The Father of Modern Tattooing

The Pros and Cons of Color vs Black and Grey

What Am I Getting Tattoo’d?

No Trendy Tattoos, Originality is Key

Trendy tattoos are cool one moment and not so cool two to three years down the line. Cliché tattoos like the musical clef, the love heart, dagger, teardrops, crosses, and eagles may look good when they are fresh but you will quickly tire of seeing them and develop tattoo regret. Remember, getting ink on is cheaper than getting it off. A $300 tattoo can easily cost you $1500 to remove. 

Originality is the key to getting a tattoo you will love for the rest of your life and always look on with satisfaction. That tattoo you put on when you are 25 will still feel amazing when you are 55. But originality is lost on many people because they don’t take the time to properly come up with a design that is long-lasting and memorable. How do you come up with an amazingly original tattoo?

Why do you need to get inked?

This would be the first question. Are you getting a tattoo because your friend has one like it and look awesome? Do you want to wear it to commemorate something or someone special? Are you doing it for the sake of it? Have a good motive that will sound reasonable 10 years on from now. Avoid short-lived motives that you may not be sure of, for example, new love interests.

What kind of design would suit your needs?

There are thousands of ready-made designs on Google, Pinterest, and Instagram. Which of them come close to your motive? Pinterest is especially good at showing tattoo designs of the same interests. If you are into mythical tattoos, for example, simply type ‘mythical tattoos.’ You can then drill down the results to what you want.


If what you see does not impress you, customize on what is available. You can take a phoenix, for example, and give it a dragon’s head to come up with your own unique mythical beast. Talk to your tattoo artist and let him put the idea to paper. If he can’t get what you want, set up an appointment with a graphics designer. Outline your ideas and let him come up with two or three stencils for your tattoo artist. 

Get some opinions 

Although you are the one to wear the ink, getting a few opinions will give you a good insight on what people will think when they see the tattoo. It is your self-expression but why get one if it does not impress?

An original tattoo will always be fresh in your eyes. You will always be proud of the design you put on be it twenty or fifty years down the line. 

Tipping your Tattoo Artist

Here’s a Tip for You

You tip the waiter after good service at a restaurant, or the barber after a haircut you feel good about. Why would you not tip the guy who puts your amazing art on your skin? Let’s say your restaurant tipping starts at about 15%, 20% when you’re feeling at ease in the world, with adjustments up for above-average experiences and down when things go wrong. Sound about right?

So here’s the baseline: at the end of the session are you happy? Excited for more ink? Looking like a boss and feeling 10 feet tall? Since you know the answer to any or all of those questions is not just “yes” but “oh hell yes” with a side of AreYouEffingKiddingOfCourse, here’s the best piece of advice about tipping your tattooer: plan on it. As in, seriously, plan on it and bake it into your planned spend. That way you know when you sit for your appointment that there will be no need to feel weird about not tipping or to stress about making excuses or mumbling “catch you next time.”

How much?

Leaving a gratuity, as tipping is formally known, is by nature subjective: you decide what’s right. Generally, 15-30% is average. When to tip is also on you: You may decide to tip per sitting or after a large piece is finished. Let your artist know however you decide to do it. You’re letting someone permanently beautify you by putting needle to skin, so it’s not a relationship based on subtleties and guesswork. Man up or woman up and bring it up with your artist.

Cash only?

Money talks, but who doesn’t like surprises? So if you feel like augmenting your tip with a gift, go for it. But don’t think a personal present takes the place of a cash thank-you.

There’s a corollary to the clichéd-but-true You get what you pay for. Think about it. Do you even want a tattoo that’s not worth tipping for…?


How to Pick the Right Tattoo Artist

How to Pick the Right Tattoo Artist

When you talk to people who have come down with a case of “tattoo regret,” you’ll often find that the worst mistake they made was the first mistake they made – choosing the wrong tattoo artist.

A professional tattooist who is a good fit for you will dissuade you from getting an unsuitable design: He’ll do the right design in the right way and offer good tattoo aftercare advice to ensure your ink lasts and looks great.

So, how would you go about picking the right tattoo artist?

Get good referrals

Is there a relative or friend with an awesome tattoo? Ask them where they got it. If the tattoo has some years behind it and still looks good, you are looking at professional work. What was their experience with the tattoo artist like? What was their impression on the professionalism of the tattoo artist? There is no better advertising than word-of-mouth. If the tattoo looks good, and the person wearing it says the tattoo artist was great, you have a good lead.

Look at online reviews 

What does a prospective artist’s social media presence look like? Are there lots of positive comments on good work? A good tattoo artist will not be shy to show off satisfied customers.

There are several online review sites where you can see what people think about a tattoo artist. If he is good enough, he should have a few positive mentions. Are there negative reviews? Go further and ask the reviewer why they think that tattoo artist deserves the negative comments. Several negative reviews are a clear red flag on a tattoo artist.

Inspect the portfolio

Check the work! Tattoo artists develop their skills and specialize in different styles. Some are good in western and European style tattoos. Some are good in Japanese and oriental tattoos. Some are masters of all styles. Some shouldn’t be allowed out in public. Look at the portfolio and see if the tattoo artist has the skill in doing the design you want.

Inspect the tattoo studio

You can tell a lot by visiting a tattoo studio, talking to the tattoo artist and seeing him at work. Any professional tattoo artist will be willing to talk to you about your designs and concerns. Is the tattoo artist rude or friendly? Does the shop look neat and organized? A dirty looking tattoo studio is a no-no. 

Trust your gut

You’ve asked around, done you online research, looked at a book and seen the studio in person. Now it’s time to check your gut. Is the artists someone you trust? Someone whose work you admire? Someone you want to spend time with…injecting your skin with ink? If you can check all those boxes, you’ve made the right choice!

Which is best?

Color Tattoos Vs. Black/Grey Tattoo: Which Is Best?

Different tattoo artists have different views on color tattoos and black/grey tattoos. Many will swear that black/grey tattoos come out better and never fade. Those who prefer color tattooing say the attention to detail enriches the tattooing experience. You have picked the tattoo design and the artist, do you go for a color tattoo or a black/grey tattoo? There are some pros and cons of each type of ink.

Black/grey tattoos

Black and grey tattoos have been existence since the art of tattooing. This is because many natural ingredients used tattooing, for example, plant sap makes the skin pigmentation black.  These tattoos rely on spacing and density to create depth in a design. 


    Take less time –  Less ink needs to be applied when doing this type of tattoos  meaning tattooing is faster ( some say less painful too)

    Richer contrast – This makes them easier to see on darker skin

    Neutral – The tattoo does not compete with your clothes color 

    Longer lasting – Black/grey tattoos do not fade easily so they do not need regular touchups. Well done black/grey tattoos can go for up to 15 years without fading 

    Versatile – black/grey tattoos work well with almost any tattoo design you choose

    Classy – These types of tattoos are cool to look at and not garish. A black/grey tattoo will look cool even when you age


Creating multi-dimensional black/grey tattoos is very tricky, and can only be managed by experienced tattoo artists. The artist will have to use tone, texture, composition, shape, and weight to pull off this type of design. An inexperienced tattoo artist can botch up a multi-dimensional black/.grey tattoo easily.

Color tattoo 

Color tattoos are preferred for vibrancy and details. Good examples are Japanese irezumi tattoos which are complex color tattoos that can take years to complete. It is easy to achieve multidimensional with a color tattoo. 


    Ideal for light skin that does not show contrast well

    More expression – it is easy to set the mood of the tattoo using color, just like in a wall painting 


    Color tattoos fade quickly if exposed to too much sun

    Take more time to complete because of the complexity 

    Cost more because there is more work involved 

Color tattoos are ideal for covering up other tattoos. They are best for tattoos that don’t see much sun to avoid fading. It is also important to understand skin allergies before opting for a color tattoo. 

It is best to talk to your tattoo artist to determine if your skin type goes well with either tattoo type.

Contact Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery today to schedule your consultation.

The Traditional American Tattoo

The Traditional American Tattoo: What You Should Know

The tattoo machine has been around since the 1870s, but the art of the tattoo has been in the Americas for hundreds of years. The art had been practiced by both immigrants and Native Americans for a long time. Tattooing was traditionally associated with sailors (and still is) but the ease of the electric machine made getting inked popular. Celebrity tattooists like Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ brought this art to the fore. The service of numerous Americans in the military made it a mainstream art.

Flash tattoos 

As the demand for tattoos grew in the 1920s and 1930s, tattoo artists needed to come up with designs fast, and draw them fast as well. This gave rise to small tattoos with limited color pallets (mostly black/grey) that could be inked fast.

Tattoo artists began compiling their designs into portfolios that they could ‘flash’ at their customers for a quick choice. These became known as ‘flash’ tattoos. These designs included famous American symbols like the eagle, panthers, skulls, daggers, swallows, anchors, ships etc.

Popular American tattoo designs 

Many of today’s popular traditional American tattoos had their origins in the military service especially the navy.

    Anchors- The anchor represents a ship secured and grounded. Anchor tattoo with names of loved ones is popular as these are the thoughts that keep one grounded and longing for home.

    Roses – This is the traditional flower of love. It is like a keepsake for a loved one who is away. 

    Statue of liberty – This always been a powerful and popular American symbol showing freedom and liberty 

    Panther – This is an animal of great strength and ferociousness. A leaping panther with bared fangs and open claws, on the back or upper arm, has been a favorite 

    Snake tattoos – A coiled snake with bared fangs ready to strike is a message for enemies to keep off.  It shows the readiness to retaliate when disturbed.

    Skull tattoo – A bare skull is a potent sign of death. This has always been a popular symbol for those who dice with death like soldiers (and pirate of the past). It showed a willingness to embrace a way of life even if death was a part of the bargain.

    Nautical star – Sailors long used stars to guide them home. A nautical tattoo was an attachment to home

    Ship tattoos – Sailors were the biggest fans of the tattooing it. Ship tattoos represent a way of life at sea as well as a sense of adventure. 

There are numerous other tattoo symbols from the traditional American tattoo art. Their simplicity and boldness have always kept them popular

Contact Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery today to schedule your consultation

What Tattoo Do You Want?

What Tattoo Do You Want?

What kind of tattoo should I get? This is a question that will definitely cross your mind if you are looking to get some ink. The answer to this question depends on several factors; your lifestyle, philosophy of life, and of course your skin type. Many people will get a tattoo on a whim only to live with tattoo regret. A tattoo is a skin decoration but can also carry a deeper meaning. Here are some tips on how to come up with the perfect tattoo idea. 


Getting a tattoo just because it looks good on a tattoo site or magazine is a bad idea. Tattoos are powerful symbols showing affiliation, rank, or class in different cultures. You could be thinking that a neck tattoo of XIII looks mysterious only to realize that it is a gang tattoo when you start getting the attention from the law. 

If you are looking for a tat with a meaning visit forums on what you are interested in. Try Googling ‘Subject + Tattoo’, for example, ‘Navy Tattoos.’ You will find plenty of links you can look up, for more ideas and discussions on different tattoos.

Talk to a tattoo artist

As professionals on what you need, Tattoo artists have a wide knowledge of different tattoos. You can ask to go through an artist’s portfolio while discussing different tattoos, their meanings and how they would look on your skin.  

Try this approach if you are looking for a special tattoo, for example, a Japanese irezumi, it would be a smart idea to talk to an artist specializing in doing these kinds of tattoos. You will learn more about what different designs and motifs stand for, and who wears them.

Where do you want it?

Tattoos are art that is meant to be seen and appreciated. If you are getting a tattoo for aesthetic purposes, there is little need to get a tattoo and bury it under your clothes forever. This is what would happen if you are an accountant spending a lot of time in your cubicle with a 3-piece suit.  Small tattoos are easily put on exposed parts of the neck, hands, and calf, while big tattoos are likely to be on clothed parts like the back, upper arms and chest. 

Is it right for your skin?

Multicolor tattoos are especially difficult to pull off because different people have different skin pigmentation. What looks good on paper may not work for your skin type. Talk to the tattooist about this.

Can you live with it?

It may be cool to have ‘Gaza Thug’ on your neck when you are 21. It is entirely a different thing to have it when you are 40.  Look at your tattoo in a futuristic view.


Contact Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery today to schedule your consultation!

No Tattooing in the Kitchen

Why You Shouldn’t Get a Tattoo in Your Friend’s Kitchen

Getting inked is one of those things that you can do on a whim, but live to regret your decisions long after the deed. Getting tattooed is wildly popular (40% of Americans aged 25-29 have at least one tattoo). Plenty of Youtube videos give rise to amateur tattoo artists every day. But developing skills in tattooing takes time. With cheap tattoo machines, badly done kitchen tattoos have become very common. It is a terribly bad idea to have your friend test his skills on you. The next time you drunkenly ask your friend to put some ink on you, think twice. Here is why:

Terrible design 

The ideal way of doing a tattoo design is by first developing it on a stencil which is then used to outline the design on the skin. Very few people have the eye and artistic skill to do an offhand drawing, and your friend is unlikely to be one of them.  

There is also the fact that choosing a tattoo design requires a bit of research. Picking one from Instagram photos is a poor thought process. You will not look at the meaning of the tattoo. You could be inking a gang affiliated tattoo with lots of regrets later. 

Bad technique 

A tattoo session involves a bit of blood. A badly done job can be outrightly injurious to the skin, tearing and injuring it. This can leave you with grievous skin damage.  Such wounds can leave you with permanent scarring which will be made worse by the blotches of ink. 

Health risks 

Your health will not come out of a kitchen tattooing session unharmed. Tattooing is normally done in sterile conditions. The tattooist should be wearing gloves, and a face mask to avoid passing on bacteria on your raw skin.  Some of the health risks you will be exposed to include:

    Bloodborne diseases – These include HIV and Hepatitis. These happen when dirty needles are used. There is also the danger of your friend injuring himself and using the same needle on you, exposing you to these risks.

    Skin infection – This occurs when the wound site is not properly sterilized and gets exposed to different bacteria. You could easily contract Tuberculosis, tetanus and other bacterial diseases.

    Scar tissue – A properly treated tattoo site will heal properly without formation of scar tissue. When the wound site is not properly cleaned and treated, you risk developing excessive scar tissue called keloids.

There is also the fact that a kitchen session is unlikely to have tattooing cream, making it unnecessarily painful. You will be paying a lot for a badly done job.

Contact Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery today to schedule your consultation!