Superior Tattoos Online

Tattoo Industry Updates From Around The World


Tattoo Hunter Premiers

I’m just giddy over the international arrival of a new show that delves into body rituals and traditions:  Tattoo Hunter with our favorite tattoo anthropologist Lars Krutak.

Tattoo Hunter hits Europe tomorrow on Discovery World channel at 10pm.

In the US, the series premieres on Discovery Channel, March 7 at 1pm (according to their website).

Lars gave me a hint about the premier show: “The first episode is really a scarification show we shot in Papua New Guinea. It’s perhaps the bloodiest of all and I find it amusing that DC has rated it “G.”

Here’s more on the series:

In this landmark series, Krutak seeks to understand the meaning behind sacred traditions that date back thousands of years by immersing himself into the daily life of indigenous peoples worldwide. Through his many adventures, viewers will be exposed to unique tribal customs including tattooing and scarification practices in Africa, Asia, Oceania, North and South America before these fascinating cultures disappear. And through his personal experiences with tattoo and scarification masters who cut and tattoo his skin, viewers will learn how these painful rite of passage ceremonies continue to shape the very essence of tribal identity, religion, and cosmology.

Check out the articles on Lars’ site for previews of the storylines and locations. Fascinating accounts of bod mod culture among indigenous people. An education in themselves.



Don’t Get a Tattoo When You Are Sick

It is more than likely common sense not to get a tattoo when  you are sick or not feeling quite 100% but this is a huge tattoo don’t. Many tattoo artist as well as experts will warn people not to get inked when they are sick, think they are sick or simply feel run down a bit. The main reason for this is your immune system is a bit run down and it doesn’t need the extra stress of worrying about a new tattoo that has just been inked on your skin. So if you are planning on getting a tattoo on a certain day and find yourself a bit under the weather, wait until your are your full self again.

Also another great practice to get used to when thinking about getting a tattoo is making sure you take plenty of vitamin C. This will help the healing process as well as your health. Also another tip people should be aware of is not to take any kind of pain reliever before you head out to the tattoo parlor or studio. Tattoo artist say not to practice this because pain relievers can thin your blood causing you to bleed more. If you bleed too much it can effect the quality of your tattoo. So if you are concerned about the pain, you will simply have to tough it out until after you have gotten your tattoo. After that you are more than welcome to take the pain reliever of your choice. Another quick tip is to stay away from the bottle before getting a tattoo, it too will thin your blood making you bleed more.


Choosing a Tattoo Artist

There are three main concerns when choosing a tattoo artist:

  1. Is he or she any good?
  2. Do you feel comfortable talking to him or her?
  3. Can you afford it?

Is he or she any good?

The only way to tell whether or not an artist is good is to see examples of his or her work. Recommendations are helpful, of course, but the recommendations should carry infinitely more weight if the recommender is proffering a tattooed example of the artist’s work. There are plenty of awesome artists out there who, though you wouldn’t deny their skills, just don’t appeal to you with the style of tats they do. So don’t take anyone else’s word for it – get a look at the artist’s work yourself. Furthermore, and don’t start thinking we’re paranoid, but it’s best to see actual examples of the work on a live person who can tell you who did the work. Anyone can put up a bunch of pictures and claim authorship.

You can meet people and talk to them about their tattoos at tattoo conventions, in the tattoo studios you visit and on the street or at a club, so long as you’re not an idiot about it. People are usually proud of their tattoos, and if you seem genuinely interested a lot of people will be happy to tell you about their ink. Tattoo magazines are also a good source for information. The photo-essays they publish about various artists are likely to be well-researched and legitimate examples of the artists’ work. There are also websites which show examples of artists’ work. The key is to shop around and find someone really capable, because the quality of your tattoo depends so much on the talent of the tattoo artist.

Do you feel comfortable talking to him or her?

This is important for safety reasons, of course, but it’s also important because you have to communicate what you want in a tattoo. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your tattoo artist, it’s not likely that you’ll get what you want. You don’t have to be best buddies with the artist, but you need to be able to talk to him or her without reserve and with some certainty that your desires will be met.

Can you afford it?

As you shop around for a good tattoo artist, you are likely to find several whose work really appeals to you. Whether you can afford them is another matter, but something you must take into account. They will not necessarily live in the same city as you, and even if they do, they might charge a lot of money for their work. Before you get too far into it, you should figure out if it’s really feasible for you to work with a certain artist. You might want to call an artist to get a general idea of what your tattoo would cost — some artists will give you a rough idea over the phone, but some won’t. If the artist lives far away, you’re likely to have to pay for plane fare, a hotel and the cost of the tattoo. Don’t bother getting all worked up about being tattooed by a certain person, and don’t waste either of your time, if you can’t afford to pay all the necessary costs.

The cost of getting a tattoo varies from artist to artist. Popular artists can charge more, while incompetent or inexperienced artists will be cheaper. Artists will usually charge a flat rate for their flash designs, and this will depend on the size and color of the design. You can expect to pay approximately $50 to $100 for a “flash” (a stock piece; see “Styles of tattoos” in section 3) piece of about two square inches. For custom work, artists will usually charge by the hour, but they might negotiate prices with you ahead of time based on how difficult the design is and how long they think it will take. The hourly rate for custom work ranges from $50 to $300. Don’t go for bargains. A cheap tattoo will look cheap. You should try to find an artist who charges between $100 and $150 per hour. If money is no object and you simply must have a popular, expensive artist work on you, then go ahead and spend more.



Identifying a Safe Tattoo Parlor

There are just few regulations covering tattooing other than the laws requiring that minors are not to be tattooed or in same states only with parental permission. However, every professional tattoo parlor must be licensed. This happens when all the artists in the studio qualify by completing a health department course on infectious disease transmission and pass an exam. Unfortunately businesses aren’t inspected regularly and the law allows anyone to acquire a tattoo machine, get a license and start tattooing whether they have to ability to do it or not. Most reputable tattoo artists object to this situation too.

Here are just a few tips you can remember to ensure choosing a save tattoo studio:

  • Take a look around in the studio. See if the studio is clean, artists wear gloves, and the studio looks professional. That says a lot already!
  • Ask the artists questions. Ask if they have an autoclave, if the needles and other materials they are using are single use, if they are using EPA approved disinfectants and so on. If it is a legitimate parlor they will not mind answering those questions.
  • Watch the artist when applying a tattoo to be sure safety procedures are being followed.
  • Memberships in professional organizations are voluntarily but most artists do participate in one anyway. Those who participate are always better informed about safety issues and innovations.


Applying a Tattoo – From Sterilization to the Bandage!

The main focus of the tattoo application today is safety. Any puncture wound, this is what a tattoo machine is doing to your skin, bares the potential for an infection or disease.

The best and only acceptable method to sterilize tattoo equipment today is an Autoclave. An autoclave is a heat, steam and pressure unit, also used in hospitals, achieving and maintaining up to 132 degrees Celsius (270 degrees Fahrenheit) under 7 Kilograms (15 pounds) of pressure for 15 minutes. Others maintain 121 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit) under 5 Kilograms (10 Pounds) of pressure for 30 minutes. Most autoclave are running 55 minutes from a cold start to ensure a complete sterilization. To eliminate the possibility of contamination almost all tattooing materials like ink cubs, needles, ink, gloves etc. are just used only once but there are some reusable materials as the tube or the needle bar which must be sterilized. They are put into special pouches with indicator strips on them and then left in the autoclave for a complete circle. The indicator strips change the color once the sterilization is completed. Sterilizing with an autoclave ensures killing every living microorganism. The sterilization usually takes place before the customer comes into the parlor and will probably not be seen by him. The only thing you will see is the pouch the needle bars were sterilized in, but this will be explained more exactly later on.

Other tattooing equipment like spray bottles, clip cords and the tattoo machine itself is supposed to be covered by plastic bags to prevent contamination.

Before beginning the actual procedure of tattooing itself the artist will wash his hands and disinfect his working area with an EPA approved disinfectants, put on new gloves and follows this guidelines:

  • He puts new plastic bags over the spay bottles, the tattoo machine and the other equipment described above.
  • Takes out new ink cups and puts tattoo ink in them.
  • Opens up a sealed pouch autoclave sterilized equipment and clamps it onto the tattoo machine.
  • Disinfects and shaves the area to be tattooed.
  • Moistens the area and places a stencil with the outlines of the tattoo on it.

After taking of the stencil again he will let it dry for a couple of minutes and the start the actual tattooing procedure.

Depending on the width of the outlines the artist uses different tipped needles and starts going over the stencil with the machine. Right handed artists usually start at the bottom of the right hand side and work up, while left handed artists usually start from the left side so the stencil of the outlines won’t be lost when cleaning a permanent line. For outline work a thinner ink is usually used than the ink for shading and coloring because it can be easier wiped away from the skin without smearing. As he is going over the stencil and is working the ink into the skin, the tattoo machine is buzzing and smooth clear lines should be appearing where the needle pierces the skin.

Once the outlines are done the tattooed area is cleaned with antiseptic soap and water. If needed the artist will go over some outlines again to make sure the outlines are the way they are supposed to be.

After that and possibly a little break the shading is added. For the shading he will use a different needle and probably a different machine than he used for the outlines. Each artist works differently and using a different machine is up to the artist depending on her or his experience and preference.

When the shading is done the tattooed area is cleaned again and is now ready for color. When applying the color, the artists usually goes twice over each colored line to ensure a solid and even coloration with no “Holidays”. On uneven looking areas the color has either faded during the healing process or the artist missed an area of the skin. This does not mean he or she did a bad job, it’s just that you can’t really see those spots during the application.

After the coloration the tattoo is sprayed and cleaned again. The artist will then use a disposable towel to remove any blood and plasma excreted during the tattooing procedure. Bleeding always occurs during tattooing even under normal circumstances, but most of it stops after a few minutes. If alcohol or illegal drugs have been used prior or during the process the bleeding could hold on longer and there could be other complications. No tattoo artist will tattoo a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs anyway.

When done cleaning the tattooed area for the last time, the artist will then apply a bandage over the tattoo to prevent it from bleeding any more, getting blood and still excreting tattoo ink on your clothes. This bandage is supposed to be taken off about 2 hours after completion.



Celtic Tattoos and Their Meaning

The Celts, inhabitants of Northern Britain which is called Caledonia, glorified the power of live and it’s creators in which the male and the female principles were both equal and in harmony. For the Celts, live itself was the driving power in the universe. The power that reveals the highest wisdom and everything divine in it’s varieties. Death just played a subordinated role. It was just a short interruption in the forever ongoing and always changing cycle of life.

Therefore typical celtic tattoos are devoured ornaments, complicated and twisted knots and spiral motives mostly done in black. Those symbols demanded a very high understanding of mathematics and geometry and were used by the irish monks in the early middle ages, from the 4th until about the 10th century after christ, for drawings in books and they were also found on monuments. Monuments made out of stone like the so called celtic crosses.

Faithful to the celtic believe the celtic cross symbolizes the unity of the opposite spheres. Up and down for heaven and earth and left and right for male and female. And the circle, the perfectly closed form and the divine symbol for the forever ongoing cycle, underlining this union.


Tribal Tattoos and Their Meaning

The tribal designs widely used and applied nowadays go back to the black, silhouette like and geometric tatau ornaments of the polynesians. It was also tribal tattoos the sailors brought home to Europe, from their first journeys to Tahiti, before the influences of the sailors with maritime designs, the today called traditional tattoos, replaced the native motives.

The release of Tattoo Time, a tattoo magazine founded in 1982 by the american innovator Don Ed Hardy and Leo Zulueta started an amazing tribal tattoo boom. The title of the first issue was “New Tribalism” and it features native tattoos from Samoa and Borneo. From there on the tattoo scene re-discovered tribal designs as a tattoo style. Not only that, the black and gently swinging style of tribal weakened the negative associations made with tattoos in the years before. Only after half a year the black designs were among the most popular motive choices and tribal is still one of the most popular tattoo styles today.

There are a lot of tattoo artists who refuse to tattoo simple tribal because of the widely spread believe a tribal is not very challenging for the artist. This is not true. Tribal patterns should always be applied correctly, along the musculature and single muscle parts of the body and should come across as a grown part of the body. The colouring should also be very even and this is not the easiest to do. tribal_wings




Tattoo Supplies, Chris Garver Tattoos, Skin Candy Tattoo Ink

Another video of awesome tattoo designs by Chris Garver using Skin Candy Inks.


Tongue Tattoos

From the bottom of the feet, to the palms of the hands. From the more private areas of the anatomy, to the inside of the lip. So, what part of the human body is left for the newest fashion statement? Why, the tongue, of course.

Although the process of getting a tongue tat is much the same as getting any tattoo, you should still consider that you will not be able to get a very intricate design done there. The working area is very limited and the surface of the tongue is not quite the same as the surface of your skin. Designs with bold, simplistic outlines, or no outline at all, will be your best choice.

Another thing to consider is not every tattoo artist is going to know exactly how to tattoo a tongue. The tongue is a big, slippery muscle and as such is prone to a lot of movement. This can make it difficult for the artist to get a grip on things, as it were. Artists who are versed in tongue tattooing will usually use the same type of forceps used to pierce the tongue as a method of holding it still.

According to many collectors who have had the procedure done, the pain factor isn’t as much of a worry as one would think. In fact, most of them consider it less painful than many of the outside areas of the body, and report a mild tingling, or numbness of the mouth during the tattooing. However, be aware that some do say it hurts like Hell and speech is very difficult immediately after.

Needless to say, proper oral hygiene is an absolute must after getting a tongue tattoo, even more so than a piercing. The effected area is much larger than a piercing and there will be a form of scab that initially covers the tattoo to consider. It is said to be very crusty and usually sloughs off after a couple of weeks. So the danger of infection and other disease considerations is very real. The tattoo will appear a bit lighter, and waxier than a skin version after the crust has fallen off, but will soon settle down to it’s normal appearance.

Many have actually used the tongue tattoo to enhance their piercing. In combination the effect is rather unique. It certainly can make the now common tongue piercing a bit more exotic and personal, depending on what your sick little mind can come up with. Some of the more popular designs have been stars, hearts, and tribal styles, but I’m sure that as the trend grows many more will be added when collectors begin to stretch their imaginations.

Do remember, though, that not all artists are skilled in this style of tattooing, and it’s not something you want to be a guinea pig for. Ask your prospective artist to see some photos of tongues he has done before you commit. You should also be aware that a few have reported some loss of taste, as heavy handedness here can permanently damage taste buds. I’m pretty sure no one wants their Big Mac to taste like the cardboard box it came in.


Mike Devries “Lets Be Realistic”

Yeah ok so we’ve got Mike’s New Book “Lets Be Realistic” features Advanced Tattooing Techniques & Gallery

Here are some Chapters and their descriptions:

1. Milestones In Tattoo History A brief history on the art of tattooing.

2. My Personal Journey As A Tattoo Artist Mike Devries talks about his early days

3. Reference Laying the groundwork for a tattoo and the importance of using a quality reference.

4. Placement Choosing the correct placement for flow and fit.

5. Stencil Mike describes his stencil application techniques and offers a HUGE plug for stencil stuff.

6. Set-Up: Machines, Ink, Needles & More Mainly talks about Neuma machines. Discusses his preferred ink brands and colours he uses, skin tone palettes and needle types.

7. Applying Colour Theory To Realistic Tattooing Everything you need to know about colour and using the colour wheel to select background colours, complimentary colours etc

8. Creativity Using your creativity to make designs from reference and your head.

9. Technique When to line, when not to line…. Starting points, highlights, Needle techniques, skintone, palette and colour richness, Keeping your colours flowing, value & complimentary colours, light source, rotated lines, hair, cover ups, monochromatic tattoo, size location and overlaps, a recurring observation, what’s the rush?

10. Photographing Your Art Work Tells all about cameras, aperture, shutter, point and shoots, DSLR’s, settings, optimal photography conditions and more.

11. Presentation Printing and displaying your work in a portfolio.

12. Aftercare A brief description of his aftercare technique.

13. Gallery A stack of photos of Mike Devries works.