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Some of our steadiest items at the Tattoo Education store are the BJ Betts lettering books, and for a good reason: They are some of the most practical and useful books that a working tattooer can have in their toolkit. Also, we just bought our plane tickets for the Paradise Artist Retreat coming up March 25-28 at the Tamaya Resort in New Mexico. If you are not yet a Reinventing The Tattoo member, it's a subscription-based educational package that gives you access to the entire Reinventing curriculum, which comes in a combination of e-book and video format and covers everything from the fundamentals of good tattoo design to working with references, using digital tools, expanding your skills through painting and other mediums, plus exhaustive chapters on tattooing technique. For the past two decades of my tattoo career, I've been using Adobe Photoshop as an essential part of my workflow in everything from design compositing to portfolio page layout.
It's a downright useful tutorial and will give you a lot of bang for your buck- Halo has taken not only his experience but all the stuff that he learned in a digital art college course that he thinks is the most useful to tattoo artists, and distilled it down into an hour and forty minutes of smoothly produced information. Reinvent Yourself is a great compliment to a DVD set we already carry: Get Digital, by Mike DeVries and Jamie Parker.
Back in the days of my apprenticeship, one of the first things I was asked to do was draw flash- twenty full pages of it before I would be allowed to pick up a machine.
Drawing and painting flash remains an important skill, not only for apprentices but for any tattoo artist who wants to reach a wider audience than they can personally tattoo, or simply wants to share their own unique style with other artists (and possibly sell a few sets now and then!) So it's great news that Joe Swanson has made a detailed, comprehensive tutorial on painting tattoo flash step-by-step.
While we are talking about watercolors I also wanted to mention Myke Chambers' Watercolor 101 DVD, which overlaps in a few places with the material in the Joe Swanson tutorial but also ventures into all kinds of other interesting places, working with a larger scale design, comparing watercolors with liquid acrylics, different methods of color blending and lining, and taking longevity into account. Ever since the second edition of my flagship educational package Reinventing The Tattoo was released, I've daydreamed about making an electronic edition which could be updated to keep up with the rapid pace of change in our industry. During the beta phase, we are offering a special one-time discount to subscribers with the understanding that you will be helping us to make the Reinventing educational experience as perfect as possible.
Some of my personal favorites featured are Chet Zar, Gunnar, Cory Norris, Tom Strom, Mike DeVries, Brett Herman, Jamie Lee Parker, Terry Ribera, Joey Foote, Oleg Turiyanskiy, Pooch, Phil Robertson, Spencer Caliguri and Kate Crane.
This Halloween I celebrate my 17th year as a tattooist, and can think of nothing better to commemorate these years then seeing my friend and client Mindy on the cover of Tattoo Magazine! I have been documenting this process, and the Bloom Project is a direct result of passion, dedication and a desire to push the evolution of this project further. The Worldwide Tattoo Conference has always been one of the more unique events in tattooing, with the entire focus being on educational seminars rather than squeezing them in around a lot of tattooing and contests. WWTC: How do you feel the new wave of educational seminars have affected the tattoo at large?
Make a piece of abstract art based on one of the many references posted by contestants from Part 1 of the contest. So it was fun to be invited to submit work to the original Force In The Flesh Star Wars Tattoo Art project a few years back. We still have a handful of the first edition in stock, but they are going fast- literally, I can hold them all in one hand. With our Wacom Weekend digital workshop coming up in only a few weeks, Russ Abbott and I are busy preparing the material for our classes that we'll be teaching there.
I speak to a lot of artists about their struggles and it seems that getting past the basic digital hurdles is one of the big ones.
I also wanted to mention that I've just listed a new acrylic painting on eBay, fresh off the easel from two weeks ago.
We are psyched at the way our new website turned out, and wanted to celebrate with a March special. I also wanted to remind you of the upcoming Paradise Artist Retreat, from March 31-April 2. Two years ago, Michele and I were involved in organizing the Paradise Artist Retreat at the Tamaya Resort in New Mexico.
Michele identified with the word Bloom as many of her clients requested floral motifs from her, and she likened this process of unfolding through layers of ink, adding on over time and personal transformation to the similarities of a bloom opening to flower.
Michele has inked several body sets and is currently working on an art book showcasing the lovely ladies she has been honored to tattoo and their process of collecting work through the years.
You'll be able to meet The Bloom Sisters in an ongoing series of articles in Tattoo Magazine, starting with a feature on Kristen Blinne in issue #304, which is on newsstands now.
As we close 2014 with a celebration of the season and welcome the New Year I thought it would be a good time to offer some of my favorite recent paintings to add to your art collection as unique prints on sheet aluminum. I also have a collectors' card set for only 5 bucks featuring a nice sampling my paintings, a perfect stocking stuffer. So another edition of my Ask Guy column has hit the newsstands, this time another one centered around a critique of another artist's work.
I also wanted to mention a number of gift pack options that we carry at the Hyperspace Studios online store, some which present a collection of items that can really help fill out your gifting list.
When I completed my recent painting Radiant Flux, I had a lot of positive feedback, with a number of people asking me for prints. We've enjoyed all the great anthology books that have been released in the past few years by publishers such as Memento Publishing and Out Of Step Books, featuring work from diverse selections of artists, sometimes hundreds in a single volume. Over the summer I had a painting hanging in the Somerset House in the UK, along with pieces by such amazing artists as Filip Leu, Titine Leu, Horiyoshi III, Don Ed Hardy, Shawn Barber, Timothy Hoyer, Grime, Paul Booth, Chris Garver, Robert Hernandez, Marcus Pacheco, Jeff Gogue, Sabine Gaffon, Nick Baxter, Eddy Deutsche, Joe Capobianco, Bugs, Ichibay, Nikko Hurtado and Ami James. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. I am an elementary teacher and have two smaller tattoos and recently got one that runs up my left side and across my lower back.  Do I love my tattoos? Information about tattoo design and technique has always been shrouded in a layer of secrecy and misconceptions. This website is intended for professional tattoo artists only, or for apprentices who are learning in a supervised shop environment. That said, I believe there are many fine brands of pigments available these days, and only a few that are terrible.
Every day is a great day for improving your work; come check out our catalog and see how you can become even better at your profession. We recently had a chance to speak with Russ about his new shop location and the rapid evolution that his work is going through. Q: What do you believe are some of the things that helped catalyze this shift in your career, from a technically strong tattooist to a specialty artist with a recognizable personal style? A: After I had been tattooing in all of these different styles for a few years, spending a lot of time studying and copying the styles of artists I admired, I decided to turn off all of the outside input and focus on my own style. Q: When you had your Kickstarter campaign for your Ornamental Archive book, the response was overwhelming, allowing you to go much further with the project than you had initially planned. With deluxe artistic approaches to lettering becoming more of a mainstay in day-to-day tattooing, Betts' books provide ways of keeping things interesting, customizing it, finding your own flow and your own style. It boils down some of the most important aspects of designing good custom lettering into a small pocket-sized guide that's sure to get a ton of mileage.
As the tattoo art form continues to evolve and grow in popularity, knowing what to do about unwanted tattoos is becoming more and more crucial for tattoo artists. For subscribers to Reinventing The Tattoo, it comes free with your subscription as a part of the curriculum. The live format also allowed for some insightful audience questions to round out the program. Since the electronic edition was released in October we've been steadily expanding the curriculum with guest chapters by Russ Abbott, Nick Baxter, Megan Jean Morris, Don McDonald and Halo Jankowski, plus new chapters by me about rotary machines and needle cartridges. I recently watched a new video by Halo of Black Lotus Tattoos in Maryland called Reinvent Yourself: In Depth Photoshop for the Tattoo Artist. You can even open the DVD on your desktop and then open Photoshop right next to it, and try out the things that he's demonstrating. Get Digital covers a lot of fundamentals, but approaches it much differently than Reinvent Yourself. Flash drawing was a totally new skill for me to learn, and to make matters more complicated, my boss asked me to do the first set using ink washes, the black and white cousin of watercolor painting.
The 2-DVD set, simply called Paint Tattoo Flash, covers every step from selecting the right materials to design transfer, inking, coloring and finishing touches, plus bonus sections on practice exercises and antiquing effects. Both tutorials are highly recommended, and you can save on shipping by ordering them together. It's a great way to get an overall scope of the shape and flow of the design and to make it fit the body nicely. Working directly on the images in The Body Sketch Book is a great way to inspire yourself to think in terms of flow and fit, which can lead to different approaches to design, even in cases where you don't have a client and are just wanting to draw. It's been a long time in the making, but we now have the beta edition of the Reinventing e-book available, and I couldn't be more excited! That includes not only helping us find small glitches in the format, but also to give us your suggestions about what you'd like to see added to the experience. Their most recent release, Sketched Out, is nothing but pure fun: Sketchbook pages from 100 tattooists from a variety of styles and artistic backgrounds. We've already seen literally hundreds of amazing entries, but this is a subject that I think a lot of you could really sink your teeth into.
She has been getting work from me for the entire span of my career, and is one of the first ladies to get a floral form bodyset which I am known for.

I've enjoyed teaching at these events because the audience tends to be made almost entirely of intelligent, open-minded artists who are there to learn and network. This will include plenty of closeup video footage of the needle at work, along with enough time at the end of the session to answer audience questions.
Airline tickets are reasonably priced right now- why not treat yourself and get a brainful of knowledge and inspiration? I was drawn to it as if to a powerful magnet at a young age and the interest only deepens as I spend more time with it. This month we're holding a contest there inspired by all the great reference photos that have been popping up in the #biomech_collective hashtag feed.
All photos from the #biomech_reference feed are available to use for your art reference, including combinations of multiple images.
Prizes will include shirts, art prints, critiques, original art and the grand prize package including an Inkjecta Flite V2 tattoo machine!
Star Wars fans in the tattoo industry were still just starting to emerge from the woodwork, so it felt like being part of an exclusive club. This is a big deal for us, with it being both of our first effort at presenting this kind of fundamental computer graphic education for tattoo artists. It's something that took me many years of trial and error to get past, since there were so few tattooists using computers back in those early days. It's one of my painterly realist texture studies, which I filmed the painting process of for a tutorial I just taught at the Paradise Artist Retreat in New Mexico last week. For any tattoo professionals who order $250 or more from our catalog this month we'll send you a free copy of the Worldwide Tattoo Conference DVD. I'll be teaching at that one, alongside a group of artists including Nick Baxter, Jeff Gogue, Tony Moore, Gabe Leonard, Hannah Aitchison and Chet Zar.
We had invited renowned visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey as feature artists there, and the workshops they hosted were extremely well received.
She has been designing a signature look for her mainly female clientele throughout her tattoo career. The book will feature in-depth photos of her work as well as many of her clients who have come to be known as The Bloom Sisters.
So it's finally been photographed properly and archival fine art canvas prints are rolling off the presses right now.
In addition to Radiant Flux, I've also added 16 organic studies that I did over the past 6 months. This would include books such as Tattoo Prodigies, Antennae of Inspiration and the more recent Cranial Visions, featuring a fun sampling of skull-and-bone themed work in every imaginable style and medium. It was a humbling experience to be invited to be shown alongside these talents, and for the show I produced Zero Hour, which is available as an archival canvas art print at the Hyperspace Studios online store. First, there were tattoo conventions, where artists could gather under one roof and watch each other work. None of the material here is meant to teach tattooing from scratch, but instead to teach how to draw or tattoo better and improve or broaden existing skills. Items are added to the catalog depending on the usefulness of the material, the quality of the production and the reputation of the artist who produced it. But I first want to point out that this is based entirely on my experience working with these products, along with listening carefully to my friends and colleagues about their experiences.
I've been using a combination of several brands including Eternal and Fusion- these two brands are direct competitors, but I believe that is part of what makes both brands so good. Although firmly rooted in time-tested classic notions of what makes a tattoo hold up through the years, he has developed methods of applying these traditional guidelines in novel ways toward many styles of tattooing including both traditional and realism, bringing them together into an American illustrative style that is both distinct and timeless. Russ has long been known for his illustrative style but is branching out into some exciting new territory which he talks about in some detail here. I tried biomech, tribal, new school, black and gray realism, Japanese, and American traditional.
Do you have any advice for artists who are at a point in their career where they are ready to push to this next level? There were a couple of years that I didn't look at tattoo magazines or website portfolios. There is an unusual balance of bright elements and more muted ones, along with other things that make your color schemes easy to recognize.
I think the time was right for a quality tattoo-based reference book for ornamental scrollwork and frames.
I find that I get bored with creating the same images over and over so I make an active effort to expand my offerings and in some cases, place limits on what I will and won't do.
Who works there with you, and what are some of the other things that make Ink & Dagger a great shop?
During that time, I learned so much about how to organize, promote, and manage the business. His explanations are clear, simple, massively useful, and written in a down-to-earth style that's easy to relate to. This video comes free as part of your Reinventing subscription, or can be purchased separately as a DVD for non-subscribers. I highly recommend Reinvent Yourself for all Photoshop users- even if you have lots of practical experience with Photoshop, I assure you you'll learn something from this course.
It's geared toward projects such as business cards and banners that can be of immediate use in your practice, along with many great tricks for working with reference material.
It was an adventure to say the least, and a great learning experience that helped to prepare me for the steep learning curve of actual tattooing. The set comes with a small booklet that you can keep with you at your drawing table for a quick guide. Learn all about watercolor techniques with these two great painting tutorials by experienced working tattoo artists. The body parts are printed in non-photo blue, so you can use a photocopier to duplicate your drawings with the body parts invisible. For starters, it's given me a chance to go back through the entire text and rewrite parts of it to reflect our current understandings of tattooing, plus it was a chance to get the Photoshop chapters current and talk about the changes happening with equipment. Perfect for your personal collection or waiting room, available now at the Hyperspace Studios online store.
I chose this title as many of my clients request floral motifs from me, and I've found that the process of unfolding through layers of ink, adding on over time, and the personal transformation that occurs, can be likened to the process of a flower bloom opening. There is also a copy of Mindy's current spread in Tattoo Magazine posted in my Press gallery.
SW tattoos are way more common now, and with so many incredible artists doing their take on the theme, it was inevitable that a follow-up book project, The Force In The Flesh 2, would need to be published. But the new edition is a bigger, thicker volume with a dizzying array of Star Wars tattoo work from a broad variety of artists working in different styles, everything from traditional to realism and everything in between. It comes in a handmade gloss black frame, signed and dated, ready to adorn your workstation or art room wall.
Other workshops, including Shawn Barber's late night Ala Prima session, left a lasting impression on the artists who attended.
It'll involve both an early evening instructional session and a late night hands-on art jam.
Starting with a desire to see a more unified and flowing female esthetic, 15 years ago, Michele embarked on an artistic journey to redefine more options for women wanting a lighter softer, balanced look within their tattoo collection. Many of us in the tattoo industry haven't run across this practice very much, though, which can make it tricky to get honest feedback from others in the profession.
Alternately, there is the Tattoo Community Project Pack, which includes a number of books and DVDs about big artistic projects done within the tattoo industry including Scratch Art, the book and DVD set Innerstate, the tiny yet epic Pint Size Paintings book and Paul Booth's documentary The ArtFusion Experiment. Anyone who follows me on Instagram has likely seen at least some of these, but the Hyperspace galleries give you the full collection of uncropped images at a much higher resolution. Now comes a new release, Excavate, which presents a collection of macabre and thought-provoking skeletal art on skin, canvas, paper and sculpture by a list of artists too long to include here.
It's an organic spiral from a period when I was exploring a crusty new direction with my texture and depth. Anyway, we have managed to secure a limited amount of the catalogs from the show, which come in the form of a large-format 144 page softcover art book.
This eventually led to some convention promoters encouraging artists to teach seminars, an idea that has grown into a full-fledged education subculture within the tattoo industry. If you are not a tattoo artist, there are some items here strictly about painting and other subjects that may be of interest to you; however, if you are wanting to learn the tattoo art form, you need to consult with your local professional studios before you start investing in books or equipment. I do not- and never have- taken any payment for recommending tattooing products, and in fact have turned down a number of lucrative offers to do so.
Both brands have taken considerable advice from artists and expanded their selections to include many unusual off-colors and weird tones, vastly broadening the range of what's available. For several years now I've been using a lightweight steel liner from Tramp Welker for fine detailing, an aluminum lining shader (a compromise between the short stroke of a liner and the long stroke of a shader) from Fallen King for all my 5 mag work- I do a lot with a five mag, including the initial layout of most large work.

In early 2009 Russ began teaching seminars at major tattoo conventions and released his first instructional DVD, Iron Clad: Tattoos Built To Last, which shows his technique up close and provides insight on the thinking behind this technique. You can see more about Russ and his current art pursuits in our extended Hypercast interview with him, which you can view here.
And do you have any guidelines for artists wanting to incorporate it with other elements in their tattoo designs?
When it came time to expand the studio, I also wanted a more accessible location that was closer to my home. It includes chapters on several different types of coverup projects from small, single-pass pieces to large, epic transformations, and everything in between.
The coverup chapters are just one of the many things that we've added this year to this expanding, high-power educational package.
It's an in-depth tutorial that shows you a live screen capture of a number of demonstrations, all which are useful for use in tattoo design. Save on shipping by ordering both DVDs, and you'll have a comprehensive library of Photoshop tricks and tools that is sure to get you up to speed and working with digital tools in a way that empowers you as a tattoo artist.
It's a highly useful and practical tutorial, aimed at getting you functional from a point of starting with zero knowledge but still demonstrating some fairly advanced techniques, all for a very reasonable price. This item is highly recommended, and would be a perfect low-cost gift for your favorite artist. While the weather is prime we would like to encourage everyone to get out and explore the microcosmos! Force 2 has just rolled off the press and it is indeed a powerhouse book, far thicker and more visually rich than its predecessor. We'll have Wacom Cintiq tablets on hand to make sure that all participants get hands-on time with the equipment under our close instruction. It was a beautiful experience, with a great core group of artists taking over this quiet desert mountain resort, getting rejuvenated after the long winter and going home inspired and ready to start the spring season. This will be my first workshop of its kind and I've got plans for it that I hope will make it both useful and memorable for everyone.
Many of these sets began with shoulder cap coverage, and gradually Michele's clients found themselves inking their way down to full sleeves and beyond. I've been enjoying the critique format of the Ask Guy column and have had some very positive feedback. We are also offering it pre-stretched, so if you know of someone that this eye-catching image would be a perfect gift for, it can arrive stretched and ready to wrap in your favorite gaudy holiday wrapping paper.
It's over 400 pages, hardcover and laid out in a way that will keep you coming back and opening its pages, discovering something new each time. Many artists who teach seminars are also offering books or DVDs about tattoo design and technique, enabling tattooing to evolve faster than ever before. Likewise, if you are interested in posting information about upcoming seminars, contact Jason at the above address. I use a production model Aaron Cain machine for driving my big mags, and just recently purchased a liner from Chris Smith of Deluxe Tattoo in Chicago, which I've been using for bold linework and small painterly details, usually with a loose 7 or 9 round. In 2013 he released Ornamental Archive, a book based on classic Victorian ornament but retooled in his distinct illustrative style.
I'd say my illustrative style developed due to the diversity of styles that I was studying.
Instead of looking at tattoos for reference, I would try to start with a photo of the original animal, object, flower, etc that I was trying to draw.
Ornamental scrollwork works really well as a stand-alone design, as counterpoint to a large range of design motifs, or as a gap-filler between tattoos.
After we have all of the foundational concepts under our belt, I start relating it all back to tattooing by showing examples of my work and detailing the process that I use. The dimensional graphic designs you mentioned are the result of my exploration of 2D and 3D design programs. I found a great space in Roswell, Georgia which is about 25 minutes north of downtown Atlanta. It also goes into detail about the laser, showing several sample projects and discussing in detail the realities of the laser, including a lengthy FAQ that you can share with your clients when talking about the possibility of laser treatments.
It's a classic spiral bound paperback sketchbook made using high quality Canson acid free drawing paper, but it comes with the blank body parts already printed on its 150 pages, low-contrast and ready to use, both for upcoming clients and just for doodling new tattoo ideas. Or just treat yourself- in my experience, anything that can give you a good start in your tattoo drawings will put you ahead of your game. This new edition is subscription based, with the goal of adding new content regularly so that your Reinventing experience is constantly evolving and can be customized to your path as a developing artist. I have a great appreciation for the beauty and wonder of Nature which I believe we are all a part of. Give a follow on the Facebook Bloom page and at Michele Wortman, where I post updates on the Project and art related news as well. If you want to use the parts of a battleship to make a star cruiser, all the more power to you. As a tattoo book goes, it not only celebrates the Star Wars story in a graphically dazzling way but shows the incredible capability of the tattoo art form today.
It was definitely one of the highlights of our year: high-energy inspirational workshops followed by drinks by the fire, under the stars.
Tuition is included in the weekend ticket price, along with workshops and seminars by an incredible roster of instructors including Jeff Gogue, Chet Zar, Nick Baxter, Tony Moore, Gabe Leonard and my sister Hannah Aitchison. You can see the latest edition in Tattoo Magazine #305, which is available now and also includes a fun interview that I did with artist Adrian Dominic, plus a lot of other fun stuff. Take a look through the Hyperspace Studios online store for more ideas- we guarantee shipping in time for Christmas on all US orders received by December 16th.
It's in the print gallery now at our online store, along with a broad catalog of other prints by both Michele and myself.
It's a great gift or a perfect addition to your studio or waiting room book collection, available now at our online store! These four machines provide me with the full range of working styles I need to produce the kind of bold but finely rendered work that I'm known for. His latest project is the Abbott Color Wheel, a tool that offers access to a new level of understanding of color theory for the tattoo industry. I would take what I learned from all of those years tattooing different styles and just draw what I liked.
For artists looking to expand their repertoire into ornamental styles, I would suggest that they really study the flow and movement of the overall design and try to avoid jarring twists or awkward bends.
I started using a  Wacom Cintiq a while back which allows me to draw directly on my computer monitor.
There is also a chapter on scar coverups, with examples of surgical scars, burn scars, electrical burns and other types of scarring, with strategies for effectively tattooing over even the trickiest skin.
From my clients to my artistry, this is the energy that we synchonise with and resonate from. Tickets are available now at the Tattoo Education online store, including tickets with special group rates. My color wheel organizes the entire line of tattoo inks from Eternal Ink and let's tattooers see all of the options in one place.
Sometimes, even the more experienced artists are familiar with some of the concepts but have never really applied them in the same ways I do. I started to take in to account the way that I was presenting myself and my work to the world.
Of course, my book was created to offer a broad selection of designs that can be adapted and incorporated. We also offer tickets for the LiveStream edition- if you can't make it in person but want to take part in the experience online, you can stream the whole thing in HD to your home or studio. Potential clients have to sort through a lot of artists if they are going to do their research. Currently the crew includes Savannah Colleen, Clinton Lee, Eddie Stacey, Brandon David, and Erick Holguin. When I design a tattoo, I always try to do a value study to organize my dark and light values. I decide on a few bright colors that I want to use and then I try to get a fair amount of more desaturated or muted colors in to the mix.

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