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New Ask Guy Critique Column, Plus A Few Great last-Minute Gifts!




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. Art critiques have been a standard part of artists' educations since time immemorial, and are something that you'll encounter at art school quite frequently. 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. I've been enjoying the critique format of the Ask Guy column and have had some very positive feedback. 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. You can also check out the column in the Ask Guy archive here at



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Some Great Affordable Holiday Gift Ideas from Tattoo Education!



Happy Holidays from Tattoo Education!



So I figured we'd give you all a break and not clutter your spam-box during the whole Black Friday/ Cyber Monday rush. But now that that's over you probably still have some gifts to pick up, most likely the kind where you are not sure what to get. So here are some great items that would be welcome gifts for any art fan or artist, and would no doubt get passed around the room a lot the day they are opened.



Let's start with Time: Tattoo Art Today, which is a great softcover gallery catalog of groundbreaking paintings and mixed media works by some of the best-established artists working in the tattoo field today. It's a gorgeous layout of intriguing and inspiring art based on the subject of Time, which the artists have addressed in countless novel ways. I was honored to be invited to be part of this production and have my piece showed alongside these great masterworks. It's a limited availability item that will not be reprinted when it's gone.




Then there is the Inspiration series by Out Of Step Books, including Eight Arms of Inspiration, Antennae of Inspiration, and the most recent, Feathers of Inspiration. Each of these books is a massive collection of many hundreds of pieces in various media by an encyclopedic list of artists, some well-known and others still waiting to be discovered. Feathers of Inspiration became such a large project that they chose to make it into two separate volumes that come as a set. Each of these anthologies will keep the attention of anyone who appreciates art, and offers something new each and every time they are taken down from the shelf.




There are a couple small sized stocking-stuffer anthology books on offer as well, including the Proton Press project Scratch Art, and Durb Morrison's epic but tiny book, Pint Size Paintings. Each of these books features hundreds of small works by a wide variety of artists in a broad spectrum of styles and are fun, entertaining and sometimes surprising collections of art. All of these books are ideal gifts, and come in a variety of prices. If you are looking for gift inspiration, look no further! We have these items plus a lot more at the Tattoo Education online store. All US orders received by December 16 are guaranteed to arrive in time for the holidays.




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Coming this Friday in Austin, Texas: Gallery Show With Nick Baxter And Jeff Ensminger



There aren't many art gallery shows that I'd go out of my way to write a newsletter about. This Friday, though, is an exception. Most of you are probably already familiar with Nick Baxter, who has brought a new form of ultra-polished hyper dimensional surrealism to the tattoo art form. Then there is Jeff Ensminger, who has recently gained a serious following from within the tattoo industry for his bold hybrid graphic style. Both of them create surprising art off the skin as well, and the two of them are unveiling their recent (and mostly yet unseen) work at the Mindzai warehouse and gallery space, 2001 South Lamar #D, Austin, TX 78704 from 8 to 11 pm on Friday, November 21st. Both Nick and Jeff will be in attendance, with originals for sale as well as limited edition giclee prints and posters, along with live t-shirt screen printing featuring a design from each of their painting series.The show will hang until December 3.




I also wanted to mention the published works by Nick and Jeff that we carry at Tattoo Education. Nick's book, Sharp-Focus Realism In Oil, sold out last year but he was able to keep the title alive by re-releasing it as an e-book. It's been updated and expanded beyond the original edition, and has been formatted to fit on any device.If you've never purchased an e-book before, this is a perfect chance to try it out as he has made it as user friendly as possible. Then we have Jeff's book, The Rose, featuring 134 pages of drawings, paintings and photos of roses that Jeff brought together into a definitive source of reference and inspiration. We have both items available now in our online store.



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Latest Ask Guy features new critique format, plus new critique video




I've been enjoying writing my monthly Ask Guy column, which is published in Tattoo Magazine along with being available at and We are well into the second year of taking questions of all sorts from both artists and collectors, and have had many questions about improving overall tattooing. I think the best format for this is in doing critiques, which allow for an in-depth look into an artist's strengths and weaknesses. So for the time being I am switching to a critique format in the column, and the latest issue is the first example of this. The tattoos that I'm critiquing are not only discussed in detail but are also retouched in Photoshop to better describe how things could potentially improve. You can find it on newsstands now, or check it out in the Ask Guy archive.



I've also just completed a short video showing a critique that I gave a regular client of mine, where you can get a better sense of the critiquing process. The idea is to get productive dialogues going with other artists where you can help each other to identify your strengths and weaknesses to allow for more focused growth and advancement.



And before it ends, I wanted to mention the painting that I have on the auction block now at eBay, which will be over in another day or so. It's a small organic spiral piece, deep and crusty, and is both signed and framed. It's 7x9" and needs a good home with a tattooist or a serious collector.



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New Skeletal Anthology Book, Plus Another Painting On eBay!



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. 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. 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 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. It's a great gift or a perfect addition to your studio or waiting room book collection, available now at our online store!



I also wanted to mention that I've listed another painting at eBay. This one is acrylic, 7x9", from 2009, and is signed and framed. It's an organic spiral from a period when I was exploring a crusty new direction with my texture and depth. Drop by our eBay store and check it out.


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Coming Right Up: The Worldwide Tattoo Conference, Attend From Anywhere In The World!




Of all the events that I've been involved in over the past few years, the Worldwide Tattoo Conferences put on by TattooNOW and its affiliates have been some of the most concentrated learning experiences that an artist can attend. The next one is coming right up in Venice, Italy on November 10-12. If you haven't already planned on going, it's likely a bit late to buy plane tickets to Italy now- but fortunately, you can be there via secure online connection and get the full experience without leaving your home or shop.


The WWTC courses are short and sweet- about two hours apiece- so anyone attending will get a brainful of concentrated learning over the course of these three days. This includes seminars by Alex De Pase, Nikko Hurtado, Shige, Carlos Torres, Russ Abbott, Joe Capobianco and Jeff Gogue, and also features fine art with Boris Valleijo and Julie Bell, a business seminar with Gabe Ripley and discussion panels moderated by Durb Morrison. I'll also be Skyping in to join the conference via the web and talking about some new educational directions with Durb and taking audience questions. It promises to be a solid block of intensive learning and networking, and thanks to 21st century technology you can be there without having to travel. Tickets are available now at our online store!


Thanks, and I hope to see you there!



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Exciting new gallery catalog, limited run!




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. 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. 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. It's a thought provoking and beautiful art collection centered on the theme of Time, in a rich variety of artistic styles. It's available now in our online store.



I also wanted to mention that Wacom has extended the promotional code for their Cintiq display tablets until Sunday, November 9. It's a tattoo industry specific promotion that saves $50-100, depending on which model you choose. This is in addition to a temporary lowering of the prices of these units, so that the baseline model of Cintiq Companion, the DTHA1300L is only $999 with the promotional code. Just enter TATTOO_GRWEB in the promotion code box at checkout. At any rate, these are great devices that can bridge the gap between digital and analog, allowing you the most intuitive way to draw directly into your Mac or PC using the software of your choice. You can get more info at If you've been thinking about picking up a Cintiq but balked at the price, this is your chance.



Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!



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Guy Aitchison & Russ Abbott Live Technical Seminar Today!


TODAY IS THE (SECOND) DAY!!! We're about to kick off day two of tattooing with Guy Aitchison and Russ Abbott. Today's seminar will dive into all of the technical aspects that brought the tattoo to where it is now. The client, Brian Geckel sat like a champ yesterday and has about 60% of his lower leg completed at this point, but there's still a lot to do! Watching the fusion of Abbott's ornamental style with Aitchison's bio-mech has been amazing and will continue to amaze us at it travels all the way up his leg today.



What an incredible opportunity it is to have these two masters share all of their tips and tricks with us! The 3-camera angles that we have set up really increase the visibility of the work being done and those closeups make all the difference for detail.

Wanna know something awesome? You can still purchase tickets!! $200.00 will give you access to today's full day of tattooing, the ability to ask questions directly to the guys in the chatroom, and will enter you into a raffle to win one of the Wacom Cintiq Companion tablets they've been using for this process!


After purchasing the webinar you can find it by going to and click on the webinar link in the upper navigation menu.

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Portland Benefit Show, Upcoming Webinar, and Painting Auction




As we gear up for the big webcast event today and tomorrow, I wanted to mention something going on over in Portland, Oregon if you happen to be in the area. My friend Jeff Tarinelli was knocked off his bicycle and ended up with a bunch of pins and other hardware in his tattooing hand. Fortunately they did a good job and he's back to work, but with some pretty epic medical bills. So he and some friends are hosting a benefit art show at the True Measure Gallery, 3022 E. Burnside St in Portland. That's tomorrow, October 23, from 6-9 PM. I've got a few signed prints there, plus there are pieces from an assortment of other artists along with tattoo gift certificate raffles. Drop by if you can!



And of course there's the big webcast event, Evolution, where Russ Abbott and I are doing a massive collaborative leg sleeve project. Today's webcast can be viewed for free at We are taking questions through the chat feature and will be talking about all aspects of the project except for the technical stuff. That comes tomorrow, on the 23rd, which will be for professionals only. Tickets are available now at the Tattoo Education online store. Remember that if you are in New England, you can attend this event in person as well.



Finally, I wanted to mention a painting that I have posted on eBay this week, a medium sized (11x14") piece from the Organica collection. This is a bold, striking piece that will make an impression in your waiting room or workstation gallery, and part of an ever-shrinking collection of published works from my book Organica. The auction will be closing in a couple days.


Thanks, and I hope to hear from you today at our webcast!



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Wacom now offering promotional discounts to the tattoo community!


In the days leading up to the big Guy Aitchison / Russ Abbott collaborative event, Evolution, we've established a partnership with the technology company Wacom. Many of us have long been using Wacom tablets for doing art and other activities at our computers, and a few of us in the tattoo industry have gone so far as to purchase one of their deluxe Cintiq tablets, which gives you a large touchscreen that you can draw on directly with a stylus. So it's exciting news that Wacom has developed a smaller and more portable version of this tablet, known as the Cintiq Companion, which can be disconnected from your computer and used on the fly anywhere. Needless to say, Russ and I are excited to give these new tablets a spin around the block this coming week. 
Wacom has offered us two of the new Cintiq Companion tablets to give away as raffle prizes to anyone purchasing tickets to the collaborative webinar. If you have already purchased tickets, your name has already been entered in the raffle, and we will be drawing names on the 22nd and 23rd of this month to announce the two winners. On the 22nd, you can view the free all-day webcast at, where you can submit your questions for Russ and I to answer. We will be demonstrating the tablets, along with the new Abbott Color wheel. Then, on the 23rd, comes the paid part of the webinar, where we will be going deep into technical detail as we work on an epic leg sleeve project. Tickets are available now at, and purchasing a ticket will automatically enter your name in the raffle.
In addition, Wacom is offering a promotional code for the tattoo community for a limited time. If you purchase one of their Companion tablets through the e-store you can save $50, or $100 off one of their full size Cintiq tablets... Model DTHA1300L is only $999 with the promotional code, which is a great deal for a tablet this versatile. Just enter promotional code TATTOO_GRWEB during checkout and the discount will automatically be applied toward your purchase. This code is valid for two weeks only, so take advantage now!
Thanks, and I'll keep you posted!

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The Aitchison/Abbott team webinar experience!




As Russ Abbott and I gear up for our big collaborative project later this month on the 22-23rd, we've been talking a bit about how to approach the design process. Since both of us have extensive experience working digitally, no doubt a lot of it will happen using digital media, including out tablets made by Wacom, who are helping sponsor the event. We'll be trying out a new tablet product that they carry, the Cintiq Companion, which is a touchscreen tablet where you use a stylus to draw directly on the screen. It can be worked in conjunction with your computer, or as a stand-alone portable device with its own suite of on board software. So needless to say we are both pretty psyched to try it out.



Wacom has also offered one of the new tablets as an enticement for anyone buying tickets to the paid portion of the webinar on the 23rd, when we will be talking about all the technical aspects of what we are doing. We'll do a random drawing from the names of everyone attending either in person or online, and announce the winner of the tablet that day. And the seminar itself promises to be pretty exciting: it's an epic project where we will be combining the best aspects of what we both do. We also will be demonstrating the Abbott Color Wheel, a new tool that can help you to take your color work to the next level. You can read more about the seminar at the Tattoo Education online store.



Last but not least, I've got another painting from the Organica collection listed on eBay. This one is 8x10", signed and framed, and would look perfect in your workstation art collection. The auction is in its last day, so now is your chance to own a part of this published collection.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!



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Coming up soon! The Aitchison/Abbott team webinar experience




So we are in the final weeks before Russ Abbott and I host our epic collaborative educational event this coming October 22-23. It's a class where we plan on demonstrating pretty much everything we know about design and technique, including specific discussions on machines, pigments and design software, among other things. This will all be staged around a giant leg sleeve project where we plan to fuse biomech with Victorian ornament, plus some fun dimensional geometric effects.


The first day will be webcast free to the public, and although we are going to be taking audience questions through the chat feature, we'll be reserving the technical discussion for the paid class on day 2, where we'll be getting down to the nitty gritty details about how we work. Tickets for this one-of-a-kind event are available now at, and advance sales include a discount.


We are also having an Instagram raffle to get the collab announcement reposted. Drawing will happen this coming Monday, and the winner will get free admission to the webinar, which can be attended either in person or online. Go ahead and grab the image from this newsletter, or you can grab it from my Instagram profile.



One thing we will be demonstrating there is the Abbott Color Wheel, which offers practical new advancements in applying color theory in your tattooing. The color wheel is currently part of a Kickstarter fundraising campaign which is in its final day- you can show your support for this unique project by preordering your wheel by going to and searching Abbott Color Wheel. Only 24 hours left to get in on this!


Thanks, and we hope to see you at the seminar in October, either in person or online. Don't miss it!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon



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Now Available: Feathers Of Inspiration, An Epic New Art Book Set!




Over the past few years, Jinxi Caddell of Out Of Step Books has assembled a number of incredible tattoo art anthology books, most of which we carry at the Tattoo Education online store. These include the recent releases Eight Arms of Inspiration and Antennae of Inspiration, hardcover large-format coffee table art books featuring hundreds of pages of art from a long list of incredible artists, including many of your favorites along with many that you'll be discovering for the first time. They're great books for both artists and collectors, and I can tell you from experience that they go over extremely well both as gifts and as reading material in the tattoo studio waiting room.



So we are psyched to be adding the latest one, Feathers Of Inspiration: The Bird Art Project, to our online catalog. It's a project that became so massive that they chose to break it up into two separate volumes, one of just tattoos and the other of all kinds of other mediums including oils and acrylics, watercolors, drawings, sculptures, photography and more. This is a limited edition pressing with only 750 sets available, which are sure to be gone by the end of the year. Works include a number of pieces by our very own Michele Wortman, plus hundreds of other artists of a broad range of styles. You can find this incredible book set now at our online store!



I also wanted to mention that I have another painting from my book Organica posted on eBay this week. This is a little guy, 3x4" inside an extra-thick gloss black frame that can be hung or placed on a shelf, and would make a great little addition to your home or studio art collection. The small, affordable pieces from Organica are mostly gone at this point, so now is your chance to pick up a part of this collection.


Thanks, and I'll be in touch soon!



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Nick Baxter Book Available In Electronic Format!





Since our last copies of Nick Baxter's acclaimed Painting book, Sharp-Focus Realism In Oils, sold out we've had countless requests for it... which is why we are so glad that Nick had the chance to sit down and do a few crucial updates on the book, then release it in an electronic format that you can read on your computer, tablet or phone. Sharp-Focus Realism In Oil is not only a comprehensive, richly illustrated learning aid, but also a beautiful art book loaded with Nick's intense, hyperreal visions. It's the first e-book we are offering at the TattooEducation online store... no doubt the first of many, as the e-book format catches on.



Speaking of painting, I wanted to mention that I have two original paintings listed at eBay right now. One of them is a small untitled abstract piece from my book Organica. It's signed and framed in a deep box which can be hung on a wall or placed on a shelf. The other is a recent abstract acrylic circular canvas, part of a series I'm currently working on. Either would make a great focal point in your home or your tattoo work station... the Organica listing ends tomorrow, and the circular painting just a couple days later.



Last but not least, Michele was given a nice single page spread in the current issue of Tattoo Magazine, issue #301. It features her new collector's card set and shows some of her recent works on canvas. As always, thanks to Tattoo Magazine for everything they do.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!



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Abbott/Aitchison: Evolution



A few days ago you may have seen the newsletter we sent out announcing the addition of Russ Abbott's educational courses to our On-Demand catalog, including his classic Iron Clad: Tattoos Built To Last, along with his new course on color theory, The Tattooist's Palette. These are both top-quality professionals-only tutorials that demonstrate the foundation of Russ's solid, vibrant working technique. To celebrate the new courses we contacted Russ for a quick interview, which you can see at his Tattoo Education Artist's Profile, including some of his jaw-dropping new work.



In addition to this, I am psyched to announce a collaborative seminar called Abbott/Aitchison: Evolution, which Russ and I will be conducting in October at Off The Map East in Massachusetts, on October 22 and 23, where you'll see biomech, ornamental and dimensional graphic elements fused into something totally new. The first session's webcast on the 22nd will be free to the public, where you'll be able to observe the unfolding of a major leg piece, and can submit your questions for the artists through the TattooNOW chat feature. The second day's session on the 23rd will be for professionals only and will get into the in-depth technical aspects of the project, from layout to machines to rendering techniques. Don't miss this unique learning opportunity! Tickets are available now at our online store.



Finally, I wanted to mention the new auction that we just started with another painting from my book Organica, this time a more substantial piece. It's one of my hyperreal duotone organic macroscapes, big enough to have a strong presence in your shop or home art collection. The auction has just kicked off and has a few days left, check it out, or follow me on Instagram or Facebook for updates about this or other auctions.



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Just Added to our On-Demand Catalog: Russ Abbott!



We are excited about the new Video On Demand part of our catalog, where we are offering cutting-edge educational material for professional tattooists through the TattooNOW secure server. As we get this into full swing we'll be adding new courses to the catalog often. Today we're announcing the addition of two courses by Russ Abbott, who has become renowned recently for his strong yet graceful ornamental tattooing, and for his work with color theory. This includes Iron Clad: Tattoos Built To Last, which we already carry in DVD format. It's worth noting here that we are sitting on the last small handful of these DVDs, and within weeks it will only be available as a Video On Demand item, so if you want the disk, now's your chance! We have also added Russ's course on color theory, The Tattooist's Palette, which takes an in-depth look at color with a special approach to working with existing pigments.



The professional-level on-demand content can only be purchased by verified professionals. If you work in an established studio and have ordered from us in the past, you are probably already on our Verified list; if not, you can click here to fill out the application. Getting verified makes it easier for you to order professionals-only products, and helps us to streamline the task of keeping this material only in the hands of professionals.



Last but not least, I've got another Organica painting listed on eBay; there are only a couple days left before this auction closes and the next one goes up. This is one of my faceted organic abstract macroscapes, and at 4x5" would make a great piece of eye candy for your home or tattoo studio... check it out before it closes!



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New Ask Guy Now in the Newstands... Plus Another Organica Painting Listed at eBay!




For my monthly Ask Guy column in Tattoo Magazine, I've gotten a great variety of questions ranging from artistic to professional to healing concerns, and I've been enjoying the diversity of conversation. This month, though, I'd like to touch on something a little different. We all know that tattooing can have an ugly side- as the artistic standards rise to amazing heights across the profession, the garbage being done on skin by untrained scratchers just looks worse and worse. These folks are also all too willing to tattoo minors, which we discuss in detail in this month's edition. But I believe that even situations like this one can be resolved in a positive way with a great tattoo. It's on newsstands now, or you can see it, along with all past columns, here at



I've also just listed another original oil painting from my book Organica on eBay. We've already moved one of them, and will be listing a number of these originals over the coming months. All of them are framed, signed and dated. Drop by the eBay store now to see the current bid, and follow me on Instagram or Facebook for updates on the latest posted pieces.



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Tattoo Education Now Streaming Educational Video On Demand




It's been a long time in the making, but we are now able to offer secure, high-definition streaming of educational videos. Streaming has a lot of advantages over DVDs: For starters, many of our tutorials are in high-definition, allowing you to see the action of the needle in unprecedented detail. Seminars can be of any length, not being limited by the disk capacity, and there's no disk to worry about. You just enter your code from any location on any kind of device, then sit down and learn.



Since much of our content is intended for professionals only, we are keeping a Verified Professionals list. If you have ordered from us before from an established tattoo studio, you are probably already on that list. If not, you can just click here to fill out the application form, or go ahead and order the tutorial of your choice from the catalog and fill out the form at that time. Getting on our Verified list allows you to order professionals-only items (which are marked with red flags in our catalog) easily from any location. Considering that digital content will be making up a larger proportion of what's available in the near future, we need to make sure we have a secure way of keeping this information exclusively in the hands of the professional community, so come sign up today!


Meanwhile, we have over a dozen titles available in the Video On Demand part of our catalog from artists like Jeff Gogue, Kelly Doty, BJ Betts, Alex De Pase, Ian McKown, plus my own new five-hour tutorial, Technique. We've also got a number of entertainment items that are available to the general public.


Thanks, and we will be in touch soon!



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Tony Ciavarro's Shut Up And Draw 2: How I Tattoo, Available Now!



Tony Ciavarro has been around the scene for a while now, and many of us are familiar with his bright, fun, rock-solid tattooing and his whimsical illustrative style. We already have a DVD from Tony in our catalog, Shut Up And Draw, which shows the essentials of bringing a fully realized color tattoo design from concept to completion. It's been a popular and well-received tutorial, so we are psyched to announce the release of its sequel, Shut Up And Draw 2: How I Tattoo.



Shut Up And Draw 2 is a great disk to watch in the shop with your fellow tattooers. It's done in a punchy, entertaining presentation, with a lot of the tattooing sped up to show the whole 3 session project in under 90 minutes while accompanied by an energetic musical soundtrack. There's also a bonus section showing a second project being done, a smaller and more self-contained girl's face, with the rich color scheme unfolding over the course of a few minutes. And to sweeten the deal there's a chapter of tips and tricks such as machine position, shading and coloring essentials, plus some basic color theory, although Tony's "theory" is about as informal as it gets. It's a great tutorial done in a style that a hard working tattooer can relate to.


We've got it now at our online store... and if you haven't picked up the first Shut Up And Draw DVD yet, you can save $10 by ordering them together in the Ciavarro Combo Pack.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!




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Great New Oil Painting DVD By Ian McKown, Available Now!




I've always encouraged tattooists to try working in other artistic mediums, particularly in oil or acrylic paint, because developing a stronger and more well-rounded set of art skills always translates to better tattooing. And painting can be so immensely enjoyable too. We haven't had a new oil painting DVD in the catalog since Shawn Barber's long-sold out Foundation Oil Painting DVD, so we are excited to announce the latest addition to our catalog. It's by Ian Robert McKown, who has been teaching seminars in the convention circuit over the past few years and has become known for his distinctive high-contrast painterly style on both skin and canvas. You can find his instructional book on Light and Shadow in our catalog as well.



Painting A Rose From Reference In Oils is a beautifully produced DVD, loaded with great step-by-step tools and detailed background information. It shows the project from a variety of camera angles so you can really see it develop up close and follow the brush as paints are mixed on the palette. The project is shown over the course of close to two and a half hours, with every step described thoroughly. The DVD also includes a slideshow of Ian's work in a variety of different mediums. It's a great course, not only for new painters but also for those experienced in oils who are looking to expand their technique. We've got it now at our online store.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!



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Latest Ask Guy Column Now On Newsstands, Plus Gallery Update!



It's been a while since I've had a chance to update my galleries of paintings and tattoos... so you'll be happy to know that we've just added a variety of new pieces to both the New Tattoos and New Paintings galleries at my art site, Enjoy... and as always, you can check out my Instagram profile to see works in progress and other fun stuff.



There's also a new Ask Guy column on the newsstands in this month's Tattoo Magazine; this time the questioner wanted to know about the collaborative process, which I tried to go into in detail, including some progress shots of a piece I did with my sister Hannah. I've been privileged to be able to collaborate with many of the industry's most innovative artists, and it's a process that I can't recommend enough when it comes to learning, inspiration, and just plain old artistic fun. You can see the column in the Ask Guy archive here at


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!


Guy Aitchison



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Now Available: Bob Tyrrell's Method To My Madness DVD



I've known Bob Tyrrell since he first showed up on the tattoo scene almost two decades ago, a promising newcomer with a natural talent for the human likeness. Over ensuing years Bob has not only blossomed into a world-class portraitist and black and gray tattooer but has begun sharing his methodology in a number of highly regarded workshops and seminars.



Recently Bob did a webinar broadcast from Off The Map Tattoos in Massachusetts, and the Off The Map crew have edited the epic 11-hour seminar down to its essential highlights. It's Bob's first-ever DVD and goes in depth into his step by step process of executing a finely detailed and perfectly rendered portrait tattoo. He covers machine choice, setup, needle selection and ink preference, then shows the entire process of his methodical, steady, thorough application. In addition to all this, the DVD includes a slideshow taken from Bob's past seminars, highlighting past work and discussing his reasons for specific choices made during the execution of each of those pieces.



It's an amazing learning experience, not just for realists but for anyone wanting smoother black and gray results. It's detailed and technical, but presented in Bob's easygoing conversational style and packaged in a beautiful foldout special edition case. We've got it available now at our online store!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!



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Finally Available: Guy Aitchison's Technique DVD



For a decade and a half now I’ve been perfecting my Reinventing The Tattoo curriculum, which teaches some of the fundamentals of artistic design in a way that can be applied toward making your tattoo work stronger, more dynamic, and more unique. It aims to balance understanding of artistic essentials with cutting-edge technical knowledge to give students a broad base of understanding toward being better artists across the board. 



I’d like to announce the release of the latest installment in the Reinventing series, Technique. It’s a four disk set that shows you closeup footage of the machine in action as I work through five different projects, presented in a concentrated format. The first two disks are a special edition cut of my Guy’s Bag Of Tricks webinar, showing a project being done from start to finish as I answer a variety of questions from the audience. The other two disks, Tightening 1 and 2, go into detail about finishing techniques, showing four projects up close, with a voiceover describing every move in detail as I demonstrate line building, detailing, smoothing and other development.



This four disk set is about as technical as it gets. It’s a natural follow-up from the material I teach in the original Reinventing The Tattoo book and DVD set, but is also made to serve as a stand-alone educational experience whether you’ve read the original book or not. It’s intended for professional tattooists only, or apprentices working under the guidance of a professional. Available now at our online store!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!



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The Latest Ask Guy Column: What About My Sore, Tired Back?



Over the course of 25 years of tattooing I've encountered my physical limits a few times; I've had my back lock up on me, along with some pretty frightening hand and wrist issues that I could only resolve through making lifestyle changes, which fortunately seems to have resolved the problem. This is an issue that many tattooists face at one point or another, sitting for long hours day after day across the years in less-than-ideal body positions... eventually it all catches up with you.



I've always believed that surgery and that kind of invasive therapy can often be avoided by being more conscious of how you work and by making the right changes where needed. I still work long hours sometimes but have found other ways of pacing myself, and hope to be tattooing still another 25 years from now. In this month's Ask Guy column, now available on newsstands in Tattoo Magazine #297, I go into some detail about workstation adjustments and stretches that are specific to relieving back pain, including a few illustrations. I hope you all find it helpful... and I invite you to submit your own toughest tattoo related questions at my Ask Guy contact link. You can read past editions of the column here at the Tattoo Education Ask Guy archive.



I'd also like to remind you of my two upcoming seminars- Reinventing The Tattoo, which will be offered next week on April 8 and 9, and can be attended either via online, or in person here in southern Illinois. It's an immersive, intensive workshop meant to focus on the fundamentals of good tattoo design and the techniques for making it happen on skin. Then, on April 12, I'm having another seminar, Structure, at the Hell City Tattoo Fest. A combination ticket is available for anyone wanting to participate in both. The Reinventing workshop is limited to 30 tickets which are almost gone- you can purchase tickets and find more information in our online store.


Thanks, and I'll be in touch soon!



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Two Upcoming Seminars, Now Available As One Great Ticket!



After the great successes of the seminars we produced from Jeff Gogue's Off The Map location in Oregon, I'm excited about the two upcoming classes I'll be offering in the beginning of April. These are classes for professional tattooists only, or for apprentices of professionals, and go into great detail about both design and technique, a balance which I think is essential for doing top quality tattoo work.



On April 8 and 9 comes the first seminar, Reinventing The Tattoo, which is based on the long-format classes that I've given in the past; but this time I'll be offering it for both live and online participants. I'm offering a total of 30 tickets, since each student will have their work critiqued on the big screen, and will be given exercises that I'll be grading live as well. It's an immersive, interactive 2 day experience that gets right down to the artistic fundamentals important in good tattoo design, along with a lot of technical detail. I'll be answering questions from participants, both live and online- the webinar format can be just as rewarding as being there in person. Tickets are available here at the Tattoo Education online store.


The weekend after that is the Hell City Tattoo Fest, where I'll be giving my other seminar, Structure, from 6-8pm on Saturday, April 12. Here I'll be focusing on ways to make your work stronger and more readable, both from across the room or across the decades. This is something that can be achieved in any style of work, including elements that are meant to be softer or lower contrast, and I'd like to share the things I've learned in the course of 25 years of experimentation. You can get tickets for this at our online store, or just drop by the Hyperspace Studios booth, where I'll be tattooing, signing my new prints and selling my new professionals-only DVD set.


For those looking to get the full spectrum experience I'm now offering a combination ticket where you'll get a $50 savings for enrolling in both classes, which cover different aspects of tattooing. I scheduled the Reinventing class to give artists time to travel to the convention, making it easier to attend both, whether it be live or online. You can find the combination ticket in our catalog as well.


Thanks, and I hope to see you there!



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Coming in April: Reinventing The Tattoo Immersive Webinar!




For a decade and a half now I've been perfecting my Reinventing The Tattoo curriculum, which teaches some of the fundamentals of artistic design in a way that can be applied toward making your tattoo work stronger, more dynamic, and more unique. It's an educational program that has been attended by many artists who are now among the industry's top artists and educators. So I'm psyched to offer this first installment of Reinventing The Tattoo in interactive webinar format. That means that you can attend it online from anywhere in the world but still participate in the critiques, exercises and discussion. I'm offering a limit of 30 tickets so that everyone's work gets enough time on-screen, where I not only critique it but also use Photoshop to demonstrate ways of improving it. It can also be attended in person at a hotel near us in Marion, Illinois, but many webinar participants have found that the closeup, high definition experience they get on their computers is almost better than being there in person.


It starts on April 8, where I'll begin by going over the Reinventing fundamentals: Flow and fit, positive/negative relationships, contrast, priority and reserve, lines and edges, depth, and lighting effects. We follow that by doing an on-screen critique of each participant's work, applying the concepts that were demonstrated at the beginning of the day. At the end of the session I'll be handing out exercises for everyone to work on that night. Then, on April 9 we'll go over everyone's exercises so we can see how all the important fundamentals have been applied, and then follow up with a group of closeup video clips that demonstrate my latest understandings about technique. The Reinventing The Tattoo webinar is both immersive and interactive; wherever you live you can a part of this concentrated learning experience. Tickets are available now at our online store!



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Coming up in April: Guy Aitchison Seminar at the Hell City Tattoo Fest!


With the tattoo art form spreading into every conceivable artistic style, it's important to take a step back every now and then and ask: What does this need to succeed as a tattoo? The question of longevity is the obvious issue, but the larger underlying importance of giving your work strength and clarity is not just about durability across time, but readability across the room.



In Guy Aitchison's new seminar, Structure, he demonstrates ways of strengthening your work, both in design and execution. It starts with a well balanced composition, with good flow and fit and strategic use of dark and light, which is then applied to skin using a variety of different ways, some which are shown in closeup video clips. Structure reflects Guy's most recent understandings of making your work strong and dynamic... if you're attending the Hell City Tattoo Fest this coming April 11-13, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity! It's happening in the prime slot on Saturday evening from 6-8pm in the Hell City Seminar Room. You can sign up at the Hyperspace Studios booth on the convention floor, or prepay at the Tattoo Education online store.



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New Ask Guy Column: How Do I Educate Myself As A Collector?



I've really been enjoying the broad variety of questions I've been getting from both clients and artists for my monthly Ask Guy column that I publish through Tattoo Magazine. This month's question was pretty broad though, being from a collector who wanted to get a better education about art so they could make more informed decisions about getting tattooed. Many collectors arrive at this point, where they are starting to get larger work and to recognize that they have particular tastes and needs as a collector. I've tried to narrow my answer down to the essentials so that someone who has very little experience with art history can get more perspective on what makes a good tattoo and, more importantly, how to find the right tattoo for each particular collector's needs. Look for it in Tattoo Magazine #296, on newsstands now... or you can take a look at the column here at, along with an extensive archive of past columns and other material. Don't forget to submit your own questions, they are what keep this column rolling!




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New Ask Guy Column: How Do I Break Into The Tattoo Business?



The Ask Guy column that I write for Tattoo Magazine has given me a lot to think about- questions come from such a wide range of people and from so many different perspectives, it's really kept me guessing from one month to the next. But one question seems to be a constant, and in fact I remember asking it myself, almost three decades ago: How do I break into the tattoo industry? How can I be a part of this great thing, and go about it the right way so I don't end up burning bridges or getting off on the wrong foot?



It's been asked many times in my Ask Guy inbox, so this month I chose three different versions of the same question: One from an art student, one from an ex-con, and one from somebody who is so eager to get started that they are considering attending one of those kind of dubious tattoo schools. I tried to come up with an answer that will be helpful to everyone. The tattoo industry is a thing that those who are a part of it love and feel protective toward... but there is always room for new people if they have the right attitude and approach it the right way. Go ahead and take a look at Issue #295 of Tattoo Magazine, or check it out in the Ask Guy archive here at And don't forget to submit your own questions, I'd love to hear from you!



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Just for fun: Zombie Caricatures book now in stock!



Every now and then we stock something just for fun; Zombie Caricatures: Infections and Exaggerations is just such an item. Crafted by Sean Gardner and Nick Mitchell, two of the world's leading caricature artists, who've managed to take something that is super difficult and make it look effortless. It takes a different type of artist to be able to pull off a great caricature- not only do you have to capture each likeness, but you also have to figure out what it is that makes them unique, then bend those unique features as far as you can without losing the essence of what makes that individual who they are.


Nick and Sean have not only managed to tweak the hell out of every person they draw and keep their likeness, but they do it while simultaneously throwing axes through their heads, lacerating their jugulars, and slinging blood all over the place. This book also includes some tutorials on how they do it. It's a fun, low-priced beautiful (in its own gnarly way) hardcover edition, available now at our online store!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!



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New Tattoo Coloring Book In Stock Now!




One of the big surprise hit items that we've carried in the past few years was The Coloring Book Project by Memento Publishing, which features line drawings by a wide variety of artists touching on a broad range of tattoo themes. it's a fun book, great for kids, apprentices and adults, and can be very inspiring for artists looking to develop their artistic styles. Now comes the second edition of the Coloring Book project, this time bigger and better with more pages and a lot of new artists featured. Both books are collections with work by an incredible variety of tattooists, some names you are familiar with and others you'll be encountering for the first time. We are also offering both books together at a package price... available now at our online store!



I'd also like to remind you all about the upcoming 3-day seminar marathon that Jeff Gogue and I will be holding at the Grant's Pass, Oregon Off The Map Tattoo location. These seminars can be attended in person at the shop, but for most of you the best option is to enjoy them via live webcast from the comfort of your home or studio where you can submit your questions via the chat feature. The first workshop on February 9 will be webcast free to the public from, and will feature Jeff and I doing a large collaborative sleeve project that will include both traditional Japanese elements and some more modern techniques and effects. This will be an unprecedented opportunity for you to sit in on a unique project.


The other two seminars are available to professional artists only. On Feb. 10 will be my class, Structure, where I'll be doing a large calf piece with both illustrative and abstract elements and a number of different effects, all with the emphasis on giving the piece strength and flow. Finally, on Feb. 11 Jeff will be tattooing my hand in a seminar called Size Doesn't Matter, which will give him a chance to demonstrate how he handles a complete project from start to finish. For obvious reasons, I'm pretty psyched about that one. Tickets are available now!


Thanks, and we hope to see you there!



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Announcing the Aitchison / Gogue seminar intensive!



Last year's live webinar, Guy's Bag Of Tricks, had such a great response that I've been psyched to line up the 2014 online seminar schedule. The first one, coming up in less than a month, is particularly exciting for a number of reasons. I'll be visiting Grant's Pass, Oregon to do a brief guest spot at the Off The Map location there for three days of seminars with the legendary Jeff Gogue, featured last month in Hypercast 6: The Japanese-American Connection.


On February 9 is the first class, and it will be webcast live for free to the public at This seminar won't be going into deep technical detail, as it will be available to the public, but will cover all kinds of other things pertaining to how Jeff and I design and execute large tattoo work. It'll be a collaborative project where we will be working together on a sleeve project that fuses traditional Japanese elements alongside cutting-edge techniques. We'll be taking audience questions, so mark that day in your calendar- it'll be a rare glimpse inside a high-energy creative process.


Then on February 10 I'll be giving a seminar, Structure, where I do a large calf piece that will include both abstract and representational elements and employ a whole range of techniques. This one will get quite nuts-and-bolts technical about all stages of the process, and I'll be taking audience questions as well.


Finally, on the 11th Jeff will be giving a seminar where he will be tattooing my hand. This project will be smaller but provides an opportunity for Jeff to demonstrate his magic on a small and personal scale. For obvious reasons I'm pretty psyched about this one but I think it will be an amazing learning opportunity for all of you as well. So tune in to the free webcast on February 9, and be sure to sign up in advance for webinar tickets for the 10th and 11th. There is also limited seating available for anyone wanting to attend the seminar in person at Off The Map Tattoo- be sure to get your tickets now at the Tattoo Education online store!


Thanks, and we hope to see you there!



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Great new product: Comfortable, disposable, eco-friendly True Grips!




As many of you know, we are focused mainly on educational books and DVDs... but occasionally a new product comes out that is innovative and important enough for us to carry. In particular, I have a personal interest in items that can improve a tattooist's ergonomic situation, since this is an issue that I personally am affected by every day. Some of these products include Morphix grips, Reusable grips which are designed using space-age modeling techniques, and Ergosquish tubes, which offer the convenience and safety of disposable tubes while still providing precision stainless tips and comfortable rubber rings around the grip. I have found that using these products has extended my work day and made tattooing easier.


One of my favorite new products are True Grips, made by Durb Morrison of Hell City fame. True Grips are simple, lightweight disposable foam covers that slip over any standard 1" grip (including the grips on standard True Tubes) and make any ordinary tube grip far more comfortable, like night and day. They come in two different styles, one which has a little more give than the other, and I found that they were very easy to adapt to- my hand started thanking me almost instantly when I started using them. Take a look at True Grips and the other ergonomic tattooing products that we carry here at Tattoo Education... available now at our online store.





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TattooTelevision upgrade, and Sunday night movie screening!




We've been working hard over the winter to complete a bunch of video projects, and thought that a great way to kick off the New Year would be to upgrade our YouTube channel, TattooTelevision, with some new material, new channels and a freshly reorganized front page. We now have a channel just for our Hypercasts, another for Michele's Bodyset Portraits, and others for Educational VideosHyperspace Videos and Music Videos.



This includes two new uploads: Check out our latest, What Is Hyperspace Studios? It's a quick statement by Michele and I about what we do, and what inspires and motivates us. Also take a look at Goddess Bodyset, the latest Bodyset Portrait by Michele featuring her client Charity. We'll be uploading more new material over coming days, so stay tuned!



Also, coming tomorrow night via live webcast will be a long night of entertainment and fascinating discussion as Jeff Gogue screens his new film, Tattoo As I See It, starting at 8 pm Eastern time. This will be followed by a Skype interview session with Jeff- he's a great interview subject, as we discovered in our latest Hypercast, The Japanese-American Connection. After the interview, from 10-11:30pm Eastern time will be a variety of guests beaming in including Watson AtkinsonDeano CookMarisa Kakoulas and Tom Strom. Finally, starting at 11:30, will be a screening of our documentary film Innerstate, featuring 40 of your favorite tattoo artists working on fine art projects. This whole evening of webcasting is free- just tune in to tomorrow starting at 8 pm and enjoy. If you're working that night, play it for the whole shop!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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New Ask Guy column, plus improved Hypercast page with new episodes!



We hope you all had a great New Year celebration. We had a great time rounding off the year with Hypercast Episode 7: Tattooing Past, Present and Future where we interviewed Tattoo Archive historian Chuck Eldridge, along with convention personality Chris Longo and upstart UK tattooer Bez. We'll be posting the edited version soon- but in the meantime we wanted to bring your attention to two previous episodes that we've posted recently.



There's the Collab show, featuring Litos, Don McDonald, Ty McEwen and my sister Hannah Aitchison, talking about collaborative projects in various mediums. Then there's the edit I just completed of The Japanese - American Connection with Jeff Gogue, discussing tattoo style and the interesting territory between Japanese and Western tattooing. Both episodes are filled with great visual material along with some compelling conversation about tattooing and fine art in the tattoo world.



Hypercasts are long-format interview shows, an hour or so per episode, allowing us to really get into depth with our interview subjects. We've just cleaned up the Hypercast page at, putting all the completed episodes in easy reach. These are perfect for playing at the tattoo shop, intended for both artists and collectors.



I also wanted to mention that the latest Ask Guy column is now on the newsstands in the February 2014 issue of Tattoo Magazine. This month I answer two questions related to style and career, always interesting subjects. Pick up a copy, or you can take a look at the column in the Ask Guy archive here at

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Available Now: Keith Ciaramello's Keep It Real III



Happy Holidays from Tattoo Education!



With color realism being in such demand these days, we've made a point of carrying a variety of different artists' instructional DVDs showing approaches to this particularly challenging style of tattooing. One of our time-tested favorites has been Keith Ciaramello's Keep It Real series, which offers a close-up intimate view of the realism tattooing process by this New York tattoo veteran. Volume 1 focuses on straightforward color portraits, and Volume 2 demonstrates portraiture in black and gray. Now with Volume 3 he offers an insightful glimpse into pet portraiture, which has recently become a popular- and sometimes surprisingly striking- tattoo motif.



In Keith's approach you can see how his foundation in painting and other mediums translates into his painterly approach to handling subtle realistic color on skin. It shows pretty much the entire tattoo process over the course of 4 hours on 2 DVDs, with the whole procedure described in detail. It's meant for tattooists who already have a solid foundation of basic technique and are looking to take their realism work to the next level. Come check out the Keep It Real series at the Tattoo Education online store, including a specially priced combo pack including volumes 1 & 2, available now!


Thanks, and have a great holiday!

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Check out the latest Ask Guy column: What causes bad healing?




Once again we are proud to present you with the latest installment of the Ask Guy column, where I'm taking questions from both artists and collectors on all kinds of topics related to tattooing, and appears in this month's issue of Tattoo Magazine, on newsstands now. This month I've taken two questions related to bad healing: What causes it, how to prevent it, what to do when it happens? It's meant to be helpful for both artists and collectors. You can also check it out here at


I also wanted to remind you that it's still not too late- we are guaranteeing shipping in time for Christmas on all orders received by December 17th. Take a look at our catalog and see if we can help you finish your shopping.


Thanks, and have a great holiday!

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Shoot It Right: A Photography Tutorial Just For Tattooers!




As long as I've been tattooing I've struggled to get good photos of my work. In some cases it takes a few attempts in different lighting conditions just to get something halfway decent, and once the client walks out the door you never know when you'll get another chance to re-shoot their piece. Even good photos usually fail to really convey the qualities of a well done tattoo. And these days many artists have all but given up, using just their phones to document even their most epic pieces.


I can tell you from experience that these low quality photos are a way of cheating yourself. In particular, often they are not good enough to submit to magazines or book projects. Taking that additional step to haul out a real camera and document a finished piece is always worth the extra few minutes. But even then, the pictures are often not great, especially when shot at nighttime.


Finally, an experienced professional tattooer has produced a tutorial on getting good tattoo photos. Mario Rosena has a long history as a tattoo artist but has recently been working as a pro photographer as well, shooting for several publications including high-end fashion magazines and documenting events such as the X-Games. He brings all this knowledge together in Shoot It Right, a DVD and booklet combo that provides you with all the important information you need to finally get solid documentation of your work. Good photos help you to keep up in this competitive industry, and Shoot It Right presents you with the right tools to accomplish this. It's available now for a special rate at our online store!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!





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New Book Available: The Antennae Of Inspiration



With all the new digital formats of e-books and video content coming along, it's always refreshing to see the release of a substantial new hardcover coffee table tattoo art book. Out Of Step Books, who recently brought us Eight Arms Of Inspiration- a creative and fun collection of octopus-related art- has just come out with an eye-popping new anthology book featuring over 1650 images from hundreds of artists. Antennae Of Inspiration picks up where Eight Arms left off and shifts its focus to the insects and other small creatures that live underfoot. It's a great subject that allowed this talented and diverse cross section of the art world to explore Nature in every direction and in every medium, including a large section of tattoos followed by works on canvas, paper and a medley of other art forms. 
At 480 pages it's a weighty volume that will show you something new every time you pick it up. It's ideal for every tattooist's book collection and perfect for the waiting room of your tattoo studio. We are psyched to have this amazing book in our catalog- available now at our online store!
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Hyperspace Studios Seeking an Apprentice!



When I first started tattooing 25 years ago, I got a lucky break in being offered a proper apprenticeship at one of Chicago's more progressive shops, Bob Oslon's Custom Tattooing.It was a huge deal for me- I really wanted to learn the right way and didn't want to start out in my kitchen scratching on people. The two years I spent there were instrumental in my having the kind of foundation that allowed me to experiment and explore the tattoo medium without fear.
Although I've been involved in for much of my career, I've never actually taken on an apprentice in this traditional manner. Now it's time. Michele and I are looking for someone with a strong artistic background who wants to learn the tattoo medium in our private, cutting-edge studio environment. It will be a one year position with a curriculum spanning the full range of artistic, technical and professional aspects of tattooing. Although we are reaching out now, the position will be starting in late Spring or early Summer of 2014. If you believe you are the right person for this apprenticeship, go to our apprentice page for more information, or to fill out our application.
Thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you!
Guy Aitchison
Michele Wortman

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Latest Hypercast with Russ Abbott now on Youtube, and new Ask Guy on newsstands!



Last week's Hypercast with Russ Abbott, Teresa Sharpe and Kelly Doty ended up being an epic conversation, stretching to close to two hours and covering a broad range of topics, including audience questions and some tattoo critiques. This time, just for fun Michele and I submitted works for critique as well. It goes to show that no matter how experienced you are there are many things that you can learn and improve. 
This was our third Hypercast, where we are interviewing some of the industry's top talents and talking about the state of the tattoo art world, with this episode focusing on illustrative tattooing. Russ Abbott is one of the style's leading proponents and has released a number of top quality educational items, including Iron Clad: Built To Last, a DVD about technique, and Ornamental Archive, a reference book about flowing ornamental motifs that can be used in combination with other graphic elements in a tattoo. You can check out the edited version of Hypercast 3 at our YouTube channel, Tattoo Television.
I also wanted to mention that installment #6 of my Ask Guy column in Tattoo Magazine is now on the newsstands. This month I cover two topics: Acne scarring, which is something I have dealt with personally, and dealing with clients who seem to need too want changes in a design, a delicate situation to encounter as a tattooist. You can pick up a copy at the newsstands now, check it out here at Tattoo Education, or send me your own questions at the Ask Guy link here.
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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New Illustrative Tattooing DVD by Scott Irwin!




Illustrative tattooing has been around for much of tattoo history, and has taken many forms through the years. It's a definition that can include many different styles, but one thing that all illustrative styles seem to share is a rich language of narrative elements that can be drawn and tattooed in a variety of visually interesting ways.



Scott Irwin's Illustrative Tattooing DVD is a great guide to approaching illustrative rendering on skin. It's a clever production that's jam-packed with information, including detailed and insightful looks into the execution of several different tattoos of different subject matter. It's a high quality production with a tight, well-lit view of each piece being done including a camera on the palette to show how he achieves his subtle color mixes. Each tattoo is edited to 30-45 minutes to show all the most critical parts, with Scott's voiceover describing exactly what's going on. There is also a bonus section showing his methods for setup and preparation, including some very clever tricks and ideas.




Illustrative Tattooing is a top quality educational production. We are psyched to have it in our catalog... available now!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Hypercast #3 Featuring Russ Abbott, Tonight!


October 27, 2013

Hypercast #3 Featuring Russ Abbott, Tonight!



So far Michele and I have hosted two Hypercasts, the first one featuring Durb Morrison of Hell City fame, the second one with legendary realist Nikko Hurtado. Tonight we interview Russ Abbott, known for his strong illustrative sensibility which combines a solid traditional foundation with more modern techniques and approaches. We'll be interviewing him about his new book, Ornamental Archive, and his upcoming DVD release. We'll also have special guests joining us including Theresa Sharpe, winner of last season's Best Ink, to join us in our discussion, in taking live questions from viewers, and in critiquing a few tattoos toward the end of the show.



Hypercasts are a long format interview show, focusing on topics related to fine art in the tattoo world. They are available for free through TattooNOWtv- all you need is a computer an a good web connection. We also archive all episodes- you can see both the Durb Morrison episode and the Nikko Hurtado episode at our YouTube channel, Tattoo Television. And if you are in the LA area, definitely take a look at the Nikko episode, where he discusses his current gallery show at the Copro Gallery.


Thanks, and we hope you can join us for tonight's Hypercast!

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Tony Ciavarro's Shut Up And Draw DVD


October 19, 2013
Greetings from Tattoo Education!


We're proud of the catalog we have of all the great DVDs from a variety of topnotch artists. There's a wealth of material showing tattooing theory and technique in great material. But tutorials strictly about the drawing process are hard to come by. That's why we are excited about carrying Tony Ciavarro's 2-disk set, Shut Up And Draw. It goes deep into Tony's process, starting with the first rough sketches and then developing that into a line drawing, then a finished, highly developed color drawing, done in his signature cartoon illustrative style.

It's a great package, nicely produced and presented in a way that explains the process thoroughly, including why he chooses certain papers and other materials. Drawing is critical to taking your tattooing to the next level, and for those looking to expand their drawing abilities, it can be a great help to get a look inside such an experienced artist's approach to drawing. This DVD set has some extra features including a time lapse of the entire piece being completed, an art slideshow and other bonus features. Available now at our online store!

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-

Guy Aitchison

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Nikko Hurtado Webcast Tonight


October 16, 2013



Michele and I are excited about the results of our first Hypercast that we hosted two weeks ago, with guests Durb Morrison and Mike Cole. We interviewed them and discussed the crossover of fine art and tattooing, and how second mediums can enhance a tattooist's career. We then wrapped things up with a few audience questions and tattoo critiques. It's on archive permanently now for you to check out any time you want.



The second episode broadcasts tonight, Wednesday October 16. This week we are interviewing Nikko Hurtado, whose reputation has exploded lately as the public has discovered his almost unbelievable realism skills in both tattoo and oil paint. His Tattooing De Los Muertos DVD has been a bestseller at our store since its release. We've known Nikko since his very first paintings and have stood back in awe as he has embraced this classic medium and mastered it in just a few short years. He currently has a solo exhibition of new work showing at the Copro Nason gallery in Los Angeles. We'll be talking with him about galleries, painting, tattooing, the industry, and where realism is going next. You can tune in at TattooNOWtv tonight at 11:00pm Central time, or you can watch an archived cut of the show starting this Friday at our YouTube channel, Tattoo Television.



Speaking of YouTube, Michele has just completed another short client portrait video starring her client Sabrina, who has collected half sleeves and an upper backpiece from her. It's a great little video documenting Sabrina's journey from having a small flash tattoo to collecting larger work, lasering and covering the old piece, and then bringing it all together into a single unified look. Come check out the video, Woodland Window, at Tattoo Television.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Webcast Interview


October 4, 2013




Michele and I have been talking about doing a webcast interview show for a long time. We have such an amazing community of fellow artists and original thinkers around us, it has always felt like something that we needed to do. We've finally had our first episode, which some of you were able to catch this past Wednesday night at tattooNOWtv. It was a great show featuring an interview with Hell City's Durb Morrison, who has always put a high emphasis on the fine art aspect of tattooing, both in his studio and his convention, which is the best attended tattoo show in America. We also had special guest Mike Cole, who is not only an incredible tattooist but is doing a lot of mind-blowing paintings as well. Finally we wrapped up the show with some audience questions and tattoo critiques.



It was a great first episode, which you can check out now at our youtube channel. Stay tuned for our next episode on Wednesday, Oct.16 at 11pm Central time. Our guest will be world renowned realist Nikko Hurtado, and we'll be talking with him about the epic solo painting show that he's working on now. Tune in and submit your questions for Nikko, Michele or me through the tattooNOWtv chat. Or go ahead and submit tattoo photos now for critiquing on the air.




Also this week we have a new installment of my column, Ask Guy, in Tattoo Magazine. This issue focuses on various kinds of scars and how best to cover them with tattoos. Scarring can be a challenging obstacle for both clients and artists, but there are answers to these puzzles. Check out this month's article either at the newsstand or here at Tattoo Education, and don't be shy about submitting your own questions- you are the ones that make this column possible, after all.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

»Read More

Upgraded Site & Webcast Interview



October 2, 2013


Greetings, we are excited to announce the new Hyperspace Studios website!


Multimedia artists Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman have maintained since 1996, and it has gone through many changes and additions during that period. This time, the site has been rebuilt from scratch, featuring a streamlined interface that navigates easily so you can enjoy the wide variety of creative content that we have here. 


Check out our brand new and updated galleries, featuring work in a variety of mediums by both Guy and Michele,



our archive of magazine articles and features going from present day back to 1989, with engaging interviews and photos that you won't find in any other galleries,



Our video vault, hosting short documentary and music video work produced by Michele and Guy,



Concise new interface for Reinventing The Tattoo owners to access the book's online features, including the newly updated member forums,



Plus the Hyperspace Studios online store, where we carry books and DVDs about tattooing and related art subjects, along with high-quality art prints, wearable items, and a bunch of other fun stuff.



This update has been long in the making, and we hope you enjoy navigating through the new site! To celebrate this big upgrade, we are hosting our first webcast interview program tonight at 11:00pm central time at Tune in and send in your questions if you want and we'll answer them on the air. If you can't tune in tonight the program will be available as a podcast starting next week. 


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!


»Read More

Flight and Flowers Bodyset by Michele Wortman



September 19, 2013

Greetings from Hyperspace Studios!



Michele and I are blessed to have some pretty extraordinary clients. Recently, one of Michele's collectors was featured on the cover of Tattoo magazine, which may still have a few copies left on the newsstands. They celebrated by producing a short video, Flight And Flowers, describing Jen's perspective on her tattoo experience and offering a peek into one of their marathon two-day sessions. Check it out- it's a great example of Michele's unique vision and what the intent is behind so much of her work.



While you're at it, take a look at the Hyperspace Studios Youtube channel, Tattoo Television. We've got a variety of short documentaries showing events and projects we've done, and are in the process of putting together more short client videos like the one about Jen. We've also got a collection of music videos that I produced for Michele's music project Sunchannel, such as the punchy Groovebot or the dreamy Blue Moon. Come enjoy our videos, subscribe to our channel, and stay tuned for more!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-


Guy Aitchison

»Read More

Available Now: Russ Abbott's Ornamental Archive



September 14, 2013

Greetings from Tattoo Education!



After a lot of anticipation, we are psyched to announce the availability of Russ Abbott's Ornamental Archive. It's a reference book for tattoo artists unlike any other: these classic motifs have been reinterpreted by Russ in his distinctly tattooable style. The book is presented with both line art and a finished rendering for each design, with a range of subjects including frames, flourishes, medallions and other elements, all which could be mixed, matched and altered to fit the needs of all kinds of tattoo projects.



It's bound in a high quality embossed hardcover edition with a recessed spiral binding that allows the book to be opened all the way flat for purposes of scanning or tracing. As a bonus, the book ends with a section showing tattoos Russ has done using a variety of ornamental flourishes as accents to other subjects. It's a beautifully presented, thoroughly useful addition to your reference library... available now at our online store!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon,


Guy AItchison

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Thursday Night: Join us in a virtual panel webcast!



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Greetings from Tattoo Education!


Although we couldn't personally make it to this year's Paradise Tattoo Gathering in Keystone Colorado, tomorrow night I'll be joining the festivities live via Skype in a webcast panel discussion. This will be taking place during the event's welcoming party, starting 9pm Mountain Time, and going for around an hour. A handful of other attending artists will be joining the discussion as well, and we'll be taking questions from viewers through the webcast's chat.



The evening's discussion is inspired by a controversy that has sprung up recently: Are webinars good for the tattoo industry, or does it spread trade secrets too easily? This has echoes from past debates about tattoo education in general which have caused the industry to continually rethink and upgrade its standards. It promises to be a lively, and hopefully productive, talk about this important current topic.



Come join us if you can at 9:00 Mountain Time at, and be a part of this conversation! No special software is required- you can do everything through your web browser.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-


Guy Aitchison

»Read More

Under The Skin: Shop Lyfe With Mike DeVries, extended version



September 3, 2013

Greetings from Tattoo Education!



We've been carrying Mike DeVries' instructional videos for years now, and have had very positive feedback on his presentation and way of explaining things. This new DVD is something a little different. It's called Under The Skin: Shop Lyfe With Mike DeVries, extended version. It's an inside peek of Mike at work talking about his style- what inspired his choice of subject and his particular approach, along with a bit about the tattoo industry, shop ownership, conventions, and other topics of interest to both artists and collectors. During the course of this he produces two tattoos- a portrait and a stylized Cheshire cat- which are presented in a non-instructional format. At 1hr 25min, it's something fun for your shop or home video collection- drop by our online store for more information.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-


Guy Aitchison

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Michele's Client on the Cover of Tattoo Magazine



August 30, 2013

Greetings from Hyperspace Studios!



Tattoo Magazine is the world's longest-running tattoo publication, and throughout our careers Michele and I have regularly appeared within its pages. This month one of Michele's longtime clients, Jenn Dawson, is gracing the magazine's cover and has a nice feature article showcasing her artwork from Michele. Her unified bodyset tattoo has been in progress for years, and her article is a celebration of careful planning and work, a great example of what a feminine unified overall look can potentially be. It's available now at your local newsstand, and you can see more of Michele's distinctive tattoo work, as well as other art, at www.michelewortman.



In this month's issue is also the latest installment of my Ask Guy column, where I'm taking questions of all sorts from both artists and collectors. In this installment comes the question: When is a laser necessary for a coverup project? I go into detail based on my experiences as both an artist and collector who has had a considerable amount of lasering and coverup work done. Take a look in this month's Tattoo Magazine, or come check out the online version at either or And don't hesitate to hit me with your toughest questions.


Have a great Labor Day weekend, and we'll be in touch soon!


Guy AItchison

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Introducing: Adrian Dominic's Dirty Little Secrets Vol.1


August 17, 2013
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Many of you may already be familiar with Adrian Dominic, a young tattooer with a distinctly different take on things. Adrian gets his influences from a broad range of inspirations including graffiti art and film character design, and as an artist has experimented widely with brushes, spray cans, digital media, sculpture, claymation and many other art forms. With such a unique perspective, Adrian has some unique tricks to share about how he imagines, develops and executes his designs. He presents a condensed version of his approach in Dirty Little Secrets Volume 1, a DVD we are now carrying at the Tattoo Education online store.


Beginning with some basic fundamental drawing techniques, his DVD explores a character design brought from concept to completion in 3 media: Graphite, digital painting and tattooing. Topics covered include materials, technical theories, lighting and shading, value, color palette, and many other tips and approaches.

From thumbnail sketch to drawing to digitally painted reference, then to a stencil and finally a completed tattoo, this tutorial will give you a better understanding of the technical decisions that Adrian makes in order to create a visually striking image that utilizes a simple but effective approach. It's intended primarily for professional tattoo artists, but can be beneficial to artists of all different levels of experience. It's a unique item that covers territory that most educational material doesn't even consider. If you're wanting to broaden and round out your overall artistic understanding and expand your toolkit, Dirty Little Secrets is solid gold, and we're psyched to have it in our catalog.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

»Read More

New Art Prints Added to the Catalog



Greetings from!

It's been a while since I've released any new fine art prints, so I'm excited to announce these two, which are some of my most recent works. The first one, Inner Works, was painted during the Innerstate live painting event in 2009, and now hangs behind my tattoo station here at Hyperspace Studios. The other one is, Expansion, from the past two years, a period where I've had little opportunity to paint.





All prints are on archival canvas with a border for mounting purposes, and are signed and dated. They're an affordable alternative to owning an original, and with the right light and mounting can look stunning. Although we don't yet have a section in the Tattoo Education online store for fine art prints, I'd like to refer you over to the store at my new art site,, where you can see more detailed descriptions of the pieces.


I'd also like to invite you to come take a look at my Instagram page, where I share images of works in progress and other fun behind-the-scenes stuff that you won't see in our websites or blogs.

Thanks, and I hope to see you there!

»Read More

True Tube 15 Magnum Now Availalbe!



June 8, 2013

Greetings from Tattoo Education!



So the Worldwide Tattoo Conference in Boston was an extraordinary event. I've taught seminars at many conventions and tattoo related gatherings, but the WWTC is a rare example of an event designed solely around education. Instructors included myself, Jeff Gogue, Nick Baxter, Bob Tyrrell, Alex De Pase and Nikko Hurtado, with a surprise appearance by Joe Capobianco, who joined us at our closing panel and brought the crowd back to life after two solid days of concentrated learning. You can learn more about future WWTC events at



Meanwhile, we've expanded and updated our selection of True Tubes and ErgoSquish Tubes. I've been using these tubes for well over a year and haven't looked back. They are a perfect hybrid of the old-style steel tube and the modern convenience of disposables, with the ErgoSquish line offering special ergonomic features- very helpful for artists who work long hours. We are now offering the ErgoSquish tubes in a variety pack that includes all the sizes and styles that they offer, allowing you to try them out without the commitment of buying a whole box of each. But trust me, once you try them you'll have a hard time going back to regular plastic tips.



We are also now carrying the brand-new True Tube 15 magnum, the largest size available. Large magnums are great not only for saving time but for creating smooth blends and long gradients in skin which are much harder to achieve with smaller shader groups. The 15 magnum is a noticeable size upgrade from the 13, and well worth trying. We have added the 15 magnum to the True Tube Variety Pack, allowing you to try the whole range of sizes easily.



True Tubes and ErgoSquish tubes are truly innovative and helpful products which I personally recommend. Take the plunge and try them out- I'm confident you'll be hooked. Available now at our online store!


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-


Guy Aitchison

»Read More

Ask Guy Column in Tattoo Magazine


May 24, 2013


Some of you are already familiar with the Ask Guy page here at, where I'm taking questions from both artists and tattoo enthusiasts on a whole range of subjects related to tattooing. Because it's available to the public I've been steering clear of nuts-and-bolts technical stuff, with more of an emphasis on understanding design in a way that can be beneficial to both artists and collectors. So far we've gone over a whole range of material, but in the past few months I've expanded this into an illustrated column that is syndicated in Tattoo Magazine, the largest and longest-running tattoo publication in print.

It's been a great opportunity to share information with the public, and I've enjoyed the challenge of addressing these subjects. It's a reminder of how complex of a subject art can be, and the task of coming up with simple answers has caused me to have to think more thoroughly about design matters that I'd taken for granted for a long time. Please take a moment to check out the newest column, along with the two previous ones. Or drop by your local newsstand and pick up a copy of the July 2013 Tattoo Magazine, where you'll find it in the Slinging Ink pages.


I've also got a version of the Ask Guy column at my new website, Some of you may have already checked it out- it's been live for a few weeks. It's a site where I'm focusing on a particular side of the art that I do, with hand-picked galleries and an archive of magazine features going back to 1989, among other things. You can submit questions to the column from either or here at Either way, check it out and tell me what you think.

Thanks, and I'll be in touch soon!

»Read More

New Documentary Out: Hell City, The Movie!


May 22, 2013

Greetings from Tattoo Education!



We've known Durb Morrison for quite a while now. Durb does great tattoos and has some excellent products that he's pioneered, such as True Tubes and ErgoSquish tubes, which we carry at the TattooEducation store. But most of you probably know Durb because of his spectacular Hell City Tattoo Fest, which is held twice every year in Columbus, OH and Phoenix, AZ. Hell City has long been one of America's most stand-out conventions. It's packed with all kinds of events and features, but its foundation has always been built on the high skill level of the artists who work at the show- Durb personally screens the portfolios of all artists applying to work there.

After 7 years of filming, Durb's friend Russell Dornhecker has released a documentary about the Hell City Tattoo Fest. It's a visual feast featuring the tattoo artists, collectors, performers, painters, showmen and downright characters that populate the Hell City Fest. Whether you've had a chance to attend the festival or not, you'll be entertained by this powerhouse film. Available now at our online store!

Michele and I once hosted an event called Innerstate at one of the Hell City Fests- you'll find a couple minutes of it in the Hell City documentary. We produced our own film about the Innerstate event, which features profiles of 40 tattooists working in a high-pressure environment over a 5 day period to create a group of masterwork paintings. The documentary comes with a book that has large format color plates of the paintings, along with chapters showing the artists working all week to create them. Since Innerstate and Hell City share such a strong relationship, we're now offering a bundle that includes both films and the book, at a discount price. A must for any tattoo library!

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

»Read More

Amazing New Art Book: The Art Of The Leu Family


May 20, 2013
Greetings from Tattoo Education!


Many of you have heard of the Leu Family, in particular the iconic Swiss tattooist Filip Leu. Filip's work has long been sought after by serious collectors for his unique take on the Japanese theme, where he takes a deep natural understanding rooted in his psychedelic influences and infuses that into the large-scale Japanese style tattooing that he is known for. The character of his work is instantly recognizable, and has been broadly influential to many tattooists over the past two decades.


But the story doesn't end there: Filip is also a painter and artistic explorer in many ways, and comes from a family tradition steeped in rich creativity. Many tattoo fans are aware of the paintings of historic tattoo figures by Filip's wife Titine Leu, the wild surreal ink drawings and tattoo work by his father Felix, the hypnotic mandala paintings by his mother Loretta. And the family creativity goes even further, starting with Felix's mother Eva Aepelli, and his sister Miriam Tinguely, then including many of Filip's siblings.


This rich artistic family tradition has been brought together in a stunning 190 page paperback art book, published by Seed Press, with writing by Aia Leu. It's loaded with color plates of art by many of the Leu family members, with a surprising diversity of drawings, paintings, etchings, watercolors, sculpture, digital works and other mixed media, including some collaborative pieces. The one thing that the entire collection has in common is that it is all unconventional, original work. The Art Of The Leu Family is a must for any tattoo art library, and we are thrilled to have it in our catalog. Available now!

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

»Read More

New Educational DVD: The Worldwide Tattoo Conference Sampler


May 9, 2013

Greetings from Tattoo Education!
Although tattoo conventions have been hosting seminars and workshops for almost two decades now, we are starting to see more and more events which place education front and center. Some of the gatherings hosted by TattooNow, in particular, are strongly focused on learning. The Paradise Tattoo Gathering, Paradise Artist Retreat and the Worldwide Tattoo Conference are events that are built around the curriculum being offered by some of tattooing's top-tier educators, and the response from attending artists has been extremely positive.
I attended the Chicago WWTC last Spring and was impressed by its no-nonsense educational schedule. Guests were subjected to two solid days of high powered learning from instructors such as Bob Tyrrell, Nick Baxter, Jeff Gogue, Boris Lazslo, Alex De Pase and myself; many left the event with their heads so filled with new ideas that they are still processing it all nearly a year later. Thankfully TattooNow have produced a WWTC sampler DVD, showing highlights from these great seminars, along with selections from the panel discussions. It's an hour and fifteen minutes of concentrated high quality information... available now at our online store!
TattooNow has produced another DVD of similar informational content, with two and a half hours of uncensored group discussion between some of the world's leading tattooers, called Keeping Sharp: Expert Advice From Leading Tattooers. We're now offering Keeping Sharp and the Worldwide Tattoo Conference DVD as a discounted package deal. These two disks are different but very complimentary, and are a must for any tattoo studio library.
And let's not forget, less than a month away: The upcoming Worldwide Tattoo Conference, coming June 4-5 in Boston, Mass: a concentrated, high-powered educational event. I'll be teaching a class on tightening up your tattoo technique; there will also be classes taught by Jeff Gogue, Nikko Hurtado, Alex De Pase, Nick Baxter and Bob Tyrrell. Tickets for this incredible event are available now.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

»Read More

New Instructional Book: Ian McKown's Light And Shadow


May 3, 2013
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

"How do I improve my tattooing?" It's a broad question that I've heard more times than I can count. It's a question with countless answers, because art skills consist of an intersection of so many different things. But the most common answer I'll give to this question is: Work in other mediums outside tattooing. Try charcoal, pastels, paint. Explore other parts of what you can do as an artist, then bring these lessons back into your tattooing. You'll be surprised at how far a second medium can push your tattoo skills.


You'll find many examples of second mediums in the catalog at Tattoo Education, including a number of instructional books and DVDs about oil painting, colored pencils and working in digital media. We're particularly excited about the newest addition to our catalog, Ian McKown's Light And Shadow. Ian is a tattooist who specializes in black and gray, and is highly fluent in a number of other media which he demonstrates in this book in a clear step-by-step style. One of his strengths is in how he breaks the dark and light structure of an image down to its essentials, making for art pieces that are both bold and subtle in a way that would translate very nicely onto skin.


Light And Shadow is a great place to start for anyone wanting to explore a second medium, or for artists looking to give their work more strength, clarity and realism. 120 pages, color, softcover. Available now at our online store!


I also wanted to mention the upcoming Worldwide Tattoo Conference, coming June 4-5 in Boston, Mass. This will be the second WWTC I've attended- the last one, in the suburbs of Chicago, proved to be a concentrated, high-powered educational event. I'll be teaching a class on tightening up your tattoo technique; there will also be classes taught by Jeff Gogue, Nikko Hurtado, Alex De Pase, Nick Baxter and Bob Tyrrell. Tickets for this incredible event are available now.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

»Read More

Nate Beavers' Fantasy Portrait Tutorial


Greetings from Tattoo Education!

As long as I've known about Nate Beavers, his work has stood out as being a very effective blend of traditional styles and a more modern approach. The drawing style incorporates important classic draftstman's sensibilities, which is blended seamlessly with a painter's approach to coloring. It's an approach that we could all learn a thing or two from.


He's just published an instructional DVD: Nate Beavers' Fantasy Portrait Tutorial. The editing style is very tight, showing him working at actual speed, but with all time with the needle out of the skin edited out. It's a very smooth and effective style of editing, showing all the essential information in a shorter period. Nate narrates the entire time, explaining his approach in fine detail as he goes. It's a top quality production, with ideal camera angle and lighting.

Every stage of the process is shown and explained. But this is not a beginner's tattoo that Nate is doing. This is a tutorial for experienced tattooists who are looking to expand their capabilities. It's a significant addition to our Tattoo Education catalog... available now!

We have a few new books we'll be announcing in coming days as well. Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

»Read More

Eight Arms of Inspiration: The Octopus Art Project


March 7, 2013
Greetings from Tattoo Education!



Since the release of Tattoo Prodigies in 2010, Memento Publishing has released a steady stream of books showcasing tattoo art collections, often focusing on a theme such as animals, skulls, or placement on the body. Their latest release, Eight Arms of Inspiration: The Octopus Project, focuses on everyone's favorite cephalopod. The octopus has been a favorite theme for tattoos since time immemorial, and is a theme that can be drawn to express almost any idea. Eight Arms of Inspiration is jam-packed with close to a thousand images by 440 artists of all styles and disciplines. It's a fun and inspiring book, great for both artists and collectors. Available now at our online store!



Also new in our catalog is the Tattoo World 2013 calendar. It's a high quality fine art calendar inspired by the hardcover art book of the same name. It's an overstock item, and we're letting it go cheap because it's already March. It's a great item for home or studio, featuring great tattoo work by a variety of artists. We're also including a copy of the calendar free for any orders over $350 (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST).


For anyone enrolled in the Paradise Artist Retreat, we wanted to remind you that Alex and Allyson Grey are offering detailed portfolio critiques at the event, and that these are available in a very limited quantity as well. We've already booked up more than half the critique slots... so don't miss this chance to have your work critiqued in detail by these two legendary artists.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy AItchison

»Read More

Announcing Michele Wortman's new website!



Greetings from Hyperspacestudios and Tattoo Education,


Michele has developed a distinct look in tattooing over the past decade. Her etherial flora-form body work is geared toward a female clientele and has become Michele's defining style. The new site includes brand-new galleries featuring some of her latest work, along with a link for enquiring about appointments.



While your'e at the site, you can take a look at the painting gallery, read about what motivates Michele, and see what she's currently working on.  Be sure to check out the Zenscape project.


Zenscape 3,  2012


Michele has been taking photographs as a source of inspiration for quite some time. You may be familiar with a collection of photographs released on Proton Press in 2005, the limited edition book Moments of Epiphany, with a forward by fellow visionaries Alex and Allyson Grey. We still have a few copies left at our online store if you'd like to add it to your art book collection. The new site also has galleries showing some of her favorite recent photo work.


Spring Lilacs,  2012


In addition, there is a new gallery of highlights from her collection of figurative drawings dating back as far as 1989. Michele has a great love and appreciation for drawing the figure, and feels that it has been a pivotal influence with her compositional development in her tattoo style.


Paradise Artists Retreat,  2010


Have you ever heard Sunchannel? This is Michele's electronic music project. Check out the videos, produced by partner Guy Aitchison, of her latest DVD release West of East. Read about how she got started writing music, along with an interview by Guy. You can hear more full-length tracks from Sunchannel and other artists at Proton Press.


We want to thank Gabe Ripley and the staff at TattooNow for all their efforts in making this happen.

Thanks for taking a look, and we'll be in touch soon!

Like Michele on Facebook by clicking HERE!                  Click HERE to receive future newsletters!

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New BJ Betts Traveling Lettering Guide!



Feb 18, 2013
Greetings from Tattoo Education!
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. 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. His explanations are clear, simple, massively useful, and written in a down-to-earth style that's easy to relate to. If you do lettering regularly, you need these books!
BJ has just released a fifth book, The BJ Betts Traveling Lettering Guide. 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. In addition to many pages of technical advice about layout, it provides numerous different scripts, banners, flourishes, effects, different variations on letters... the only way this book won't improve your lettering is if you don't open the cover. And its on-the-road format makes it even more useful. It's a great new item, available now at our online store... and if you don't yet have the other four books, we are offering a 5-pack where you save a lot on shipping.
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're still trying to make up your mind about whether you can afford to make it this year, flights are still cheap right now... and have you seen the schedule of events? It's absolutely stellar.The resort is family-friendly, and if you bring your kids we have some art activities for all ages planned. It's a one of a kind event, and we hope to see you there!
Guy Aitchison

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Portfolio Critiques With Alex and Allyson Grey: Available Exclusively for Paradise Artist Retreat guests!


February 10, 2013

Greetings from Tattoo Education!
Before you decide that you can't afford to go to this year's Paradise Artist Retreat, please take a look at the incredible schedule of events we have lined up. It's better than we could have even hoped for:
Monday March 25
9-11am- Registration, check in and setup
10:30am-12:30pm- Figure Drawing with Guy Aitchison and Shawn Barber
5-8pm- Group painting & art creation 
               Portfolio critiques with Alex and Allyson Grey
8-9pm- Discussion Panel: "Tattooing and Visionary Art"
               Moderated by Alex & Allyson Grey
9-10pm- Opening Party
10pm-1am-Group painting and art creation
Tuesday March 26
7-8:30am- Yoga with Jennifer Schichi
9am-noon- Landscape Painting with Jennifer Schichi
1-4pm- Painting workshop with Chet Zar
5-8pm- Jeff Gogue: The Business of Painting
8-10pm- Group Painting & Art Creation
 10pm-2am - Body & Soul Drawing Ritual with Alex and Allyson Grey
Wednesday March 27th
7-8:30am- Yoga with Jennifer Schichi
9-11am- Figure Drawing
Noon-4pm- Alex & Allyson Grey Workshop, Session 2
5-8pm Nick Baxter: Sharp-Focus Realism: The Secrets of Glazing and Layers
9pm-1am- Group painting & art creation
10pm-1ish am- Night Owl Still Life with Shawn Barber 
Thursday March 28th
9am-noon- Dynamic Figure Drawing with Hannah Aitchison 
12:30-3:30pm- From Mind to Medium wih Guy Aitchison
4-6:30 Art floor open to the public. Artists will show and sell art and merchandise! 
             Book Signing- Alex & Allyson Grey: Net of Being
                                        Chet Zar: Black Magick
6:30-8 CoSM And The Entheon: A presentation by Alex & Allyson Grey
             (also open to the public)
8pm- Event Ends. See you at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering in September!
In addition, noted visionary art masters Alex and Allyson Grey are offering in-depth critiques of art portfolios. Gather together your favorite art of all mediums which represents your vision the best, and see what they have to say about tapping into your strengths and taking your work to the next level- 45 minutes of detailed feedback. Availability is strictly limited!
Tickets are available now at our online store, including discount packages for bringing all the artists in the shop. Thanks, and we hope to see you there!
Guy Aitchison

»Read More

Paradise Artist Retreat- Last Chance For Early Bird Special!



January 27, 2013

Greetings from Tattoo Education!



Excitement for the Paradise Artist Retreat's return to the Tamaya Resort in New Mexico is building every day! From March 25-28, this truly unique event will bring together scores of artists of all skill levels for four days of inspiration, learning, and art creation led by Alex Grey, Allyson Grey, Guy Aitchison, Jeff Gogue, Shawn Barber, Nick Baxter, Hannah Aitchison, and Chet Zar. Highlights of the retreat include a series of high-powered workshops with these noted instructors, along with morning figure drawing sessions, evening panel talks, and an open studio art room where artists can work side by side on projects of their choosing.



Seminar and workshop topics covered throughout the weekend include a visionary art workshop with Alex and Allyson Grey. Guy plans to go into detail about translating your visions from your mind to your artistic medium, while Jeff Gogue will focus on his energetic painting technique. Heads and hands will be led by Shawn Barber, and Hannah Aitchison will lead a figure drawing session with special emphasis on understanding the design aspects of the human figure. Chet Zar will lead a group painting session, and Nick Baxter will get into detail about his holistic process, where concept, design and execution all come together into a single big picture. It's a well rounded suite of workshops intended to benefit almost any creative person who is interested in learning.



The artist pass includes entry into all seminars from all the featured teachers, as well as the morning figure drawing classes and discussion panels. Of course, many artists will have originals and prints for sale, which can be displayed by their art setup in the open studio space. The event will be open to the public on the final day, providing an opportunity to show and sell original works or other merchandise.



The Tamaya resort is a tranquil, picturesque location just north of Albuquerque- the perfect setting for artists to get away, hit reset, and return home with a fresh perspective as well as a few new technical tricks. If you are a creative person, the Paradise Artist Retreat is truly a unique, humbling and empowering event that you should experience at least once. Tickets are available now at our online store, and you can save $150 by signing up before January 31 to get the Early Bird rate. We are also offering a studio special where you can get four tickets at a discounted rate and bring the whole shop. We hope to see you there!


Guy Aitchison

»Read More

Guy's Bag Of Tricks



January 12, 2013
Greetings from Tattoo Education!
I'm psyched about the upcoming webinar I'm giving on the 20th of this month. Although I've taught countless seminars ranging from 2 hour presentations to 2 day long intensives, I've never had the opportunity to give an online seminar. We now have access to the resources to produce high quality online classes, and this first one will be a chance to teach a class in a way that isn't possible with traditional workshops.
On Sunday, Jan. 20th at 2:00PM central time I'll be presenting Guy's Bag Of Tricks: A Full-Spectrum Mini Webinar, where I'll be performing a four hour arm tattoo. It'll be an example of making the most out of a limited and oddly shaped area of skin. I'll be using references and adding my own elements, then using a variety of textures and effects when rendering the piece. We'll have a camera closeup on the piece the whole time, with a second camera showing what's happening over at the palette and rinse cups, since I do a lot of mixing and blending by working the palette like a painter. These close camera views will provide the chance to discuss all aspects of tattoo application in detail.
Meanwhile, Gabe Ripley of TattooNow will be sitting by and following the chat page we'll have for that afternoon, where participants can type in questions that he will read off for me to answer while I'm working. This way we can go into detail about the questions that are important to you.
Tickets for this event are available now at our online store!
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-
Guy Aitchison

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Tattoo Extremities Book - Now Available!



December 10, 2012
Seasons Greetings from Tattoo Education!
We try to make a point of carrying items that are great for both artists and collectors, which just happen to be the perfect items for holiday gifts. Memento Publishing, which has brought you a number of great mixed artist anthologies such as Animal Ink, Cranial Visions, The Coloring Book Project and Tattoo Prodigies, has just released a fun new addition to this collection- Tattoo Extremities: Artistic Focus on the Head, Hands, Neck and Feet.
Placement of tattoo art is an important facet of each design and has the power to turn each piece into an extraordinary aesthetic experience. Throughout the years, the extremities of the body have been utilized to tell stories, depict ritualistic significance, and serve as the canvas for exhibiting grand artistic projects. Though not all tattoo collectors choose to decorate their hands, heads, and feet, many of those who do expose the world to some of the tattoo industry's finest accomplishments - proudly displaying their artwork for all to see. It's a great book that crosses many different styles and genres, all of it from topnotch artists. You can see a complete artist list where we have the book description at our online store.
We also wanted to remind you about the holiday package deals we are offering at both Hyperspace Studios and Tattoo Education. We're guaranteeing shipping in time for Christmas on all US orders made by December 16th.
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!
Guy Aitchison

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Featured Article in Inked Magazine


December 7, 2012
Greetings from Hyperspace Studios and Tattoo Education!


Although Michele and I have been featured in quite a few magazines over the years, on only a few occasions have we shared articles. So we're excited to announce our new feature in the December issue of Inked magazine. Inked is a NY based publication that's done a bit differently than most of the familiar tattoo magazines, with a large emphasis on style and culture. This is the first time we've worked with them, although we're quite familiar with their writer, Marisa Kakoulas, who had a guest blog at Tattoo Education several months back. The issue is on the newsstands now, or you can check it out online.

We also want to remind you that we have a variety of unique gift packages available at Hyperspace Studios, and can help make your holiday shopping easier and keep it affordable. For starters, we have a number of great book packages, such as The Book Jamboree Gift Pack, which includes Organica, Moments Of Epiphany, Scratch Art, and both the Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman art card sets. In addition, we have a variety of mixed packages with art books, wearable items and some fun stocking stuffers, like with the Guy Aitchison Gift Pack or the Michele Wortman Gift Pack, which include our art books along with shirts, cards, prints, and music.


Then, at Tattoo Education, we have high quality educational packages such as the Tattoo Education Combo Pack, which brings together Reinventing The Tattoo, our most comprehensive package featuring a 368 page book about all aspects of design and technique, plus a detailed DVD that is designed to integrate with the lessons in the book; in addition, this package features Standards Of Practice by Health Educators, the definitive DVD about cross contamination prevention.



We also have the Tattoo Community Project Pack, which includes Scratch Art, the Innerstate book and DVD, Pint Size Paintings, and the ArtFusion documentary. These items feature work by hundreds of tattoo artists at their most creative and energized, and are a reminder to all of us of what we can be capable of when we push ourselves past our comfort zones.

We've got a lot of other great stuff at both stores, both for artists and collectors, and we're offering these package deals to help you stretch your holiday dollar a little further. We're guaranteeing shipping in time for Christmas on all US orders placed by December 16.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison
Michele Wortman

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Bez: Design Thru Chaos DVD


November 29, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

It's common knowledge that tattooing technique has expanded greatly in recent years, far beyond what was possible only a decade ago. This has been made possible partially because of all the communication happening between artists these days in the form of seminars, books, DVDs and simply a more open environment in the industry, allowing information to pass from artist to artist far more freely than it could in the past. But technique is not the whole picture: The ability to create stunning innovative new designs has been a massively important part of this evolution.


Some of you may be familiar with the U.K's Bez, who exploded onto the scene a few years ago with his distinctly 21st century approach to design and technique. Bez's striking tattoo work didn't become that way by accident: He goes well out of his way to try working with new tools and methods in creating his designs in order to explore new visual language which can then be applied to skin using modern techniques. In his new DVD, Design Thru Chaos, Bez demonstrates some of his best techniques for exploring new design possibilities. By making full use of the 3D capabilities of Photoshop CS Extended, he shows how ideas can be auditioned and manipulated in a digital format to visualize countless possible variations on any idea, quickly generating multitudes of ideas in relatively little time.


His approach is totally new and without precedent in the tattoo field, and could very well be a sign of things to come as the tattoo art form continues to evolve. Not only is this DVD informative and inspiring, but also includes a number of highly useful 3D templates that you can use directly as part of your design toolbox. Design Thru Chaos is not a DVD seminar aimed at teaching you how to tattoo, but a seminar on methods to help you think outside the box when it comes to planning your tattoos. It's presented in screen-capture format with an informative voiceover, and shows an incredible array of tricks that you can put to use immediately in expanding your vocabulary when designing for skin.

Step into a truly modern approach to design... Available now at our online store!

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-

Guy Aitchison

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The Very First Guy Aitchison Online Seminar



November 24, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!


Although I have taught many seminars through the years at conventions and other events, it's taken me up until now to finally take advantage of the internet for teaching purposes. So I'm psyched to announce the very first Guy Aitchison online seminar- Guy's Bag Of Tricks: A Full-Spectrum Mini Webinar.



In this seminar I'll be performing a 4-hour arm tattoo, starting with a freehand marker drawing based on a sketchbook study, then moving through all the technical steps, including the use of some of my best tricks and effects. All this will be webcast in closeup detail, including a live voiceover. You can submit questions through the Chat feature which I'll be answering in realtime. It's a great chance to learn about depth, lighting, flow and other design fundamentals, along with the nuts-and-bolts aspects of applying the piece to get a crisp, painterly look in your results. Experience all this for the introductory price of only $199... or sign up before the New Year and get the special Early Bird price of $149! Links and codes will be emailed to all participants 24 hours before the event.


We are also carrying tickets to a spectrum of other online classes including TattooNow's Building A Great Tattoo Business on Dec.2, Tattoo Photography From A-Z with Bill DeMichelle on March 10th, Stefano Alcantara's Realistic Tattooing on March 3, Black and Gray Tattooing with Big Gus on July 7, and Russ Abbott: The Tattooist's Palette, on July 28. We expect this online curriculum to continue growing in the future.


Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!


Guy Aitchison

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Paradise Retreat 4-Pack, new True Tube variations, Michele blog!


November 5, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!
I wanted to give you an update about the Paradise Artist Retreat, coming March 2013. For those who haven't heard of it before, the Retreat is a fine art learning event aimed primarily at the tattoo community. The first Retreat happened in late 2010 in Massachusetts, and brought together a diverse group of talent to take part in a stellar array of classes, workshops and seminars. Parenting duties caused us to miss the second one... But coming in March of 2013 we'll be co-hosting the third Retreat, this time in New Mexico. As with the first Retreat, we'll be starting each day with a live figure drawing workshop before embarking on that day's workshops, then closing each day with a high-powered panel talk followed by open studio time. This time, though, we've expanded the curriculum to include several well known visionary artists from outside the tattoo world including noted dark surrealist Chet Zar, and world-renowned visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey.
We are now offering a Studio 4-Pack discount on tickets; if you order tickets for your whole shop and sign up early, you can save $200 per ticket. It's an unbelievable price for this one-of-a-kind, possibly life-changing event. Most tattoo artists aren't able to take the time out of their schedules to dive deep into evolving their art and visualization skills, so this could be an opportunity to truly expand upon what you are able to do. Tickets are available now at our online store!
We've also just revamped the True Tube lineup into a more streamlined format. Due to feedback from tattooists, Durb Morrison, maker of True Tubes, decided to phase out the 7, 9 and 14 round tubes and replace them with 8 and 11 rounds. These two sizes can easily cover almost all bases, providing optimal ink flow and precise control. They are the world's first steel-tipped disposable tubes, and are truly a revolutionary product. Check out the True Tube lineup, along with their sister product, ErgoSquish tubes, in our catalog.
Finally, Michele was recently interviewed by Marisa Kakoulas of NeedlesAndSins about her one-of-a-kind feminine approach to tattooing, and has posted a blog about it, including some images of Michele's latest work... drop by and check it out!
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-
Guy Aitchison

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The Paradise Artist Retreat


October 16, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!
For as long as Michele and I have been traveling together to tattoo conventions, we've always had an interest in being involved in side projects, events that brought together tattooists who have interests in other art forms besides skin. Several of these projects were alongside major tattoo conventions, taking advantage of the fact that so many artists were already traveling to be under one roof. More recently, we've been involved alongside TattooNow's Gabe Ripley in the Paradise Artist Retreat, which is a stand-alone fine art event catered to the tattoo industry.
The first Retreat happened in late 2010 in Massachusetts, and brought together a diverse group of talent to take part in a stellar array of classes, workshops and seminars. Parenting duties caused us to miss the second one... But coming in March of 2013 we'll be co-hosting the third Retreat, this time in New Mexico. As with the first Retreat, we'll be starting each day with a live figure drawing workshop before embarking on that day's workshops, then closing each day with a high-powered panel talk followed by open studio time. This time, though, we've expanded the curriculum to include several well known visionary artists from outside the tattoo world including noted dark surrealist Chet Zar, and world-renowned visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey.
Michele and I met the Greys at a workshop they were giving at the Omega Center in upstate NewYork, back in 1999. The class was intended to help artists open up their visualization process, expand their vocabularies, and empower them to dig deeper into their imaginations. We enjoyed the class so much, and enjoyed their unique style of teaching, that we ended up going back a second time. Since then, we've had the honor of painting alongside them on a number of occasions, including some tattoo events, the most recent one at their CoSM gallery in upstate New York. The two of them incorporate a deep historical perspective into some truly novel modern approaches, and have a lot to offer for anyone looking to expand their skills.
Other instructors include myself, Jeff Gogue, Nick Baxter, Shawn Barber and Hannah Aitchison. A single fee for the week covers tuition for all the classes. Right now we are offering an early bird special for signing up now, which saves you $150; for more information, come visit our online store.
Thanks much, and we'll be in touch soon!
Guy Aitchison
Michele Wortman

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Introducing New Ergosquish True Tubes!



September 23, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!
Much has been written at TattooEducation about ergonomic tattooing tubes, and their importance in helping to relieve hand and wrist strain, allowing for more productive tattooing sessions. I'm such a firm believer in working with physically appropriate equipment that I decided to expand on our mainly educational format to start carrying ergonomic products. These include Morphix grips, which I've been using for years, and more recently, Morphix Humbolt Kush grip covers, which not only provide a helpful layer of padding over your tube grip, but also are made in a unique advanced ergonomic form.
We are now excited to announce the addition to our catalog of ErgoSquish disposable tubes, brought to you by Durb Morrison, creator of the original steel-tipped True Tubes and host of the Hell City Tattoo Fest. As some of you may know, we already are carrying True Tubes, which are disposable steel-tipped tattooing tubes, also produced by Durb. Ergosquish take the True Tube concept a step further by providing four squishy rubber rings that surround the grip, conforming to the shape of your hand as you work and reducing vibration to virtually nothing. In addition, you can remove the rings selectively to customize the fit- for example, I've always liked tapered grips, so I've found that removing the rearmost ring creates an optimum shape for my hand.
If you're struggling with sore hands or wrists and are reluctant to compromise with the quality of your gear, Ergosquish could be just the answer you need: high quality stainless tips on a lightweight plastic tube, surrounded by a thick layer of padding. Disposable tubes don't get any more deluxe than this. Available now at our online store!
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-
Guy Aitchison

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“Sacred Tattooing” by Jen Schichi



September 13, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!
Back in the end of July, Michele and I visited visionary artists Alex and Allyson Grey at their gallery, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, in upstate New York. At their gallery we taught a seminar called Visionary Tattooing, focusing on the healing, empowering, and transformative aspects of tattooing. We also participated in a panel talk that evening, followed by a live painting performance. We wanted to let you know that the live webcast footage from this exciting day is now available at the permanent archive of, which you can check out for free any time you want. We also wanted to provide you with a link to the 4-hour live DJ set played that night, which was truly mind blowing.
We asked some other tattooists to submit work for use in the Visionary Tattooing seminar, which helped to give the presentation a much broader vocabulary. One of the artists who provided work was California tattooist Jennifer Schichi, whom we've known for around 20 years, and who has been specializing in sacred and magical tattooing. She'll be teaching a seminar on the subject at this weekend's Paradise Tattoo Gathering in Colorado. Rather than trying to explain it myself, I thought I'd ask Jen to write a guest blog describing the spirit of her presentation. So without any further delay, I'd like to introduce our old friend Jennifer Schichi:
“Sacred Tattooing”
Presented by Jen Schichi, at the Paradise Artist’s Gathering Friday Sept 14, 5-8.
This body of knowledge has been underground for the majority of modern electric tattooing’s history, and is now re-emerging through Ancestral memory for its great potential to heal and transform lives. This class is creating positive change and growth in professional tattooing for both tattoo artists and tattoo collectors.
The Sacred Tattooing Workshop is for professional tattoo artists, tattoo enthusiasts and creative people who would like to explore the transformational, spiritual and healing power of this ancient art. It’s for a growing number of artists who have experienced something “mystical”, or touched a “moment of power” in their work. I believe there are many artists who are waking up to this and are eager to learn how to work with it skillfully. Every artist has had a session that uplifted them, or has been drained by it. My intention is to teach artists how to navigate these challenges with energetic tools so they can enjoy their creation, attract the best clients, and enjoy life more genuinely. I teach from personal experience, and I have a lot of stories!. Some of the topics I cover in the workshop are:
1)  History of sacred tattooing, what were the ancients thinking?
2)  Past lives and the karma of tattoos
3)  Choosing timeless themes and intuitive placement for a tattoo.
4)  Learn how energy works with a tattoo- exercises how to see, feel, and move it
5)  Healing with tattoos- working with the meridians, reflexology, and techniques for natural pain management. Getting comfortable with emotional release.
6)  Creating a tattoo ceremony, honoring the “rite of passage”


Jen Shakti is a Tattoo Shaman, Energy healer, fine artist and teacher . She is the owner of of "The Mermaid's Tale Tattoo" and "Shamanic Synergy" energy healing in Orange County, Southern California. 2012 is her 20 year anniversary tattooing. She has developed “Sacred Tattooing” to bring the spiritual depth of this ancient rite of passage to her clients through collaborative ceremony and energy work during the tattoo session. She has the ability to help clarify the vision of her client's tattoo through the creation of a unique customized piece of tattoo art. She then guides them gently through the process, minimizing the "pain" of the tattoo. By helping them to set clear intention, the new tattoo, manifests change, brings growth and enhances healing.


She believes this knowledge has been revealed, "returned" to Earth through her directly from the ancient Ancestors of tattooing. Her passion is teaching the energetic tools of sacred tattooing to the next generation of tattoo artists. Her vision is for artists to utilize the techniques to connect more deeply with their vision, enjoy their clients, build consciousness and reverence in their business and bring more positive energy to the tattoo industry.

Personal quote: “ I grew into my work as a shaman naturally. There has always been a part of me that knows that my relationship with the earth is the source of my healing. I have worked directly with and received initiations from shamans in both North and South America. Through this, and tattooing in Hawaii, home of a nearly unbroken tattoo tradition, the sacred and curative nature of tattooing’s ancient history was revealed to me through the Ancestors. The possibilities for healing through tattooing became clearer as I blended varied techniques based in reflexology, and shamanic healing techniques with my most adventurous tattoo clients, who responded enthusiastically to the work and encouraged me to develop it. “

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“The Tattoo Copyright Controversy”



September 9, 2012
We are excited to present our first guest blog, written by Marisa Kakoulas, editor of Tattoo World, along with a number of other heavyweight tattoo art books. In addition to publishing, Marisa is also involved in copyright law, and in particular has been narrowing her focus onto tattoo related copyright law. It's fascinating information at a time when these things seem awfully ambiguous. She'll be giving a seminar on the subject at the upcoming Paradise Tattoo Gathering in Colorado next weekend.
(Portrait of Marisa Kakoulas by Shawn Barber, as shown in his new book Memoir)
So without any further delay, I'd like to introduce Marisa Kakoulas:
When I first wrote about tattoos and copyright in an article called “The Tattoo Copyright Controversy” in 2003, it was largely a discussion of ideas with less real-world examples of how the law impacts the craft. There were no high-profile cases. No rulings on whether tattoos could have copyright protection. No lawyers busy handling rip-offs of tattoo work. 
So much has changed since then. With the explosive growth of the industry and the co-opting of tattoo culture by the media and big business, tattooists and collectors are fighting more and more to protect their art from being appropriated and exploited without their permission. On the flip side, there are more opportunities for artists in the community to profit from their work with licensing deals -- partnering with other business to create designs for merchandise, media, murals, etc. for fees and royalties that are negotiated to reflect the true value of the art. Developing a reputation, even a brand, for quality tattoo and design work warrants protection as well as, especially in light of unscrupulous shops looking to bank on another’s credibility.
It’s not easy to navigate these legal mazes, but they are important in today’s tattoo world. Since 2003, I’ve written extensively on the developments of these laws on and for Inked and Skin & Ink magazines. However, I feel the best way to tackle the subject and help artists in a more practical way is to talk face-to-face, answering questions, offering sample documents, and attempting to be entertaining throughout it all.
So, I created a seminar called “Controlling, Protecting and Profiting from Your Work: Copyright, Trademark & Licensing for Tattoo Artists & Collectors.” The first one will take place at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering on September 15, 2012 from 5-7pm. [Space is still available.]
The seminar will begin with the basics:  What exactly is copyright, trademark, and licensing? Breaking it down: 
  • Copyright protects original works created in some fixed form (not ideas) including artistic works, literature, music, movies, plays, computer software, among others. 
  • Trademark protects the owner’s reputation and goodwill. As defined by the US Patent and Trademark Office, “a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” A Servicemark is the same except it relates to the source of a service, like tattooing. 
  • Copyright and trademark owners can license their work to others – that is, give a limited right to sell, distribute or reproduce their copyright-protected work, and, in the case of trademarks/servicemarks, to grant a limited right to their identity and goodwill and use it for products or services.
Taking these basics, I apply them to tattooing, addressing the following questions and many more:
Who owns a tattoo? Is it the artist or the client or both?
How do you register a copyright or trademark/servicemark?
How can you protect your art from being used without permission?
How can you protect your studio's name, logo and reputation?
How do you protect yourself from copyright or trademark claims?
What are some of the ways you can generate revenue from your artwork and image beyond tattooing?
I’m also happy to field questions from seminar participants and have an interactive discussion on artists and collectors’ perspectives on the law. 
If you can’t make it to the talk, but want to learn more, you can check my writing on tattoo copyright linked below:
Tattoo Copyright Revisited” (includes the link to the Inked magazine feature). 
Marisa Kakoulas is a heavily tattooed attorney based in New York. In her spare time, she blogs about tattoos at and regularly contributes to Inked and Skin & Ink magazines. She’s the author of the hardcover art books “Black Tattoo Art,” “Color Tattoo Art,” and “Black & Grey Tattoo.” She also edited the book “Tattoo World” for Abrams Books. Her book, “Tattoo Law,” is in progress. 

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Shawn Barber: Memoir / The Tattooed Portrait Series


August 17, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Shawn Barber is on fire. For those not already familiar with this groundbreaking artist, Shawn has a long-standing stellar career as a painter and art professor. He came into tattooing relatively recently with this incredible body of artistic experience under his belt, and immediately gained the attention of the tattoo community with his impressive skill set.

Shawn already has a number of books published, which all sold out and are out of print. In addition, he has a terrific educational DVD that is also out of print, although we still have a handful of copies in our online store. But the big news is the release of his latest book, Memoir: The Tattooed Portrait Series, which showcases his most recent body of paintings. Memoir is a gorgeous large format hardcover book with 256 pages of art, including a few pages of Shawn's distinctive tattoo work. The paintings are all portraits of people from the tattoo community, both artists and collectors; Shawn has an almost superhuman ability to totally nail people's personalities on canvas while also documenting their tattoo collections, work environments and other details that help to express a sense of personal presence. There is no one else like him in the fine art world.


We now have Memoir in stock at our online store. It's priced for accessibility at only $40.00. Available now!

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

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Humbolt Kush Grip Covers


August 3, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!

In 23 years of tattooing, I've inevitably had to deal with wrist and hand strain, numbness, and other issues from holding a tattoo machine for such long hours. And of course I've not been alone in this struggle; tattooing is a profession that carries a high risk of wrist, hand and back problems. The solution to this problem turns out to be a multifaceted thing that includes better posture, proper positioning, and a few good stretches now and then, along with an overall better awareness of how you lift and hold heavy objects and things like that. But one of the biggest parts of the solution was to start working with better tube grips. 

At the time, back in the late 1990's, tube makers were just starting to experiment with larger diameter grips. These evolved onto curved or tapered grips, along with a number of experimental designs of all kinds of shapes and materials. Recently, Morphix introduced their Humbolt and Flatiron composite grips, which I personally started using exclusively as soon as they became available; I found that they were just the right weight and shape for my working style.


Finally, just last week, Morphix released their Humbolt Kush grip covers, which offer most of the important features of the Humbolt grips but can be slipped over a standard 3/4" or 1" tube grip, which is a great advantage for those who prefer the weight of steel grips, or want to improve the comfort of disposable tubes. They are fully autoclavable and offer all the functionality of other popular soft grip covers, with the added advantages of the tested and proven ergonomic Humbolt design. Available now at our online store!


And for those of you in the Los Angeles area, I'd like to remind you of the Second Skin gallery show at the Copro Nason Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. Saturday, August 4 is the closing party, so if you haven't been by the gallery yet, this is a great chance to check out this awesome body of work and meet some of the artists involved. Michele and I worked hard to create a pair of paintings that could stand out among this stellar collection of artwork. You can contact the gallery for details.
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

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The BJ Betts Lettering Combo Pack


The BJ Betts Lettering Combo Pack  $160

Save on shipping by purchasing all four books! These reasonably priced lettering guides are worth their weight in gold. No matter where you are in your career, from street shop level all the way up to doing custom bodywork, you will have occasions where you need to be able to produce good lettering on skin. Pennsylvania tattooist BJ Betts has long been known for his beautiful lettering technique... precise, readable, yet full of life, character and style. Over the past few years BJ has released a series of books that are aimed at providing a comprehensive toolbox of lettering tricks and techniques to tattooists from all walks of life. The first in the series is "The BJ Betts Lettering Guide", which starts you off with basic script and quickly moves into ways of embellishing and elaborating on it. With short, concise explanations, each page is illustrated in a way that makes these methods clear and easy to follow. It's a solid book and a must-have for any tattoo studio.

The second in the series is "The BJ Betts Custom Lettering Guide 2", which focuses on some of the most popular classic tattoo fonts, and shows ways to create variations on them without losing readability. It also introduces graph paper techniques for making more precise lettering, and wraps up with a number of highly useful scripts and embellishments. With short, concise explanations, each page is illustrated in a way that makes these methods clear and easy to follow. It's the kind of book that will get totally dogeared from repeated use.

The third in the series is "The BJ Betts Lettering Guide Number Three", which picks up where the second book left off in providing a great range of very readable and useable tattoo fonts, scripts, embellishments, graffiti styles, shading ideas, etc. that will help keep your lettering fresh. Betts says in the introduction: "How many times have you seen a REALLY nice tattoo... initially, but then the lettering just blows.  It Kills the tattoo.". He's right. His lettering books are some of the best available, with short, concise explanations, each page is illustrated in a way that makes these methods clear and easy to follow. It's sure to become one of the most-used tools in your toolbox.

The fourth in the series is "BJ Betts: Street Shop Lettering Version 4.0", which starts out with a library of examples of very graphic tattoo fonts, before going into an in-depth chapter on scripts, showing full alphabets of several very attractive and useful scripts, with several pages of detailed explanations and guidelines.The remaining book then is filled out with the complete alphabets from all the earlier graphic examples, complete with short, concise explanations of each font. An incredible resource.

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Reinventing the Tattoo Forum


June 11, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

My book / DVD package Reinventing The Tattoo has always been one of the mainstays of our educational collection. When I released the second edition, one of the big advances was the new Reinventing forum, meant exclusively for owners of the book. At its peak, the forum has had thousands of active users discussing diverse topics ranging from design to technique to shop talk. It's a place where users know they will be treated with respect and get solid answers to their questions.

We  have just completed a full upgrade on the Reinventing forum, with many improvements including much easier to upload images and a cleaned up interface. We have also done a much needed spam filter upgrade. At any rate, I'd like to invite owners of the book to drop by and post some things, check out the topics and start your own posts. For existing members, you may need to do a password reset, which can be done easily from your login window.

Remember when entering your book serial number to include all 3 periods, and keep the letters in all caps, like this:  XXX.XXX.X.123456

I'd also like to invite you all to take a look at a 2 minute video I just put together, promoting a class that Michele and I will be teaching at Alex Grey's Chapel Of Sacred Mirrors in Upstate NY this coming July 21. The video features short interviews with a few of our amazing clients... even if you can't make it to the event, we hope you will enjoy the video.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

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Jeff Ensminger's The Rose Re-Released and Expanded!


May 28, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Jeff Ensminger in an amazing artist. I say that with no reservations... but to the general public, Jeff's name has not taken center stage the way that some of today's top tattooists have. This is because Jeff isn't concerned with promoting himself or his work. He figures that his clients will find him, despite his lack of any permanent address. However, most tattoo artists these days are well aware of Jeff's surprising talent, and the tattoo community, despite his best efforts, has noticed Jeff and his striking fusion of traditional and hyper-realistic tattooing.

Jeff Ensminger: The Rose

Last year, Jeff released a limited run book about rose tattoo designs. It was a deluxe edition, full of cool personal touches... and they were snatched up almost instantly. Finally, by popular demand, Jeff has decided to re-release the rose book in a new expanded edition that promises to be of enormous value to any working tattooer. It features 134 single-sided pages of drawings, paintings and photos of roses. The drawings are done in a variety of styles, fusing variations on traditional, Japanese, and realistic styles. This part of the book is filled with stencil-ready designs, or can be used as inspiration for drawing your own roses. The photography section of the book are all photos that Jeff personally composed, shot and selected based on their usefulness as rose references, and includes a wide variety of rose types along with some mixed foliage. If you ever are called on to tattoo roses of any kind, this is one of the most valuable resource books you'll ever find. Softcover, perfect bound, $60.00... available now at our online store.

Jeff Ensminger: The Rose

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon. Meanwhile, come like us on Facebook!

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Guy and Michele @ Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors!


Friday, May 18, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

What motivates people to get tattooed, and what is it that is so compelling they are willing to go back and suffer through more? For those of us in the tattoo world, no explanation is needed, because we each have our own motivations, our own personal relationship with the art. But it can still be great to hear from tattoo fans about their experiences as collectors.

Michele and I have been gathering video interviews from some of our recent clients and will be including this footage and more in a multimedia presentation that we'll be giving at Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors this upcoming July 21. The talk will be titled, The Visionary Tattoo: Empowerment, Healing and Transformation Through Body Art. The presentation will include a historic primer tying the practices of the past to the cutting edge fine art being done on skin today, with a special emphasis on how a tattoo experience can transform the collector's life in a positive way.

We will also be featuring a screening of Innerstate, a 55 minute documentary about fine art being done by tattoo artists, centered around an event at a major tattoo convention. That evening will be a panel discussion that will include Michele and I, Oregon tattooist James Kern, Boston tattooist Natan Alexander, plus our hosts, Alex and Allyson Grey. This talk will tie in partially to the subject matter of The Visionary Tattoo, but will have a greater emphasis on ritual and sacred practices associated with tattooing. There will be time for questions from the audience.

Finally, running until around 2:00 am will be a live painting performance featuring Michele, me, Alex and Allyson. We've performed together a number of times in the past at places such as Club 740 in Los Angeles and the Moksha art space in Miami, along with a multi-day performance in a tattoo convention. It's an event packed day, and a rare opportunity to experience a celebration of the fusion of tattoos and visionary art at the Grey's legendary gallery, about an hour outside of New York City. A ticket for the whole day is $150, or you can come for the panel and performance only for $25. Tickets are available now at our online store.

Thanks, and we hope to see you there!

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The Coloring Book Project: A Collection by 100 Artists from Around the World Now Available!


May 8, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Every now and then we'll add an item to our catalog just for the fun of it; this weeks newest item is a great example. Artists of all ages are invited to add their own color and creativity to the pages found within The Coloring Book Project: A Collection by 100 Artists from Around the World. This wonderfully imaginative book brings together inspiration and ingenuity from an all-star cast of artists, each contributing their own enchanting sketches, and then handing them off to you to complete with your own touch of artistic magic. With 215 pages of designs to color and activities to execute, colorists can dive into the pages full of tattoo-related artwork and escape to a creative world through their pencils, markers, and crayons. The Coloring Book Project compositions are not intended as tattoo flash, but rather, pay homage to the ink industry and are perfect tools to bring out the artist in you!

The Coloring Book Project

A portion of the contributing artists are Don McDonald, Gunnar, Greg "Craola" Simkins, Durb Morrison, Mike DeVries, Jason Stephan, Roman, Josh Duffy, Katelyn Crane, Jeff Johnson, London, Jamie Lee Parker, Sung Song, Steve Morris, Timothy Boor, Timmy B, Whitney Lenox, Mario Rosenau, Kyle Cotterman, Ty McEwen, Danny Black, Brett Herman, Andy Engel, DJ Minor, Jeremy Miller, Julian Zeff, Shawn Williams, Hilary Jane, and many more!!

If your wondering exactly what age group this coloring book is intended for, we would say "It's PG."  If your sensitive about your child coloring in artistic skull drawings, or scary faces, this might not be the right coloring book for your child. It's packed with tattoo related artwork, lots of beautiful roses, birds, anchors, snakes, geisha girls, robots, bio-mechanical designs, etc. Softcover, 215 pages. Available now at our online store!

The Coloring Book Project

The Coloring Book Project

The Coloring Book Project

Thanks... and we'll be in touch with more announcements soon!

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Chris Trevino: Gods And Warriors is Now Available!


May 1, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

For many years now, Austin based tattooer Chris Trevino has been known as one of the industry's hardest working tattooers, and in particular is known for covering more square feet of skin in the past two decades than most of us can hope to in our entire careers. Chris has experimented with a variety of styles, and did them all very well... but as his career developed he realized that his passion was for very straightforward traditional Japanese bodysuits, and has since devoted all his effort to that, including extensive traveling and working in Japan. Gods And Warriors is a spectacular retrospective collection of some of Chris's favorite bodysuits from his career so far, and shows the work in a full-page uninterrupted gallery style format. Also includes an in-depth interview with Chris and a forward by Don Ed Hardy. It's presented at an oversize 10x13" on heavy gloss art paper and comes with a heavy duty protective slipcase. 174 pages, including a number of large tri-fold spreads. Available now at our online store!

Chris Trevino: Gods And Warriors

Recently we've started carrying a number of Japanese tattoo books in an effort to broaden the range of styles and techniques offered at our store. This includes Immoveable, a study of the Japanese deity Fudo Myo-o by Horitomo; Shige, an epic celebration of one of Japan's most progressive traditional tattooists; Ichibay, a surprisingly refreshing sketchbook by up-and-coming Japanese tattooer Ichibay; and two design books by Dana Helmuth, Nectar and Venom, featuring inspirational and stencil-ready Japanese flower and snake designs.

Chris Trevino: Gods And Warriors

Thanks much, and we'll be in touch soon! 

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Alex De Pase: Tattoo Techniques Applied To Realism DVD


Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Every now and then an artist arrives on the scene whom we can't help but notice. Italian tattooist Alex De Pase began publishing his unusual portraits a few years back, and quickly proved to be one of these stand-out artists; each of his eye-catching portrait pieces that hit the magazine stands has jumped out in terms of originality and technique.

Alex De Pase Tattoo DVDAlex has finally put his unique insight toward producing an educational DVD. Although he is known for his color realism, this seminar could potentially be helpful to any tattooist seeking to broaden their palette of rendering techniques. His approach combines a graphic boldness with a realistic sensitivity that can convey great subtlety and realism while still standing up to the test of time. Available now at our online store!

Speaking of Alex, we just returned from the Worldwide Tattoo Conference in Chicago, co-hosted by De Pase and TattooNOW's Gabe Ripley. It was an incredible two days of learning and inspiration. During the second evening's panel, I announced a new project that we are hosting at Tattoo Education: The Tattoo Longevity Project. You will now find a "Longevity Project" button toward the lower left corner of the screen- click it for a detailed overview of what we are hoping to accomplish and how you can be a part of this important research project. In a nutshell, we are seeking out photos of tattoos that have been in the skin 10 years or more, along with technical information such as which pigments and needle groups were used. The eventual goal will be a number of magazine articles that will hopefully help to clear up any confusion about what works, long-term, in the human epidermis. Drop by the site and check it out!

Thanks, and we hope to see you there!
Guy Aitchison

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Immovable: Fudo Myo-o Tattoo Designs By Horitomo


Greetings from Tattoo Education!


Horitaka's State Of Grace Inc. has published some great new books recently, many which we've been excited to add to the catalog at our online store. Traditional Japanese tattooing has a timeless appeal that has never gone out of style, and we are now blessed to have a few of the great Japanese masters sharing their knowledge with the tattoo community.


Kazuaki Kitamura, also known as Horitomo, has over 20 years of experience doing solid traditional Japanese style tattooing. In "Immovable: Fudo Myo-o Tattoo Designs By Horitomo", he goes into great depth describing and illustrating Fudo Myo-o, one of the great Wisdom Kings in traditional Buddhism. The character of this mythic figure, who is often worn in tattoos as a form of personal protection, is explored in great depth from a variety of angles and positions, including historic information and a detailed study of different weapons, garments and other essentials. Other characters are included, along with a number of dragon and floral designs to accompany them. The images are all line drawings done with masterful ink technique, and can either be adapted directly to stencil-ready tattoo art, or used as a source of inspiration and accurate information when creating your own drawings. Softcover, 9x13", 186 pages... Immovable is available now at our online store.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon with more innovative new educational items!

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Ichibay Reference Book Available and the World Wide Tattoo Conference!


March 29, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

We recently added to our catalog Shige, a thick book on one of Japan's most prolific tattoo talents. Shige is a truly modern Japanese tattoo artist, embodying the classic traditions of Japanese tattooing while seamlessly incorporating modern influences and sensibilities. His publisher, Horitaka's State Of Grace, has just released an incredible tattoo reference resource in this same spirit: Ichibay, featuring drawings and sketches by Japan's young talent Ichibay, also known as the Demon Of Drawing.

Ichibay's Book

Ichibay's book is truly one-of-a-kind. His drawing style is on fire, with a fresh new look that brings in a lot of great new material to the Japanese style. Although much of the material is rooted in traditional styles, his use of the style is brand new, and he also includes a lot of material that is a strange hybrid of traditional, ornamental, tribal, biomechanical... it's hard to define. without seeing it for yourself. Now available at our online store for only $40.

World Wide Tattoo Conference

We also wanted to mention one more time the Worldwide Tattoo Conference, coming right up onApril 10-11 in Chicago. This is a truly unique event, dedicated entirely toward education for tattoo artists and featuring intensive seminars by Nick Baxter, Alex DePase, Bob Tyrrell, Jeff Gogue, Boris Laszlo and myself. Evenings will feature forums where everyone can participate in discussions on important tattoo subjects. If you're not booked solid on those days, don't miss the chance to be part of this educational experience. Tickets are available at our online store, including studio deals offering discounts for 4 tickets.

Thanks, and we hope to see you there! 

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Dana Helmuth's Design Books and the World Wide Tattoo Conference!


March 6, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

East Coast tattooer Dana Helmuth has been quietly turning out great Japanese style tattoo work for years and years. Now he's put together a pair of great Japanese style design books, which we're carrying here at our online store.
Dana Helmuth: Nectar

His new floral design book, Nectar, is just downright useful. With 50 pages of Japanese style floral motifs, it covers all bases from cherry blossoms to chrysanthemums to peonies, done in a range of different angles and placements to work on any part of the body. Whether you want to take advantage of the stencil-ready line art or simply use it as an inspirational reference resource, Nectar is a book that will get used again and again for years to come. Black and white, spiral bound, 50 pages, $50.
Dana Helmuth: Venom

His new snake design book, Venom, is a great compliment to Nectar and a must-have for any tattooist who likes working in the Japanese style. Snakes are a timeless classic tattoo motif, and in these pages Dana presents dozens of snakes with a variety of patterns, positions and expressions, detailed in a classic style. All images are stencil-ready, or you can just make use of Venom as a helpful reference when drawing your own snakes. Black and white, spiral bound, 50 pages, $50.

We have a few more exciting design resource books coming out this Spring- we'll keep you posted!
World Wide Tattoo Conference

Also, don't forget to register for the upcoming Worldwide Tattoo Conference April 10-11! Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to learn from six of the tattoo industry's most respected educators. $800 buys you an all-inclusive package featuring some of the most concentrated learning and discussion you'll ever experience. We also offer a Studio Special that buys you 4 tickets for $700 each, bringing down the cost of each seminar to less than $120- at a regular convention, you'd pay more than twice that. The Worldwide Tattoo Conference is a unique event- don't miss it!

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World Wide Tattoo Conference: 6 Instructional Seminars at a Discounted Price!


February 18, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!
I've been teaching seminars for almost 20 years now, starting with a seminar on coverups that I hosted at one of Dennis Dwyer's Tattoo Tour shows in Miami, back in the early nineties. In those days, convention promoters were just starting to accommodate seminars at their shows- after all, there had always been a strong prejudice against sharing information. Conventions started providing a format for information to be exchanged within the industry without making it too readily available to the general public; once this became obvious, seminars started popping up at most of the better conventions.
Guy Aitchison Seminar
In the last couple years, some promoters, including TattooNOW's Gabe Ripley, have started experimenting with events that are centered entirely around the seminars, with little or no actual tattooing going on. These kinds of events provide an environment where artists can get into student mode without all the distractions of a normal convention and really fill their heads with great new information. The upcoming Worldwide Tattoo Conference in Chicago this April 10-11 is a great example of just such an event, with the whole block of time devoted entirely to learning. There will be seminars by some of the profession's most respected teachers, including Nick Baxter, Bob Tyrrell, Jeff Gogue, Boris Laszlo, Alex De Pase and myself.
World Wide Tattoo Conference
These classes will be focusing on a variety of design and technical matters, and for any artist who sits through the whole round of seminars you can be guaranteed a brain full of incredible up-to-date information to take home and digest. My class is titled "The Extra Mile Is Never Crowded: A Few Extra Things You Can Do To Make Your Work Stand Out"; and I hope the title is self-explanatory; I will be demonstrating things that artists of all levels of skill and experience can incorporate into their working methodology. I'll be showing ways to take your composition further during the design stage and to get more crucial information into your stencils in order to make the tattooing process easier, along with a handful of technical tricks that will help you to achieve a smoother, sharper finish.
The way the Wordwide Tattoo Conference works, is that you simply pay a flat fee for the weekend, then you have access to all of the classes. Tickets are $800 per person. This price includes:
  • Participation to the 6 Artists workshops (2 days)
  • Participation to the Panel to discuss with the presence of all the teachers
  • Coffee breaks for both days
  • Buffet lunch for both days
  • Certificate of attendance
In addition, we are also offering a special studio discount- four artists get in for $2800, saving $400 off the normal studio price.
World Wide Tattoo Gathering
The Worldwide Tattoo Conference is one of the most concentrated learning experiences a tattoo artist can have in this day and age. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to better yourself as an artist!

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New Nick Baxter Interview on Tattoo Education!


February 13, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!
Many of you know who Nick Baxter is; he's the young man who started blowing all of our minds about 10 years ago when, very early in his career, he started publishing some of his exceptionally smooth, technical, original and imaginative tattoo work in magazines. Several years later, and we started seeing examples of his oil paintings: small, meticulous, highly visual and completely original. Nick's artistic progression has continued unabated in the years since, and recently he agreed to write a book on oil painting, Sharp-Focus Realism in Oil, which was published last year by our own Proton Press, and is available here at our online store.
Nick Baxter's Sharp-Focus Realism In Oil
Since the publication of this groundbreaking book, which serves as not only a great educational tool for artists but also a glossy fine art book for art fans, Nick has continued to produce incredible work on both skin and canvas. He likes to work in epic series of pieces, with Rebuilding- a series of fleshy, almost traumatic visionary works- being the most recent work featured in his book. Shortly after publication, he completed another, even more mind-blowing series: Reclaiming, which aims at larger, more universal ideas. As this show was on display at the Last Rites Gallery, we got Nick to do an interview with us about these works. It's a great interview, aimed specifically at tattooists wanting to better themselves through alternate media. We have it posted here at Tattoo Education in the Artist Profiles page, along with images of some of the highlights of that series.
Nick Baxter
We also wanted to mention a couple other things that Nick is up to presently. He just launched a new website dedicated to his non-tattoo art at, which is meant to compliment his existing site,, which has just had a complete redesign. In addition, he's got a major new exhibition coming up at Last Rites: The Apostasy, alongside Chris Peters, which will debut May 26 2012 and run through mid-June.
Nick was also a participant in a recent fundraising event at Last Rites for the International Children's Art Fund; you can read more about the event at He also will be teaching one a seminar called "The Holistic Approach" in April at the Worldwide Tattoo Conference in Chicago, alongside a number of other renowned instructors. Check out the event at
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Mike DeVries' Animal Ink: Exploring the World's Wildlife Through Tattoo Art Available in Our Catalog!


February 2, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!


In our online store, we like to carry not only top-of-the-line, nuts-and-bolts educational items, but artistic and inspirational ones as well. Mike DeVries' new hardcover book, Animal Ink: Exploring the World's Wildlife Through Tattoo Art, is a feast for the eyes, brimming with inspiration from some of the world's best tattooists. Featuring 304 full-color pages, this artistic powerhouse not only contains tattoo work from 160 artists, but in addition includes 62 stories about specific animal tattoos with details, meanings, and inspiration from the collectors who wear the ink and the artists who inked them.

Mike DeVries' Animal Ink: Exploring the World's Wildlife Through Tattoo Art

Animal designs have appeared throughout history in all facets of the art world, so it's no surprise that utilizing animals' beauty, strength, and grace has been a large focus within the genre of tattoo art. For those seeking animal tattoos, there is an endless array of styles, creativity, and artists to choose from and Animal Ink encompasses and celebrates these many different displays within its pages by featuring over 1,500 tattoos from creatures of the wild kingdom.


Mike DeVries' Animal Ink: Exploring The World's Wildlife Through Tattoo Art

Whether your interest is that of a zoological focus, tattoo art, reference inspiration, or keeping up with the impressive accomplishments of tattooists around the globe,  Animal Ink is an exceptional addition to any library. This high-quality 11 x 8.5" hardcover book is brought to you by Memento Publishing and features the work of an all-star list of tattooists. For a complete artist listing, come check out Animal Ink in our catalog.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Dan Henk: The Black Seas Of Infinity is Now Available!


January 18, 2012
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Many of you know, or know of, Dan Henk... he's recognized for his edgy, horror-related tattoo work and dark illustrative paintings. Like many tattooists, Dan has a variety of interests and creative pursuits... and has written a sci-fi novel, complete with illustrations.

Dan Henk: Black Seas of Infinity

"The Black Seas Of Infinity" pays homage to the pulp greats of the '70s and '80s, while exploring some interesting new ground. The main character, who we never really get to know by name (should we just call him Dan?), through a series of strange circumstances and decisions, ends up giving up his human body- permanently- in exchange for a high-tech, alien-made humanoid chassis. With no ability to speak and no immediate prospect of death, the plot has all kinds of interesting room to move. One of the most striking aspects of the story is the character's extensive journey across the eastern United States, through the South and into Texas and beyond, through a near future civil-war-torn America. No specific reason or background for the conflict is given, and in some ways it halfway morphs into this brooding, florid meditation on the decadence of modern culture, until the character finally reaches Mexico and the story shifts into sci-fi high gear. A fun read, for not only fans of the genre but anyone who enjoys Dan's dark, intense style. 268 pages, $11.

Although we are primarily an educational website, we like to also carry art books and other creative items produced by tattoo artists. It's very rare for a tattooist to produce a novel, so we're psyched to be able to carry this item here at our online store.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Shige and Tattoo Inspiration!


January 5, 2012

Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Book by Shige

Although our focus at this website is on education for tattoo artists, we also like to carry a few fine art books and other items that are by or about tattooists but are not strictly educational- after all, inspiration can be as important as education. In this spirit we are excited to announce the addition to our catalog of an amazing new art book by Japan's Shige.

Book by Shige

Few tattooists today embody the fusion of tradition and modernity as thoroughly as Shige. Over the course of his career he has become renowned for retooling traditional Japanese motifs into his signature ultra-smooth, technically flawless reinterpretation of one of the world's most respected tattoo traditions. In the book Shige, published by State Of Grace Inc., we are presented with not only a mind-blowing portfolio of all of his most epic work, photographed and presented in a fine-art format, but also a surprising collection of paintings, collaborations and mixed media pieces, plus an entertaining and informative pictorial history of his career and travels. At 9x13" and 324 pages, it's a hefty volume of incredible work presented beautifully... perfect for fans of classic, modern, Western, Eastern... really, anyone who appreciates beautiful art will be blown away by this book... available now at our online store!

Book by Shige

While you're there, be sure to take a quick look through our catalog- many of the items there are strictly for tattoo artists and will only be shipped to established shops, but we also carry a wide array of books and DVDs that are intended for both artists and collectors. We also have in stock True Tubes, the first and only hybrid plastic/steel disposable tattoo tubes- truly a revolutionary new product.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Tattooing Techniques


December 3, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

I get a lot of email from tattooers. A lot of it is appointment requests (which I'm grateful for, even if I can't get back to everyone) but there is also a lot of curiosity about technique. The two most common questions I am asked are, 1) whose machines are you using? and 2) what pigments do you recommend?

For the record, I do have recommendations, and I'd like to share some of them here. 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 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. I feel that it's far more important that I can share with you my honest opinion about what works and what doesn't.

Tattoo Education

That said, I believe there are many fine brands of pigments available these days, and only a few that are terrible. 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. 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. This has helped revolutionize color tattooing in recent years.

I am regularly trying out new machines, different size needle groups, new tube designs etc... but I often find myself gravitating toward a favorite set of machines. 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. 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. 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.

Tattoo Education

We carry a lot of great educational books and DVDs at from a number of the industry's most innovative artists going into detail about their design and technique strategies, including DVDs from realism sensation Nikko Hurtado, renowned pinup artist Joe Capobianco, portrait and wildlife expert Mike Devries, traditional/illustrative tattooer Russ Abbott, comprehensive realism instruction from Keith Ciaramello, plus my own massive educational package Reinventing The Tattoo, where I go into detail about techniques like the ones I mentioned earlier... along with a ton of other great educational books and DVDs.

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.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

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Tattoo World by Abrams Publishing


November 12, 2011

Greetings from Tattoo Education!Tattoo World

Every now and then Michele and I are invited to participate in one of the various tattoo related book projects that come out each year. In recent years there has been an explosion of new tattoo art books featuring contemporary tattooists at their best, including several such books put out by our own Proton Press. Most of these books are released within the tattoo community where they find their core readership; it's rare for tattoo books to see much of an audience outside of our industry. 

That's why we are so excited by the release of Tattoo World by Abrams Publishing. This book will be distributed not only within our community but will also see some shelf space in places like Urban Outfitters or stores in major airports. These are places where casual readers will bump into these books and take a minute to flip through them. It's this kind of exposure that brings new serious collectors into tattooing- the explosive growth of tattooing can be attributed not only to the amazing art coming from tattooists, but also to the fact that we've finally been able to break down some of the traditional barriers toward our art being acknowledged as legitimate and important.

Tattoo World is a great deal- it's a 384 page hardcover monster with over 1000 color photos by 125 artists from a wide range of styles and sensibilities. Michele and I were honored to be included in this fine collection of great tattoo art. We are now carrying it at our online store; it makes a perfect addition to your waiting room bookshelf, your home library or as a gift to your favorite tattoo collector. Available now for only $35!

Crop Circles Tattoo

Meanwhile, we have finally put up a Facebook page for our sister site Hyperspace Studios... drop by, take a look and like us if you want.

Tattoos by Micele

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-

Guy Aitchison


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Tattoo Gathering DVD for sale


October 21, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Tattoo Gathering DVDTattoo conventions and events have always been one of the best ways for artists to communicate with their peers and discover new things. Each convention offers different features, such as contests and live painting experiences. The Paradise Tattoo Gathering is a stand-out show in that it is set up almost entirely for the artists and their clients, with almost none of the general public walking around. One of its features that really stands out from the other tattoo events, though, are its immersive, in-depth nightly forum discussions with a panel of respected artists expounding on various subjects. These panel talks allow for audience participation and provide a window into the minds of some of the industry's most innovative members.


Finally a DVD is available featuring two of Paradise's most memorable panel talks, with two and a half hours of uncensored group discussions with some of the world’s leading tattooers. A variety of topics are covered with plenty of food for thought for artists young and old, including a discussion on ways of staying at the top of your artistic game, keeping your career on a strong path, and avoiding tattoo burnout, along with a talk about exploring the outer limits of what's technically and artistically possible on the human body. Bonus Material: interviews, various artist clips, & the tattoo of the day contests. Take advantage of this inspiring learning experience for only twenty bucks... available now at the Tattoo Education online store!

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-
Guy Aitchison

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Chris Dingwell's book Inside Out now for sale!


October 6, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

We are psyched to announce the release of Inside Out, Chris Dingwell's new book of acrylic paintings. Chris is one of tattooing's more stand-out wild card artists, and never fails to surprise with his wit and originality. His characteristic paintings have become a favorite among collectors within the industry; we proudly display a major sculptural work of his here in Hyperspace Studios. Over the past few years he has cranked out an epic body of paintings, each more unpredictable and visually overwhelming than the last. Finally he's had the chance to bring this work together into a fun, affordable and highly collectible book.

chris dingwell

Simply put, Inside Out will rattle your eyeballs.It's one of the most unique and visually stimulating new art books to hit the market in a long time. Chris is a true original, and you can now enjoy his works up close in this high-quality 150 page glossy paperback volume. Available now at our online store for only $40.00!


To celebrate this book release I waylaid Chris long enough to get him to answer a few questions in an exclusive interview:

1) G: When we first met- I believe it was in front of Ed Hardy's booth at a convention in Chicago- you were showing off some impressive sculpture pieces you'd done as part of your Master's thesis (do I have my facts straight...?) you had a keen interest in tattooing and a broad range of art skills, but hadn't actually started your apprenticeship yet. With such a broad creative background, what was it about the tattooing medium that was so attractive to you?

Yes Guy, you remember that right. It was in Chicago in 1993. I had never ben to a tattoo convention in my life, and in fact at that time, I hadn't really begun to think seriously about becoming a tattoo artist at all, although those thoughts were starting to brew... However, I had been interested in the images, symbols, and history of tattooing for some time, and had been working with tattoo imagery in my sculptures. Of course I had seen several of Ed's books, and knew he was scheduled to be there, so I decided I had to go meet him. I was sheepishly showing photos of my sculptures to Ed at his booth when you walked by, and Ed called out to you "Hey Guy, You gotta come see this kid's stuff" And that's where it all began: you decided you had to have one, and I decided to have you tattoo me in trade. (I was so green and foolish I asked you to do a Pseudo Japanese thing that I had the balls to draw for myself! Idiot... So many many great lessons I have learned since then...)

To answer your question, I think there were many things about tattooing that attracted me immediately. The wide range of amazing artistic designs that were coming out in the early 1990's had a great deal to do with it. Tattooing was clearly in the midst of making a great creative leap, and I wanted to be part of it. I also love the great technical challenges that tattooing has to offer. As a painter, sculptor, ceramicist, glassblower, and printmaker, I've always enjoyed working with more complicated technical processes, so it was a lot of fun just learning how it works and how to do it.

Most of all though, it's a completely different experience from anything that an artist creates in the seclusion of his or her own studio: we tattooers work directly ON our clients. Everything I make as a tattoo artist is a collaboration; a blend of my clients ideas and my own, but ultimately the finished product is meant to express that other person's vision of themselves, not my own personal vision. I love that! Throughout all of my years in art school, I had been expected to constantly express my own voice, and I was frankly sick of hearing it. It was a tremendous breath of fresh air to be challenged by such a wide variety of exciting new ideas. In fact I've never worked so consistently for such a long time in any other medium, and it's the constant exchange of ideas that keeps me feeling excited to come into the studio.
chris dingwell book

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Stencil Stuff and Spray Stuff for sale


September 21, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Remember the good old days of using deodorant to apply stencils? For years, tattooists have made do with a variety of substances, including deodorant and soap, to apply stencils, with varying results. More recently, Stencil Stuff was formulated to give you sharp, dark, long-lasting stencils with consistent results. It's been on the market long enough that many well-respected artists in the industry now swear by it. We are now carrying Stencil Stuff at; it's proven itself and can help make the difference between a tattoo session going smoothly, or being a stressful race against a fading stencil.

stencil stuff and spray stuff

Many tattooists now work freehand on skin, using marker, pen or surgical marker to draw the design directly on, allowing for more intuitive use of the client's anatomy. Unfortunately, many artists have found that marker drawings on skin can be far shorter lived during the tattoo process than hectograph stencils. Spray Stuff changes all that; now, after completing your freehand drawing, you can spray a thin coat of this unique product over the drawing, giving it greater longevity during all the wiping and handling that takes place during tattooing. It's a well-tested product in the toolkit of many of the industry's most noted freehand artists, and we are now carrying it in our catalog as well.

stencil stuff and spray stuff

For any tattooists who regularly handle complex projects, these products can provide an extra degree of confidence and take some of the stress out of the job... available now at our online store!

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-

Guy Aitchison

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Lasered Bio Coverup Sleeve Tattoo


I get a lot of requests for large coverup tattoo projects, particularly full biomech sleeve coverup projects. Each of these requests comes with its own set of challenges, but fortunately in many cases the client has already had a number of laser removal treatments to lighten the old tattoo before proceeding with the new coverup. Although the laser is by no means a perfect removal method- as of now, there is no such thing- it can lighten the offending tattoo enough to allow for far more options with the new piece, plus an overall look that is far less dark and dense than a typical coverup tattoo. This past week I got a chance to finish a full sleeve laser coverup project, and wanted to share it with you. The client had his arm mostly just outlined, plus about half of his forearm filled in from an earlier attempt at covering the unwanted outline... so there was plenty of stuff there to begin with. However,he was diligent about having the piece lightened, and by the time I got to it the arm had been hit almost a dozen times in its darkest parts, providing me with an almost empty canvas.

laser tattoo removal and coverup

The laser has its limitations- very dark or thick outlines can be hard to remove entirely, and certain colors- particularly purples and blues- can be especially reluctant to come out. That's where his arm was when we began, with the old outlines lightened as far as they would go and a stain of old turquoise on his inner forearm. With coverup projects, it's really no big deal to absorb old patches of color into the new piece- just a matter of taking those old colors into consideration when executing the new piece. It's a lot harder to cover old outlines, which have direction and purpose and can run counter to the direction the new piece is trying to take. That's why it was so nice to have the old stuff lightened to the extent it was. The remaining bits of pigment, forming a peppery stain over parts of the arm, just served to provide the new piece with an extra degree of texture and character- it's just a matter of working it in.

bio coverup sleeve tattoo

This client had the additional challenge of being very freckly- but with the old laser stuff showing through, the freckles simply added another degree of detail to the piece; I simply worked carefully to make sure every freckle, spot or stain on the arm was worked into the new piece. The key with coverup projects is to remember that you really can't cover the old stuff- you have to incorporate it into the new piece. Attempts to cover or bury the old work inevitable create dark tattoos; the last thing your client needs to hear from strangers on the street is, "nice cover-up".

bio half sleeve coverup tattoo

I also recommend working carefully to create balance through the whole piece- dark vs light areas, detailed vs smooth areas, brightly colored vs subdued areas... the balance between these elements should be maintained through the whole sleeve, not just the coverup zones.


A coverup doesn't have to look like a coverup; it just needs the right approach to begin with. A little lightening with the laser never hurts- at least, it doesn't hurt the project. As far as hurting the client, that's another story entirely. For more information on the techniques used to do this piece, check out my mammoth instructional package Reinventing The Tattoo; you can also see more of my coverup work at the Hyperspace Studios coverup gallery.


Stay tuned for more tattoos, information and educational products!

Guy Aitchison

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Cranial Visions Softcover


Cranial visions softoverSeptember 13, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Tattooing is an art form that attracts a wide variety of artistic styles. A vast spectrum of artists express these styles creatively not only on skin but in other media as well, including painting, sculpture, digital art, etc. Art done by tattooists has been collected into group art show or book projects numerous times, and always makes for a great viewing experience. Memento Publishing's recent book release, Cranial Visions, is a great example- the skull, a classic favorite tattoo motif, translated into a dizzying variety of tattoos, paintings, sculptures, photographs, digital creations and other hybrid art.

Cranial Visions is now being offered in an affordable softcover edition- 800 images for only $60! It's a must for your shop library, or makes a great gift for any tattoo fan. Available now at our online store.

We'd like to also remind you of another book we're carrying from Memento Publishing, Tattoo Prodigies. Rather than being a theme-oriented group project, Tattoo Prodigies features tattoo work by some of the world's most sought-after tattooists, each showcasing their own style or specialty, in a beautiful large-scale format; some artist features include detailed interviews. It's another great book for the studio library, a perfect companion for Cranial Visions, only $80!

prodigies tattoo book

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Cranial Visions is now being offered in an affordable softcover edition


Cranial visions softoverSeptember 13, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Tattooing is an art form that attracts a wide variety of artistic styles. A vast spectrum of artists express these styles creatively not only on skin but in other media as well, including painting, sculpture, digital art, etc. Art done by tattooists has been collected into group art show or book projects numerous times, and always makes for a great viewing experience. Memento Publishing's recent book release, Cranial Visions, is a great example- the skull, a classic favorite tattoo motif, translated into a dizzying variety of tattoos, paintings, sculptures, photographs, digital creations and other hybrid art.

Cranial Visions is now being offered in an affordable softcover edition- 800 images for only $60! It's a must for your shop library, or makes a great gift for any tattoo fan. Available now at our online store.

We'd like to also remind you of another book we're carrying from Memento Publishing, Tattoo Prodigies. Rather than being a theme-oriented group project, Tattoo Prodigies features tattoo work by some of the world's most sought-after tattooists, each showcasing their own style or specialty, in a beautiful large-scale format; some artist features include detailed interviews. It's another great book for the studio library, a perfect companion for Cranial Visions, only $80!

prodigies tattoo book

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

»Read More

True Tubes - Sample pack and 11 Diamond available!


August 10, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

We've had an incredible response to the addition of True Tubes to the Equipment section of our catalog. True Tubes are the world's first hybrid plastic/steel disposable tubes, offering all the convenience without making any of the sacrifices. True Tubes come in a wide variety of styles, including different sizes of round and diamond tips along with a wider than normal range of shading tips. The steel tips are made of high quality stainless and are always brand-new- none of the wear and tear that you'll see on your non-disposable tips.
true tubes - disposable tattoo tubes

We have just added 11 diamond tip liner tubes to the catalog, making for a total of 11 different True Tube styles. Since we've had a lot of requests from artists curious to try them out without committing to a dozen of each tube style, we are now offering a mixed sample pack that includes a 5 diamond, 8 diamond, 11 diamond, 5 round, 7 round, 9 round, 5 magnum, 7 magnum, 9 magnum, 11 magnum and 13 magnum. We include two of the 5 diamond tubes, our most popular style, to make it an even dozen. This sample pack is a great opportunity to try out all the styles of this revolutionary new product- check it out!
true tubes sample pack
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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True Tubes - Disposable tattoo tubes with steel tips!


July 18, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Those who've known me for a while know I've never been a big fan of disposable tattoo tubes. Although you can't beat the convenience- these days, you can get by without needing an autoclave if you are willing to use disposables- the tubes themselves have always been, in my opinion, fatally flawed. My biggest issue has been the tips themselves; plastic tip exert a different level of friction on the vibrating needle, changing its ink flow properties and altering the entire tattooing experience. With most of them, the exact angle of the tips is slightly off- an unavoidable by-product of the plastic forming process- and the number of needle group types has been limited to just the most popular basic styles. Many artists have adjusted to these differences out of convenience, but many others, myself included, have stayed with steel tubes for the long haul for their greater variety and higher quality overall tattooing experience.

True Tube Disposable Tubes

Now, veteran tattooer and Hell City promoter Durb Morrison has created a new disposable tube that overcomes all these problems. True Tubes are the world's first hybrid plastic/steel disposable tubes, offering all the convenience without making any of the sacrifices. True Tubes come in a wide variety of styles, including different sizes of round and diamond tips along with a wider than normal range of shading tips. The steel tips are made of high quality stainless and are always brand-new- none of the wear and tear that you'll see on your non-disposable tips. And at around two bucks each, we're talking about a significant improvement in your tattooing setup at just a fraction more cost than even the cheapest disposable tubes.

true tubes disposable tubes steel tips

Michele and I have been using True Tubes all year. I've always been skeptical about disposables, but after a power surge fried our autoclave and we faced delays in getting the replacement parts, I figured I'd try them. I've always respected Durb and knew he's have a solid product; now after working with them for a few months, I'm impressed enough that we are carrying them at the Tattoo Education online store. True Tubes are the first steel tipped disposable tubes of their kind, and allow your machines to run at the speed they are engineered for. I recommend you try them- if you are already using plastic tubes, you'll be amazed at the improvement. if, like me, you are a steel tube fan, you'll find True Tubes to be a more than adequate replacement. We've got them in stock now at our online store.

true tubes disposable tattoo tubes

For the rest of you who are still fans of steel tubes- or for any tattooists suffering from hand and wrist problems- I'd like to remind you about Morphix Grips, another great product we carry. Morphix Humbolt and Flatiron grips are scientifically engineered to fit your hand perfectly, allowing for a high degree of dexterity while easing strain on the hand and wrists... allowing for longer and more productive sessions.

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Japanese magazine Tattoo Burst Article


Friday, July 15, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

It's been a while since Michele and I have done a major article in a tattoo magazine; although it's helpful for tattooists at any stage in their careers to submit work to the magazines every now and then, just to keep their work in general circulation, we tend to pace our magazine appearances further and further apart. But when our friends at the Japanese magazine Tattoo Burst invited us to grace one of their issues, we made a point to gather some of our favorite recent work together for them. Japan has a long history of doing innovative designs on skin, dating back hundreds of years, and their contemporary tattoo culture is vibrant, technically strong, breaking new ground while remaining firmly rooted in their long tradition, so we were honored to have the invitation.

Since Tattoo Burst is difficult to find outside of Japan, we thought we'd post the article online so you can all check it out, including an English language translation of the interview; you can find it at our art site,, at the Events page. Check it out, and while you're at it be sure to drop by the Hyperspace online store to check out our vast variety of wearable art goods, archival prints, music and other fun creative gifts.


For those of you in the Los Angeles area, our friend and client Jamie Kilstein (pictured here) is scheduled to perform some of his noted hard-edged political comedy at the Steve Allen Theater this coming Monday night at 8:00pm. This is one of his most important performances yet and he expects some influential people in the audience; what he needs now are some tattooed rabble-rousers to show up and give the crowd a little color and life. He's not only very funny but also smart and very on-point with current affairs. If you're interested, click here for tickets (only ten bucks!), or check out Jamie at

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Rendering Realism In Colored Pencil DVD


Chris Lowe's Rendering Realism In Colored Pencil.Friday, June 10, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

I get emails from tattooists all the time asking for the special secrets... whose inks do I use? Whose machines? What needle groups? All these questions reveal what I think is a fundamental problem with the way tattooists learn; rather than concentrating on learning to draw well, they hope to bypass all that messy and time-consuming art training and just learn tattooing. Unfortunately, that would be like learning to play the guitar without understanding how music works- basically, a waste of time.

My answer to these questions is always the same: Focus on your drawing. If you have a strong command of your art skills, tattoo skills will come much more easily along with things like shading, color theory, clean linework and all the rest. Let me say it in all capitals: YOU CAN'T BE A GREAT TATTOOIST WITHOUT BEING AT LEAST A PRETTY DECENT ARTIST. Period. The longer you try bypassing the art fundamentals, the longer and more painful your struggle with tattooing will be.

Fortunately there are more and more good art teaching materials available that are targeted at tattoo artists. For starters, the first 200 pages of my book Reinventing The Tattoo are dedicated to things like flow, contrast, lighting and linework before anything is even discussed about putting it into the skin. Nick Baxter's recent book Sharp-Focus Realism In Oil is another good example- lots of discussion on color theory, focal planes, composition and artistic message, explained in a way that should make sense to any tattooist or apprentice. Now there's also a great resource out for learning about colored pencil realism: Chris Lowe's Rendering Realism In Colored Pencil.

Colored pencil is a great medium for tattooists to work in, since its application, including hand movements, is so similar to tattooing. This new DVD provides an in-depth look into color realism with Chris Lowe as he reveals his methods on rendering realism in colored pencils in a concise manner, including which papers, pencils, and tools he uses. Start to finish, you will see every moment with detailed explanations to prepare you to achieve photo realism. In this 2 hour DVD you will gain all of the information you need to take your colored pencil to the next level, preparing you to take those same advanced steps on skin.

Available now at our online store for only $60.00. Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Guy Aitchison and Don McDonald collaborative back piece tattoo


June 6, 2011
Welcome To Tattoo Education!

Twice a year, Pittsburgh tattooer Don McDonald comes by Hyperspace Studios so we can work on projects, varying from elaborate collaborative paintings to big collab tattoo projects. Recently Don came by so we could put the final two sessions into Baltimore tattooer Markuss Decker's back. We started this project last spring, and including this visit have put a total of 6 long sessions into it, with both of us tattooing at the same time for the bulk of that time. We almost broke Markuss- the back can be pretty tricky to sit for- but everyone's happy with the end result. Pictured here is a healed photo of the previous visit, then a fresh one of what we got accomplished this time around. There's a bit of coverup in the upper area, but rather than simply going dark we chose to use enough texture and detail throughout the piece to absorb the old tattoo without a need to go any darker than necessary. The finished project took roughly 36 hours, with probably 2/3 of that involving 2 machines at once- close to 60 hours worth of tattooing.

Guy Aitchison Don MacDonald Collaborative back piece tattoo

Throughout my career I've always been involved in collaborative projects with various tattooists on paper, canvas and skin. Collaborating is a great way to learn and expand your boundaries, plus just a fun way of hanging out with other artists and picking their brains. If you choose to work with another tattooer on a project, I recommend that you:

1) Work it out on paper first!
2) Try to tap into both artists' strength, so you can both have elements in the finished piece that reflect your current skill level.
3) Aim to have each artist work all parts of the piece, both on paper and later on skin, so that the piece is not divided into "their" parts and "your" parts... the piece will be more unified and you will learn a lot more if both artists are involved in all parts of the project.
4) Trade places from time to time, to ensure that each artist can put their touch in all areas of the piece. Before each switch, and before the beginning of each session, talk through your strategy: how will dark and light be distributed? How thick will the lines be? How will black be used, and where will it not be used? A good collaboration should be a partnership, not a competition, so the more communication, the better.

Mix it up well enough and you'll end up with a finished piece that looks like it was done by an artist who can only exist when the two of you are working together... a rare meeting of minds, and a great artistic challenge. You can see a whole bunch of collaborative work I've done with various artists at our Hyperspace collab gallery.

I've also posted some new material in the Ask Guy page. This time I talk about getting smoother gradients, working with gray washes and applying solid black so it will heal smoothly. I also address a big taboo question: Should a gay person even bother pursuing a career in tattooing? Is our industry ready for that?

Check it out, and as always, please feel free to submit your own questions... I'll do by best to answer them the best that I can.

Thanks, and I'll be in touch soon!
Guy Aitchison

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Ask Guy - some answers!


May 15, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

I'm finally getting back into the swing of things after the birth of our new daughter- a lot of you artists are parents and you no doubt know how big the adjustment is. Now I'm sinking my teeth back into a couple of ongoing book projects, some new tattoo pieces and some website upgrades. I'm starting with a new chunk of material for the Ask Guy page, where readers are invited to submit their favorite tough questions, and I do my best to come up with sensible answers for them. In this round, I'm focusing on achieving smooth solid color and tribal black saturation, along with the classic big questions on how to land an apprenticeship or how to improve your work situation to be able to attain a working environment where you can function at the pace and style that suits your personal and artistic sensibilities. As always, feel free to submit your own questions. Thanks, and enjoy! 

guy aitchison tattoo

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"Get Digital with Mike DeVries and Jamie Parker" on sale now


April 9, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

A growing number of tattooists have been embracing Adobe Photoshop for all kinds of needs, everything from making a slick portfolio presentation to preparing drawings for their clients. In answer to this increasing need, Mike DeVries and Jamie Parker have put together an affordable, thorough DVD tutorial to help get artists familiar with this crucial piece of graphic art software.

"Get Digital with Mike DeVries and Jamie Parker" is a two-disc instructional DVD full of tips, tricks, and techniques to help tattoo artists to utilize Adobe Photoshop and learn how its tools can enhance creativity and imagination. Beginning with familiarization of most of the tools used in Adobe Photoshop CS3, the DVD explains what most tools are ideal for, covering shortcuts, saving options, and file organization.

Subjects such as: the importance of the dodge and burn tools, loading new brushes and fonts, colorization of black and gray photos, adding light sources to photos for striking enhancements, and changing backgrounds are explained. The instuction also delves into more advanced techniques, such as adding color to a pencil sketch and "zombifying" images; as well as guidance on how to make business cards, fliers, and banners. This excellent DVD set will help tattooists in an abundance of ways, making preparation for their creative projects more innovative and original than ever before.

Disc 1: Beginner & Intermediate....2 Hours.......Includes HD Digital Copy in Quicktime Format

Disc 2: Advanced...2 Hours........Includes HD Digital Copy in Quicktime Format

This tutorial don't cover every tool in Photoshop,... it just goes over what is the most useful for tattoo artists! Available now through our online store for only $50.00.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

photoshop for tattooers dvd


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Keith Ciaramello's Keep it Real Volume 2


March 22, 2011
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

We are psyched to add the second installment of Keith Ciaramello's realism educational program to our catalog. In "Keep it Real Volume 2", Keith picks up where he left off in KIR vol.1 by explaining applied realistic techniques in black and grey. Keith continues to provide the clear, detailed explanations he has become known for, and once again (as in KIR Vol.1) includes his onscreen "Palette Cam" and photo reference throughout the entire process. Presented almost entirely in real time, and shot with extreme closeups so clear you can count the needles. Find out firsthand why Keith's instructional DVDs receive such positive testimonials from tattoo artists all over the world. If you have any interest in improving your realism techniques, this 4 hour/2 DVD package is an opportunity not to be missed.

Keeping it Real 2

Available now at, for only $75!

We have several other great new educational products available soon... we'll be in touch!

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Cranial Visions for sale


Greetings from Tattoo Education!

One thing that all tattoo artists and collectors are familiar with is the human skull; this universal icon is as much a part of tattoo culture as the ink itself. It's a subject that has been explored not only on skin but in many other mediums. Noted color realist Mike Devries, with help from Jeff Johnson and others, has brought together an epic collection of skull-related art like nothing before ever published: Cranial Visions: Exploring The Skull Through Artistic Interpretation.
cranial visions
Forming as an idea, progressing into a collection of efforts, and ending on the coffee table, this book is not merely two covers, a binding, and 240 pages; it is a display of thousands of hours of work, in which artists have created a compilation devoted to one of the biggest inspirations in art since the beginning of self expression. The book itself is 8x12", hardback, and features a painting by Shawn Barber on the front cover. That painting is just a taste of all that you will find on the inside.
nikko skull art
Artists like Shawn Barber, Jeff Gogue, Nick Baxter, Bugs, Nikko Hurtado, and Carlos Torres have translated their paintings into tattoos and vice-versa; opening the doors for the possibilities of each medium to grow. There are multi-media pieces by Simon Hayag, Dan Hazelton, and Cam De Leon that introduce us to the potentials of a new age, while keeping the traditional subject matter as something we can recognize.
 guy aitchison skull tattoo

There are drawings from the minds of Alex Grey, Chris Winterson and Andrey Barkov. The sculpture section is a masterpiece all its own. From mosaic-covered skulls by Stan Young and Crystal Thomas, to hand-built machines by Aaron Cain, these three- dimensional pieces demand attention and emotion from the viewer. There is outstanding photography by Jean Baptiste Carhaix, Russell Haig and Julius Motal, presenting the skull in its raw form; as well a portion of the photography section that features shots by Mike DeVries, as he captured skulls from his own collection, providing the reader with inspiration and reference from all angles.
 josh duffy skull tattoo

Featuring over 800 images from more than 250 artists, Cranial Visions: Exploring The Skull Through Artistic Interpretation. is not meant as a book of flash, but as a source of exploration and inspiration for all artists. Available now at the Tattoo Education online store for only $70!

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

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Russ Abbott's DVD, Iron Clad: Tattoos Built To Last reduced


Greetings from Tattoo Education!
Russ AbbottAfter 10 years in the tattooing trade, Russ Abbott has recently been widely noticed for his distinct graphic style. 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. 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.
While he's in the process of developing his next big educational package (which rumor has it will be a new approach to color theory for tattoo artists), Russ is now offering this critically acclaimed DVD at a reduced price of only $75. In it he demonstrates the design, stenciling, and application of a 6 1/2 hour tattoo from start to finish, going into detail about color blending, line weight, shading for both clarity and longevity and countless other subjects. This DVD is an ideal teaching guide for artists of all levels of experience looking to improve their skills. 2 hours, only $75!
Russ Abbott DVD
Check out our catalog for the latest top-quality educational material by and for the tattoo industry!
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon-

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Nikko Hurtado's new DVD Release


 Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year from Tattoo Education!

We're psyched to start the New Year by announcing the release of Nikko Hurtado's groundbreaking new DVD: Tattooing Dia De los Muertos Color Portraits. This instructional DVD covers: Making Stencils, Stencil Application, Color Palette, Color Theory, and tons of other hints and tips. The footage is sped up to view a 6 hour tattoo in a fraction of the time, with a helpful narrative giving you an inside look at what it takes to create Nikko's signature high-contrast airbrushed brand of realism. Nikko Hurtado is one of tattooing's rising stars, with countless published works and television appearances under his belt, and has an amazing amount of knowledge to share... don't miss this opportunity! It's available now at the Tattoo Education Online Store for only $100.
Nikko Hurtado Tattoo DVD
For artists serious about learning up-to-date realism techniques, we also have Nikko's classic first instructional DVD, Tattooing Portraits With Nikko Hurtado. These two great instructional disks compliment each other and together make for a powerhouse learning program for any tattoo artist hoping to expand their technique.
nikko hurtado dvd
Last but not least, in order to make shopping at Tattoo Education as convenient as possible, we're now accepting PayPal and American Express, along with all the major credit cards we were already honoring.
pay with paypalpay with amex
Thanks, have a great New Year, and we'll be in touch soon!
Guy Aitchison

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West of East, a music video DVD Release


December 7, 2010

Greetings from Tattoo Education!

Tattooist Michele Wortman has been producing unique electronic music for much of her tattoo career, and has recently released her latest CD, Current, featuring dreamy hypnotic beats and punchy melodies. To accompany this new release we are also introducing West of East, a music video DVD showcasing the music of Sunchannel with video produced by Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman. This electro-psybient journey is a trip through sight and sound, featuring music from Current along with two bonus unreleased tracks. If you are a fan of electronic music and trippy visuals this is one DVD not to pass up. Also makes a great addition to your tattoo studio DVD collection- a perfect distraction in the waiting room or during those long sessions. This is multimedia art at its finest, produced from within the tattoo community. This combo package makes a perfect holiday gift, and are offering it for a limited time as a special for the holidays: Get both the West of East DVD and Sunchannels newest release Current for only 25 bucks!

Sunchannel Combo

Also, don't forget the other great package deals we're offering during this holiday season, including the Tattoo Community Project Pack and the Hyperspace Studios Educational Combo Pack... blow the mind of your favorite tattoo artist without breaking the bank.

community pack

Tattoo DVD Pack

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

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Morphix Grips for sale


 November 19, 2010
Greetings from Tattoo Education!

We want to start by thanking you all for helping make Nick Baxter's new book, Sharp-Focus Realism In Oil, the success that it's been. Although we are keen on carrying up-to-date educational material of all sorts, this kind of high-quality art book is a central focus of what we're aiming for as a part of the tattoo community. However, we are also interested in carrying items that are not strictly educational but reflect an innovative attitude in helping to move the industry forward. In this spirit we're excited to announce the first equipment item in our catalog: Morphix Tube Grips.

After 22 years of tattooing, my hands are tired. I'm having to work with lighter machines and book shorter sessions, along with working shorter weeks. Over the course of time I've tried out a lot of different tubes and grips, trying to find the right weight, size and shape for my ailing hands. Last year I was introduced to a new product, the Morphix Humbolt grip, which over the course of time have replaced almost all the steel grips in my tube collection. I was initially impressed by the grip's unique design and the way it took into account the way the hand wants to naturally relax when it's in a clenched position. I was at first concerned that I would give up some maneuverability in exchange for more comfort, but was surprised to find that the Humbolt allowed for even greater freedom of movement than I had in standard tubular grips. After using them for over 18 months, I'm impressed enough with the long-term comfort and fatigue reduction that I am now offering them as an item at

Morphix is currently offering two different designs: The Humbolt (my personal favorite), and the Flatiron, designed to automatically create a 45 degree angle with the skin to provide an ideal position for shading and coloring. Their composite material is heavier than a disposable tube but lighter than steel- this moderate weight has proven an ideal balance for my technique. They have also survived many trips through the autoclave, showing no deterioration even after 18 months of intensive use.

We are offering the grips individually, in case you just want to try them out, or in six-packs, where you'll save a lot on shipping. If you're looking to make your work day more productive at less of a cost to your long-term health, this product is a great place to start.

Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon!

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Sharp-Focus Realism In Oil by Nick Baxer for sale


November 3, 2010
Greetings from Tattoo Education!
Proton Press and Tattoo Education are excited to announce the release of Nick Baxter's groundbreaking new book, Sharp-Focus Realism In Oil. Renowned tattoo artist and oil painter Nick Baxter has condensed over 10 years of artistic knowledge into one book. Both formally schooled in oil painting at the college level and self-taught through years of honing his style in the tattoo industry, Nick brings these two worlds together into a simple formula in his specialty: Sharp-focus realism.

sharp focus in realism oil painting

Aimed specifically at helping tattoo artists who are seeking to expand their artistic practice into a second medium, this book makes many helpful comparisons between the tattoo and painting mediums; at the same time, it encompasses enough information to be of immense value to all aspiring realist oil painters, from beginner to intermediate level. Nick discusses in-depth strategies for developing precise technical skills and a unique personal style, in the process revealing many of his own techniques and preferences including a groundbreaking section offering critical insight on the often-overlooked mental game of creating inspired works of art. 

realism oil paintingrealist oil paintingrealist oil paintingrealist oil painting

Laced throughout with full-page color plates of a wide selection of Nick’s paintings throughout the years, this book will satisfy not only aspiring painters but also fans of Nick’s art, and of realism in general. First 200 copies come with a limited-edition autographed bookmark. Available now at our online store for only $60!
Thanks, and we'll be in touch soon with more high-quality new education products for the tattoo industry. 

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Mike Devries DVD Release


mike devries get real animal style tattoo dvd

October 18, 2010 Greetings from Tattoo Education! Since we opened our doors last year, one of the significant instructors we've worked with is California color realist Mike DeVries, whose lush colorful technique has helped set the standard in what is possible with color realism. Although he is well known for his celebrity portraits, one of his great strengths lies in his animal portraits and wildlife realism. His new 2-disk DVD package, Get Real With Mike DeVries: Animal Style, focuses on this subject, and really outdoes his previous instructional packages: higher image quality, more camera angles, better music and essentially real-time editing. It covers topics such as Photoshop reference preparation, placement, stenciling, set-up, machines, needles, palette and ink choices, color mixing and other up-to-date tattooing techniques for producing this signature look.

For this DVD, he chose a full-color gorilla portrait and does the project start-to-finish, explaining new ideas and tricks throughout the process. Animals, portraits and realism go hand-in-hand, and you can apply many of the ideas discussed in this DVD toward things you already know but want to evolve into fresher techniques. This package is for the professional tattooist, or for apprentices learning in a supervised shop environment. It is meant to boost your already-existing skills and provide some new components to consider the next time you approach a realistic tattoo. Total running time for disk 1: 3 hours 38 minutes, disk 2: 3 hours 13 minutes. These two disks are chock-full of cutting edge tattoo technique; regardless of the style you work in, there's something for you.

If you are a fan of color realism, we also carry Mike's other Get Real DVD, which focuses on a more traditional color portrait, Tattooing Portraits with Nikko Hurtado, demonstrating this rising star's velvet-smooth realism methods, and Keith Ciaramello's Keep It Real, a fat 3-disk package focusing on all angles of color realism. Drop by our online store and check out our catalog today!

realism tattoo dvds

Thanks much- Guy Aitchison

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Introducing The Tattoo Community Project Pack!


One of the most exciting things about being part of the tattoo community is how many cool projects there are to get involved with. More than any other art scene, tattooists tend to be very comfortable working together on collaborations, performances and other art projects, allowing them to explore a wider range of techniques and styles than an artist would just working by themselves. Over the past decade we have been involved in a number of such projects, all of them very different from each other but each exploring a different aspect of vision, creativity and collaborative energy. In The Tattoo Community Project Pack, we feature books and DVDs from four of these projects: The ArtFusion Experiment, Scratch Art, Innerstate and Pint Size Paintings.

The ArtFusion Experiment  was started by renowned dark artist Paul Booth, working in conjunction with Filip Leu, Guy Aitchison and a host of other artists from around the world. The goal of this project was to put artists in situations where they were collaborating with other artists, both on skin and canvas, under pressure and with little chance to do any conventional planning. The results of these projects have been unpredictable, fun, frustrating and invigorating, giving the participants a unique look at a totally different approach to the creative process. Paul Booth produced the ArtFusion documentary based on these experiences, and it has become an important mainstay in many tattooists' video libraries.

Artfusion Experiment

The Scratch Art project  is the brainchild of Hyperspace Studios' Michele Wortman, who noticed that the scratchboard medium had many interesting parallels to tattooing and wondered what would happen if a large group of tattooists had a chance to try it out. The result is a fantastic collection of different imagery, styles and techniques, all done in the scratchboard medium. This 272 page book is absolutely chock full of surprising, innovative imagery from hundreds of tattooists, including some of the industry's biggest names.

scratch art

Innerstate  was a 5 day gathering of 40 tattooists held in conjunction with the 2009 Hell City Tattoo Fest. The artists invited worked in many different styles, but all had one thing in common: Every one of them is not only an experienced tattooist but also a dedicated practitioner of some other artistic medium outside of skin art. After warming up for 2 days in private, the group completed their projects in a live public performance setting, all in the face of time and crowd pressure. It was very much in a similar spirit to the ArtFusion Experiment, but with a key difference: artists were encouraged to plan their projects ahead and spend the weekend bringing it to completion, as opposed to the ArtFusion goal, which was to mix and match different artists' visions in a random blend. After the Innerstate event, we produced a 100 page full-color book highlighting the event and featuring color plates of all the finished pieces in this surprising body of artwork; in addition, Guy Aitchison produced a 50 minute documentary about the experience.

Innerstate DVD/book

Pint Size Paintings  is the invention of Hell City's Durb Morrison, who began experimenting with very small paintings and decided to ask the entire community to submit work for the project. All pieces are 2x3 inches, but the similarity ends there; as with the Scratch Art book, every variety of vision is represented here in vivid colorful detail. And like Scratch Art, it is a small book that you will find yourself flipping through again and again, and finding surprises each time.

pint sized paintings

This collection of 3 books and 2 DVDs would normally retail for a total of $145, and if you already have any of these items, they are all available separately. However, we are now offering a special bundle price for the whole collection- only $130 for everything. Fatten up your tattoo library today with these essential inspirational items. Makes for a great gift too!

tattoo community pack

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Complex tattoo coverup projects two


August 1, 2010

Greetings from Tattoo Education!

This is the second in a series of complex tattoo coverup projects that I'm chronicling here at In last month's entry I showed a backpiece in progress, covering a relatively light pair of old angel wings that had plenty of open space in them. This time I'll be showing a different type of project, where the unwanted tattoo is dark, dense and fills a significant part of the zone that the new design will occupy. This is a classic coverup challenge, and at stake is not only the ability to hide the unwanted tattoo, but also to create a new piece that does not have the dense, muddy appearance of an obvious coverup tattoo. The client had a torch design centered in his upper arm, filled with detail and without much open space within the design. There isn't much color apart from the red in the flames, which will be incorporated into the color scheme of the new tattoo.

tattoo half sleeve coverup

After working out the basic idea in my sketchbook, I drew the design on the skin using Sharpie markers, starting with a yellow marker and working my way to darker colors as the design was dialed in more. By starting with a light marker, you can prevent a dark and muddy finished drawing and avoid the need to use alcohol to erase and correct the design as you go. In this case we opted for an abstract design incorporating a strong, easily readable S-curve, plus a second layer of flowing organic elements. I made as much effort as possible toward working with existing details in the old design and converting them into usable details in the new drawing.

One widespread misconception among much of the tattoo community is the idea that you are covering the old tattoo with the new one. In reality, once two years or so have passed, all remaining pigment in the new piece will have settled into the same layers of skin as the old unwanted tattoo; therefore, you are mixing tattoos, not covering one with another. So it is essential to plan as much as possible on using the old piece as a foundation for the new one. You can see how the shapes in the new design make use of the strongest (and hardest to hide) aspects of the older piece. In the first session I laid the whole thing out with a 5 magnum, lines included, then skimmed through it with a 7 round to clean up the lines, strengthen the edges of the dark areas and give strength to any details that were placed in the design with the purpose of masking old stuff. Since time was limited, not much color got done; instead, I concentrated my efforts on rendering detail in the coverup zone, and, near the end of the session, packed white pigment in over the remaining exposed parts of the old piece. Although white will not cover darker pigments, it can lighten them by a small amount- after healing, roughly 7-12%. Enough to be worth doing.

coverup half sleeve tattoo

Six months of settling later we did another pass. This also had to be a relatively short session because of time constraints, so even though it was tempting to work on the rendering of the non-coverup parts of the piece, I knew these areas would only need one pass, so I continued to focus on the coverup area. This is a good practice- in a multi-session coverup, it's important to spend at least part of every session layering over the coverup area so that by the time the whole piece is finished it will look more or less even with the non-coverup parts. I have seen cases where the artist evidently was not eager to work on the hard parts and finished all the easy parts first, causing the client to have to come in more times for what must have seemed like less satisfying sessions... so keeping the focus on the harder parts from the very beginning of the process will get you ahead of the game. Here you can see the healed results of the first session, followed by the fresh photo of the second pass where I packed color through the whole upper coil, hiding the dark red flame, and another layer of white over the still-exposed lower parts. You can also see how, in this pass, I focused on sharpening the details that are crucial in hiding the unwanted tattoo.

coverup half sleeve tattoo

Below is a healed shot of this second pass, another six months down the line. You can see how the two passes of white have had a small but significant impact on lightening the unwanted piece... not enough to ever dream of making unwanted tattoos invisible by whiting over them, of course, but enough to make a noticeable difference in the overall clarity of the new tattoo. This time we were able to sit for a healthy long session, where I started by using a 13 magnum to pack color through the whole piece. During this stage I worked at deepening the organic background areas while keeping the foreground shapes lighter; I also focused on trying to bring the coverup and non-coverup parts of the shiny coil material into roughly the same value range- crucial for hiding the old piece.

coverup half sleeve tattoo

With a solid pass of pigment through the whole tattoo, I then went through with black and a 7 round to re-darken the outlines and bring more focus to the details, while at the same time making sure not to go too dark with any of the foreground features. This helps to sharpen and define the new design while pushing the old one deeper into history. Next, still using the 7 round, I continued sharpening and refining edges and details using color, especially in the red chrome effects in the coils, which are an important part of the coverup strategy, since the reflective details are capable of covering unwanted old details without breaking the continuity of the large foreground shapes that give the new design its bold graphic impact.

Finally comes the next pass of white highlights; many of these are placed in areas that have been left blank for the purpose of highlights. Some white is also packed over strategic areas within the coverup zone, although this time, instead of attempting to lighten whole areas, small points are being pushed a bit lighter to give the piece a sense of sparkle.

coverup half sleeve tattoo

I fully expect to make one final pass on this piece to really be able to call it finished, but you get the basic idea: Rather than simply blasting over the old piece with anything we wanted, I carefully designed the new one to be able to incorporate some of the movements and details of the old piece, guaranteeing a cleaner overall result. Also, instead of just going dark over the coverup zone (making the new piece into an obvious coverup- and if that's the case, why even bother...?) I made an effort to break the tattoo into clear light and dark areas with strong contrast between them, and carry this high-contrast look through both the coverup and non-coverup parts of the project. You can see how some strategic detail can go further in hiding an old piece than a field of dark color would. Next time you have a coverup project in your schedule, try applying some of these principles and see if you can't make it look a lot less like a coverup.

Also this week, I have a couple new entries in the Ask Guy section of the site, this time focusing on pigment reactions, general inspiration and developing more of a steady hand. Check it out, and feel free to post any of your own questions... the more challenging, the better. Happy tattooing!

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Greetings from TattooEducation!


I just did a second pass on a big backpiece coverup tattoo project I've been working on this year, and thought I'd share the photos and talk a little about my strategy. This was a backpiece request, something to cover a pair of fairly old, semi-faded undersized angel wings:

befoire coverup tattoo

Now, the traditional approach to coverup tattoo projects has always been to go dark, and try to overwhelm the old tattoo. The problem with this approach is that the outlines of the old tattoo almost always show through, even with solid black tribal work, making the piece look like an obvious coverup. Part of the reason for this is a fundamental misunderstanding of coverup tattoos. In reality, you don't cover the old tattoo- you mix it with the new one. All of the pigment particles from both tattoos, old and new, will ultimately reside in the same layers of skin, once the healing and settling have taken place. Knowing this, the best way to hide an old tattoo is to try to absorb it into the new one. Fortunately, my client's request was for a totem pole made of birds, meaning that I could hide the feathery pattern of the old tattoo in the feathery details in the new piece. With the right amount of detail, the new tattoo should be able to capitalize on what's already there. In this stencil, you can see how this works:

coverup back tattoo

For larger work, I tattoo most efficiently on many types of projects by starting magnum first. In this case, I used a 5 magnum, which has very low skin resistance, allowing for quick work. It's also a small enough needle group to rough in bold lines while being wide enough and spread enough to permit some basic rough shading and color gradients. In this first step, I aimed to work the detail in such a way to help conceal the old tattoo as much as possible, without creating a dark region in the tattoo:

backpiece coverup tattoo

At this point, the old tattoo is already starting to get buried in the new one. The next step, though, allows for selective saturation in just the right places: the tightening stage. After finishing with that initial magnum pass, working with a 5 or 7 round permits the refinement of edges and cleanup and darkening of key details, in such a way as to make the tattoo much stronger:

coverup tattoo

This consists of darkening the bold lines made with the 5 magnum and saturating the feathery details in such a way as to incorporate and camouflage the old outlines. The old tattoo is really starting to fade into history here. After that, I had to move pretty quickly with the color, since the client was in pain and needed me to finish as quickly as I could. Since I knew we'd have another chance at a later date to really saturate the color, I focused on the coverup areas and laid down as much color as possible in that short time using a 13 magnum. At the very end, I switched to a small magnum and blasted white over the remaining obvious coverup areas:

color backpiece tattoo coverup

In this first session, I deliberately aimed a little light, knowing I would have a second (and third, if necessary) chance to add more detail, saturate the color more and do whatever necessary to really hide the old piece. I knew this first pass would heal light, which it did:

coverup backpiece tattoo

However, it made for a really solid foundation for the second pass. This time through, I first got into it with a 5 round to work all the detail, using a combination of black and color to try hiding the remaining unwanted old detail. I then made a thorough second pass with a 13 mag through all the color, then resaturated it in key places with a 7 mag. With the magnum pass finished, I spun through one last time with the 7 round and some of the lighter colors, then some white highlights:

backpiece tattoo coverup

 This tattoo is not necessarily finished- I anticipate needing a final pass through the coverup zone, darkening the details another step and going deeper and more saturated with the color in select places. A big part of the job, though, is in also adding similar amounts of detail and rich color throughout the whole backpiece, as such:

backpiece coverup tattoo done

Part of the art of coverup tattoos is in accepting that a small amount of the old tattoo may be visible, and distracting the eye from that with strong detail and movement. Using large areas of black shading over the old wings would not have made the piece look any less like a coverup- on the contrary, it would look even more like one.

I plan on putting together the big book on coverup tattoos in 2011. In the meantime, though, you can learn all kinds of great stuff from the items in our existing catalog, including detailed techniques on all styles of tattooing. Remember that many of the items in our catalog are only shipped to professional tattoo studios- you don't want to be the tattooist doing the work that we have to cover up!

Happy tattooing, and I will be in touch soon!

Guy Aitchison

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Innerstate the movie, and some more ask Guy Aitchison answers


 In May of 2009 at the Hell City Tattoo Fest in Columbus Ohio, we hosted the Innerstate live painting performance. At this event, we challenged 40 of the tattoo industry's most innovative artists to each produce a work of fine art, based on their own personal inner visions, in a live performance setting. The list of participants is a tattoo community powerhouse, including Nick Baxter, Shawn Barber, Kim Saigh, Markus Lenhard, Nikko Hurtado, Jeff Ensminger, Jon Clue, Juan Salgado, Nate Beavers, Jen Schichi, Chris Dingwell, Christopher Gay, Gabriel Cece, Steve Morris, Don McDonald, Tim Creed, Craig Driscoll, Phil Robertson, Kimberly Reed, Jennifer Billig, Marty Holcomb, Muriel Zao, Mike Cole, Adrian Dominic, Jeff Gogue, Patrick Conlon, Damon Conklin, Lizi Sage, Cory Norris, Ricky McGee, Timothy Boor, Dee Dee Seruga, Jay Strange, Tim Plumley, Dan Plumley, Canman, Juan Lopez, Carson Hill, Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman, with guest artists Hannah Aitchison and Jo Harrison.

innerstate dvd and book

Innerstate: The Movie is a 50 minute documentary film featuring interviews with the artists and an inside look at their visions, techniques, concerns and goals. It's a fast-paced film with a great soundtrack, perfect for your tattoo shop video library. It comes with a 100 page full-color softcover book with additional interviews and quotes from the artists, photos of some of the event's highlights and gorgeous full-page color plates of the finished pieces. If you are a tattooist with any interest in working in a second medium, this book and DVD are highly recommended; the package is also an ideal gift for any tattoo fans who enjoy the fine art produced within the tattoo community. 

I personally spent the entire winter working on this project. I am known for my tattooing and painting, not my filmmaking, but I took this project as seriously as any art project I've ever worked on... and I'd like to invite you to check it out and see what you think. We've got it listed here at the TattooEducation online store.
I've also got some new questions and answers posted at the Ask Guy page, this time on mystery healing problems and possible alternate tattoo lightening strategies. Come take a look... and as always, feel free to submit your own questions about any aspect of tattooing. I'll do my best with them.

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Innerstate Book & DVD For Sale


  was a one-of-a-kind tattoo fine art event hosted by Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman at the 2009 Hell City Tattoo Fest in Columbus, Ohio. At this event, we challenged 40 of the tattoo industry's most innovative artists to each produce a work of fine art, based on their own personal inner visions, in a live performance setting. The list of participants is a tattoo community powerhouse, including Nick Baxter, Shawn Barber, Kim Saigh, Markus Lenhard, Nikko Hurtado, Jeff Ensminger, Jon Clue, Juan Salgado, Nate Beavers, Jen Schichi, Chris Dingwell, Christopher Gay, Gabriel Cece, Steve Morris, Don McDonald, Tim Creed, Craig Driscoll, Phil Robertson, Kimberly Reed, Jennifer Billig, Marty Holcomb, Muriel Zao, Mike Cole, Adrian Dominic, Jeff Gogue, Patrick Conlon, Damon Conklin, Lizi Sage, Cory Norris, Ricky McGee, Timothy Boor, Dee Dee Seruga, Jay Strange, Tim Plumley, Dan Plumley, Canman, Juan Lopez, Carson Hill, Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman, with guest artists Hannah Aitchison and Jo Harrison.

Produced by veteran tattooist Guy Aitchison, Innerstate: The Movie is a 50 minute documentary film featuring interviews with the artists and an inside look at their visions, techniques, concerns and goals. It's a fast-paced film with a great soundtrack, perfect for your tattoo shop video library. It comes with a 100 page full-color softcover book with additional interviews and quotes from the artists, photos of some of the event's highlights and gorgeous full-page color plates of the finished pieces. If you are a tattooist with any interest in working in a second medium, this book and DVD are highly recommended; the package is also an ideal gift for any tattoo fans who enjoy the fine art produced within the tattoo community. $50.00

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Guy Aitchison and Don McDonald's back tattoo, and proton press website launch!


 Sunday, April 18, 2010

This past week has been chock full of creative fun here at Hyperspace Studios. Twice a year, Pittsburgh tattooer Don McDonald comes by to swap work and collaborate on various projects- you can find a lot of these pieces in the Hyperspace Collab Gallery. This week we started a backpiece on Baltimore tattooist Markuss Decker. Although Don and I have done some large collab tattoo projects, we had yet to tackle a back and were curious to see how it would go. We normally work with both of us tattooing at the same time when we collaborate, so we had some small concerns about Markuss being able to cope with what would certainly be a worse pain situation than a collab sleeve.

We started out the process by getting a clear photo of Markuss' back and doing a number of pencil drawings. Although there is some coverup involved, there had already been a very effective laser session, so we could proceed more or less normally. Once we had a handful of pencil drawings that we liked, we then used Photoshop to composite together our favorite parts of each drawing into one design, then use the Photoshop paint tools to clean it up and hammer it into a cohesive overall design:

Guy Aitchison Don McDonald

After that, I had the design printed life-size on canvas, stretched it on canvas stretchers and sent it to Don's studio, where he did a thorough pass with oil paints. Then, last Wednesday, he and I spent a day tweaking the painting with Markuss and his boss John hanging out providing entertainment. Eventually we got it to a point where we felt ready to proceed with the tattoo:

Guy Aitchison Don McDonald collaborative tattoo

The following day we stenciled on the top two-thirds of the piece and got a good long session in, with both of us working. Markuss hated it but could cope. You know how, when you're getting tattooed, it sucks but you have this sense of it being worth it because progress is happening? One great thing about getting double-teamed like this is that although the pain is nowhere near double the normal amount, the progress definitely is doubled. After a good night's sleep we stenciled the lower part and drew in the back of the neck, which ties in with the awesome throat sleeve that Don had already done on him. After a few more hours, we got the whole thing to this point:

Guy Aitchison Don McDonald collaborative tattoo

I don't like sending clients home with just an outline... usually I work magnum first, so that generally wouldn't be an option in any case. What we have here is not only a solid and built-up set of linework but also a good shaded and colored foundation for the whole thing. We'll be doing a couple more sessions on this in November and two more again a year from now- by then it should look pretty cool.

As always, if you and another artist are interested in collaborating on skin, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have your design thoroughly hashed out ahead of time before you take it to skin. If you are both on the same page, great things can happen at an amazingly fast rate. Without a plan, though, you can get mud.
proton press

On a totally different note, we just launched a new music website at For starters we are featuring 5 musical projects, 3 of them by tattooists but all of them from within the tattoo community. Proton Press Music is focusing on instrumental music in a variety of styles including dark ambient, punchy electro, experimental psychedelic, heavy crunchy dub step and some gorgeous atmospheric guitar soundscapes. We have a free music player there, so drop by and give it a listen... if you like anything there is a download link and a place to order hard copy CDs. On May 22 at Hell City, we'll be hosting a live performance of all 5 of these acts on Saturday night after the contests... if you have any interest at all in music, try not to take any late appointments that night!

Last but not least, I just posted several new questions and answers at the Ask Guy page including information on stencil longevity, disposable tubes and issues related to copying other people's tattoos. As always, I encourage you to send me your own questions- the tougher, the better... and I'll do my best with them.

I'll post more cool stuff soon!

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Tattoo Prodigies, Hell City, and more!


 It's been a big month, and this last couple weeks in particular have been packed with events. I am still working on the final edit of the Innerstate documentary film, which we intend to release at the Columbus Hell City convention in May. We'll be having a debut screening for the film at midnight on Friday, May 21 at the show. If you are working that convention, be sure not to overbook yourself that day!

In addition, we have taken delivery of Mike Devries' latest book, Tattoo Prodigies, which we here at Proton Press teamed up with Mike and Memento Publishing to bring you this gorgeous oversized hardcover volume featuring some of the best tattoo art being produced today. Whether you are an artist or a serious collector, Tattoo Prodigies is jam-packed with inspirational eye candy in all styles and flavors. We now have it in our catalog at, so be the first in your town to own it! Perfect for your lobby, or the private bookshelf over your work station.

tattoo prodigies

We plan on holding a big book release party at Hell City on the same night as the Innerstate premiere. This will feature 3 amazing new tattoo community group book projects: First, there will be Tattoo Prodigies, which I just described. Next comes Innerstate, which is not only going to be featured that night as a documentary film but will also be in the form of an 80 page paperback book that will come with the DVD of the documentary describing one of the most eye-popping art events ever to happen in tattooing. Finally comes Pint Sized Paintings, a tiny but huge book of epic little works in paint by a wide variety of tattoo artists. Released by Durb Morrison of Hell City, this book is a unique expression of the creativity happening in our industry.

Speaking of Durb, I finally got away from my desk the other day and did a couple days of work on the ongoing biomech project  I'm doing on his leg and foot. The foot in particular is turning out really cool... but this brings up a chance to talk about a rare but important healing issue. Most of you probably wrap your clients in some kind of non-sick barrier such as plastic wrap. This is important for protecting the tattoo and keeping it from sticking to their clothing or bedsheets, especially in the first hours after the session. However, I have noticed that on hands and feet in particular, leaving these areas wrapped for too long can cause the skin to prune up really dramatically, as if immersed in a bathtub for too long. Furthermore, this pruning does not readily go away and in my opinion, after observing this enough times, causes healing issues and significant color loss. The answer is simple: Wrap these areas for a short time- 45 minutes to 1 hour- and then clean them and let them air out, blotting occasionally to prevent body fluid buildup from forming a scab. For foot tattoos, keeping the foot elevated for the first day will reduce seepage (and pain as well!).

durb foot tattoo

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New Ask Guy stuff posted: Tattooing older skin, sun-damaged skin and thin skin


Thursday, March 11, 2010

This month I am an editing fool... pretty much doing nothing except for working on the Innerstate documentary, which is just about done. It looks like a Hell City release date is totally doable... but if you can't be at that show this year to check it out, I'll let you all know when the documentary is available. It will come with a glossy 96 page book as well.

I just added some new Q&A material to the Ask Guy page, including some stuff about working on older sun-damaged skin, plus dealing with the thin skin on the inside wrist and bicep, which can be prone to blowouts. As always, I invite you to send me your favorite, most frustrating questions about tattooing... and I'll do my best to provide clear answers.

egyptian backpiece tattoo

I did actually get a little tattooing done this month, including this Egyptian backpiece tattoo I'm working on for D.C. tattooist Matthew Wojociewski. A little inking makes all the hours at the computer more tolerable. Plus, Matthew does great tattoos, and I always enjoy catching up with him and checking out his latest work. My next appointment will be in a week... I'll be working on Hell City's Durb Morrison, and we'll be brainstorming about what to do this year in the Hell City Special Events Room. Lots of fun stuff happening!

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Realism DVDS and Combo, and new Ask Guy Updates


March 5, 2010
Greetings from Tattoo Education!
We've got a couple new things going on here at the website, including some great new color realism products and some fresh entries into the Ask Guy page. For starters, we have just started carrying Keith Ciaramello's "Keep It Real", a 3-DVD tour de force covering many aspects of color realism tattooing all the way from design to completion. This includes a DVD of an actual seminar, plus 2 disks of material made in the studio just for the purpose of this package. Keith is one of realism's most solid tattooers, with decades of experience in the field and an easygoing, clear narrative style. His package is $100.

If you are interested in realism and want the most thorough education on the subject possible, then we have a new item for you- the Advanced Color Realism Tutorial Package. This includes not only Keith's jam-packed 3 DVD set but also Nikko Hurtado's DVD "Tattooing Portraits With Nikko Hurtado" and both of Mike Devries' educational items, "Let's be Realistic" and "Get Real With Mike Devries". With three of tattooing's most exciting realist tattooers offering their artistic and technical wisdom like this, there's no way you won't be able to visibly improve your work. This special offer includes savings of $30 off the total cost, if you were to buy the items separately. Only $350 total for the package.

realism tattooing education combo pack
We also have added a few new questions and answers to the "Ask Guy" page. This is a Q&A page where readers are encouraged to submit their favorite and most frustrating questions. I can't make any guarantees but I will do my best to provide clear answers to all of these questions. If you want to post a question, you can submit them from the Q&A page, or simply click here.

I'll be keeping you posted soon with more great educational items, information, and plans for future events. Talk to you soon!

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Ask Guy Aitchison feature


ask guy aitchison

We've just added a new button to our navigation bar- a link to the new "Ask Guy" page. This is where I'll be posting answers to questions submitted by blog subscribers- questions about tattooing, tattoo design, tattoo apprenticeships and careers, and anything else related to the skin art subject. Since this page is viewable by the general public, there are some technical details that I can't share there, but at the very least I'll point readers toward the right book or DVD that will help answer their questions. There are already some topics discussed there, such as finding an apprenticeship and working on sensitive areas of the skin, to give you an idea of the breadth of subjects that I hope to tackle there. So ask yourself, what is the most frustrating question you know? I can't promise answers to everything but I'll try my best.

Guy Tattooing


ask guy aitchison

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Upcoming Seminars Listed



In the Seminar Schedule section are the current listings for upcoming seminars happening at tattoo conventions around the States and abroad.  There are important seminars taking place at this months Detroit Motor City Tattoo Convention, so don't miss out on some very valuable information.  Health Educators will be hosting their Bloodborne Pathogens seminar to inform those that are looking for industry specific training on the procedures and regulations in preventing the spread of bloodborne pathogens.  Also, Dan Henk will be holding an oil painting seminar, and several workshops will be taking place with the likes of Bob Tyrrell, Josh Carlton and Monte, and Brian Everett & Jack Rudy.  Bringing tattoo information full circle, a machine building seminar will be held with Jerry Riegger, Danny Knight, Josh Ford, & Todd Hlavaty covering machine tuning procedures to answering questions.  Click on Seminar Schedule for complete information and fees.


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 Austin tattoo phenomenon Nick Baxter had his big gallery opening last weekend at Last Rites Gallery in New York... and now that the work is available for the public to view, we are offering a collector's edition 2010 Nick Baxter calendar featuring "Rebuilding", the title for this stunning visionary body of paintings. Although January has already come and gone, this group of paintings is ideally suited to present in a calendar format, as it illustrates a gradual deconstruction/rebuilding experience. Even if you already have a calendar for this year, these are some intense paintings that will grab the attention of anyone visiting your office or tattoo station. This calendar also makes a great gift for any fans of Nick's work that you know. Only a limited run were printed, and we expect them to go quickly.

nick baxter calendar

A lot of people have heard of Nick and are familiar with his work, but this collection of paintings is his most cutting-edge stuff, and digs deeper into Nick's vision that his previous works have.

Enjoy, and I'll update you all soon as things develop!

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Innerstate Videos and more!


Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010

This month I'm taking some time away from tattooing to work on editing the Innerstate documentary. For those who weren't at the Columbus Hell City Tattoo Fest last year, Innerstate was a live painting event that Michele and I hosted featuring 40 tattooists working on large painting projects for 5 days. There's so much to say about that week that I wouldn't even know where to begin here, and since I'm trying not to ramble too long, I'll boil it down to this: you all know how much talent and diversity there is in the tattoo industry, and that many of these tattooists work in other mediums as well. The body of work was spectacular, and the process of watching the work unfold during the week was a spectacle worth remembering. We'll be debuting the film at this year's Columbus Hell City Fest, May 21-23, and shortly after that we'll be releasing the book and DVD package about the event and the art coming from these visionary talents. Check out the video it the following link if you want a short preview of what to expect:


I also wanted to mention that February is the last month where we'll be offering the rebate for Reinventing The Tattoo. If you have a copy of the first edition and want to take the opportunity to cash it in for $100 credit toward the dramatically improved second edition, you have until the end of February before the offer is closed. This offer is only for copies that have a serial number sticker inside the front cover. You can read the Reinventing The Tattoo FAQ for more information about the offer, and about the new edition of Reinventing and why it's worth doing the upgrade, at this link:

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Friday, January 22, 2010


 Friday, January 22, 2010
Winter is a good time to buckle down and focus on things that there normally isn't time for during better weather. I usually book very few tattoo appointments in Jan/Feb, and this year I'm using this chunk of time to edit the Innerstate video footage that we shot at last year's Hell City Tattoo Fest in Columbus, Ohio in late May. Innerstate was a live art event featuring 40 artists- all tattooists who seriously work in alternative art media besides skin- and over its 5 day course our friends from Above The Shop Productions in Toledo, Ohio shot some really great HD video footage of the event, including some in-depth interviews with the artists. This should be an exciting documentary that will appeal in particular to the community of tattoo artists and collectors; we plan on debuting the documentary this coming May at the Hell City Fest.

In the meantime, I have been working alongside California realist Mike Devries in releasing a new book called Tattoo Prodigies. This book is a large-format coffee table art book featuring tattoo art by a collection of some of the most renowned tattooists working today in all different styles. The book will look amazing, and we hope to have them in hand by this coming Spring and definitely will have them with us at the Hell City Tattoo Fest when we debut the Innerstate documentary. Some cool stuff will be happening at that show, including some other surprises, so keep an eye out at their website ( for more info.

I had only two appointments this month, but in the spirit of the Tattoo Prodigies project they were two very different kinds of tattoo- a biomech sleeve and some color portraits. I am of course known for my abstract biomech stuff, but I also enjoy working in many styles and believe that it is important for an artist to work in a variety of styles and mediums to keep their skills sharp and their perspective open. Portrait and figure drawing is a very particular skill that requires being able to see an object in real life and break down its proportions and component parts to be able to reproduce the face or figure on paper or canvas. Drawing a portrait from a live model requires an even deeper level of focus and concentration than working from a photo; and the skills learned from doing this can translate back into any style, even the wacky abstract stuff that I do. We will be involved in helping host a number of classes and workshops this year featuring renowned figure painter Shawn Barber, among others- we'll have more information for you on this subject very soon. Be sure to subscribe to this blog if you want to be the first to know about these things.

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Juan Salgado, Tattoo Machines, and Sunblock!


Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009

Juan Salgado just headed back home after a few days here. Juan has been dropping by regularly for work (I'm doing his left sleeve- totally biting his style in the process, but it's his arm so I can do that). He's planning on helping us with a Spanish translation of Reinventing The Tattoo- a massive project, so I wish him well on it and won't be so bold as to offer a release date- it will happen when it's ready, which could take all year. But there are so many Spanish-speaking tattooists out there doing amazing work that this makes sense for us to do.

While I was tattooing Juan I turned on a video camera and conducted an interview with him for Tattoo Society Magazine... should be on the shelves in February. I usually do these interviews over the phone but enjoyed getting him under the needle for the purpose. More honest answers!

You know how we are always telling our clients to use sunblock? Well, now I have a great image that you can show them (below). Juan did a big graffiti mural in Puerto Rico a couple weeks back, and spent a big chunk of a day standing in the hot sun on a ladder. He put sunblock on the side I'm working on, but not on the other side... and you can see the difference a week later. If anyone ever gives you a hard time about sunblock, show them this!

I've been playing around with a lot of different machines lately. For Juan, I did the 5 round work with a new Welker iron... I normally use aluminum machines because of my wrists, but the Welker liner has a light enough steel frame not to be a problem for me. Tramp has an interesting feature in his machines- he takes a chunk of metal out of the armature bar right where it hits the front coil core, and replaces it with a rubber plug that he calls a "silencer". So it ends up deadening about half the sound. Hard to say how it alters the machine's performance, but I'm definitely enjoying using it. Juan was convinced it hurt less than a machine without a silencer. I think this is partly because I work magnum-first most of the time, so by the time I end up using the liner the skin is already numbed pretty well with Bactine. Whatever the case may be, it's a really smooth machine. I am also using a pair of aluminum machines from Fallen King, which I'm impressed by despite the fact that they require an annoyingly stiff clipcord in order to work... small price to pay for that kind of smoothness. Still doing my 13 mag work with one of Aaron Cain's machines... still haven't found an iron that drives the big needle groups better than that one. My other workhorse machines are from Next Generation, and have given me many years of good tattooing.

Anyway, have a great holiday, and I'll be updating you again soon!
Juan Salgado Sleeve Tattoo
Juan's sleeve... we still need to do the top of the wrist and a few other things, but it's coming along.

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Seminars for Singapore Tattoo Expo now posted at!



Tattoo SeminarsIf you or anyone you know is planning on attending the Singapore Tat2 Show this coming January 8-10, it looks like some top-tier artists will be holding seminars there. This includes:

Shawn Barber: Still Life Painting From Reference
Carson Hill: The Neuma
Bob Tyrrell: Mastering Black And Gray Techniques
Mike DeMasi: Color Realism

Most of these artists have never taught seminars in the Far East, so this is a unique opportunity to learn from some of the industry's finest from around the globe. Click the "Seminar Schedule" button on the left of this page for more details on these courses. The direct link for the convention is



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Guy Aitchison's Tattoo Education blog


Guy Aitchison painting December 10, 2009

Guy Aitchison here; welcome to my Tattoo Education blog. I plan to use this spot as a place to post photos of new work, comments about my recent projects and challenges I overcame, interesting conversations I have with other artists, that kind of thing. If you are interested in subscribing to "Guy Aitchison's Tattoo Education Blog", you'll get an email notice any time new content is posted here.

I also want to extend an invitation to tattoo convention promoters from anywhere in the world. If you are organizing a tattoo convention that features seminars or related educational events, we are providing a place at this website to list these events for free. Thousands of tattoo professionals pass through this web page, so take advantage of this bulletin board to inform the public of the learning opportunities you're helping to make available. You can email your show information to Please include the name and dates of the show, its location and web page, plus a graphic or banner that is 75 pixels high by 300 pixels wide. It would be especially helpful if you include any contact info for preregistration or general questions about the show or the seminars. Please keep your seminar listings short and concise, including the title, date, time, price and a brief description. Your seminar listings will remain posted until after the event.

This week I'm working on a short teaser video for Innerstate, the big live painting event that Michele and I hosted this past summer at the Columbus Hell City show. This will be posted on YouTube by the end of the week. I plan on spending the winter completing the full-length documentary that we are producing that will be included with an art book about the event. I'll keep you all posted as these things and all the other exciting stuff happening around here comes together. Stay tuned!

painting commission I did for Chicago tattooist Marco Velazquez... acrylic on canvas, 12x24".



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Greetings from Hyperspace! We are proud to announce the launch of our new educational website for the tattoo industry, For most of the history of modern tattooing, information about tattoo design and technique was shrouded in a layer of secrecy and misconceptions. However, because of the recent flow of information happening through magazines, television, conventions and seminars, artists and collectors are more informeded than ever about the options and possibilities available in the tattoo art form. is brought to you by Guy Aitchison, and is powered by the network. Its aim is to bring together all of the industry's best books, DVDs and other media into a single catalog to supply all the needs of a tattooist seeking artistic growth or a collector looking for art books and documentaries about tattooing. Its catalog features items by Guy Aitchison, Michele Wortman, Shawn Barber, Nikko Hurtado, Paul Booth, Mike Devries, Nick Baxter and Health Educators Inc., and will be expanding to include i tems from more tattooists as we get the site more established. Each of these artists has a profile posted at the site and links to their online galleries. In addition, features a free listing for upcoming seminars and other educational events around the world. If you are an artist or convention promoter and are interested in having your events listed at, you can contact us by clicking HERE. You can place orders directly through our website at, or through our call center at (877) 879-5350. Come take a look and see what we've got! Guy Aitchison & Michele Wortman

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Tattoo sells Tattoo Books and DVDs!

We are pleased to announce the launch of Tattoo, a website that sells quality tattoo books and dvds to tattooers. Browse the collection, and get some tattoo education!

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