag/owing red backgy:(JtJ,ndwill help to set the skull apart from th.e flesh and is a great contrast to the cooler hues of the' primary art:


W0rking swi[t-/y,ye,t; ca.refoL~ we see the red area

- .

increase in size, bringing new lifo to "the art.

The latest overall view begins to show us ,the shape of things to come" but Cleen has only bl1gun his work.

""- "--. -..: .~

As mentioned earlier, moisturizing ointment is continually ,applied to the ,afficted area to keep things ,from drying (Jut;


Adding sOfflebright:ness so the teeth, the white will be joined by mustardyellow and other hues to complete the. dental w(J'rk.

Thinner areas of flesh require Iower voltage than thicker segments, and so on .. To know this and to be able to properly apply the corresponding numbers is all a part of the craft.

Anorher bit of black art is in the touch of till artist. Some, Hke Cleen, use only enough pressure on the needle to do the job. Less experienced artists may use an excess of force" causing unnecessary pain to the client. Of course certain portions of the body ate more responsive to stimuli, while others remain unfazed by the stinging needle, AU of these aspects must be considered when applying a successful tattoo. Having a client squirming around in pain makes for a difficwt target.

As work draws to a close, Cleen begins adding tiny spots of ink '00 add highH,gh£s tothe skull. These: miniscule e:ffolfls may 'be seen as.

With the tee'th nearlyftnished~ 'purple ink is: 'used to Jbegin cf;t!ttting the fl~k'td-t-ongue.

~lh ,every step completed, we get a better idea of what Cleen has in store fo'" this bit of ski 12 ar.t.

JAdl:itional defini.tion is ,achieved by ,adding darle ink rt#htJhadoW] porti(J'1'ts of thepiete.

M(}r.~' ,clearly defi:ne:d' .than the las: s.tep~ UN! can see ,the skutldevcloping into a tMarf:y thrte-,dim:eriSion form.

Additional de,tail work on the fissures and plates of th.e skull tu:lt:l realism to tbe otherwise fontdfY' b(/S,ed bit ofcrafomanship.,

The gently sh,aped' contours reveal ,the overall .c()nfig~ ura.tioti while the sharply ,outli'n'ed deta,ils separate the ttoo aspectJjTom ,each other:


Helping to hring more dep.th and shap'c to' the dark. regjo1JS-, a .bright hlue ink will diffus:e a.nd highlight the work.

By wiping away ,the remaining ink 'we een see the delicate details left }.ehind. And' each layer ofcolor hrin_gs more realism to the art.

With several large areas leftt;o be fillet4 we now see eteen wing largeapplicatiom of cow, to b,egin the final stages.


The use of light, ink on, dark 'onlyworks due to the tra'nslucent nature of th.e colors" allowing the sh:a'ftt£ beneath to ShlJ'W' through and add dimemi()n~

compulsive, hut clients: never complain about much detail, When both Cleen ,and the recip,ie~~. are satisfied 'with the results a heavy layer of moisturizing ointment is applied to the surfa~,., This will aid in the healing process, and alloW fOli the final piece to retain its intensity The Iayo ,o£i sandwich wrap will also ensure thatthe new~ inked section of skin holds the ointment in. ~Ii~ and protects the vulnerable skin from ,exPOS,lJ.mi

Toy'pica1 healing time for '3, fresh tattoo is about 10 days, leaving behind a one-or-a-arne of art, at least when it hails from CI~en's Top Notch Tattoo.

W!ith a:nother section lzppli'ed and wiped away we ~e.ff), witness to the resulting detail

,Mii'ition4i sections that had remJ;.1.ined untouched are ~w treated to the .skilled application of ink, leaving nQ~ a slJuare inch untapped.

'he {BPller portion of the skull is nota the recipient of' ~er sections of ink, filling in: the blanks and

i(iAlf,w·J ~f.;. true ... to .. li/e det-ails.

Again~ t-h,e use of light ink' on top tldark will leave' b,ehindan indelible marl: that helps so create shape and contour:

Some of the w()rk is so sub.tle it makes it difficult to see theeffict" of each application, but a closer look reveals the efforts.

The larger areas co'ntinue so be filled in with ink, and will be enhanced ~y the use of details later.


'With the subject heing a human skui4 there' needs to be some' sections that arealmt)s.t white to ,bri"ng some ,added r.ealism to the'pir;ture~

Once ,any minor .bleeding has been stanched; the entire tat-too is coated w.ith a heavy layer of maisturizing ointmen: to help aid in healing.

Much lik,ea flesh cut of meas /rom ,the butcher shop> the area is then wrapped in cellophane and sealed to' ensure ,that the' brigh,t:iy co[():red skin can now begin its return to normal,


Some of the last ink to be appLied is that of the white flm~~ In·i'-lzging the final hits of dimension and detail to the piece~

An overall shot of,the fi:nish.ed piece flrings ,aU t?fthe ti~J 1forts into focus. What often, seemed like a r.edunda.nt .step now s.hows us how th.e use oj,these

h .... t: ..' ,J1

su ue insertions can aaa 1tp .


Adrenaline Tattoo

Like most talented tattoo artists, Lance prefers doing custom ink Some customerswill still choose a bit of safe, factory art for their images, The more adventuresome, however, understand that a truly individualbit of design sets a tattoo

aparc frOom all the rest. Having no limits as to what kind of images hell do, Lance is fairly fearless in

1: "Th d"1 k d "1 h b "- ~),

tnat arena, _"" e ,- ar cer an, more evu, tne oetrer )

claimsLance when asked about his favodte style of

"G"" gh I' h b ff" h

tattoo. ", ruesome, O'i, ou lS,ma.ca 're stu I IS me

While requesting the safety of anonymi~ Lisa happily llgreed to have her latest bit a/ink ,created'by Lance Norrie Her txiJting veldt of jungle foliage and creatures made ,the peifect backdrop for her latest parrot art) and closely resem,btes one' ofher own at-hom e P',ets..


mo-st. fun, especially when the person getting rhe ink sets me rr,ee. n

From what I have seen so far, the majority of tattoo shops are kept as clean as they-can be, The fr'ollt showrooms m.ayappear to be a bit, dodgj; 'but 'the actual tattoo booths are antiseptically clean. Lance is no different, and strives to make and keep hits area as neat as i pin. In his case, '[he pin may' he sticking through an illustrated eyeball, btu you get the idea.

for this blue and gold Macaw tan, Lance

began with at simple outline of the bird. in ,question,and then added his own personal flair to the piece. Often times, additional details will 'be added to the piece as it progresses. Lance says that he can see the finishedltattoo in his mind long before touclUng needle to skin. This level of creativity is. fare; but makes for a terrific ink-master, Given his druthers the bird would. have been sportinga skull of some sor-t, but he was able '£0 behave h.imsdf

this time around. The next guy m;ay not be as lucky.

The procedure for creating any tattoo begins with the transfer of an image to skin. Once this g!l~.ddine has been positioned the real work

begins. The basic black outline wiU determine the @vetall image as well as creating boundaries tor the ·soon to be applied colors. Any areas to be shaded in black are: completed next so that the, 0010.[8 can be laid on top, creating the shapely contours in

the finished art.

Having seen several other tattoos being ci',ealted by now, Lance's methods were fairly typical while lis attention to detai] was top-shelf. He targeted ~neareat at a 'time then movedto another. This fJrocess keeps the discomfort leve] to a. tolerable threshold for the tattooee. Not being a fan of the ~v.iaty world, it was something to watch him turn Mank skin into a highly derailed bir-d, with an incredible amount of contour in the feathers coveJring the body. The tiny spots on the bird's face we're another highlight that a lesser artist may have '0"verlooked.

The pain threshold and sensitivity of each ,tecipient is different, and the needle didn't seem. to botheJ:Lisa. too 'badly, but wiping away the excess

Wor.king with an existing,P'iece of art; Lance tracts thedesi,red form to ft,t the ,c/i'en,ts request.

A clean sheet of material is placed on the work surflct! and the b,asic needS' are' set ou:

Black a.ndb.lue ink witl .be used in tIle first steps~ and the colors ate squeezed into .the waiting cups.

__________ ~'1IIIl

A series of additio nal ar:t will help to guide Lance thruugh the maze' of details to be used' on the tattoo.

A sLight amount- of pr.essure transfers the im-age .from the p-ap,er to the ski'n.

After lifting ,the backing papler, a clear image of.tbe tattoo is left behi'nd, pr:o'viding Lance wi.th a m:,,:P' to the fini:shed piece.


In typical ftlShi()n,~. the wo.rk begins by outlining the ,tattot)' in black,

s. '." h·}· ,L. .1' .' k .'.... J'~' fi

taytng 'wtt.tn Inc unes U a .ry ~ngre6uentt()' a tme-

!y detailedpie:ce, aith'ough the task is tedi'O'us.

As the black outline progre-sses~ excess ink smears the area until wiped clean.

ink was avoided when possible, Other ratcoos are wiped dean rna re often as theartistgauges his progress and checks for needed details. Attempting to keep Lisa's discornfQr~ llievel under control,

Lance was for,eed 00 skip that step :a few times.

JPersonally,' I have a tough time talking and dOlug much of anything else at the same time. Lance on the other hand was' able to chat 'with Lisa, her husband and I without a hitch as the needle buzzed away on Lisa's skin. Our topics of conversation seemed to center around grue'some motion pictures and other related subjects, Lanoe has two kids, one of which already has a bu-ge tattoo featuring an angel holding irs own, heart, hav~ng been .. recently torn from its chest ca;-vity~ Not '[he happiest of images) but right up Lance's alley;, He told us that hils son has a nice collection of !Sharp edged wea.pons in his 'bedroom, and was a peinr of pride for Lanoe. Some kids collect trading cards for~un~ but rhatwouldnt seem. ri~ght being all offspring of Lanoe.

Beforebeginn.ingwork on the p.arrot, Lance ,§tuessed an elapsed time of about two hours Ito ootnplere the work .it ended up being slighdy morethanthar, but the constant chattering: b.etwee;n the people in the: room m;ayha:V,e been

tihe' canse for' the extension, In the end" Lisa: was f,Iwe{ll with her new art, nestled amongst the vir~Ra~ jungle she has: growing on. her armalready M,j!Hlkey'S.) tropical plants and 'other assorted anidhave been inked onto her arm so fax,wlth lfi6te addirions to foUow. "In about 6 mon ths" she Glalm~il . .As with, other pieces I have seen, the

am~iN~ will usually ask the clienr if they intend on. ~tiIDFi:g',m'oreto the area in the futun!. This allows tt&emtbe ability to plan ahead, leaving space for 6resh irtrk 'as the clien t req uests, This small geS£[Jlrt; _~~ Ji£e- f3lt easier for the artist and avoids the Uie~tfu tID work around an existing piece or to cover ~It ~~pl~tdy with fresh 00101:.

hi; we mentioned earlier; a parrot is hardly 1!1if;hft IL¥amd~ typically applies to a customer, but he lS llillly Gapablft of ere acing a, finished piece that is W~rt~y flit histalenes.

Beneath' tJJe smudged area we can se« th.e completed outline of the !lira,s tail feathers.

,Continuing upwards~. ()u,tlining the h,(),riyof the' parrot is now in process.

The inkc,()12,'tinues to smear ouer th,r! ajfoctedregio'n, but willS()(Jn be cleaned ojfto reiJealthe work sofor:.

Returning to tbe scene of the crime, more details are ,added to the' body ,of .the bi'r:d.

The body ,of the bird contains more detail than the

. / d' ..

tal.", ana requtr:es more attentzon.

With most. of the Mtlt:aw~ body done, additional outlin« work is done on the tree hranch.,


The parrots head is the last th.ing.to be outlined, leading us to the more extiti~g a:pplica,tion ~lc()ll)red inks.

The ,()'utliru complete, but has yetto be wiped clean of the smudged refuse .

.After beingcleane:d,we can see ,the clear outli.ne oj the tattoo awai.ting the firs-t dabs of blue'.

Jflf.N.J·l~·.. tv the tail feathers} the first bits of blue . >ROW being appb~td.

. 'the cearlieJt applictltionsbegin to show us the '$IJ4itJlrtr (Jnd conlours tha,t will mak,e the flnished' ~:Pltl~e'tIJ~:JJt~~r'to be' .3-dimensional

Cont(Jurs and shading are achieved by !Ising difforen: shades of blue~ going fro:m dark to /£ght.

Comple.ted in: small sections, t-he ink' will slowly be built up to become a fin:ished bit ofart.

D'espite the clutter a/excess ink~ we can begin to see the centaurs of the feathers taking sh.ape.


Small Sf-ChOTIS of lighter blue are used to add ,dimen ...



Every step shows usadditlonal detail and clttrity of the finished pitce.

With many s.teps to flllo~ we can already begin to see the bird comin:g to lifo.,

Moving to the bodjfoathers, the Macaw is startbzg to appear shapt:lie.t7~

With tbe unused ink wiped' clean; we can see tbe re.sults of the b4Siccolor appl£e:ation.

As the piece continues} smaller details are added 'will enhance the completed art.

AI. _ Lance Norris was the artis: sekctedfor this tattoo, and he plies his craft at Adrenaline Tattoo in Orland()~ Florida.

Again wip,ed clean, the body of the Macaw is taking shape.

Section by section use can see how the application of iheblue ink turns blank skin into a ji,nished' ,bird.


Mareftequent ,cleani,ng. of the area is req.uired to keep tabs on progress and required contours,

'The intricate effor,ts w#l set thls .. ,tattoo' apart'yom tb'ose done without t.he same fttte.ntion to detail..

.Feather .by fiat;;er we can: see the work coming to



The ti'ny st~ps being taken are. now adding up " .. nw"""," bod} of the parrot gets closer to' be.ing fi:nished .

. Another vi-eweleared oftiJ,t: excess ink shows us·(/, nearly complete b,ody.

Lighter shades ,t?f blu'(!~ laid over the' darker base .

"1.. • . J;' ,

O'YS, pves tne art t.ts extra asmensum,

M(J.7jJitJt/~()m the head to the tail ink' can now be iIPIlidllJ fJ!jat region of the piece.

Mdni/Jtfal sh.ades ofblll<c are introduced to the canBJ1J:~ tlJ1l1ing a new level of realism.

Lo'nge-r tail ftathers are filled-in indiv'idually before lighter sh.ades are placed on top.

Although not yet cleane:d:, we can sec that the basic blues of the ta'il feathers are ,nowcompie,tc.

Befort! moving on to the lighter colors, we now get a ,glimps:e at the completed blue segmens:


B' .: blue d , ·ld· '. 14" . .~"", b " .:

, ,61ng a .... wue an, ,.' go. ' .. 1J'JaCtlU$ iss time to .. ', .epn

adding some f!f tbe ,brighter ink to the .head.

Areas' .a/goid hav'e also been added'to the cbes: and tail.to hring more realism $1)' the art.

Shading on the pointed heak comes next and is also don,e to sbmo shap,e and dimension.


Highlights of white are drawn onto tbe·face, brin~ ing new levels of'detail to thc·piece.

A hint' ofgrerenis added if)' the top' rOf.the head .1fdPFn.rII we set on .the .actual bi . .,.d used as our model.

Ayellt;.w eye glares at us after being filted:in .tI)jj$ appropriate hue.

tree limb gets its first bit of color, and is begun II widtyy mag needle"

iiNf"lefl!rm'F_'lS' {/;n! first filled in b,ifor.e shades of' rmn,~".,'1'/'llf:' ttdded to" .the branch~

A r-eddi5b-brown is now thro,wn into' the mix to ~rm!·lifi to the perch.

Gently' shaded curves define the branch but don't; take away from thep'rimary focus.

Theupper segment of the branch is now ,addressed with the fi'rst touches of brown.

The' last area to be flnishe~ the twig is completed' by ,using other shades ,oj,the same color:


Insight Studio,s

As with the other artists we'll meet in this book, Scott begins the process hy discussing the needs and desires of [he client, Once a direction or theme has been chosen, Scott puts pen to paper and begins to sketch our his version of what he

thinks will work, It luay take a few attempts tn Sll'~ isfjr 'the requiremems, but no work will begin Unti1 all parties agree on the: art) color, size and loca:dQH of the piece,

- Scott prefers creating original art over using


With ab,o.Jy ,already adorned wi-til se7)e~al other tattoos, "Pyro" was all too happy to agree to have a new bit-of fte-s,h ink inst-alled on hi~ skin:. He selected Scott Fricke'.for m'l! job, and the evil grin,ni'ngtievil nota peers (}tlt /tom th.e top of his low-neck t~s,hirts.

. ~1~. 'mJi(j)~1is;J!!'V:la~il~Jble. There are some peo~nr ,~§im,:ple bit of iak, and forthemthe

. Imf ~I 'aai ·Wi11. .suffice .. Doing. those 'ra trees is

. €aaHe:nging ocr rewarding .for Scott, _,-,.._,,, '-""'''''''.,' .... _- arpJiS'l' I have mer, Real satlsfacrioa ifrn-e~~~rli1~:m;~\i,~:-,ip_g up the piece :6:0,111 a mere iot;r~!htJ!):f~jf~~tlon~. then transferring the ink to

~ · dreams to life,

~.-..e bl~1& seen, cleanliness is paramount and ~ ~J(wm,g (;punt~r-co.ps at Insight Studios are an 'Ghvw~ ~ina:er of that practice. Ea:chbay is

lth- pfellty .of shelving, storage slots and '1ng' te allow for uninterrupted work. ¥lork_ area has been wiped down with dis_-fd~i 5'OOtt begins to la.y -out the tools of his ~ l)Jt~ ar;;dsts:wiU rypically pre-load each ma~him!lf:wJ~b- the needles-they will need £0·[ the rat-

(~-a.ldi~d~Mter loa.&ing the required needle sets m[0 ~J\e~i!chines, fresh tubber bandsare used to Ilclltl ~Ii~m' in ,Pl'al(]~:.Hoping to avoid. the transfer of any' mi :~i-aJs between clients, the use of the fn!sh ~~. ~S proof-of the details we .may overlook.

Al~~WJie_'Partides can land on any available sur-

:tl~ ~ ~"bangjngas many oomponents as possible -td!§ the recipient. Anything not changeable ~ ~~lrOO in plastic.

. : both the area: and tools ready to go,the

f.]~dtor cups are filled 'with the hues needed .. As ~h~Aln gr'ows~ additional colors wiU be added to the Q]~lbtJ: and are only poured when required .. The

_~~ -tJallsrer can IJ.OW be positioned one last time cbe jiob call begin. The, area to be r:a:!:cooe:d is ~~~~d with asolution iha€ will make 'the tran~fer-

- '. bener and last longer, Peeling off the transfer h~lefCa few places devoid of the needled markings, ~C"'~§ott uses a marker to complete [he road map. H;,l.'V[ng at dear outline to follow makesapplying the

m~sr ink an easier task, . .

loaded with a. 5 round set and black ink, the ]jEst machine buzzes to life andthe outlining l?.to.cess begjns. Depending on the region being ~~ne~ andthe settings of£hemachine" [he skin ~~netth the outlinewill swell sUghdy. If nothing else, this result 'will make it easier fa r the artist to know wh.ere.he)s been .. Scott moves around a bit as he applies the black to reduce discomfort. As [be

After discuslions as to the desired subject matter, :th.is illustta:tit:in 'Was created by SC()# fl" US~ in the tatto«

Trimming the excess from the art allaw$ for better place.ment of th.e piece.'.


Warl#n,g his finished tattoo so be visible when ueerb~g a tank top~ the transfer is placed high on tth;~ y:pper back.

Now with the art complete, ct.l1,d in she aa:ep'ted positim'l.~ w()~·kc.an begin.,

The first ink, ,applied to ,the twisted vines behind the J'" b J_ + ".t: b'l k

aeuu snanas, is oJ cousse tuacs.


Progress is swift in the creation of the basi: .black lines that will comprise the background ()f the finished pie,c(;~

A bit of additional pen wm·k was n:qui'red to' {{)m~ p les« the basic 0 ltdi 11.(1.

.Moying c~()unter-clot:kwist, Scott C(J'nti11UfJ to mort 'Up the thorny uine.

steps continue, [he skin win grQw' increasingly raw [rom the snnging needle, Lacer in the tattoo Pyre is becoming visiMy uncomfortable, but soldiers on

like a Hooper. He has had many tattoos done in the past, but for some reason this one seems to be more painJu.~, than the rest. Being a Chicago fireman he is no stranger to undesirable situations and rhisis no differenr) albeit less dangerous.

Once the black outline has been complered ewe can start the more entertaining portion of the

show, Some dark, shaded areas are also filled in, bringing some shapeto [he otherwise black work. Adding color to the piece allows us (0' see the work become real. Although predominantly red in color, a palette of hues wiU bring more life and definieion to this devilish canvas.

Moving around the skin, the red ink. is being applied (0 both small and large areas, depending on the space being: targeted. A 7 m.ag needle set puts down a. wider swath. of color allowing for shading

as well as fining in larger sections with less motion. The larger needle does add some addi rio nal sensadon to rhe process~ burPyro holds his ground,

Ir doesn't matter bow often 1 view the tattoo process, I am always amazed at how the: seemingly mndo,mapplica.tion of inks can result in such a dimensional bit of an. Scotr's hand! places the needles at nurnerous pointsof the piece, buzzes some ink lUW placewipes awaythe residueand before [00 long we can. see (he fruh:s of his labors. He will periodically lay a sheet of paper towel over rh.e art then hose it down with cleaningsolurlon.Wiping rhe mess away reveals the latest layer of his work, sh.owing us more detail [han before.

The bulk of rhe red hues have now been completedl) bur he returns to the scene ofthe crime to add a. touch here and there, bringing even more ]Jluncatepauernsa.nd 'shapes co the forefront. By US~llg the highesr quality inks) the tattoo will look as :good afcer healing as 1[ does when fresh. Some it{:llo,.[s are even brighter once the 10 day healing pmcess is over, Almost invisible hints ,of lighter shades will bring a new level of amazement to whomever views the final piece. Whi le viewing the fArs:r tattoos heing done for thi'S project} I almost qlH~stioned the reasoning, but held my tongue only

A.lthoughmaving quitk~ the early stages of the tattoo are barely an indication of whatwillfollow.

Tbe demon} horns are now ,{Jutlined ahead of the color to be added later.

Never as' interesting as the color port£(}'f} .of the w()rk~ we' can still see the design beginning to come to' lifo.


Continuing in It righ,t to teft pa.ttern~ more of the vines are completed.

Prelim:irutry work is speedy as we have already reached she for side ()f the background uines.

With the vine outline nota complete there is much 'W,ork l~fi to be done.


The right hand' ,and fl,ce now get some attention tIS the black outlining process moues on.

A lot of details wi'll be seen as the artproceeds; Ifnd carefol,application of the black is a key Jactm' in t& jinishedpi'ece,.

Tbe simple outline' of the vine is now accenue additional details.

to ~ the beauty of the work 'before: me, Small bits rlwhite, ~a the: eyes and teethadd clarity and _nsian to the evil being created O,Q Pyres back.

&dJy for him, the ordeal has taken. its tol], leaving th¢'afTeGr~ area raw and even more sensitive to (he needle)s fIDuch.

The',6nalleg of [he journey will be the addinen of fine bright green background color, Not £e<tuiroo by any means} but the contrasting color willlliJp" to set the: red devil apart form '(he back~lln,d andthe flesh that lives beneath, With the a;mv(Hrk nearly complete, Scon returns 'to add, a few m:0r~ touches of detail It seems like he and other an!s1lS are: never satisfied asthey push the envelope afinnni:tt details to the limit and beyond ..

'With the needle work complete, Scott will ottGe mOE,!; wipe the area dean with paper rowe] and fl.lli,d. Before wrapping the fresb ink with

gaUf.e~ he applies a heavy coat of an ointment that is~i(i;}l in vitamins A, and 0 to the affected area.

lo/ff.I is happyto be done with the piece after nearly fOur hours of stinging.

i~ the end of the day, we have witnessed the birth of yet another example of human flesh turned xnt0 art in motion. Sure" you can buy a. collectible p.aim.ting by your favorite artist) but try lugging it around with you wherever you go. Spend.ing as

mueh time On a. motorcycle as he does, FYIo prefers to huve, his art attached and part ofhis own body.

Sf~r;dJ progress is made

·in the process a/outlining the'piece dnd gro'ws near "be (l.ppiicdtion(}j color ink.

Shading of th.e nails of the rz"gh,t hand, as well as most ,oj the uines, are nmo being readiedfor tbe chosen color.

Facial accents and details are added in bla,ck to provide ,a soiidfoundation for the red that will soon be added.


Outlining near the top of Pyros neck caused some additio1'lal disc()~for,tbut ail parties trudged on,

With the details of the hands now complete, work can mooe to the face.

The eyes and mouth are now given attention in preparatio n for the use a/red.


Additional detail and shading ejfortsare made' to entire piece bef01~e shifting into t.he use of'Ted' and gre,en in,les.

Several cups are now filled with the red, green and whitei12k as Scott gets readyfor the final steps:.

The firstapplica:tion of red ink isplaced on th'e IrA hand' bringing lifo to the o'utlined £rnage.

'Using a larger needle allows the area to /;efilled in more ,quickly while still Jnaintaining control.

P;''eliminary color work on the right; hand has nour begun.

WOrking in small areas .helps to minimize discomfort for the recipient tIS Scott returns to the l'!ft hand for more attention.


Turning his focus to' the devil} foce, Scott begins to apply' the ,bright red hue.

Each sfl'Utll.step reveals another section of detail, ,d~pth and form.

The deta'il is in thede-v,if as work continues to mutate ,()'rdinary/lesh into' a work of art.


Larger areas call be filled' in ,qui.ck~ but 'will.stili reveal anotherfocet of the artists vision and ability ..

Ov:erall "We can see the' art moving ,alcm,g swift~ wi"th lJVer-,changing sections .ofgreater contour dha depth.

Using a brighter shade of red' will br£ng added dimension ,1;0 the hands as well as the rest of th:e· ptace.

The left h.and is nmo complete and appears to blJ'O/ real flesh.

Mt)ving back to the foce a/evi.l brighter red is installed to bring shape to th,e curvature of the cheeks.

By applyi'ng the inks in layers goingfrom dark to light) we can see the results of the multiple st.eps taken.


With the red sections complete, its timeto add some green to the backgroundfor contrast and effect.

The .lustrous green hue' will set the head and hand.s apart from the skin for more dramatic results.

Filling in the green sections requires a larger needle than used on the details and thro'ws dawn a .b:~g spread of ink.


With the'green ,ba'ckground glow now complete, ills time to add thefinal touches oj,detail

Continuing with the dark to lightprtJcess} is now applied to th't! first of the monsters horn.

Clean, white teeth are important, even to the of darkness, SO whitt ink is also used to JJ',; te IJlt2'fJtJtI!t1 pointed fangs.

The most minute details malee the difference as we set th'c glowing white teeth b'foughtto lifo ..

No demon would becomple"te without a set ofgJow~ itzg orb'S and white ink is used to light up their' evil.

lbe· menacing grimace and glowing ,eyes art compli(me:fJted by t-h.ehighly detailed.focial jel/;tur.rs of'the ,iece.

'The'fillish.ed piece now can be viewed in its entirety; Once th.e healing process is complete) the cosors will become more vivid ,and lose the sheen they wear now.

A final coating of moisturizing ointment is applied to the skin r4w'fi"()m the needles' sting:

Covering the tattoo with a soft ckJ,thwill ensure safe transport bomeas tht healin,g p recess begins.,


Little Ftank

Unlike most, if not all, of the remaining artists in this book, Frank, has no formal training in the world of art, drawing or illustration .. His intrigue

- '

with the crafr he,gan 'with some: ink on his grand-

fa[hei's arm, and his interest grew from. that single

exposure, Arthe render age of 9 he knew he want· ,ed to get tattoos, and probably go on to bec:ome:l1 tattoo artist himself Many of us arestil] dreaming of being astronauts or some other unrealistic 'LoG -,',U "'_. choice at that stage in life, so we can see how in

It's Just A little Prick

With their pending nuptials on the horizon, Autumn, was eager so hav:e her husband apply her nextbtltch ' art. She is no stranger to the craft and her fiance has been In the racket for m,t'~Y years .hz~mlelf The foh WlIiJ onepiece in a tong series of plaJ'l:nedpieces.,


• !EaS , a persons persistence can pa.y Q{£,

JL':' .~ the rest of the artists here, Little Frank ,rile in the cleanliness of his shop. His new

~~Il"'Jj~o"Jn Decatur, Illinois used to be a dentists 8" the layout of the SpOol 'was perfect, Nice watlil(n~'l:UQm and reception area, with several IUJiU.J!·,\l'U.l:I.,~ that have been converted into tattoo '.l)£Itttttlt),~, ~lenty of shelf space and 'terrific lighting ~ fox a. friendly environment. Frank himself is an B1liibffie .guy who is easy to get along with right from1ih:,c ·get-go.

Wf0re setting up fot the tattoo, he deans an

aImad_f spotless work surface and wraps the

req,uirM gear in. disposable plastic sheathing.

Ifl,~e ,effortS will prevem cr,QSS contamination ~~n. clients, and keep infections at hay. Several watIiq tattoo machines hang at the ready on

ro-afie racks, and can be put into service at a, m@m,iftn'f~ notice. Frank and a partner designed a. ma~ll1e of their own years ago. By drawing the &@!t, 'on Autocad first, men laser cutting the steel

. n.tm <dhape~ they had a machine to call their very ~~ C'@mbin.g their initials, the "Duf" tatroo

i1liadU~ne came to be.

HIs willing participant" Autumn Star, is: also

lin) namce, and! has received many bits: of tattoo

, ~if,rom Frank over the years. Frank has even ~ted. a major back piece on Autumn's mom, so ~kn(1JW her family is OK with his appearance tmdt€ar,eer choice. Not everyone in his position ea;l1lby the same.

'While on vacation in Las Vegas recently; Au.itLml.B and Frank. viewed an enormous fish tank. lft ~chain restaurant. Enamored of the colors and shilifes of,tbe fish and their surroundings, it was >l@n decided to be hernext bit of ink. 'Upon mwrrung home, Frank sketched outs small diora-

~~ of sea life before continuing; The combination 01tlthe fish and the related undersea life captured rtlle essenceofwhatthey saw on vacation. Franks Mlis~onhad. lots of bright colors to really bring the ink to life.

While many shops use a copymachine to

meve their sketch to the transfer paper, Little

~fank prefers '[0 do the work by hand. Additional manges can be made to the art this WaLy" providing one last opportunity to improve the work.

nOO of the cups get filled with black ink, and tbe machines art loaded for' action. The water cup will be' used to rime outthe needles b,e.twee.n steps;.

After ,conferring with another artist in the shop, final location for the neurplece is decided on and the .transfer is put inplttce.

A 3 rouru:/, othenois« known as a 3-liner n,eedle~ will be used to begintl1e basic outline' of:the' tauoo: The starfish is the first to get attention.


Before comp/tting th~' outline of.the 'sta.r.fohl Little F"rankmtlvQ.f to .the sand dollar below .it to .continue 'With the ()utiine.

The v.asit: bltu:k'outJine moues ala ng !iU(.iftiy as tlther bits of undersea lifo ar,e completed ..

Moving ~tJan;other $txtio'n of the skin~ the conti is now jiven its first bit%utlini.ng.


The coral; fish and seaweed are ~"ecei't?'iftg th~ir btIJia .()'utiineswith' color inks to follow ..

Tinybuhbies and sea weed are (lIt a part of t,hiJ: ttndersta vision and when compltoted will mttAlfr;1 great setting.

To aid in th,(J #lusirYfZOf heing '1~rz.mt:1U,t:Q:nj~~fJ~ fer (Jutli ning on the coral is nota adiled.


Pleased with the amounsof color and detail .Frank can now moue on to another s.egment of th,f_ tattoo.

Bright yellow .ink w.ill bring some liK" ter t-o the lower section of th is u:ndcmen in'Jage addzng to the'ov,erall appeal· . intensity

Highligh.t-s ,of.tbe sam'tbr-ight '\I.e .'U()WI'mi now .added to the' ,edges of the coml18 bring the shape into sharper fl~

M:ovifZg to the sea weed a dark g'f<een ink will begin (he multiple stages needed to fill in the afficted areas.

Overall we can see' the tiny bits of color adding to the entire piece.,etlch in thtir own: small measure"

A ligh.ter- shade of green is now added to the sea wee.d to create a 3-,dimensional effect to :the 'Wav'ing foliage., .

Even the otherwise orange coral gets a bit of bright green ink to add some flair.

As Little Fr.ank r_amps .up for the final stretch, a vast palette of colors' art pu.t into thew'tliting ink cups.


u:tetting .a .paper towel with solution wilt allow Fmnk to clean off the J.trtly ink so he cn-n view his work completed safar..

'We get a ,quick' glimpse atpr;f)g!ess made so for beft":;!! Fmnle returns to .tilt] skin with his loaded needles of

. cole«

Returning to the aneFnonewith some vivid red i'",k

lJ _J J_ sc "}J~ .

reauy t«uu' some pop to tf'Jit .tattoo.


The small santi do/Jar at the bottf)m now grts som« illuminating corai-colored ink to In-lng it to lift.

Background sh:ading will help to set off the brlgliih colors used on the variety ofplant lift seen on thh fles.h canvas .

Subtle ia sen tier shading on tbe hody of the foho f1m' tUJwbitgin) and will be the fir1t .of.many steps tdifJI

A !ttM/ttlted periwinkle ink is· noto ~~7fJJ; 'the body 0/ thefoh and will L ttmong many color: utilized.

1hturning with the lavender ink, iflmtzli: works on the top section of the brightly ,colored fish.

Steppi.ng h'/Jck fto'm his work. Little Frank sizes up what needs to he don« next.



The lowerjin receives a large section Qf #ght yellow in,Ie' to separate it fi~.om ,thblue' and purple body.

Adding It stripe ,of orange to theytUul1J

fi ,ufi-_l.. 'd' .... LJ. '

17. WUt ... urtner as ... :, In sne aecorat/ll8

nature of this piece.

The dorsal fin nota gets its OW1Z .' yeilo-wand orange to match the 100ftr fin.

. . .. '-~---'-~----.~- .•

A _ .. I' k'

&. : Li rue Fran <

kmg /iarilt:.Jf(J,1f, ~,e14 fiffjng"1Ji!ttt)r)S?

yelllJ.F5 li.l:~; .

WtJIrt#J'¥ ;jr~'lfa1itDd .~:ou. .gil/lle anomer' per ...

puc a ~Jnid, lb1lln1ieirHr,eAtJ:;1o'Opt;mn~ ankle .

. you IIi/Ire tj ldrllqr_~,~e sryte. r.w g¢?n.re :yc¢u like sa in!

like dl.il1g rea~~~rli~ fJie«s. with: lets 9fcolor. ceurse if .8Jf· .dimr wallt'S b~ack and 'wnite, can cilf0 ra·all! as ~elt

. .

Are th-e.r.e tltyW rQrtfsPJ fJitt there who inspire )Iou.?

There ar€ ~v.~aI t~ieEes done by s.cott Wlnske the l(!\)ltib~ aad! h:is w!,e.:and 'way of U;S1.ri; colare S0'fl'e lig mp-- f~Y(Wf1f¢S.


A black outlint will help to .define the edges of the coloiful tail fin.

What "unders,e.a creature. wO'uldn'tlik£ a set of'hright red lips? The' entirtain.ing .nature of this tattoo allows fin"J~ome ~eative'li(:en'seF

The firs.t· slashe» .that represent the gills of the fish arc now added. Ever see a fish with f!)(!' lashes before?


~ can now seethe sha¢ing added to tbe gills as as the lavender ink being used to color .the'fo'ce.

White ink is noui ,appli'ed to' the background to :bcP. sure to .k~ep the colors sQ,gregated.from .the tnat:u.ral skin: tone.

Returning: once agaln to. the tu.bu/a,. anemone; Fr.an.k creases .small sections of whic:e ink to add . finishing touches to ,tIle lift~ lik,e creatures.

, . ,eaw,e:ed also' receiaes a bit of

to htJf}· ''C its edges and con-


UJi/tlg white ink Little FranJe adds ·.JI!1f1IJII'.n:zu~ almost invisible scales to

thI •.. ' of tht fijh. It is details like lJJjj. .~iiat makefor a terrific ta.ttoo..

!fi/Qe we see the completed piece before' ~eit1g wrapped Upfo., take out. Once' rit.;gJJt heals the colors will remain. true' for many years to come.


Having spent the better part of New Year's Eve in the shop documenting [he process for this 'tattoo" I found it difficult to put a finger on U.D'.'s energy level. Somewhere between a Japanese buller train and the. space shuttle at Hfr~

off is about right. The man moveswith a. nervous, yet highly focused~ action. In addition to the tattoo shop, he delivers packages for ~l ....... '1"\ ..... ''-, nent J;:arrielr..i(lf I didn'r have kids, IH do. tattoos full-rime," datiU1S 'Dale. The benefits that are


Art With Atattooed

Returning to the chair for' a second f'tJu,1ui ~TJro n chose <"U.D" n of Art with Ata:tt()oedfDr his neuiest ink-. Borrowing heavily from the art of Ed "Ra: Fink" Roth:, the new art features a ,d1'lJoling rat grllspi1'1g ,a high set of handleba)"S-.~ complete with, the:{lying eye' hall of Von Dutcl».


him: tkrough his full-rime job provide r~HJ hfu famny~ thus making it a: difficult s.&Om.

~df&l :dl earrooartisrs I've met, .. Dafe does ~ f~municate with the customer ff)IUitiirilllg a. needlete sian. Alongwith the OOJJ¥'$~uions and comparing notes~Dale

ro m~IDJfnp,{1rate the person's arrirude intothe bb~ at@ne. (~I have sent Q. few people horne mIDiI~ deeply about their desired tarrs i11.iJwlng them to rake a seat in my chair," le\~[~t' pel:sonru inpur rnakes for a, happier

31l!dIWe:ps both new and old customers !1I~lr.;{g1I1'Nl! fiDr more. The shop offers a wan full

~ran;(!liJ;~ art to choose from, but most clients

a lD1\~{)if:..a .. kind bit of an. Some wil] bring

f ·h . he :~_l 10k d h

;rou~tTh~~~mcnes· o. wr .ar r . Ie:YU . lL. e, an tne

~ra~ a more finely honed illustration tirt~·work begins.

:Ot'la€" :the chosen design has beenconfirmed, ~ij dmrt with either a heat transfer or scribe @mftm' directly onto the skin .. Additional ~,al.so be added to a heat transfer before aG'lmtd Frocess begins .. The better the road

transfer, the better the end resuhswiU be.

In his. earlier days) Dale actually designed and built his own t-at t-o 0 power supply, based on what he found missing on existing units. 'Using a variety of electronic components~ his machine deliv .. ered supper-smooth flow of po:we;[ and allowed almost anyone to create high-quality ink work. This facrposeda problem for experienced artists) thus foecing Dale's machine into the shadows before wreaking havoc in the open market. Nothing Uk.e providing amateurs with gear that can produce professional results to mess up the works.

Dale considers: tattoos to be "The mast form. ,0.··.· f fr:ees·.h.· .. t·l&o· ·t" kn',·o·,wn· ·t· r;. .-.- n· . W~rl the .. · · ...

. . ."" !o;. ar. .. .. ... . 'V rna . . ..... u l!~ e many

variations and derivations I have witnessed so far, rd have. to say he's correct, There maybe genl'es~ styles and formats chat can be put into groups:;. but it appears thatmany of the tattoos being done today fall into categories that refuse to be IabeledvHow could a. person define a cartoon mouse that was widding an assault rifle and a bloody head?

At-many communications ~112 U.Dand PJro~. thefinal shtilitir .r.tadytllbe transferred so therilain.

Placing thefinalJzed sketch on .the target area assures both parties that size and location are correct:

The beas transJer art is now applied to theflesh~ then pealed away iea,1J-" ing t.he blue lines behind..

One final check of the placement and size before the needie gets put to use.

Cleanliness is again the dominant feature ot the shop and. the process, Numerous effores are taken to ensure that no fluids are transferred from the client to anyone else ... Repeated use of the ultrasonic machine keeps the tattoo machine in tip-top form aswell as keeping colors from. blelld~ ing until needed. Surfaces of the work station are wiped dean before: any other steps are talcen,and, individual containment of the. requiredtools hdp to. safeguard the client.

Beinga bit of a maverick, Dale used ['0 make his own needles for use in the machine. AIlthough they did the: job, current production units ar·e'o·f f;at better quality and deli-vera: consistent flow 'of ink. Despite his old world talents, some new-,fangled hardware really helps his cause.

l\rt with Atattooed employs about six al:tists ahhough they are seldom aU on duzy at the S1Jme time, Early morning appointments are not an optionas most shops in the arena, don't even op.en before noon. 'You can"[ force: creativity out of b6:d too soon. Even though we were working on New Year's Eve, the How of people into the shop ,vas steady and many had to wait for over an hour 10'F the chance to get their work. done. Nocomplains were heard as' the eager CUicomers sat and awaited their number to be caU~d,

Although his life is divided i ntothe rates of family man and working man, Dale still has plenty of passion and energy to create his own for01 of art-' on the clients lucky enou,gn [0 get an appointment wirll him, Maybe: one: daly his other responsibilities will allow for more rime behil~ the machine, but for now hes happy to. create what he can, 'when he can.

With bla;ck being the first colo r required, the small cup is filled with .ink:.


D'etails on the' elongated tail are n:umm"'()US and wiLL makefor.it terrifle pie,a when annpi/!,:t'e.

The black outliru! helps to $ho~w V,D.the way as he continues layi ng thegrmu1li 1,{);()rk for the rest of

- -

the work.

Teeth, tail andpert of theforearm are now oudined in black and ttl,uait: addit:iCJ}.al color:

Filling' in some areas around tlu p()'inted t-e.(?,th adds to the dim,ensJ,()n ()fth'ea~·t.


Moving ,inward blade 0 tttl.infs d!11i min·ardeta.ilsare, made in tiny increments.

Bla.ck ink hilS 1UJW' heen appli,,~ m most of the upper ponio}? ,of thee transfer and we can b~gin to Jet tIt creature come to life.

S11il1/J lZt1Jf1J ,of heavier concentrali~fJ 1V.iIJ {lorl7plete th-e'bJad~, work bcfo1t mtlm'ng on to the UJ:e ()fcl)l~ Ot'J.

The large ears are now apP1''O,ac.hed and ar~ giv.en their share ,ojshad-



Even having the smallest space'S filled in wi:th bLack helps to' .illum,inate the dir:ection ,of,the work .

,fJtltlining on the/lying eyeball raw begins.

MOj,t of the st.eps ~~.equired seem ttl ath.i.t1Ni little until w'e set those that follow.,

A mqj()'rity of t.he blttck outline is now complet« and awaits further de,tail effof'tJ..


Returning to themouthj shading will help to dCfi'ne' the jagged teeth .that lie withi'rz,

Addi'tional detailing on the fingertipswilildter' shoeo us the results of these minor touches .

Wiped clean ,of,the excess in'k} zoe can now ,begln to see .the thr.'etdimensional form taking shape;

Subtle shading.in the ears helps to bring depth to the work ,and sets U;D, ~ tattoos apart from the rest

With the black ink work now complete we all look forward to the installation of the rna":), hues ,tn.'at wilt be used,


.A variety of colored inks .will he used' to' complete the piece tm'dltJmrt aml)Ut/.;ts are meted o'ut in:Jotbe waiting cups"

· U~ll.

uitr4Sonic cleaner continues to JllI,(~U'H;li1i'') clean as we prepare for of cotor.

Dark green is, the first tolorapplied Smaller Jl:gm.ents of a brighter green

as U.D. ,wor!(Jjrom dark to light are now .completed as the transflr-

colon. mation continues.


The needle' piaCl!S the ir"k into place, leaving excess color that will h,e wipeel clean to reveal tbe next bit of shading.

With green: being ,appli'ed ever much of the piece, toe can see more and more of the details 1'''evealed

Tbe green p'O'ttiO'TlS a/the pim (l,re now complete and the extra bIb bos been wiped clean

Moving into a range of lightr:rcolOYJ} bits; of yellow are ,zaw added to th'eeqUtllion,

Bright red will bring some addl~ tional hrilliance to the' flnished piece.

Large areas of'the b.elly n',eea f() 1M filkd in with red, ,but if d{me If) i~

l'! .,

smau. sections.

°6·' 0'

Red f(l,nb'l seen in the f}e'S;; tongue, M~ and gH."flS ,of the mouth"

!rowing th't? [eve/of detail being JrtdJm:d.

Pet£(Jdicatl~ the area is washed down with diluted,green soap, cov ... ered tvlth a 5,Oft pap',cr towel and cleaned.

Work now begins on th.e letters of the shin with ye.llo,w as the dominant hue.

EaCb 1ttter is outlinedfirst, to be folto,~m:d .hy additional colors for YJdpt ,an'd detail

Bright ,blue is selected to' brin;:g the ryes U)I lifo.

The canvas of Pyro s flesh is" taking on a new lifo tIS ,details ,(In:d ,c-(rrrt()ttrs .con,tinue to b'c added,


Pale blue' highlights will do ,tbeir

..... _ .c : , b" '. .' ,_ d··" ."1_ t. .. , ~L" ",a;,

part tn ,nngtng:eptn to ,me tjjort,

The results ,afthe incremental steps art becoming more ,apparenttts 'we app~oach thefinal steps.

A.nt)ther cie'tt:nsing of the' p.iCCt-e lll;ll Sh()1l)'U.DI" where the last hits of detail will be r:equi,red.

The hi,gh-rise ha;ndlebar$~ ar:e given their own bit of contour by using a bright, blue de:tail.

A few Jubtle sh:apes help to ,defi~n;,(! the flying O1·b.

,Areas of hright color' willgitl'e a ,lifo like appearance to the compi'e~eJl'f ball,


C8n')!)~ the jlyi'ng eye through ,the l1ighMkies will be a pair ofr.ed

,Anyone' with an eyt? fl,t de.tailwill discover the tiny battle of XXX potion at the ,top l!f the art:

The blue line applied M' :the handle ... bars is now highlighted with a brighter shade to proviae ,t/. tuhula,r loo]:

A final 'lath {)f green soap w'itl MVP~'t tj,e (J'Ompleted" tatsoo

Details seen in evtrysquare inch ,of tbe piece are a testamen» to tbe ability of U.D,. and his many years ,oj,expelie?ue in the field

Sboum here in all of its final glory is ,th'f! latest addition to Py.rt/S collection of body art.


jae Capobianco

When deciding to ,g.et a. tattoo done, people can go about the process in one of several ways, If

, ) . hi (( .1;)\) _L alk . . h .

Its somet!-_IIng stock mey can 'w- s mtot eir

local shop, pick a piec-e from the catalog and '[he

work, can begin. Since most people wish re atioo something original, the first step for them is ta meet with their chosen ink personto discuss. tlle art to be created, After a period of time) dep011d·

Erin had wanted a: tattoo from .Joe for ,ne:a'rly 3' ]¥lean and booked her si.tting ,6' ,m,(),rtths in adva:r;;,ce, ,Cre.a,te.d ·during the festivities- at the Hell ,City Festivtll~Erin was more tha.12ptetued with the'r.esults. Giving joe nothing, than the theme" he drew' up-th,t g/rt and ,turned it into a pain:ting of the flesh.


ing on the request, the arrist win contact the per-· ion saying the sketch has been completed for review, 'Once [his process has been approved, lite pieoe can be put onto the skin.

In the case of Erias geisha-vampire piece, the path was a bit longer. Having seen 1.oe:'5 work in numerous places, Erin knew she wanted Joe: to do his magic. She has been ge£tingta.t£'oos for nearly a:decade, but was willing to wail: fot the chance

to work wirh Joe. Since she lives in Ohio, and joe ~¥Ol'ks out of his shop in Connecticut, they were hardly neighbors. AJter waiting three years for her oppouunity, both Joe and Erin were scheduled to ,be,at [he H·eU City tattoo convention in 2006. ~eeing [he chance [0 finally get some ofjoes art {In her body, Erin made her appointment 6 months in advance, Joe typically doesn't book

.c. early, but knew [he Hen City event would be busy~ and accep ted the assignment,

Knowing Joe's abilities as an artist as weU as a aJt[ooguy; Erin simply told. him of her "vampiregeisha' idea and let his imagination and pencil

Dun wild. Artists like Joe work best when nor 00.0- ~tmined by too much direction and prefer to. fly

by the seat of their pants, This is not to say that &in would have accepted any old sketch tor her ~f, but had faith and confidence in J oes work, When seeing the final drawing, she was immediately pleased and eager to get the ink started. Her initia.l desire was for the tattoo to represent joe's ta;ltnt;. and to be recognized as one of his pieces. Many artists. have a signature that runs' through lliPSt of their custom work, and Joe Is no differmE. His choices: of colors as wen as his use of

s&ading and contours sets his work apart from the msf.

Besides Joe's vast exposure in the world of tatr0n~] much of his illustrarion and airbrush art has Iwtn puhlished in several books. He was showing a~!fance copiesat the Hell City event, and would ~€ :dehucingthem on Sa.turday evening .. While dQl1lg the tattoo 'we see here, Joe was deluged.

~w~h questions about when and where people

eQuid buy their own copies of his laresr books.

1Jh,e pag.es of his latest efforts were fHled with col-

.After moisturizing the skin~ the .hcat transfer isputi place to check for size and position.

Sat£ffied with placement, th.e· hacking is removed to expose .the guidelineS' beneath.

With thepap.cr now p'eeled ,away we can see the beginning of th.e piece to be created.


JOt uses an ink pen to define some of the mare remote edg1!sof't-he art before se:tting needle to skin.

As is typic(/l~ the case}' the ,black l}'u,tline comes firs.t~ butfoe :needed to clear up a few implf,ifr;cti.ons b'ejore' starting out:

Using either a 3 or 5 liner needlf!J dep'ending on .the section chosen, the outline work b.egins.


Seeing the'finishedpiece long in advance ,alltJwsjpJ to create minute details that :will enhance thefllli-shed pie:ce,

After a quick wipe of the excess ink we can ~BI outline wo:rk taking shllp,e.,

Details in ,the geishas kimono ,wi{Ll!4tel;, major part of the art.

. '¥aj.dy graphic illustrations of beautiful ~y of which wore smiles, and little tQJlll~~u.rQ see the pinup influence in his ~;i.311rm;QlllelO. it was not' your typical approach


I asked Joe ifairbrushing was similar eo art, he qUIckly explained that the two werie.3,5 diiFel!ent as night and day. The

,he is so capable in both forms of art is his talents .. Most, people would be ..n:'i'~~,,' possess the ability to do one or the

&t alone both.

Ra¥ing no formal training besides high ;n1,ll!.'lIU'~H' . class, Joe's use of colors and textures in L,.~ .. !,!~,~,,< .. Q tatCoo or airbrush art are obviously ,While certain aspects of any art form can

'fal!lgh(~ a. true artist seems to have been, born I 'Dle ability to create the chosen illusions in ~t~a.@5i!n medium. Despite his .level of talent

. • , Joe retains a level headed nature:

. makes him easyto deal with. This cannot be

I 'f aU partie's who achieved any level of norotheir field.

~luring the creation ofthis book; I have ~Jl~d [hat the tattoo machines are basically the: srune no matter where you go. Oh sure.there

may be some models that are: different in one way &J:ianother~ but for the most part they are built IllSing the same principles and design. This being sUd, it's amazing to see these same machines

:bIng used in such a variety of ways. AJlt~ough f-adllays down ink using' a needle: or set of nee-

.,es, ifs the technique of the user that makes the m~c happen. Much like a surgeon's tools" in the ~#tt hands, wron& can be made right, but

laced into my meat hooks, only bad things wiU w. Since there are no rules or regulations as tID' who can own and operate a. tattoo machine"

&ne needs to do some research before having the needles taken to the skin. Opening a proper shop reqllires the usual Iirany of paperwork and approvals, but once purchased" a tattoo machine can he used in the convenience of your own living room. This is where the troubles can begin, although many talented tattoo artists did their

The ,tlCl.r:iy use of blue ink will assist Joe' latsr as he returns to' the location to complete th.e piece~

Picking up'the ,bla'c_k (Ju.tlin,e process again~ Joe continue: to .define the shape of the k.imono.

The fruits of his labo» so for, we can see how much more w()',r.k lies ahead.


Wi:th the lower section af,theart outlined Joe will turn his attentions to the flcial details next.

The tiniest of details are addressed first so as not to get lost in the flow ,of,ink later.

Joe again uses a hint. of color bifo.refi:nishing up' with the blacck work.

Lavish eyelashes will hi,ghlight the larg-eeyes of the geisha.

Moving aw.ay.from the ,eyes,[or a moment. sam« addi,t:ional details are addedto the SU? rounding Meill

Wip'ing down the suiface with moisturizer h:rfort wiping the tattoo clean for a quick review.

fiiftzg a larger 7 mag needle allous joe' to begin ihliding.in the area around the flce.

~liSt work at home. It seems that "buyer beware" 3Wu1d apply 'when choosing '[he man behind the

nee·d1es. .,

In the early stages of creating the sketch for a mti~oo" joe begins to see the colors that will be apPlied in the final piece'. This level of vision is (\),[1e of the traits that sets his work on the top .helf among purveyors of tattoo arr, Small hrtprovements are always added as a piece progresses,~ but his vision of the overall balance and hues that will be employed help' make the actual 'process a thing of beauty. Being artistic by nature makes the application process seem easy to the untrained eye, bur anyonewho knows what goes into the creation of a. rarroo will be stunned by Jols efforts,

With the excess .ink cleaned off we can see the tattoo coming to lifl~

By adding .the shaded areas to ,the piece, we can see .the face become form,or;e prominent.

Moving to the hail; Joe begins to add large sections of ink to create shape-and' ,dime,nsi(J,n.


Using black a.r.ound the roses in her hair w.il-J later allow the red petals to stand out.

Another cleanup reveals the wl)rk done with the wider needle.

Every step taken sbou» us more deta'u' and emotion I1S .the foce of the geisha ... vampire receives attension.


Larger arees of the jl(twing' kimono are now shaded to add contours arld shadow.

With' the ,black work nearing complaion; we can tit the le.velof intensity that lies ahead.

By placing areas of black outside the lines of the' ki.rn:{)no, its shapt and color .wltl stand out uit'h greaterintemity.

With the black work now Cl)mplet.ed_. Joe can prt:ptlre t$ J~in tbeap_plicationo/colo1'S ..

1lJwtratt~l1g a oampir« right aftttr.a big meal, b'righ t red ink Mused toftll in th.e a/fell' around the mouth ..

Now the red i» the ~es and' bloo.t(y ()verjlaw of the flas.t are added to the.foce ..

Afow strlU'lds of red hair will help to bring liflt()' .th.e othtrwisc raven locks.

U7lth the 1:1)$(1 n()wfilled in, JOlt .adrls a bit of color to the decoratio ns in th.e hair:


Being a vampire~ we expected a high level of red to be used ,and/or has-n,~t disappointed us.

Wiped clean again" we can set! the resuLts tif the first bloody steps: in the piece.

,Using an ashen graycnlor will give th.e living-dead geisha just' the right shade in he.r skin tones.


§moil ~tcti()nsof yellow and green are nota added to big/ili:bt the eyes.

lad} ~tlSe o/&olor and shading are ,bringi.ng the dead to


Th,e yellow £nk in the yes will ,bring a level of eerie beau.ty to .th'e toomans flue ..

Cleansing the ink aW'tl:fi we' 'nOW see the efforts taken on thefocial region of the tattoo, hut a few more finishing touches will be added later:

Euen the flesh qf her heaving breast witlbe d()n:e in the deathl~gray colon

Afew bright highlights are now added to the hair to create a sense of dimension.

With blue as the primary color; large areas are couered in a short amount of time'.

Workingfrom dar~ ,toligp,t) di.ffore.n.t shades of blue will be used" as well as additional hues.

.A hrigh.t: yellow section, witt soon reuealcentour: not before seen in thisp'£e~'£.


Tbe sash of the k.imo-no will b,e done in a dark lavender to' t)ffiet the' bttt£ silk,.

After a ,p-ar.ticularly heavy meal th,(} bwo,d ht1j .. 'down onto the'folds of her kimono ..

Additio n.al shades ()fyellow will help to "w 'i~if'R'if(JlJTC shape to the jltJwing robe.

{fit)tll steps in any tattoo involve the. :useoj' white inles ~,dda th,e last measure q/,C()rtt()'ur to the pr:evio'Usly flPPli~d inks;

,Even the simplest: of'shepes requires the 'use of a vari.tty of shades to ,bring the needed detail to' the fi'nished tattoo.

Final touches of yellow 'Will complete the kimono and the' entire piece of'art.

Ou,:;rall> the tattoo screams of reality l1.:nd melees a gr.eat showcase for foes abilities ,artd talent.


Kevin Harden

Kunin Tattoo

Wid] his well known history in the tartan world, along withhis obvious ability in creating detailed illusrrationa.Brian gave Kevin fret: reigr1 when it carnie rime to get his next tattoo. Using a book on. microscopic images of insects :as his inspiratlon,

Kevin decided to create an ex;agge;Jrated bot[ weevil roT B.ri~Ul~S· arm, While nor quire cartoon-like, nor a mockery of the insect, Kevinmerely h~ew the: sbg:~ out of proportion while retaining a fairly high ]evW of accuracy inthe dep~ction. Having no background

Brian Q~tUhfJt' has hadmor:e than one tattoo done .in the past~ some of which were ofKevins: doing., i!lr hOJ It chest p,ieee being completed in several stages" but for the book ,agreed to hav,e an entirely diffor.tJzt ttltf(Ja done, Til( exaggerated boll weevil wtlShnJZ'gh.t to lift with bright' hu,er and Kevin} active imagi.nation.


enl~~m:!!.llogy mysd£: 1 have no 'way of knowing whacn~il(dl.seC[ion of the weevil is actl1aUy called, but ~e cmdtttD;gpiece: wasamazing nonetheless"

ilrEe Kevin had chosen rhe subject matter for dt~ ~utOOl he set out lei draw what he envisioned ~~ ~na1-an tc be. I[ required about eight hours of work@ver the space of three days to capture the

im!f(! Yle' set here, His goal was to create at bon weeyn lba:tW,llsdt just a "flat tatroo" ~ but one that exciteJIlCJ](, ,depth and contour for at dose of realism. Not

JD easy task to achieve, but weD within Kevinsabili- 1I,f'S.

fut ofthe in usion was 'to be: based on the selectt'lI €'OJ.o,rs for 'the bug. In life) bon weevils are &irly da:r~in their shading, without much fun involved, \l7hh his plans tocreate anuber-weevil, Kevin

(l!Ir:n~, up the wide on the palette and incl uded a

W~a€ array of greens" blues and yeUow:s to bring his bug [0 [ife . The mild disroetion and seemingly readyrojlQuuce stance of the crearure only adds to the &ri:ooa. Considering the fuel: rhar an actual bon wee~'mfasllres less rhan a quarter of an inch in Length, :~Jjruls version of the bug is almost 3,0 times larger rbrol Hfe.

Like all rartoos we have seen so fall~ Kevin begins ~. ourlining the illustration. One variation onthis be was the use of the blue nadine on the ~o:wer ~t'ion of the insect. The end result of this etion \¥ould give a more mysterious fil1,ishwith!CHlt the dis[11lC!! bhlCk lines we usually see, His use of a IS. lOOse/round needle set allows him both conrrol and the ability to cover larger sections at once. This ~riliangement: permitsthe needles DO. float and move n«>r( ill their mounting which delivers the wider

path whUe retaining control 'of the ink. A#S needle ~ used to "calligraphy" some of the lines, making &em lucre apparen( as they seem to g~ab more am~ntion. Overall, his selected weapons illn this piece were 4~), 5 and 7 ma.g needles, providing him with the lVeIsadlity I'eq uired to nlap the colorful hug.

With the arrworktransferred onto Brians skin, Kevin works quicklyas the outline takes shape, By pre-loading different machines with the required needles sets h.e avoids the delay of having to sw,ap needles into machines, By simply cleansing the chosen. machineof the current color and rc .. loading with me next hue, Kevin can move fluid~y from one area roanother,

Before he can .begin ,OO't tattoo pt"f)tess~ Kevin applies some final touches tv the illustration ,that will bt used as his guide.

,COI:',I_: ./' .',' .. s. ·d' .'. .. t.,~. '.,. h~';:"f!

nec~tngp()s'ttz(}n].ng an stse one UfJtt1.me .Cj'tJr.

applying the outiine to Brian} arm,

Kevin WClStl!S no ,time in beginning the black outline of the boll we,ev.il art.


The t(J'tver sl}cti(}noj'the weevils h(),d, will be O,U,tlined using blue ink for It diffir.etu '!Ifoct in th,(! final p,icr:e.

Bright turquoise ink is used to continue .the outlining in .the lower' segrrunt ,of'.theart.


Returning to the .blac.k 'W()rlf~ some small details are ,added in outline form,.


Heavier lines of black' are now added to the mi» to define. certain shapcs of the £nsect.

Cleaned of the stray :In.k we' can nour see the darker ()u,tiines and .the effect they will baue on tht de:p'th oj the' tattoo.

Black iFiJe' is runu ,appli:et:l to shade' in some small areas of the bug.

Narvinrg taken three days to create t:he initial

. I~ couldalready see the finished piece in mfnd: Before setting needle to action. The sketch oonl.,pleted in nothing more than bffia,ck on white, . f~r¥ent imaginarion could envision the vivid and amwJng inks and where they'd be placed,

His :studies of the actual insect gave no input inm\wl~.i,eh colors would best suit this distortion of realj~1 so we have only his: creative mind eo blame m~ ~~ rampant use of colors.

~~rrung ro Brian, today's tattoo recipient) K~it18 'COuch is: fo;liidy even and gentle.There are, rome ~;Qtt:(w artists who acre better known for having a htu¥yhand, which increases disoomfort by a large

ma:rgjll. Of the rwochcices, most people: WQuMI pre-' fer.a. gentle touch, assuming the level of talent and 3ftWI}lI!k doesn't suffer in the process. Kevin has obvioUSlly been trained to combine both aspects: into his wor~~ k~eping the people flowj,ngrhrough his door. hJS(,ood of working at a manic pace, whichwould i~~ to a.·prematume burn-cur, he limits his time at

UtiC: &air to seven .. hour days, numbering five per ~k This does not count the time he spends at nOim€ relaxing whiletaking :pen to piaper~ creating

tI1.e: required illustradons for waiting clients. He plie&n doing the drawing at horne where the envimnment is bit morepeaceful.

The walls of Kevins shop are beautifully decorate,d 1rvirh a variety of illustrations and paintings. Some ~} 'Ghe work is his own while others hai] from artiscs he admires. All manners of macabre and unusual jmagesawalil: your senses as you await your time in the boorh, Not only are the walls covered-with an amazing array' of art, but the surfaces themselves are

covered in bright hues we seldom see ina residential setting. Like his tattoo art, your eyes don'[ know ~v.he[e to look first but hope to, catch every' nuance of

me images being: viewed.

In his first 14 years ofraeroo art, Kevin has :a~t,eady carved himself a 'tidy niche in the expanding wodd. of artists plying their trade in the skin ink Lucky for [hose who are able co secure a place in his agenda, their 'wait is rewar-ded with an original piece :of art every time: he sets his needles into action . .As with ,many of the tattoo. artisans we have met, their creativity appears to be limitless, but (hey are able to translate their talent into a visible form of art that the world can share.

Aga.inclean.ed of the unused ink, we' can see the clearly defined lines of the p'icce~

With the outlining complete, Kevin begins to.fill in some sh'aded ,areasof' the lines"

,£V,(1n the ,tiniest of details will result in a highly detailed piece upon completion.

While a real ball toeeoi] is dark in: color; l(evin has chose» a b,igh.r array of greens and hlues to complete thepiec«.

The leg-like things can be seen in added dimrnlSion ,with the ji;rst ust'ofgreer2' ink' as shading;

Brighter green is used lJS the hues intensifY, adding more dimension tv the art.


D:arkel' green is now added to' a diffirent,p{Jl:tian oj the bu.gs bor{y:,

A large,. needle is ttSed to fill in some bigger areas df the weevil.

The appendages and belly are th,e first rectJiitnts ~ ,rA'it color ink as the tattoo pr~tlYJsses.

lJiIi~n41 ~iSe of bright gre.en ink is used on the l1IiiJJ.)ftlMOn ()f the weevil.

"f}l~'UJther dean vieto shows us tlut steps taken s()ftr '(t~jdthe results achieved.

Until the excess is wiped clean the ink appears so ,tN! n()thingm(),'f,E? than e blobo/l:oto1r.

OrU:8 swiped clean we can see how tJleprevious masses of ink are becoming more realistie.

A bright ,fJ'ra'nge hue is noio thrown into the mix, bringing another di11'lx!.nsi()'rJ, tv the tattoo.

Before Jwitr:hing to the nextcoio1;tn't orange inle is applied to several t~gi()ns.


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