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  1. Artists and Studios

Artists and Studios

Reference87 – New Tattoo Reference Site

Take your tattoo reference game up to the next level with Reference87, a new website from artist Ben Kaye.

Reference87 delivers an exciting new way to source reference material, coming up with unique images to incorporate into your design work. Whether it be a compass, skull, or girl covered in blood, they've got you covered!

The photographs are curated and taken by tattooists with body placement and structure in mind, meaning quality images tailored to your needs.

To get you started, we have three exclusive codes for you to use on Reference87:

  • KILLER15 - receive 15% off your first artist bundle purchase.
  • JOINKILLER - receive 97% off your first month of membership when joining Reference87 for the first time.
  • KILLER50 – receive 50% off all single image purchases.

To check out their website and learn more about what they have to offer, click here.

Sponsored Artist of the Month – Toni Donaire

Toni Donaire is a Spanish neo-traditional specialist renowned for his bright and bold tattoos.

Born and raised in Barcelona, Spain, Toni has always had an interest in art, working as a children’s book illustrator before making the switch to tattooing.

After working at various Barcelona-based tattoo studios, including Blue Cat Tattoo and Sacrifice BCN (home to fellow sponsored artist Melow Perez), Toni can now be found plying his trade at Bhorn Tattoo in his home town.

As with most artists, Toni tried out various styles when beginning his tattooing career, including geometrical figures, crazy surrealist designs, and a good measure of Catrinas and more traditional work.

He soon clicked with a neo-traditional style that he has become notorious for today, with artists, customers and social media users alike lauding his eye-catching tattoos.

In his downtime, Toni enjoys taking the three-hour drive to the Andorran mountains for a spot of snowboarding to help him unwind from his work. However, tattooing is never far from his mind, as he has also released four sketchbooks of his original drawings and sketches that make for great reference material!

Toni uses various supplies from Killer Ink to create his incredible neo-traditional tattoos, including Hustle Butter Deluxe tattoo care, META workstations, Musotoku power supplies, FK Irons tattoo machines, and Eternal Tattoo Ink.

Make sure to keep up to date with all of Toni Donaire’s latest work by following him on Instagram!

How to Use a Thermal Printer for Tattoo Stencils

Killer Ink had the pleasure to welcome UK tattoo artist Paul Talbot to our studio to discuss how to use a thermal printer for tattoo stencils.

While he was here, Paul answered some frequently asked questions regarding creating tattoo stencils with your Brother printer, as well as troubleshooting some common issues that artists face.

Make sure to watch our video with Paul Talbot and Brother Printers below to learn just how to use a thermal printer for your tattoo stencils, along with some other tattooing tips from Paul!

How to Become a Tattoo Artist

Tattooing is an age-old profession that has only grown in popularity over the years, but how exactly do you become a tattoo artist?

We interviewed a handful of our sponsored artists about why and how they became a tattooist, along with looking into their passion for art, what tattoo equipment they prefer, and what advice they would give to tattoo apprentices.

Read on for our Q&A with experienced UK tattoo artist Arron Raw, Spanish neo-traditional queen Debora Cherrys, and brilliant German artists Guido Schmitz and Samanta Annie.

Why Did You Want to Become a Tattoo Artist?

Guido: I was always fascinated by bringing art onto the skin and letting people wear my artwork for their entire life. And it's a way for me to create crazy pictures with my designs.

Samanta: I became a tattoo artist because I always knew I wanted to create art that makes an impact on people. And it is such a wonderful feeling to know that somebody likes your art so much that they choose to “wear” one of your artworks for the rest of their lives.

Debora: I never thought about being a tattoo artist. Since I was a child, I was always painting and drawing, and I decided to study Art at university, but without knowing what will I would be in the future. When I met my husband, he taught me to tattoo, and I believed that was my destiny.

Arron: I needed to make a lifestyle change due to a stress-related illness brought on by my previous business.

Debora Cherrys

Have You Always Had an Interest in Art?

Debora: Always. I can’t say when I started to be interested in art because I have been as long as I remember. I think everyone who is an artist has this feeling inside, but you can’t choose to have it.

Arron: I have been into art as far back as I can remember. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.

Samanta: I’ve been interested in art since I was a little child. With my parents’ support, I began to attend my local art school when I was 10 years old and my interest in art grew even bigger.

Guido: I started drawing at a young age and Art was always my favourite lesson in school.  I grew up to be a teenager addicted to and in love with punk rock and hardcore music, which came along with a lot of collage art that fascinated me a lot. I wished to create even more abstract art.

What Did You Work as Before Becoming a Tattoo Artist?

Arron: When I left school, I started a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) as a Traditional Signwriter, which years later led me into running my own business ‘Raw Graphics’ as a Signwriter/Graphic Designer.

Guido: I always wanted to take a job in crafts and try to combine it with doing art, so I ended up with an apprenticeship as a stonemason and sculptor, which I did until I was a professional. Working in this job in a small family-owned company gave me the chance to learn a lot about basic rules of creating, lights and shadows, and even the golden ratio.

Debora: I worked in many jobs while I was studying. I was a lifeguard, waitress, shop assistant, and an interior designer for two years.

Samanta: I’ve had a lot of small jobs before getting into tattooing, but none of them were “official” since I was still very young and still going to school.

Samanta Annie

Did You Have a Tattoo Apprenticeship?

Samanta: I had a tattoo apprenticeship at a studio called Tattoo Art Karlsruhe.

Arron: I didn’t have an apprenticeship! I was heavily tattooed when I first got into it at 35, I learned a lot from all the other artists who’d tattooed me in the past. I would always ask questions.

Guido: I didn't have a proper tattoo apprenticeship – I am self-taught. I watched other artists whenever I got the chance to and asked a lot of questions.

Arron Raw

What Was Your First Tattoo Machine?

Debora: My husband was a tattooer for a long time and so I got all of my supplies from him. I used handmade coil machines to start (Koko Fernandez and Micky Sharpz) and sometime later I bought my first rotary machine to start with colour work.

Guido: My first tattoo machine was a Micky Sharpz and I bought it just before I started to get into tattooing.

Arron: Micky Sharpz T Dial.

Samanta: My first tattoo machine was a Cheyenne Hawk Spirit.

What Tattoo Supplies and Equipment Are You Using Now?

Guido: For the last couple of years, I've only been tattooing with Cheyenne tattoo machines and needles and I'm more than happy with that! I use two colour brands at the moment, including World Famous Ink - I love the red tones. For any freehand parts, I use Squidster Skinmarkers. While tattooing I also use Cleany Skin Tattoo Wipes instead of kitchen roll and Dermalize for aftercare.

Samanta: I’m still sticking to Cheyenne supplies and tattoo machines – mostly the Thunder and sometimes the SOL Luna and SOL Terra. I also prefer to use Intenze Tattoo Ink.

Arron: I get all of my supplies from Killer Ink (other than what I get from my sponsors), including INK-EEZE, Immortal Prime, and Wipe Outz.

Debora: My favourite tattoo supply company for years is Killer Ink. I buy all of my supplies there and I trust them. The website is super easy, they have all you need and I receive all my orders in 2-3 days. They never disappoint! And about the equipment, I use FK Irons tattoo machines, a Musotoku power supply, and World Famous Ink - I have my own set of inks called “MUSAS” with my favourite colours.

Guido Schmitz

When Did You Think You Had “Made It”?

Arron: I am still on the journey to get there!

Debora: I never think that! Honestly, I feel like an ant, small and always working. I feel proud when other artists say congratulations to me or tell me that I am their inspiration, but... I can’t believe it! I think there are hundreds of talented artists in the tattoo world and I admire them, but I don’t feel like one of them.

Samanta: I’m not sure I will ever think that I actually “made it”. In my opinion, no matter how good an artist is, there’s always something new to learn, something new to try and some more room to grow. At the point where artists start to think that they’ve “made it” and achieved everything they can, they stop growing and developing - that’s not how I want to be.

Guido: I´ll let you know, guys! To be honest, is there really a point where an artist thinks they finally made it? I feel like there´s always one more step I want to reach with my art.

What Advice Would You Give Apprentices and Those Starting Out in Tattooing?

Samanta: Be patient and always give your best. Good things take time and hard work.

Arron: If you are lucky enough to get an apprenticeship, put 100% into it day after day - you need to live and breathe tattooing, in my opinion. Just keep pushing yourself, be inspired by all forms of art. We are all still learning. Stay true to yourself…

Guido: Don't be an asshole, just be kind and patient! Believe in yourself, even if you think there’s a long way to go. Always respect your customers and their massive trust in you and your work. Work in a hygienic way and don´t forget to be good in the basics before working on a special style. Work hard - not for the big money, work hard because it should be your passion and this comes along with never stopping learning and improving yourself. Always give your best and be nice!

Debora: If you like to draw or paint, let’s try it! But the reason should be because you love tattooing, not for the money or fame or other bullshit. It’s not easy to be part of this world, but if you fight and you deserve it, you will get it! And the most important word they should learn: RESPECT! For themselves, for other artists and for all their clients.

 

Hopefully, you found our Q&A with some of our sponsored artists on how to become a tattoo artist useful! If you're just starting out on this exciting career journey then make sure you buy top quality tattoo supplies and equipment at the most competitive prices from Killer Ink Tattoo.

Sponsored Artist of the Month – Silvano Fiato

Italian artist Silvano Fiato is a world-renowned tattooist that is revered for jaw-dropping black and grey and colour realism.

As with many tattoo artists today, Silvano began his artistic journey at an early age and could always be found with a paper and pencil in hand.

After buying his first tattoo magazine at 18 and taking inspiration from the realistic work of Robert Hernandez, Silvano made the decision to pursue a career in body art.

Fast forward to the present day and Silvano Fiato is now a household name in tattooing, with his hyper-realism work taking plaudits from artists and non-artists alike over the years, as well as multiple awards from conventions around Europe.

Since 2006, Silvano has been the owner of Eternal Tattoo Studio in his home town of Genoa, Italy, which was among the first shops in the world to use graphic design to show customers a preview of how their tattoo will look on the skin. He has also recently opened up a second shop in Italy’s capital city of Rome.

Perhaps one of Silvano’s finest achievements to-date was being recognised as a ‘Contemporary Artist’ by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, also known as MACRO, and having his work featured in the museum’s catalogue.

To create his incredible realistic black and grey and colour tattoos, Silvano uses various supplies from Killer Ink Tattoo, including World Famous Tattoo Ink, Flux and Xion machines from Spektra Rotary, and KWADRON Cartridges.

Keep up to date with Silvano Fiato’s latest tattoos, seminars, guest spots, conventions, and more by following him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Tattoo Timelapses - Milano Tattoo Convention 2020

The 2020 Milano Tattoo Convention was yet another incredible event, with hundreds of the best tattoo artists around showing off their incredible skills to the masses.

While at the 25th anniversary edition of the event, we took some time out from filming our main video to shoot timelapses of some amazing work produced by various artists.

Click the videos below to watch the creation of tattoos from Taras Prystupa, Polyc SJ, Antonis Megas, Leonardo De Amicis, Luca Cospito, Vincent Zattera, and an eye-catching collaboration between Mambo Tattooer and Pitta KKM!

Taras Prystupa

Ukrainian-born, Polish-based tattoo artist Taras Prystupa brought his killer style to the 2020 Milano Tattoo Convention with a Captain Ahab/Moby Dick themed piece.

Polyc SJ

Everyone loves Studio Ghibli tattoos, so South Korean artist Polyc SJ put his unique spin on Totoro from the popular animated movie My Neighbor Totoro when he tattooed his apprentice at the 2020 Milano Tattoo Convention.

Antonis Megas

Greek tattooist Antonis Megas, who now plies his trade in Austria, tattooed this clean and crisp blackwork mandala at the 2020 Milano Tattoo Convention

Mambo Tattooer & Pitta KKM

The 2020 Milano Tattoo Convention played host to an amazing collaboration between Italian artist Mambo Tattooer and South Korean tattooist Pitta KKM as they mashed-up their signature styles to create this stunning work.

Leonardo De Amicis

Italian tattooist Leonardo De Amicis recreated an iconic photograph of Johnny Cash with a small yet detailed black and grey portrait of the music legend at the 2020 Milano Tattoo Convention.

Luca Cospito

Coming soon…

Vincent Zattera

Coming soon…

Milano Tattoo Convention 2020 Video

The Milano Tattoo Convention celebrated its 25th anniversary last month, so we were on-hand to capture the show in all of its tattoo-covered glory!

With hundreds of the world's best artists tattooing under one roof, the Milano Tattoo Convention is always one of the highlights of the year - and the 25th edition did not disappoint!

Make sure to click below to watch our latest video!

It was another great weekend for Killer Ink sponsored artists, with four of our tattooists taking home awards for their incredible work.

The first day of the convention saw Debora Cherrys take home ‘3rd Best of Friday’ for a killer neo-traditional tattoo, while Kindamo from Alex De Pase’s Or Noir Tattoo Gallery received ‘2nd Best of Friday’ for a dope black and grey leg piece.

Kindamo also picked up the award for ‘Best Large Black & Grey’ for another ridiculously clean tattoo, with Christos Galiropoulos then topping his category by claiming ‘Best Small Black & Grey’ with a healed portrait of The Rolling Stones’ guitarist, Keith Richards.

The finale of the convention then saw Jay Freestyle crowned ‘3rd Best of Show’ for an incredible BDSM-themed leg sleeve that combined colour realism with pixel art.

We also wanted to give a shout out to our good friend Benjamin Laukis who won ‘2nd Best Medium Colour’ for his sick skull and script piece!

Kindamo - Milano Tattoo Convention 2020 VideoDebora Cherrys - Milano Tattoo Convention 2020 VideoJay Freestyle - Milano Tattoo Convention 2020 Video

Sponsored Artist of the Month – Amy Edwards

Amy Edwards is a UK-based tattooist that specialises in realistic portraits of celebrities, movie characters, and much more!

An artist with many strings to her bow, Amy started her career by dabbling in various art forms, including illustration, watercolour painting, gig flyers and posters, before ultimately focusing on tattooing.

Alongside being the kickass drummer of a local doom metal band, Amy honed her tattooing skills at a Kettering-based studio, where she particularly enjoyed new school, black and grey realism, and portraits.

A move to Birmingham meant putting down the sticks and picking up the needle cartridges as she took the next step in her tattooing journey by joining our sponsored studio, Dark Horse Collective.

Sponsored Artist of the Month - Amy Edwards 1Sponsored Artist of the Month - Amy Edwards 2Sponsored Artist of the Month - Amy Edwards 3

Working alongside such artists as Rich Harris and Jamie Lee Knott proved invaluable for Amy, as she took her skills to a whole new level, with a particular focus on creating realistic colour portraits of your favourite TV and film characters, celebrities, and a horror monster or two.

After leaving Dark Horse Collective last year, Amy undertook various guest spots at studios around the UK, including Kamil Tattoos, Fat Fugu Collective, North of Winter, and Seven Foxes Tattoo before settling down for a residency at Rendition Tattoo Studio in Nuneaton.

To create her colour realism pieces, Amy uses various supplies from Killer Ink, including a Spektra Xion tattoo machine from FK Irons, KWADRON Cartridges, and Stencil Stuff.

Make sure to follow Amy Edwards on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with all of her latest work and guest spots!

Sponsored Artist of the Month - Amy Edwards 4Sponsored Artist of the Month - Amy Edwards 5Sponsored Artist of the Month - Amy Edwards 6

Sponsored Artist of the Month – Helena Ferron

French-born tattooist Helena Ferron is a black and grey specialist that can be found working in the UK's capital city of London.

Before crossing the Channel to reach British shores, Helena plied her trade in her home city of Paris, working at the likes of Anomaly and Cezanne Tattoo Art Gallery. While guest spotting at the latter towards the end of 2017, she tattooed alongside a big name in the tattooing world, Cezanne De Pitou.

After uprooting from Paris and settling down in London, Helena began a residency at the Good Times Tattoo studio in Shoreditch in May 2018, where she can be found tattooing to this day.

Sponsored Artist of the Month - Helena Ferron 1Sponsored Artist of the Month - Helena Ferron 2Sponsored Artist of the Month - Helena Ferron 3

Helena’s primary style is black and grey realism, and she has a flair for creating incredibly realistic work with smooth shading and excellent light-dark contrasts.

To create her black and grey work, Helena uses a variety of supplies from Killer Ink Tattoo, including the Cheyenne HAWK Pen tattoo machine, KWADRON cartridges, and World Famous Tattoo Ink.

Make sure to keep up to date with all of the latest work and news from Helena Ferron by following her on Facebook and Instagram!

Sponsored Artist of the Month - Helena Ferron 4Sponsored Artist of the Month - Helena Ferron 5Sponsored Artist of the Month - Helena Ferron 6

Jenna Kerr Interview

Jenna Kerr is one of the UK's top artists and known for her incredible ornamental tattoos.

In our latest interview, we put her under the spotlight to discuss her style, inspirations, and how her popularity has skyrocketed over the years.

Don't miss this video with one of the finest British tattoo artists around!

Jenna Kerr, a Killer Ink Sponsored Artist of the Month, was most recently the owner of Devil in the Detail custom tattoo studio in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, and will be announcing a new studio soon.

A tattooist for 10 years who has won multiple awards at conventions around Europe, Jenna’s love of art nouveau and baroque filigree features heavily in her pieces, along with a combination of expertly crafted gemstones and ornamental accents.

You can keep up to date with Jenna’s latest work by following her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

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