Category Archives: realistic tattoo leeds

Digital Painting of Poison Ivy @louissantostattoo

In this lockdown, I had time to work on this digital painting of Poison Ivy, she’s Batman’s villain in the DC Universe. She was a part of one of the old Batman’s movies, the one with Jim Carry. With the limitation on technology back in the 90’s, Poison Ivy was just a simple character. I believe with the CGI they are capable to do nowadays, they would be able to do a really good job at a modern Poison Ivy. I hope everyone is keeping safe, and next week we are going to be free birds. Thank you

Realism Sketch Work in Progress by Louis

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

Zeus god of Thunder

Zeus god of Thunder

Zeus is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. His name is cognate with the first element of his Roman equivalent Jupiter. … Zeus‘ symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak.

Getting the opportunity to tattoo a Zeus the god of thunder is getting the opportunity to do a piece of art. So it should definitely not taken for granted. 

The request for this Zeus god of thunder was made with Zeus holding a snake, which it made me even more exited about it. Sometimes clients have an awesome idea. Sometimes I try to move them in a better direction, trying to do the best I can if the allow me. However sometime their idea is so awesome, that I don’t feel like I need to interfere much with the idea.

As a tattoo artist sometimes is a matter of getting the balance right in between listening to your client and give them what they want, and be honest with them about their idea, and try to move the client in a different direction in order to try to give them a better outcome.

Geek gods are for sure in the top 5 of my favourite subjects to tattoo. For sure I don’t just do the tattoo, I put a lot of thought and love to it. I feel like if I tattooed 10 Zeus god of thunder, I would be exited about doing every single one of them, trying to approach each one of them in a different way.

I have heard sine tattoo artists saying, I’m sick of doing “lions” and sick of doing “clocks” however I feel like it’s a lack of creativity, as every lion you approach as an artist, or every clock you approach as an artist, using your creativity and intelligence, you could do them in a different and exiting way, every time you approach it.

One of the best lessons I have ever had in art. It was in a podcast by an amazing artist called “John Park” he has worked in games like “Halo” movies like “Avatar 2” he has worked on a lot of big movies and video games. 

In the end of the pod cast, he mentioned something that really caught my attention. He said “your art is not gonna get better with time, it has to get better with how you approach, it and your attitude towards it”

I found these words very true. As some artists complain that they are tattooing loads of lions, however they are not producing the best lions. So they could try to approach in a better way every time they have the opportunity to do a lion.

Thanks for reading our blog.

Getting Tattooed by Victor Portugal part-2

Getting tattooed by Victor -part 2

Getting in touch with Victor Portugal for my tattoo, it wasn’t easy, however I feel like it was more accessible than a lot of other big names I have previously tried to approach.

I have tried to approach a dozen of big names in the tattoo world, however it seems almost impossible to get tattooed by then.

I feel like with Victor, I had to persist a little, but not out of this world, like past experiences I had. The only little issue I had was to change the date of the appointment once, however that was before I booked my flight, so it was all good.

After making the booking, I thought I need to book the flight. I have never been tattooed abroad before, so I was quiet worried about booking my flight and they could double book my appointment, or something happen. I really didn’t want my appointment to be messed up, so I was sure to double check by email, to be sure my dates were booked.

I’ve always dreamed to get my neck tattooed, since I was a teenager. However I always thought, if not by the best no point doing it.

Victor Portugal was a good choice as, his black and grey work is amazing , he is based in Poland, not too far away from me, travelling from England. He has got his own style, very unique.

So the day arrived, I was in Poland, Kraków. I really enjoyed the city, it’s got a nice feel to it. My hotel was really nice too. I was sure to be in a nice hotel in order to have a good rest. As resting well before getting tattooed is really important.

The day of my tattoo, I was nervous, I haven’t been tattooed for over 5 years. My Hotel was not too far from the studio, so when I finally arrived, his studio has a boozer for the entrance, as his studio is based on second floor. I pressed the buzzer, the door opened and you have to go through a glass window to get up the stairs, as I got upstairs, the receptionist greeted me very politely letting me know Victor was stuck in traffic and he was gonna be a bit late.

I didn’t mind that so all, as I’m sometimes late for my tattoo appointments, I try my best not too, but sometimes life gets in the way.

His Studio has a very dark feel to it, which is expected as his studio is called “dark times” it’s kind of what you see is what you get. I sat in his sofa, and his station was right facing me. I was greeted with heavy metal playing straight in the morning, it was quiet an experience actually. 

His Studio is filled with art work everywhere, which it was very inspiring for me. He has original oil paintings by Mr Dist, who does the same sort of work Victor does. His walls are filled with Trophy’s he has won over the years, the one stood out to me the most was the best of the show in London Tattoo Convention, I’m not sure which year it was.

Victor arrived finally 30 min late, very nice guy straight way, very genuine and humble, he has got a very chilled energy about him. A very calm vibration. Maybe that’s the secret why he does awesome work.

His station was no where set up or ready for the tattoo, he did everything in front of me, setting up his station. When he was setting up his station, I was looking at him and I thought… I met the master! I crossed rivers and met the master.

We went through a few ideas. I planned a few ideas on my iPad, however the ideas I had planned, didn’t really meet with what Victor was thinking.

I was planning more of a face with his style. However I imagined more like a mask.

It was a tough moment for me, because I had imagined and planned something, then when I got there, everything changed.

I think is really important to get tattooed if you are a tattoo artist, because I was now in the position of a customer, and I know what it feels  if what I was planning or wished to get tattooed was out of the picture.

I was even thinking about getting a different part of my body done. But then I thought.. he’s Victor Portugal, he’s one of the best black and grey tattoo artist in the world.

So he suggested to tattoo a mask, instead of a face.

To be continued…

Tattooing Richard and working on his half sleeve

Tattooing Richard, and starting a Fantasy half Sleeve on him.


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 balance of stencils, free hand, and tattooing Richard and  his sleeve we are working on.

We have done Richard a half sleeve on his other arm, as soon as he came in to the studio, I knew everything was going to be ok, it was his first tattoo, however he seemed like a nice and easy going guy.

I was happy to do his first tattoo, which it was a family crest, the progress went really nice and smooth. We enjoyed our sessions listen to our favourite kind of music, and I was sure to make the progress easier for him, offering a bit of cinema services, we are both in to movies too, it really helps when you have the same interests as your clients, it makes the tattoo process so much more natural.

Soon after that, his first daughter was born, so we did a clock inside of his arm with the time his daughter was born.

After that I didn’t see him for a while. Then he came back to me with an  idea that I was really happy to do, which is my sort of style.

He asked for a Angel warrior holding a sword, trying to kill a Devil. And the devil is gonna have skulls around him. 

I’m a big fan of Fantasy art, and pieces like that is a great opportunity for me to translate to a tattoo, all the movies I watch, all fantasy painting I look at, and all video games I play.

Fantasy is an art style you can find in different art forms nowadays. The newest fantasy art firm I have been looking at, is the series on Netflix “Witcher” 

“Witcher” is a Netflix series based on a vide-game. I have never played the game, however after watching the series, I’m very interested in playing the game now.

Nowadays having technology on our side, Fantasy is a form of art seen in movies and games, as we have the technology to bring to life any fantasy stories I used to read as a teenager, in my opinion we are living the best times for fantasy art. 

PlayStation 5 and new Xbox coming out next year, I’m very exited about that too, as more fantasy games are going to get better, and I will be very exited about seeing them and playing it too. 

Thanks for reading our blog

Why do i draw?

Why do i draw?

I had the idea of writing this blog in order to explain why I do draw. One of my clients asked me the other day, why do you draw? So that made me think, and it inspired me to explain why.

First of all, I draw because I love it. A lot of tattooists say they don’t draw because they don’t have time. I completely understand as tattooing is really tiring, and sometimes there’s no energy left.

However I believe if you are really passionate about something, you will find time to it. If I don’t draw I feel empty inside, I feel purposeless. It’s like a drug for me, so I find time to draw.

Another reason why I draw, it’s to be able to express my ideas. My mind is always racing with ideas, so if I don’t put it down on paper I feel frustrated.

Another reason why I draw, is because I don’t want to be a copy and paste tattooist. What I mean by copy and paste, is getting an image from internet and place an the clients body. Sometimes tattoo artists are very good at copy and paste, and their tattoo looks good, however it will have no flow, and the tattooist will be limited by the reference, so it’s the reference that’s making most of the work, not the tattooist. I’ve got nothing against tattooists who copy and paste. If you enjoy it, do it. However If I did that, I would feel purposeless.

However when you draw, it’s possible to go further than the reference and think outside the box. Creating a different and original tattoo. Instead of being stuck inside the box with a reference, and be limited with copying and pasting.

I’m not saying this because I want to get more clients, I have enough clients, and I’m glad there are another tattoo artists out there to compliment what people want. Also, I can’t tattoo everybody and not everybody is gonna understand what I do. And I understand some people need copy and paste tattooists.

Resuming everything. How can someone be considered an “artist” if they don’t have a drawing or painting portfolio? Is copy and pasting art? I don’t believe it is. I believe if someone is passionate about art, they will find time to draw and paint,  regardless how busy their life style is.

A lot of people are copying and pasting nowadays, and they are considere tattoo “artists”? 

I understand in realism you have to make the tattoo from a realistic image. However artists like Nikko Hurtado, Carlos Torres and Victor Portugal, are doing realism and they still paint and draw, because they love art.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but that’s the way I see tattooing.

Andy the man


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 Andy and his sleeve we are working on.

I have been tattooing Andy for over 5 years now. We have worked on a dragon on his chest, the dragon started on his chest, with the body flowing to the rib cage, and it was his first tattoo.

What a place for his first tattoo, however I recommend my clients to go for the place they wish to have the tattoo, instead of worrying about placement due to how much is going to hurt.

I always believe, how much is gonna hurt and how much is gonna cost, is something we can always get through it, as the end result is what matters most.

However, tattooing someone on the ribs is not an easy task, not only for the customer who have to sit still, but also to the tattoo artist who’s trying to do the best tattoo in a really awkward area.

So having Andy for the first time getting tattooed on the ribs, was a bit of a challenge, however I try to ease off the challenge, with explanation, and educating the client about the tattoo process. That’s why a consultation is very important in my opinion, to get the client aware of what’s going to happen, and the patience it’s involved.

After finishing Andy’s ribs, he took a year brake, which I completely understood, and he came back to me for a full sleeve. 

What a difference, the arm is a lot easier to tattoo than the ribs, so our session is less painful, and I’m getting to know him more now, as we can talk more through our sessions.

Tattooing Andy had been quiet a journey, not only artistic but personally. He gives me hope, with how there are still really nice people in the world, who mean well, and want to do good.

Thank you Andy, when your full sleeve tattoo is finished it will be hard not to tattoo and see you.

Thank you so much for choosing me to tattoo you.

Until next time.

A present to Christian

A present to Christian

Christian is a very dedicated customer, who travels all the way from Munich Germany, to see me. 

He’s an awesome guy, really easy going, chilled, so that makes me look forward to see him. We are both in to the same kind of music so that helps our session to flow well.

As he’s flying all the way from Munich, I thought why not present him with one of my drawings printed on a canvas. He was very surprised when I gave him the frame, he couldn’t believe it actually. Just his eyes when he saw the canvas, it made my day.

Sometimes presenting my clients with my art work, is just a very small gesture I can do for them, compared to all the support they have given me over the years. 

Sometimes we take for granted what people do to us. And when you are in business, our clients are responsible not only for our living, but for our careers too. As I would not have a career if it wasn’t for my customers.

My customers give me an opportunity everyday to better my art, and it’s really amazing when someone have faith in me and my art, to be decorated for the rest of their life.

Thank you Christian, what a good experience we are having

An artistic inspiration


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.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved Mortal Kombat. The first Mortal Kombat game released in the early 90’s, it was more shocking than any game we have ever seen, back in a time where video games was still a new art form. 

I remember going to watch the first Mortal Kombat movie. It was around 1995 if I’m not wrong. It was for sure the first good video game movie ever. Nowadays it mite seem silly, however for 1995, that movie was out of this world. 

I will never forget first time I saw scorpion getting the snake out of his hand, to trow at Jonny Cage. All the kids in the cinema started screaming, including myself. There was nothing like that back then, it was mind blowing seeing special movies from the game translated in the movie.

Out of all fighting games I like, I believe Mortal Kombat is the title that survived the best of of all the fighting games. I believe the man who created MK only focus on MK. I think that’s why the game is so good. He focus all his energy on one title.

Playing Mortal Kombat, I’m not only having fun, however I’m having an artistic lesson. I love the art work in the game. Every time I play MK, I think, I want my work to look like that, the way the shadows falls, and the mood of the game is what I try to achieve in my work.

I’ve just bought MK11. I thought MK10 was really good. However I needed to see what they have done in the new game. One thing I love about games is that every time they make a new game, the artist must re-write, and re-create the whole game again.

That’s why Games are probably my favourite kind of art form. I also love movies and tattoos. However sometimes, I feel like in tattooing, duplicating images seems like the way to be successful in the industry. Where in the game world if you duplicate, you are most likely to be fired from the place you work. So I believe games and movies are more for real, as they are fed by original art all the time.

Thanks for reading our blog, until next time.

An awesome project

An awesome project

I have been tattooing James for a while now. What a pleasure working with him. Easy going is just one of many qualities he has.

Usually he comes in, gives me an idea of what he wants, and let’s me go for it. That’s the best way to get tattooed. If you trust and like what your tattooist does, give an idea of what you are thinking, and let they put their on twist to it.

When it’s too much your own idea, and the tattoo artist has no participation in the tattoo process, that sometimes doesn’t work. As tattoo artists, we have to translate an image as a tattoo version of the art work, considering longevity.

James has surprised me with an awesome idea. Which it was getting a tattoo of Batman and the 3 Jokers. He’s a big fan of The Joker, he loved every single one of the Batman’s movies with all jokers, so he thought why not to get a tattoo with all the jokers, and Batman in the background.

What an opportunity for me, I’m a big fan of Batman myself, I remember in the very first batman movie with Michael Keaton, I watched that movie 7 times in the cinema. I used to finish school and go to the cinema to watch it. 

Movies has always been an artistic lesson for me, since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated with movies like Batman, Robocop, Masters of the Universe, Predator, and Terminator. Movies are an art form, and as an artist is more than fun to be able to enjoy a movie and learn about art at the same time as getting inspired.

I’m really looking forward to start on this tattoo. These kind of tattoos are really fun for me to work with, however it gives me an opportunity to be able to create a really nice tattoo for my portfolio. 

When I go to work to tattoo a piece I’m really happy to do, and the client is really nice to work with. It’s one of the best feelings I can have as an artist. When the client is nice, it helps the tattoo to come out even better. As working with a good frame of mind, helps with the tattoo outcome.

Thanks for reading our blog