• Get Digital with Mike DeVries and Jamie Parker: Adobe* Photoshop* Techniques For Tattoo Artists of All Levels

    Tattoo_Stuff_0186Get 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 grey 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.

    *Though newer versions are available, Mike and Jamie prefer Photoshop* CS3 and have chosen to utilize it for instructional purposes.

    Disc 1: Beginner & Intermediate…2 Hours……HD Digital Copy Included in Quicktime Format

    Disc 2: Advanced…2 Hours……HD Digital Copy Included in Quicktime Format

    Click Here to Order

    We don’t cover every tool in Photoshop*, we just go over what we think is important for tattoo artists!

  • Cover Ups vs Laser Tattoo Treatments

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    It happens so often, I get an email or a call from someone who is not only looking for a new tattoo to add to their body, but to also hide one at the same time. I constantly hear the story of the over eager collector, getting a tattoo and ending up with something they are not happy with, or a tattoo that is just old and doesn’t look sharp anymore, or even it’s just something that they feel no longer represents them as a person.  Those unfortunate tattoos have the ability to stab at the self esteem, bring down morals, and sometimes, prevent them from moving on in life, whether it be in a personal relationship or a professional one. The idea and consequence of something being completely permanent on our bodies is hard to grasp before it’s actually a reality, and sadly, regretful.  They come to me with the hope that it could be covered up, 7 times out of ten, my response would be to get some laser treatments done on it first, not to be that guy that wants to send business to the local laser removal place, but because in the long run you will be happier with the results.

    Tattoo laser removal was discovered possible in the 80s and has been developing ever since. It was a big step from sanding a tattoo off, or chemically burning it off, and left a lot less scarring. The word laser sounds so sci fi and almost intimidating, but I have never met someone who has regretted having it done. It takes time, which is one of the consequences of wanting permanence reversed, but in the end it’s worth it because for one you get something you want over it, rather than something that will work to cover it, and 9 times out of ten,  if there was no laser treatments done prior to the coverup, overtime the tattoo underneath the new one will show through.

    For those who dont mind tattoos but are just over the one that they have, cover ups are a huge percentage of the appointments shops take on. Its always possible, but the gamble of ending up with something else you would regret is still there. Cover up tattoos require extra time and effort. The cover up design has limitations, requiring needs met to adequately replace the original tattoo, compromising design for functionality and can take a lot more “coats” to achieve full coverage and success. Even then they almost always show through the new tattoo over time. I, myself, have dealt a lot with both experiences on my own body as a collector. I started getting tattooed when I was young, and I’m working towards full coverage now. Ive got multiple cover ups on every limb of my body, four coverups just on my back. This was all before my consideration of laser removal. I’ve had laser treatments on my right arm, chest, several pieces lightened with the laser on my legs and a little laser work done on my back, I’m also in the process of getting my neck fully lasered, which has now been treated seven times and if i wanted to I could have it covered with ease and get anything i want. This would not have been the case if i didn’t do any laser work on it. All the other spots on my body that I had laser treatments on have been covered and comparing all of my laser cover ups, compared to my regular traditional cover ups. The lasered areas with new tattoos look ten times better than the spots i had nothing lightened first.

    Of course there are successful coverups that are being done everyday without laser treatments, but your design options will be limited, a more chaotic design works the best for coverups, for example: a bio-organic tattoo, one of the worst possible designs for a coverup is a pin-up, or portrait, especially in the skin zones, if there is a smooth area in the design that is trying to cover an old tattoo, it will not work! Maybe for that day or the first couple weeks, it might look successful but just wait, it will start to show thru. There is the option of going over it again once it is healed to hide the old tattoo better, this is usually mandatory for success. Just don’t want to go to dark to where it creates a mess and make sure your artist is comfortable with coverups and has been successful at them in the past. I mentioned pinups and portraits being bad for coverups, but they can still be successful, but only if the coverup is within the shirt design or even better in the hair of the new portrait tattoo. This also makes the new tattoo to be large in order to work and this will also take the focal point off of the coverup area. Creating a new focal point and using the right colors are key! Theres alot of little tricks to doing coverups but for what i have seen with my experience of getting coverups and laser treated cover ups,and as an artist performing coverups. The ticket is getting some laser work done first. Whether you are coming to me for a coverup or another artist feel free to email me a photo of your existing tattoo and what your plans are for covering it and i will give you my opinion on whether you should have some laser treatments done.

    What to expect from the laser…It hurts! It hurts worse than getting a tattoo, but it goes fast, they can laser my entire neck all the way around in 10 minutes or less. You will get hot, maybe even smell some burning hair, it feels like a rubber band is snapping you extremely hard over and over again,it kinda sounds like that too. But when i leave the laser place i feel like when i leave a tattoo studio and i just got a rad new tattoo, because i’m stoked its coming off. Most places have numbing agents that they can rub on prior to laser, it will still hurt, but takes the edge off. You usually wont see results after the first treatment, but after the second you should start to see results, if your  planing to cover it up, you most likely will need to get it at the minimum hit 3 times and the maximum about 9 times. Anymore than that it could be a waste, again email or visit your artist to ask his/her opinion to see if its ready. Just minutes after you get your old tattoo treated its very possible you will get blisters,if you are removing color it will blister more than just black and grey. If you get huge blisters, don’t pop them just keep it clean and possibly wrapped in gauze. You have to wait about 6 weeks in between treatments,and wait a good 6-8 weeks before getting it covered with your new tattoo after the last treatment. You can wait even longer and you will notice that the area that was lasered will continue to lighten up for a year to come. They also say that when you get your old treated tattoo covered up with a new one you could see your new tattoo lighten up in that area as well. If you do you will just need to get a touch up/fine tune session. In my experience and visiting about 4 different laser removal centers I have never gotten any scarring from it. The lasers are a lot better nowadays than they were when they first came out. As far as cost for laser tattoo removal, it could be as low as $50.00 per treatment up to $600.00 depending on size and how many times your going to get it hit.

    If you are thinking about getting a tattoo removed and are in Southern California, I recommend Dr. Tattoff. I’ve always had a good experience there and they definately know what they are doing. You can check out their locations at www.Drtattoff.com. Another place that I have gone to, is in the mid west called Unique Ink. Jack Morton does the laser removal there and he has tons of experience with it too.You can visit his website at www.rethinkyourink.com

    Hope this helps anyone that was curios about the process or if you were considering a cover up and whether or not laser is right for you or not.
  • Cranial Visions: Exploring the Skull Through Artistic Interpretation

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    Forming as an idea, progressing into a collection of efforts, and ending on the coffee table, Cranial Visions is finally finished. 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 8×12, 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.

    Skulls have been the subject of artistic studies all over the world, connecting artists who otherwise would have nothing in common. The book is divided into chapters based on different artistic mediums; starting with tattoos and followed by paintings, sketches & drawings, mixed media, digital art, graffiti, photography, and ending with “skullptures.” Each chapter is stuffed with images created by masters of their crafts. They play with the colors and composition, and give a different perspective of the subject in every image.

    Putting this book together was an adventure all its own. We were humbled to receive images from some of our personal favorite artists, while appreciating the discoveries of new up-and-coming artists as well. Tattooing has joined the world of fine art, and this compilation has connected the bridge between all the mediums.

    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 identify with.

    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.

    All of the pieces in the book are meant for inspiration, and not for simply copying. Every artist has their own perspective, and each are valued for the unique eye they bring to the table. There are over 258 artists who have been included and over 800 pictures of work. It has been a long road and now it’s time for you to see for yourself. The book is available for purchase now! Only $69.99. Click Here to order Cranial Visions.

  • Get Real with Mike DeVries: Animal Style

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    I am happy to present my new two-disk DVD that really outdoes my previous instructional DVD. This one features: higher all-around quality, more camera angles, better music, and essentially real-time editing. The informative instruction covers topics such as: Photoshop techniques to apply to tattooing, placement, stenciling, set-up, machines, needles, my palette and ink choices, color mixing; and most importantly, up-to-date tattooing techniques that encompass what I do best.

    In this DVD I explain each step as I am executing it, rather than providing voice- overs done at a later time. In my opinion, it is much more effective to explain things as I go, as I’m in the right frame of mind tattooing that specific piece, which makes it pertinent to that given piece of instruction. This time around I decided to use coil machines, which are a bit more timeless. I also thought more viewers might prefer seeing me use coils, even though I am currently using Stigma machines. Regardless of which machine I use though, I consistently tattoo the same way.

    I chose to tattoo a full-color gorilla for this DVD, from start to finish, explaining new ideas and tricks throughout the process. Animals, portraits, and realism go hand-in-hand and you can apply many things I talk about in this DVD to what you already know. I hope that in the end you can personally create something new with fresh, imaginative ideas and take your tattooing skills to new levels.

    I am very excited about releasing this and hope you enjoy it and gain some new insight. This DVD is for the professional tattooer or apprentice who is learning in a legitimate tattoo shop. It is meant to boost your already-existing skills and give you some new components to consider the next time you approach a realistic tattoo. When ordering this DVD please specify the shop that you work at, so it saves on time (to eliminate the need for us to either write you back or search your name on the Internet to verify that you work at a tattoo shop). Total running time: Disk 1: 3 hours 38 minutes; Disk 2: 3 hours 13 minutes. This new tattoo DVD is now in stock!

  • Skin Deep Mag

    Skin_Deep_mag_smThe new February issue of the UK’s Skin Deep Magazine just came out! It includes a feature of the whole crew here at MD Tattoo Studio! I’m really stoked to see the article, I’m honored that Skin Deep decided to do its very first 2 part feature on our Studio. It includes a shop photo, interview about the dynamics between all of us, and showcases some of our work. I’m really proud of everyone here and look forward to seeing the second half! 

  • Tattoo Prodigies is Here!

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    Tattoo Prodigies just came in and I am really excited to share it with everyone, after over a year and a half of working on it, planning, collecting work, interviews, and configuring it all together, It is finally complete, printed, bound and ready for you to enjoy. It’s way more than I expected, and for those that have seen it so far, have been amazed by it! This hard bound coffee table book is 10 inches wide by 13 inches tall, with 256 full color pages with more than 800 pictures of tattooing and painting accomplishments, inspiring stories and interviews throughout. I have learned so much in the whole process of putting it together, I’m excited to be able to share it with everyone who can appreciate tattooing at it’s best! It’s now available through my website MDTattoostore.com and at my shop MD Tattoo Studio in Northridge, California.

    I am honored to recognize the works of Nick Baxter, Guy Aitchison, Jesse Smith, Tony Ciavarro, Mike DeVries, Bob Tyrrell, Victor Portugal, Kore Flatmo, Jess Yen, Cory Kruger, Nikko Hurtado, Robert Hernandez, Deano Cook, Shane O Neill, Stephane Chaudesaigues, Shige, Robert Atkinson, Sean Herman, Josh Woods, Gunnar, James Kern, Boris, Durb Morrison, Carson Hill, Roman, Paul Booth, Adrian Dominic, Jeff Ensminger, Don McDonald, Tim Kern, Steve Morris, Michele Wortman, Bez, Franco Vescovi, Kari Barba, Alex De Pase, Paul Acker, Bugs, Craig Driscoll, Steve Moore, Steve Soto, Robert Pho, Monte, Jeff Johnson, Kyle Cotterman, Mario Rosenau, Ben Grillo, Toxyc, Liorcifer, Nate Beavers, Aric Taylor, Sweet Laraine, Joshua Carlton, Ron Meyers, Carlos Torres, Big Gus, Juan Gonzalez, Cory Cudney, Dan Henk, Nate Banuelos, Jeremiah Barba, Larry Brogan, Brian Brenner, Megan Hoogland, Tim Harris, Justin Weatherholtz, Mike Rubendall, Aaron Bell, Benjamin Moss, Ryan Hadley, Carlos Rojas, Tommy Montoya, Julio Rodriguez, Jay Wheeler, Juan Salgado, Mike Parsons, Russ Abbott, Cory Norris, Josh Duffy, Fishero, Andy Engel, Mike DeMasi, Mike Cole. Thank you so much for being a part of it!