Hello everyone, thanks for reading our blog. It’s a good way to get to know what’s been going on behind the scenes, in our studio in Leeds city centre.
In this blog I would like to talk about realism tattooing studies, and how I try to achieve the best realistic tattoos as possible, through drawing before attempting the skin.
I have always been fascinated by realistic tattoos. I love how they look, however I always tried to study it, and going a bit further with it, instead of just duplicating an image, without attempting to understand shadow.
A lot of tattoo artists believe realism is just copying an image to the skin, and getting the exact image duplicated, however after I had a seminar with Carlos Torres, I discovered with realistic tattoos, there is a lot more than that.
I used to think I understood about shadows, until I had a seminar with Carlos Torres. I went to Venice, Italy. To have a seminar with one of my favourite tattoo artists, Carlos Torres, Nikko Hurtado, Shige, and my favourite painter ever, Boris Vallejo.
In this seminar Carlos Torres gave a lesson about shadow that completely turned my mind up side down with how I see shadow. He showed an example of how studying black and grey images can make you understand shadows in a deeper perception. And how drawing realistic images, it gives you the opportunity to experiment different ways the shadow could fall in to objects, and how you can play with your own shadows, changing the way the shadow behaves in your reference.
Some Tattoo Artists think realism is easy, however their work will never look like Carlos Torres. And the reason why is because they are not really interested in realism, in a degree to have the urge, to want to study and understand shadow, and also because they never draw realism.
I don’t believe I know everything about shadows, because shadow is an infinite learning experience, as in nature there are infinite ways a shadow can fall on an object. It’s known that, if you stand in the same spot everyday outside for a few different days, you will realise how different the shadow will fall in the same object.
Doing a realistic tattoo is more than copying an image, it’s making the tattoo look like you can almost touch it, as it’s coming out from the skin. There are far few artists who can make the tattoo look like that, have a hyper 3D effect. Only through drawing you can learn how to make a tattoo look 3D. I also believe only artists who are genuinely interested in realism, have more of a chance to get to Carlos Torre level one day.
One of the best tattoos I have ever seen was from Carlos Torres. A full back tattoo, it’s on his Instagram page. If you scroll it down, as it was done a few years ago, it’s a female angel riding horses. That tattoo is a true example of a master realistic tattoo. And I believe Carlos Torres doesn’t think realistic tattoos are easy, because he understands that you can always push it, and understand it alittle further.
Thank you for reading
Realism portrait of my favourite villain of all time. The Joker, the movie was just amazing, as we all know. That movie blew everyone away. I think Batman and The Joker is the best combination you can get between a super-hero and a villain. I had loads of fun doing it, for me, going from being a kid at home, drawing super-heroes, to be tattooing them forever on someone’s skin as an adult, is like a dream come true.
The Bishop wand
The bishop wand is a new tattoo machine in the tattoo industry. The Bishop has 3 types of machines, each one of those for a different purposes, lining, shading and colour.
I have been listening to a pod cast on you tube of tattoo artists. And it was mentioned a few times, that the bishop wand is a rotary tattoo machine, very common among tradicional solid artists.
The bishop wand is the rotary tattoo machine that has a closer feeling to a coil machine. So this machine works very well for artists with a tradicional tattoo work approach, with bold lines and solid colours.
I heard in a podcast, in a tattoo convention, all bishop rotary tattoo machines were sold out within hours. So I thought I needed to try this tattoo machine everyone has been talking about.
I finally bought it, and I would like to say that I’m not disappointed with it. It completely met all my expectations, it was amazing to feel a new built tattoo machine. It for sure feels like a coil machine, in a rotary way. To be fully honest, I believe you can only achieve a coil machine feel with a coil machine. The bishop wand is a machine that feels the closest to a coil machine.
Another cool aspect for the bishop new rotaries is that it has the shape of a pen. Cheyenne, came out with the pen first around 5 years ago. I didn’t buy one myself, as I was using the inkjecta, which it was another amazing machine.
However the bishop wand is my first pen shaped machine, I have to say the feeling is amazing. Having a pen in your hand, it allows you to move your wrist freely, in a way I have never had the opportunity to do before. You basically feel like you are drawing in the skin.
I love the bishop tattoo machines. I have bought the colour packer, but I can’t wait to get the shader, I want to stick with the bishop for now as they are reaching my expectations right now.
Thank you for reading
Sketches in Quarantine
Hello everyone. We hope you are well and keeping safe in this pandemic.
In this blog I would like to talk about my sketches during the lock down.
Sketching has always been close to my heart as it’s an opportunity to develop your artistic skills, try new ideas and explore new areas.
A sketch for me is also a lot of fun, you can feel free to put down whatever comes to your head, without worrying too much about requests or opinions.
As tattoo artists we have clients to work with, and meet with their requests. Listen to their idea, and try to deliver their wishes. I love doing that, and I enjoy pleasing my customers, it’s an amazing feeling when you have given to a client what they were planning , and they are happy with the end result.
However, it’s even a better and satisfactory feeling when you have a blank piece of paper in front of you, a sharp pencil and just let your imagination flow, it’s just the artist and the paper, that feeling only artists can describe it.
Sketches are the birth of a racing creative mind, which it feels satisfied to have the opportunity to make an idea become concrete, in the eyes of the artist.
Thank you for reading
Louis Santos Personal Blog
Creativity starts with Health
As you get older, your body become less tolerant to lack of sleeping, bad diet and ignoring exercise and looking after your health in general.
After 35 years old, your body has less energy. So after reaching 35 years of age, I started to notice I needed to rest more, and in consequence, I had less time to do my art and be creative.
That was a sad news for me, as I always wanted to be as creative as possible. If I could carry on drawing and painting all night I would love to do it, however we must sleep, in order to have energy, so I must sleep for my health also.
So after not having as much energy to work, and not putting as much time to my art as I wished. I started looking at alternatives to look after my body and my mind, in order to have more energy.
When we are young, we automatically have extra energy, however when we get older, we have to create energy in our bodies. I would like to share my methods of creating energy in my body, in order to be more creative and enjoy my art as much as o can.
Morning Stretch- While we sleep, our muscles also sleeps with us. So I have a few yoga videos saved on my playlist, and do a quick morning stretch. It makes you feel so much better. Specially spending all day sat in a chair, you must contradict that time where your body is still while tattooing.
Exercise- Our bodies are made to move. If you like it or not, our bodies are not made to be static. I know a lot of people say, ah I can’t be bothered exercising. I’m not a big fan of exercising too, however in life we can’t always just do what we want all the time, or eat what we want. Actually you can, however you would reach a very unbalanced state in your life. I exercise for my health, it’s not everyday that I feel like exercising. However, dedication also means, doing things you don’t always feel like doing sometimes. I try to find a way to keep a balance in between going to the gym, going to the park. So it doesn’t get too boring and get out of a routine a little.
Eating well- Food should be a choice not a religion. I try to eat as well as I can, I believe if you eat cheap today, one day you will pay back in medicine. I understand sometimes we have to eat junk food. However there’s a difference in between having a salad once a week, and having a salad 4-5 times a week. I’m not a big fan of salad, however I eat for my well being. Eating well, it increases your concentration level. I highly recommend a hot cup of water with Lemmon, spinach on your salad, green tea everyday. Yam is an amazing potato, it makes your bones stronger, it rejuvenates you, it’s good for your blood and many things. If you have a Yam in the morning, you are not gonna need your cup of coffee. I love Yam.
Lennox Lewis the heavy weight boxer, he had Yam before he knocked out Mike Tyson, he mentioned in a interview.
Meditation- Meditation means literally, switching off your brain. I know a lot of people think… well i can’t do that. The reason why you can’t do that, is because your mind has been distracted for a long time. Your brain is like a muscle, so it won’t just shut up as soon as you ask to do so. It becomes quiet with practise and endurance. Not everyday you will find easy to meditate, specially in those days where your mind is busy with loads of issues, that’s why I choose to meditate in the morning. Anyhow, meditation helps you to make decisions, fell more relaxed and have a better sense of direction in life, and it increases your concentration level.
-Minimise and cut down stimulants
Stimulants are something that messes with our nerve system. I have a auntie who has smoked and drank alcohol heavily all her life, and she hardly can sign her signature on a paper, due to her hand shake. So how are we gonna be able to hold a tattoo machine in the future if we abuse drugs and alcohol. I’m not saying I’m against alcohol, I have a glass of red wine sometimes, however the more stimulants your body gets used to, the more you are gonna need to be calm.
Needing a stimulant everyday, your body will not operate in a normal or higher level. Your body and brain will become dependent, and so on you will only enjoy life with that stimulant present on your body.
I truly believe everything in life has a price, so if you excessively drink, smoke or take any kind of drug, you will pay for it one day. You will become unbalanced, and when things go wrong in life, you won’t be still as you need to be, your nervous system will take over, and your brain will not be able to function clear. That’s why our drug should be natural, meditation, positive mind set, eating well. All these things makes your feel so much better, and they are natural stimulants made by the earth.
Earth has provided all we need to live well, and it’s our choice to make the most of it. Instead of choosing man made stimulants, that gives us short term pleasure, and no long term gratification.
Long term gratification also comes from inside of us. A lot of people seek happiness on other people. We should be complete as a whole, and not present ourselves as a half human who needs another half in order to be completed. We are a full being, enlightened and with a lot of pretentious to be fulfilled internally, other people can contribute towards our fulfilment, however they are not responsible for it.
Thanks for reading
Hope everyone is keeping safe in this quarantine.
In this blog, I would like to speak about this large paint project I’m working on.
I started with A4 size for oil painting, I believe in walking before you can run. I planned to really know what I was doing, before I attempted a large canvas.
I have a book on illustration, by Boris Vallejo. A true master of fantasy art. And in his book of drawings, he mentions that “an artist should not attempt to draw, unless he develops completely control of their drawing skills”
I completely understood what Boris was trying to say. He was trying to say, an artist who attempts to paint without practise drawing first, the paint will not look in proportion”
I was studying oil painting when I heard this quote by Boris Vallejo. And I put my books to one side, and only focused on my drawings. And that was around 8 years ago. Only now, I’m going for my oil painting.
I believe Boris Vallejo was right. I see a lot of artists attempting large oil paintings, and the foundation of the painting “the drawing” is not as strong as it could be.
I understand art should be free. However I follow Boris Vallejo’s philosophy, as it’s very rare when I can see an oil painter to his level. He has achieve artistically, what I believe not many will achieve.
As art means, arse in the chair! And not every artist will put their arse in the chair when they are having a bad day. Or because it’s Sunday, it’s sunny. To achieve Boris artistic level, you have to get your arse in the chair under any circumstances, that’s what’s gonna differentiate your skills to the rest of the field.
Thanks for reading!
The Masters of the Universe Project
Thanks for reading our blog, it’s a good way to get to know what we have been up to behind the scenes, in our tattoo studio in Leeds City Centre.
In this blog I would like to talk about a digital painting work in progress I have, of probably my favourite cartoon animation of all time, which is He-man the masters of the universe.
As an 80’s kid, it was truly staggering to see one of the greatest animations ever made such as, He-Man, Thundercats, Dungeon and Dragons and The X-men.
I’m grateful to have been a kid in the 80’s and 90’s and experience all this awesome movies and cartoons. What a great era for creation, of movies and cartoons. I can mention a few of my favourites, Robocop, Predator, Back to the future, Rambo, Masters of the Universe, Labyrinth, Batman and so on. I’m sure I haven’t mentioned a few.
I have heard that they are making a new series of Masters of the Universe. And that got me really exited, as it would be a real dream come true, to be able to see a movie based on my favourite cartoon as a kid.
I believe with the technology they have nowadays, CGI, they would be able to make justice, to translate to a movie all the magic the cartoon endured. Standards that the first making of Masters of the Universe didn’t achieve, due to the lack of technology.
The very first Masters of the Universe movie was released in 1987, I was only 5 years old. I remember going to the cinema various times to watch it. And when it came out on cassette tapes, before dvds, I think I must watched it over 15 times.
He-man the masters of the Universe movie, is one of those movies made in the 80’s, that when I watch it nowadays, I still enjoy it just as much as when I watched it in the 80’s.
To be an artist, maintaining the child inside of you, is what gives you a fire under your butt, and inspire you to do art. I’m pretty much still like a kid in my head, and I hope to keep like that for many years to come. And get exited about watching fantasy movies and cartoons, and feel motivated to sit on the chair and translate my experience to a paper or a canvas.
Thanks for reading our blog
A change of plan to a Japanese Sleeve by Louis Santos
In this blog I would like to speak about Bens sleeve work in progress.
I got a phone call from Ben, requesting for a cover-up on his whole arm, I was surprised when he requested me to black out his arm, as he thought there was no way to fix his arm. He had visited many studios, and apparently all the studios visited by him mentioned a cover-up was not possible, and the only way around would be to black out his whole arm.
All this conversation was over the phone. And usually with a situation to this level, I would say sorry we don’t black out peoples arm. But I tried to convince Ben to come in to the studio, and let me have a look at his sleeve. I remember him repeating on the phone “honestly, it’s really bad” So I really thought it was gonna be so bad, that I would not be able to cover it with an normal image.
Few days went by and Ben came in to the studio for a consultation. As soon as he showed me his arm, I thought… that’s not as bad as I thought. And I knew he didn’t have to black his arm out. However I thought, If he was gonna be ok with the possibility of not blacking his arm out, as he already had the idea of doing so.
I mentioned about the possibility of not blacking his arm out, and he seemed surprised, as I was the only tattoo artist he had visited who had mentioned about this possibility. After the shock, he kind of started asking which options he had.
I introduced the possibility of turning his arm in to Japanese sleeve, and he considered the suggestion. We started to look at Japanese images, he seemed to like the Coy Carp’s, Lotus Flowers, and Japanese Phoenix. I thought… great! He was open minded, and ready to accept to look outside the box, and consider a better way to solve his problem.
We have so far worked on 2 sessions on Bens sleeve, I’m really enjoying having him, and free handing every Japanese theme on his arm he requests.
The reason why I chose to share this experience with Ben, was because I wanted to let everyone know how being open minded, and willing to think outside the box, and change your mind about your first idea, it could really help to achieve, the best and most effective outcome of your tattoo.
Sometimes some clients are quiet stubborn, and don’t want to really listen to the artist. We have to listen to the client too, however what a few clients don’t realise is that, we want to do our best for them. However sometimes, some clients are not willing to listen to our advice, and the tattoo outcome is not the best as it could be, due to a lack of thinking outside the box and being open minded.
Thanks for reading our blog. And a big thanks to Ben for listening to me.
Thanks for reading and Thanks to Ben for listening to me.
Corona Virus and Tattooing
Thanks for reading our blog, it’s a good way to get to know what we have been up to behind the scenes, in our tattoo studio in Leeds City Centre.
In this blog, I would like to talk about the Corona Virus and how it has affected tattooing and the world.
As everyone knows, Corona Virus has taken the world in a way nothing have before. It started kicking in when I was still in Brazil, on my holidays. When I was in Brazil there were no cases yet, so I could I enjoyed my holiday in peace.
When I came back from my holiday, I had nothing in my mind but work hard as I could, as i had two weeks off. I was well rested and ready to get back on track and work, then when I came back to England, things just got from bad to worse. Then we had to shut the studio down for 3 weeks.
When tattooing we are opening people’s skin open. And having immediate contact with the client. Corona vírus can be transmitted by just touching the person I heard. So we did work for a bit, but we have decided to shut the studio down for 3 weeks, and have no contact with our clients whatsoever.
I think this virus is gonna change the world. It already has, we haven’t been through something like that in our life time, being world wide affected in a large scale like that, not in my life time I haven’t seen it anyway.
I think we mite be going back to basics for a long time, we are gonna have to live simple and humble until we recover from stoping working for so long.
I believe all this epidemic is gonna have a positive point to it. I’m already studying art and working on projects I had in my mind but had no much time to act on it due to lack of time and energy, after a full day tattooing for 6-8 hours, it’s hard to go home and spend the rest of the night painting.
Now I’m staying at home, I’m getting a few paintings ideas on the board and making it happen. I’m gonna be posting my painting on my next blog.
I just hope we all get out of this safe and carry on with our lives, now we are realising how much freedom we had, and how much we could do, we used to complain about little things in life, and we had the freedom to go wherever we wanted, now we have to stay at home and have faith that this is gonna get solved.
I’m pretty sure everything will be ok, I have faith we will get back to normal.
Stay Home-Stay Safe!!