Category Archives: realistic tattoo

The price of your tattoo

The price of your tattoo


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 price of your tattoo. And the best way to deal with your tattoo price, and be positive towards paying for your tattoo.

When you pay for your tattoo, you are not spending your money, you are investing your money. Some clients believe the price of their tattoo is fair, and some believe its expensive. I would like to mention that the price of a tattoo is not easy to estimate. As there are multiple ways a tattoo can be done. So a price could vary a lot on detail and size.

If we approach a tattoo price considering how long we are going to have the tattoo for. It makes you realise a tattoo price is definitely worth while. When I let the client know how much their tattoo will cost in total, I can see their face drop, and they don’t believe it, however what they don’t think is how long they are gonna have their tattoo for. And how they are going to pay it in instalments.

Let’s say for instance, you gonna have your tattoo for 20 years. And you pay £500 for your tattoo. If you divide 500 by 20, it equals 25. That means you would pay 25 pounds per year for your tattoo. If you look at it like that, a tattoo it doesn’t cost that much, if you look at it in a logical way, considering it will be with you forever.

Another thing I would like to mention, it mite sound a bit rash to some people, however it is the truth. As we all know the truth sometimes it hurts some people. However, if you pay cheap for your tattoo, you will look cheap. I can see when someone doesn’t pay much for their tattoo, or don’t put much effort or time to their tattoos. I think it’s better to have one really good tattoo, than a lot of average ones. Quality for me comes before anything. Some people get tattooed for the experience, which I try to give that also. For me having an experience is important, however trying to give the best quality as possible, is very important too. So I try to buy the best needles as possible, and the best inks possible.

Needles and inks can be cheap and expensive. You can buy needles from China, that are not sterilised. Because they are not sterilised they cost less, however they are not safe, as they are not clean. The sterilisation procedure costs money, so only serious tattoo supplies, will deal with professional tattoo inks, however they are not cheap. In order for us to tattoo with sterilised needles and inks, we have to invest big budgets on out tattoo supplies, in order to deliver not only the best best tattoo artistically, but technically and sterilised for your safety.

There’s a lot more than you think, involved in order to do a good tattoo. We have to invest a lot on it, however that’s our passion. That’s why we don’t mind buying the best of everything, because that’s what we love and live to do. And the tattoo artists who don’t invest good money on tattoo supplies, is because they prefer to save up their money, to buy their beers at the weekend. Where i prefer not to drink and save up to buy the best needle and the best ink to make my tattoo procedure more fun and flowing well. When you work with the best tools, your day will be a lot smoother and enjoyable, than working with a cheap kit.

For some reason when it comes to pay for a holiday or a night out, which it will be temporary, most people don’t have a problem to pay for it, but when it comes to mark their bodies or the rest of their life, they they don’t want to invest in it. Or try to lower the price, which is in fact undervaluing our work. Never undervalue your work, specially if you are dedicated to your craft, and if you do things properly.

In the end of the day, as we all know, we get what we pay for. And tattoo artists know how much their work is worth. So if you think you are being smart because you are paying less for a tattoo session, is a cheaper that ends up being more expensive in the future. Your body has a lot of value, it is who you are, so when it comes to mark it for the rest of your life, going for a cheaper option is not a very smart approach.

I respect people with good tattoos, as I can see that they saved up, made an appointment with an artist who they love their work, and walk around satisfied with a piece of art that they will carry with them forever.

Thank you for reading

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

Getting tattooed by Victor Portugal part-3

So going from discussing with Victor about what to do on my neck. He wanted to do a mask instead of a face. 

I felt like my plans, I had worked on previously, didn’t work, and I was even considering getting another part of my body tattooed, like my leg.

But then I thought. I’ve been looking forward so much to get tattooed by Victor, I’ve waited years until it was right, I crossed rivers to meet him. I came to the conclusion I had to trust his work and let him get on with it.

He left the room, and brought me an image of an mask, I thought just let him crack on with it, I’m gonna have to trust the master.

As he started the tattoo, I could see how painful it was going to be. I was like, oh god I have 2 days of this. It was almost a payback for all the pain I give to customers everyday and I can’t feel it.

Getting my neck and my head tattooed over 2 full days, it made me learn a lot about how much I should look after the client while tattooing them.

As a tattoo artist, if you don’t get tattooed often, you will forget how much it hurts, and as a consequence your client will not last as long as it should.

It was more painful than I thought it was gonna be. Before I was about to travel to Poland, I got myself ready mentally and physically for the tattoo session ahead. I thought I would meditate while I’m there and everything would be ok. However to be honest, none of my plans worked once I was under the needle of Victor Portugal.

When you get your head tattooed, you can not get away from it, feeling the vibration surrounding your head, there’s no scape from what’s happening. So I had to accept that I had to go through the consequences of getting my neck and head tattooed.

On my first session, I was under so much pain, that Victor recommended me to take some pain killers on the second day. 

I was against clients taking pain killers before and during getting tattooed, however after my experience, I recommend anyone to take pain killers before getting tattooed. I’m not saying it will take away all the pain, but it will help you throughout the tattoo session.

One thing I learned while getting tattooed by Victor, is how much what you say to your client helps them to cope being under the needle for so long.

On the second day, I was taking pain killers, and my heart was palpitating faster than usual. And to make things better, I heard Victor saying in Spanish to his working colleague, that one of his friends was tattooing this guy, and the client had a heart attack and died. That was a true story. 

So I’m sat in the chair listening to this story, and I was like all my god, I’m gonna have a heart attack, I’m gonna die! I know it was psychological but when you are under the same situation, it gets to your head.

So I learned to say positive things while you are tattooing someone. As everything you say it will be printed in their consciousness and it could affect your client positively or negatively.

Anyhow, when my tattoo was done I was very happy with the outcome. Victor Portugal did not disappoint with his work, he’s very skilful and talented. I was glad when it was done, it was worth all the pain, and all the money I had spent. 

I think when you want to get tattooed by someone, and want their style on you for the rest of your life. Money should not be a problem and how long you have to wait. I paid 2000 euros for my tattoo, and I think it was all worth the money, as I have an amazing piece of art with me for a life time.

Thank you Victor for my amazing tattoo. For sure I will be back.

Thank you for reading 

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…

Getting tattooed by Victor Portugal Part-1

Getting Tattooed By Victor Portugal- Part 1
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 my experience getting tattooed at Dark Times at Kraków, Poland, by Victor Portugal.
I’ve always wanted to get my neck Tattooed for a long time, however it’s such a visible place, and such a commitment. I knew that once I got it done, I would have to succeed at art at any cost. So I thought I would wait for the right time, and make sure i would pick the right artist for the job.
I have now been tattooing for 13 years, so I thought I would present myself with a tattoo by an artist who I really admire. So I had in mind two tattoo artists who I love their work, who were Victor Portugal and Carlos Torres.
There are a lot of awesome black and grey artists around the world, and I really respect a lot of artists. However there are always some artists who catch your eyes more than others.
I love Carlos Torres work because of how an amazing artist he’s outside of tattooing. He does oil paintings in colour, his painting are amazing, but then he only tattoos in black and grey. I love his style, and when I look at his tattoos I can tell that’s him straight way, he puts his own stamp in every tattoo he does. So he was for sure one of my options. 
My other option was Victor Portugal. Victor Portugal is a tattoo artist from Uruguay, who currently works in Poland Kraków. 
I first saw Victor Portugal’s work in Barcelona tattoo convention 2011. It was a tattoo convention I was only visiting to watch, not work. That gave me the opportunity to see some awesome artists working, get to know them, and try to learn as much as I could. In that tattoo convention I saw Victor Portugal working for the first time.
As soon as I saw his work, I knew he wasn’t like everybody else. His work looked realistic to me, but not only realistic, he had another spin that only can be achieved if you draw outside of tattooing.
So I had to choose in between those two awesome artists, what a hard choice to make. If I could get those two guys to do a collaboration at the same time, that would be awesome. However Carlos Torres works from California, Victor Portugal from Poland. Only in a Tattoo Convention like London Tattoo Convention to get those 2 monsters crafting at the same time. I like dreaming sometimes.
So I had to be realistic, and I had to choose one. 
So I tried to contact Carlos Torres first, really really booked up, which I completely understand, as the guy is good. However he was booked up to a point where it seems nearly impossible to get an appointment with him. I tried to speak to his secretary, and she said, look it’s really hard. So as much as I respect his work, it seemed really difficult, plus he was in California, a lot more far away from Poland, where Victor Portugal works from.
So i started to try to get in touch with Victor.

To be continued on “Part 2”

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.