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Archive for November, 2012

How to Draw with David Nestler—No. 14 (Using a Camera)


I’ve been pretty happy with the progression of this How To article. We started with simple basics and moved on to more dedicated and specific tips and techniques, all with the intention of providing you with more ammunition to add to your artistic arsenal. I could keep going on this same path, adding even more obscure tips and observations that I employ in my drawings and paintings, in the hopes of making you a better artist. But I believe this column would be better served by going back to the beginning, starting with the basics and expanding on each subject much more than I did in prior issues. …read more

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Written by Baxter

November 29th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Columns

Five Things to Consider When Getting a Tattoo

Miley Cyrus gets a tattoo


After deciding to go for a tattoo, the next big decision is about the selection of the design. The right design can make the tattoo look appealing. It’s best to make the right choice from the start, as tattoo removal is a painful and expensive process. There’s some planning required In choosing the design. Here are some items you should consider.

1. Consider the Body Part

You need to choose the place on your body where you want the tattoo. This is going to influence the design of the tattoo. If you don’t want the tattoo to be seen in work clothes, cosmetic tattoo covers are available. Tattoo covers can be found online, including,, etc.

2. Research the Design

You need to do some research before you can decide on the design. You can visit a local, reputable tattoo parlor and go through tattoo design books. Tattoo designs can also be researched on the Internet. When choosing a design, it’s best to go with a unique and original design and not something that is made for the mass market. If you’re going for writing in a foreign language, make sure you know the meaning of the words. You should choose the quotes and the fonts carefully.

3.Choose a Reputable Artist

You should go with a reputable tattoo designer for the design. You can check their portfolios and compare different tattoo styles. Styles include sexy, funny, meaningful etc. You can also hear out their suggestions.

Temporary henna design

4. Take a Print

Get a printout of the finalized design and size. This will allow you to see how your tattoo is going to look against your skin, to get an impression of how it would look during different times of the day. Look at it against the mirror during the day and at night. You can also place the design on your mirror, and analyze it for a few days. This will allow you to decide if it’s the right for you or you need to go for something else. Be patient. Your new tattoo will be there for a long, long time.

5. Go Temporary

If this is your first tattoo, you might opt for henna, which will give you a temporary version of wearing skin art. You won’t be able to see the colors, but it would allow you to get the feeling of wearing a permanent tattoo. Henna usually lasts about a week. This will give you the opportunity to find out how it looks on you with regular clothing, and how you feel with the tattoo, while you carry on your daily activities. The Sharpie option is also available, if your budget doesn’t allow for henna.

By carefully considering these options, you would be able to make better decisions when choosing your body art.

—Jennifer Smith

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Written by Baxter

November 28th, 2012 at 10:47 am

Posted in Guest Bloggers

Charles Gatewood’s Tattoo Art Collection 4 Sale


Gatewood photo

San Francisco’s Charles Gatewood was always the writer/photographer I could depend on for creating some of Skin&Ink’s most popular articles on tribal tattooing, erotica and the long lost history of the biz. Hanging out with a cadre of significant underground celebrities such as Spider Webb, Annie Sprinkle and Robert Williams, Gatewood single-handedly brought his unique brand of body art photography to the forefront of America’s popular artistic consciousness during the ’70s and ’80s. Endowed with an eye for the sexy and profane, Gatewood documented Webb and others in an intimate, soul-stirring manner that became a hallmark among the many who tried but could never quite equal his level of creative insight and perception.

—Bob Baxter

Hey Bob!

Whassup, dude? I hope this finds you happy, healthy and prosperous. I’m retiring, and selling my body art collections. My tattoo collection fills ten large boxes. It contains several hundred 4×6 prints and about 200 8×10 and 11×14 vintage silver prints, some of well-known old-school tattooers. I have some choice large pieces, like this Omi by artist Scott Williams. I have an excellent collection of Spider Webb photos and supporting material, plus several boxes of choice tattoo ephemera (hundreds of articles, clippings, news items, cartoons, historical pieces, etc. I also have many tattoo books, including about 300 copies of “Forbidden Photographs” (lots of body art). I also have a large collection of body-piercing photos, books, magazines and other items.

Collectors can contact me at or (415) 267-7651.



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Written by Baxter

November 27th, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Posted in Letters

Enter the Tattoo Road Trip Name the Contest Contest


Here’s the skinny. Every month or so we have a new contest and give away terrific prizes such as Infinite Irons and Micky Sharpz tattoo machines, incredible books from Edition Reuss, Last Gasp and Schiffer and lotsa other great stuff. This time, we’re giving away good old-fashioned money. A hundred smackers for about ten seconds of your time. Not a bad paycheck in these dicey economic times. Here’s how it works:

(1) Come up with your very, very best choice for the subject of our next tattoo contest. Entries may include contest subjects that have been used before.

(2) Type the words “Contest Contest” in the subject line and email entry to Only one submission per person, please.

(3) Include entrant’s name, address and phone number. Include tattoo shop name, if applicable.

(4) Entries close midnight, Friday, December 7th, 2012. In the case of duplicate entries, the earliest submission will be named the official entry.

(5) Finalists’ names and their contest theme suggestions will be posted on Monday, December 10th.

(6) Voting Booth will open on Monday, December 10th and close on midnight, Friday, December 21st.

(7) The person who submitted the entry with the most votes will receive a check for $100 (just in time for Christmas).

(8) A new contest with the prize-winning theme will begin on Monday, December 24th. Prizes from Infinite Irons!

(9) Questions? Email us at

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Written by Baxter

November 27th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Contests

A Blast From The Tattoo Past


I have known and admired Tennessee Dave James for nearly twenty years. One of the tattoo world’s foremost storytellers, Tennessee is famous for not only his unique outhouse tattoos (I have one on my left calf) and old-school tattoo style, but also the intriguing and entertaining yarns he spun on the pages of Skin&Ink, back when I called the shots. Here’s one from August 2006.

Tennessee Dave James

I know that all of you out there in tattoo land have your share of boobs, creeps, flakes and all-around screw-ups. Here are a few that I remember from my career and from the guys that I have worked with, Capt. Jim, Sailor Ted, etc. Some of these guys were just strange, but a part if life.

I was sitting around one really slow night when these five bikers came in. They were with a pretty big club, so I asked, “What can I do to help you guys out?” They said that one of them needs a cover-up. I say, “Show me what it is.” Well, he had this club logo on his chest, kinda big. I say, “What does he want tattooed over it?” One of the other dudes says, “A big black square.” So, while I’m doing this, someone from the gay bar down the street sticks his head in the door and says, “Anyone who gets tattooed is an asshole.” The smallest of these bikers is like six feet and 190 pounds! They all went after this guy and caught him in a half block. These dudes administered a very solid and intense ass-kicking on the guy. I heard he was in the hospital for three months.

Jim and I had this customer who loved pinups. He didn’t care how or where we put them, as long as the boobs and camel toe were perfect. This guy was good for seven or eight visits a month, and we worked on him for like two years. Then one evening, a limo pulls up in front and this older lady comes in. She tells Jim and me that she is his mom and could we please not put any more naked women on her son. So, of course, we stopped working on him after that.

One Sunday about 25 years ago, I was sitting and chilling, when in comes this young Latino dude, 18 or 19, maybe. He had a bunch of his family with him. I guess they came to see him get his first tattoo. On one of our sheets of flash is this pinup about eight inches tall, wearing red frilly panties and bra, holding a martini in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He tells me he wants it on his chest. I ask if he has any tattoos? He says no, but he wants it anyway. We agree on price and I start to tattoo him. Well, to this day the poor guy is running around with two legs, the bottom edge of some panties and a hand holding a martini. He wouldn’t even let me finish the outline!

Back about 1969 or ’70, I had a guy who came into the shop at least three times a week, and he would ask for some really strange tattoos. Jersey Ernie and I both tattooed this guy, but I think that I put the most on, as he came mostly after midnight, when I was the only one there. Sometimes, my brother, Greg, would be hanging around to keep me company. This guy would ask for things like the outlines of a crocodile and alligator, and they had to be exact. Once I put From Russia With Bombs on his chest. Sometimes, he came in while we were working on other customers and he was always in a hurry. He had to have it now. Once, I just reached over to him through the rail and put three lines over his croc and gator, while I was tattooing another guy. This was way before we used gloves and new needles on each customer. Another time, around 2 a.m., .he asked me to put my name on the side of his chest. So, while I’m doing that, my brother comes out of the back room and says, “Hey, that’s not your name.” I had to think fast, so I tell him, “That’s my professional name.” The customer bought it.

We had this guy coming around for about 2½ years, doing all these weird words and symbols. We thought he might be the Zodiac Killer, at one time. Then one Saturday morning, as I was getting off work, he came and said he had to talk to me. We sat at the front of the shop for like three hours, as he told me that he was the Messiah, that he should have been in Memphis instead of Martin Luther King. I really couldn’t understand any of his bull. Finally, Capt. Jim calls me over and says, “Get rid of this guy ’cause he’s making me nervous. So, I told the guy that I had to leave and our session was over. He pays me $2,000 in Travelers Checks and splits. I never saw him again.

Sailor Ted was once visited by a priest who read him the riot act about tattooing and living a bad life. Tired of hearing about his lousy lifestyle and profession, Ted interrupted him in mid-sentence and says to him, “If you put your pants on backwards instead of your collar, there would be a lot less bastards in this world.”

—Tennessee Dave James

Legendary tattoo artist Tennessee Dave James recently underwent cornea replacement and cannot work. Please donate to Paypal address:


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Written by Baxter

November 26th, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Posted in Humor

Sin on Skin Tattoo—Halifax, Nova Scotia


When Sin on Skin owner/artist Kyle LeBlanc started his career back in the early ’90s, he travelled around Canada tattooing before settling down in Halifax at Skintastic Studio. Shortly after starting his career he was hired by 20th Century Fox to do special effects makeup on the set of James Cameron’s upcoming movie Titanic. He continued to do work designing tattoos for various movies sets and speaking with numerous media sources like Street Cents, Much Music, Global, CTV, CBC, Maritimes Today,, Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), Celtic Life Magazine and the Chronicle Herald for answers to questions about the industry and its trends.

His award-winning work has also been seen in Skin&Ink magazine and on Juno award winners Biff Naked and Brian Borcherd. Kyle and fellow artists Eldrick Murphy and Lacey Cormier make sure to clarify each customer’s ideas and design and create a unique work of art.

Over the last few years the shop has been lucky enough to work with the local Police Association and Make a Wish. Through events like Pitches for Wishes and Justice Scores for Wishes they helped to raise over $32,000 to give local children their wishes. Sin on Skin was thanked in the Nova Scotia Legislation proceedings by Mr. Daryl Dexter for efforts to make life better for sick children and their families. Sin on Skin is the first tattoo studio in Nova Scotia to receive this honor.

Sin on Skin Tattoo, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Note: Click on image to expand and click again to enlarge.

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Written by Baxter

November 25th, 2012 at 11:32 am

Posted in Shop Featurette

Organic Fashions from The Leu Family’s Family Iron

Ama Leu


Ama Leu is the daughter of Felix and Loretta Leu, fine artists, tattooers and originators of “The Leu Family’s Family Iron.” She is the granddaughter of Swiss artist Eva Aeppli, sculptor Jean Tinguely’s first wife. Her brother Filip Leu is a well-known tattooer and fine artist. Ama grew up in a bohemian family environment and went on to become an international fashion model for twenty years. In her new clothing line she blends her knowledge and experience of art, tattoo and fashion. She also focuses on the use of eco-friendly, organic materials. This sprang from her becoming a mother in which her search for soft, organic, funky clothes led to the idea for this line. This evolved into a collaboration with her brother, growing into tattoo-inspired designs using organic materials wherever she can.

Filip Leu dragon design “onesie”

In September, 2012, Ama took her whole family to the London Tattoo Convention to present her clothing line and meet up with all the other Leus. “It was a blast,” says Ama. “We had two-year-olds to sixty-seven-year-olds, and everyone had a great time. It reminded me of my first convention, when I was fifteen, in Amsterdam, when my dad was still around.”

Ama is planning to go to the Mondial du Tatouage Paris tattoo convention in March, 2013, meeting up with the whole group, including her sister Aia, who is bringing out a book on the family’s art entitled “The Art of the Leu Family.”

It’s a family affair. Watch this space.

—Ama Leu fashions (

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Written by Baxter

November 24th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Posted in Just Plain Kool

Portrait Tattoo Contest—Top Three Finisher, Tony Geffers


Brand new member of our Tattoo Shop Directory Tony Geffers (Sinnin Skinn Inkworks, Orfordville, Wisconsin) was the third-place finisher after two weeks of intense voting. Here’s some samples of Tony’s tattoo work.

Note: Click image to expand and click again to enlarge.

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Written by Baxter

November 24th, 2012 at 11:11 am

Posted in Contests,Gallery

Larry Brogan Reviews the Eikon ES300 Travel Power Supply

Click for video


At long last someone has built a small, portable, lightweight power supply that can run traditional coil machines as well as rotary. Eikon is a Canadian tattoo equipment manufacturer (and Tattoo Road Trip sponsor)  that has been on the cutting edge of the industry since 1994 and is famous for their metered power supplies that are coveted by many artists and machine-builders worldwide. Being a traveling tattooist myself, I have been on the lookout for a great travel-size power supply that can run all my machines and provide the required power. This time Eikon has built a state-of-the-art, powerful piece of equipment with great features like a Maintained Foot Switch Mode that allows the tattooist to have a constant-running machine without having to hold down the foot-switch  It also has an oversized control knob for easy adjustment, a sticky foot base that keeps it securely mounted to your work space and an available accessory cord set that lets you use it worldwide. I am told Eikon is developing a disposable knob cover that will allow easy adjustments and help prevent cross contamination.

I have been using the Eikon ES300 at the shop and on the road and have been extremely pleased with its performance, ease of cleaning and overall futuristic appearance. I highly recommend it to any professional tattoo artist.

—Larry Brogan USA

  • Designed and manufactured by Eikon in Canada
  • Delivers the same smooth, stable Eikon power as the EMS400… in a much smaller package!
  • 36 Watts of power!
  • Compatible with rotary and coil machines
  • Visual voltage indicator – using six “Voltage Meter Bars” on the faceplate
  • Oversized, devoted aluminum control knob for easy adjustments and mode changes
  • Easily switch between two footswitch modes: Momentary and Maintained
  • Rear jacks keep cords out of your way and your workspace uncluttered
  • Eikon’s “Sticky Foot” base ensures the ES300 stays securely planted on your workspace
  • Takes up 52% less space than the EMS400 when traveling
  • Smaller adapter and cord to reduce overall size
  • Sleep mode to prevent excess power draw when not in use
  • Use it worldwide with the appropriate ES300 accessory cord set (sold separately)

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Written by Baxter

November 23rd, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Product Review

Eddie Molina—Hand of Fate, Ithaca, New York


Eddie Molina, Hand of Fate, Ithaca, New York, was a close second in our Portrait Tattoo balloting. An enormous number of voters thought he had the best entries, but, at the last minute, he was edged out by Monty Ricken, Monsters Ink, Medicine Hat, Alberta. Eddie has owned Hand of Fate for five years and been tattooing seventeen. For all his fans and those who voted for him, here’s some examples of Eddie’s work:

 Note: Click on images to expand and click again to enlarge.

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Written by Baxter

November 23rd, 2012 at 2:06 pm