Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing Tattoos:

The phrase “A wolf in sheep’s clothing” is a common one to English speakers, and its vivid imagery has led to some pretty amazing artwork, including tattoos. Regarding tattoo work, most people take it literally, having a wolf wearing a sheepskin, usually comprising of just the heads. Often these pieces are done in an American traditional or neo-traditional style, though black and grey and black work are not uncommon. 

American traditional back done by Pete Goerlitz at Greyhound tattoo
Some black trad by Medea Tattoo

Many people believe(d) that the Bible is where this phrase was first recorded, but Aesop’s Fables also explicitly mention wolves in sheep’s clothing, and are much older than any of the Biblical texts. 

Neo-traditional piece done by Marko at North Tattoo 3411 in Mexico
A neo-traditional back done by Jan Man at First String Tattoo in Winnipeg Manitoba

For those who don’t know, Aesop was a salve and a storyteller, believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE. He created a collection of fables collectively called “Aesopica” which were passed down orally until they were written down about three centuries after his death. Fables are short stories that aim to illustrate a certain set of morals and provide a teachable lesson to children in particular. Often the stories are about animals or mythical creatures to better catch a child’s attention, such as the case of “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” 

American traditional piece with rose done by Nick Ackman at Wild Zero Tattoo in Morgantown, WV
American traditional piece by Róbert Erdösi in Budapest

The meaning of the phrase refers to a person who hides malicious and ill intent behind a facade of friendliness and innocence. George Fyler Townsend’s 1867 translation of Aesop’s Fable is one of the better known versions: “Once upon a time a Wolf resolved to disguise his appearance in order to secure food more easily. Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock deceiving the shepherd by his costume. In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure. But the shepherd, returning to the fold during the night to obtain meat for the next day, mistakenly caught up the Wolf instead of a sheep, and killed him instantly.” 

American traditional chest piece by Matt Renner at White Lodge Tattoo in Glenwood Springs
Black trad rib tickler by Crimlay in Vienna, Austria

There are also various Biblical texts that mention wolves in sheep’s clothing such as the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, found in the gospel of Matthew, in verse 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

Black and grey piece by Kaitlin Rose Bryant at Cardinal Ink
American traditional piece by Lewis Parkin at Iron Hand Tattooing

Edited by Harrison R.

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Addams Family Tattoos:

The Addams family have been creeping people out and making them laugh since 1938 when the kooky family first appeared in Charles Addams’ cartoon in The New Yorker. Since then, they have also appeared in the 1960’s sit-com that ran for two seasons, a cartoon show in the 70’s that also ran for two seasons, a live action feature film in 1991 and a sequel in 1993, and a cartoon feature in 2019.

Addams Family quote by Meg Lewis at Stallions and Galleons Tattoo in the UK
Morticia and Gomez by Max Puga

As tattoos, the character “Wednesday” is probably the most popular for fans, followed by Uncle Fester and Thing. Quotes and other characters also make for great tattoos. The most prevalent styles are black and grey, realism, and neo-traditional. 

Hyper realistic portrait of Uncle Fester by Sólyom Dániel at James Tattoo Gallery in Budapest
Thing by Emma Maris at This Dark Horse Tattoo in Manchester, England

Wednesday Addams has long been a fan favourite, but like the other characters, she didn’t have a name until the 1960’s show. She was named after the nursery rhyme called “Monday’s Child”, detailing the days of the week, with Wednesday being described in the rhyme as “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” In the original cartoon she is pail, dark haired, and has an obsession with the macabre. In the 1960’s show she is much sweeter and kinder, though her favourite hobby is raising spiders. The 1990’s films made her much darker again, and it’s this version of Wednesday that usually makes it to tattoos. 

A devilish Wednesday by Peter Granite Crowell at Lighthouse Tattoo Club, in Auburn, CA
Wednesday and poison by Kim Cauchi at Modern Tribe Tattoo Studio

Creator Charles Addams was known for having somewhat macabre interests and hobbies, hence his ability to create such fantastic characters and stories. His house was apparently filled with medieval weapons and torture devices. He had a particular love for crossbows and even admitted to fantasizing about shooting an intruder or robber with one.

Uncle Fester by Kyra Leigh at To The Grave Tattoo in Lexington, KY
“Stay Weird” Wednesday by Brianne Sienkiewicz at No Man’s Land Tattoo in Middletown NY

Angelica Huston (Morticia Addams) apparently grew up reading her parents’ book of Addams Family cartoons and even pretended she was Morticia. It is interesting how she ended up playing the character in the movies 30 years later. She also had to go through a daily routine of fitting into a metal corset that created the cartoonish figure of Morticia. This included gauze eye lifts, neck tucks, and fake nails. 

Cartoons Wednesday and Pugsley by Toni Mazuranic at Tattoo Hardline in Zagreb, Croatia
Wednesday and the house by Uncle Trashcan in Orlando, FL

Who is your favourite Addams Family character?

Edited by Harrison R.

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Scorpion Tattoos:

Scorpions have been popular in tattooing for a long time, and have been tattooed in many different styles, including old school American traditional, black work, black and grey, realism, neo-traditional, and more. 

Classic black work/old school scorpion done by Frank William at Smith Street Tattoo Parlour in New York
Creepy one done by Dan Gagné at Mortem Tattoo in Montreal

Scorpions make for a popular design largely because of their tough look. The animal is deadly with a tough exterior, and can reflect this upon the tattoo wearer as well. 

Perfectly placed black/old school one by Tony at Blue Arms Tattoo
An old school scorpion done by Jade Harper at House of the Rising Sun Tattoo in Winnipeg

Because it is a creature that can take care of itself, it can also represent strength and protection. 

Scorpion and blood done by Reuben Todd at Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg
A more neo-traditional scorpion with some eye popping colours done by Matt Andersson in Gothenburg

Another obvious reason for people to get a scorpion tattoo, is if their zodiac sign happens to be ‘scorpio.’ Scorpios (October 23rd-November 21st) are described as being calculating and striking; able to know what they want and do what it takes to get it.

A hyper realistic scorpion done by Gara at Lighthouse Tattoo in Seoul
A cute scorpion with hearts done by Kara Noel at Folklore Trading Co

Which piece is your favourite?

Scorpions make great hand tattoos. Done by Richie J Howes at Electric Lounge Tattoo in South Africa
Matching buns by Darren Quinn at Sang Bleu Tattoo in London

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Black Sabbath Tattoos:

For lovers of alternative music it’s pretty much common knowledge that Black Sabbath’s 1970 debut album “Black Sabbath” marked the beginning of heavy metal as we now know it. There were distinct differences from rock including references to the occult in the lyrics, Ozzy’s style of singing, the heavier sound of the guitars, and loud, fast thundering drums. Put together it all sounds quite dark and sinister, which is part of why we still love it so much today.

Black Sabbath cross done by wolfirish_tattoo
Black work Henry done by Riley Borne in Portland Oregon

The original members of the English metal band include guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and most famously, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Though the band has also seen many lineup changes, most notably vocalist Ronnie James Dio after Ozzy was kicked out of the band for substance abuse.

Cross piece done by Else Mau
A black work portrait of Ozzy done by Blake at Hot Stuff Tattoo

The band previously had other names, including “Earth.” The bands manager wanted them to change the name because it was too generic, so Butler suggested changing their name to Black Sabbath after the song they had written. He was big into both the occult and horror movies, as was Iommi, and they thought the name fit the sound of the band at the time. The name for both the song and band was thought up by Butler, and was inspired by Mario Bava’s 1963 Boris Karloff horror anthology.

A realistic portrait of Ozzy done by Shaks in Bexhill UK
A bright and bold Henry done by Aliki at Below Zero Tattoo in Florida

After hearing the riff of what became “Iron Man,” Ozzy said that it sounded “like a big iron bloke walking about.” Geezer Butler took that a step further and wrote the lyrics as the story of a man who time travels into the future, and witnesses the apocalypse. While returning to the present, a magnetic field turns him into steel. He is rendered mute, unable to verbally warn people of his time in the future and of the Earth’s impending destruction. Because his attempts to communicate are ignored and mocked, it causes Iron Man to become angry, and drives his revenge on mankind, causing the destruction seen in his vision. Another fun song fact is the coughing heard at the beginning of “Sweet Leaf,” is guitarist Tony Iommi. He had been smoking a joint in the studio given to him by Ozzy Osbourne. The title of the song was taken from a packet of Irish cigarettes which said “It’s the sweet leaf,” and refers to cannabis, which the band was using frequently.

Inverted cross done by Libby Guy at the Illustrated Man, Sydney Australia
Black and grey album art done by Edvin at Crooked Moon Tattoo

Some popular Black Sabbath tattoos include portraits of the band members (mostly Ozzy), album art, crosses, and “Henry” the bands devilish logo. Mostly done in black and grey, black work, or old school styles. Though realism, neo-traditional, and pointillism also make for awesome pieces!

Black work heart by Rodrigo Burnout in São Paulo
Ozzy’s head with a vampire bat done by Kalo at Spider Web Tattoo in Berlin

What’s your favourite Black Sabbath song? Do you have any Sabbath tattoos?

Butterfly Lady Tattoos:

Combining classic old school portraits of ladies and the wings of butterflies has long been a staple in old school tattooing. Flash from such legends as Bert Grimm, Ben Corday, and others from the 1800’s and 1900’s featured variations of the designs below, and more.

Back design done by Kasper_ftw in Seoul South Korea
Black and grey chest piece done by Rich Hardy in the UK

Portraits of women are one of the most popular images in tattooing, as are butterflies. Combining the two beautiful designs makes sense, and can form an elegant tattoo that stands the test of time.

Black work back piece featuring a butterfly lady atop a skull, alongside two at the bottom done by Paul Dobleman at Black Heart Tattoo in California
Butterfly lady head done on the hand by Reuben Todd at Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba

One of the most popular ways for this design to be tattooed is a woman’s head with butterfly wings sprouting from behind, to the left and right.

Stomach butterfly lady head done by Francesco Ferrara in Rome
Butterfly lady atop a heart done by Blair Maxine Mckenna in Perth Australia

These butterfly ladies can also be seen more like fairies, with the bodies of women and butterfly wings.

Butterfly lady with a hidden face done by Capilli Tupou at Sunset Tattoo in Auckland New Zealand
Black work butterfly lady head done by Kim-Anh Nguyen-Dinh at Seven Seas in the Netherlands

Old school American traditional is the most common style for this design, but black work, black and grey, and Neo-traditional are also popular.

Black and grey butterfly woman done by Jade Harper at House of the Rising Sun Tattoo in Winnipeg
Butterfly lady head on the chest done by naughtyjam_tattooer in Taipei, Taiwan

Do you have a butterfly lady on yourself?

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Christmas Tattoos:

This Christmas season has looked quite different for most of the world due to the global pandemic, but these Christmas Tattoos are sure to help make the season bright! Wishing all my readers a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

A merry looking Santa Clause done by floietattoos
A cute snowman in a snow globe by Colby June
Cozy winter scenes by HarleQuinn_ink
Nightmare Before Christmas toy done by Sophie Annison at Township Tattoo
A realistic black and grey pine tree done by jku_tattoo in Seoul, Korea
Christmas lights done by jawtattoos in Sacramento, CA
A Christmas pumpkin done by Skylar Wasserman at Aces High Tattoo in Florida
A cozy Christmas fireplace done by Ovenlee.tattoo in Korea
The Grinch done by Audrey at Brothers Keeper Tattoo in Pittsburgh, PA
Some spooky holly done by Schuyler Abrams at Tramp Art Studios in Savannah, Georgia
A realistic Christmas tree done by Mattia Calvi at Mambo Tattoo Shop

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

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Pumpkin Tattoos:

It’s that time of year again, so here are 10 pumpkin tattoos to satisfy your halloween tattoo needs. So why do we carve Jack’O’Lanterns anyway? You can thank the Irish! This practice originates with a legend called “Stingy Jack.”

Charlie Brown’s Halloween Special done by Mandy Snyder at Lucky Monkey Tattoo
Black and grey pumpkin done by Margaret Arinne

According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. 

Full haunted house complete with pumpkins done by Tiffany Garcia at Black Raven Tattoo
Black and grey pumpkin and bats done by Matthew Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem Mass.

Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Pumpkin and bloody knife by Katelynn Rhea at Iron Age Tattoo
Trick R’ Treat pumpkin done by Steve Black at All of One Tattoo

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

Creepy pumpkin done by Mark W. Richards at Pino Bros Ink
Happy pumpkin done by Shannon Mcfarlene at Iron Lotus

As tattoos, most pumpkin pieces are bright and colourful, with a trend to old school or neo traditional styles, though black work and black and grey can also make for nice pieces. Often paired with other spooky things like bats, knives, haunted houses, etc. Pumpkins are a perfect piece for those who love halloween.

Cute bright piece done by Kori Millhimes
An evil looking piece using black and orange done by Angelo Parente at Black Casket Tattoo

What are you carving into your pumpkin this year?

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The Exorcist Tattoos:

The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin in 1973 is one of the most well known horror movies to date. In part because of the supposed curse, and the fact that it was the first horror movie to be nominated for a best picture Oscar.

Reagan and the iconic lamppost scene done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo
Another Reagan and lamppost scene, in black and grey done by Séb Otis in Paris

The Exorcist is based off of the book written by William Blatty, which is in turn based off of a real event involving the exorcism of a boy known through the pseudonym “Roland Doe.” Catholic priests performed an exorcism on the boy but had to stop when he broke free of his restraints, pulled a spring out of the bed, and cut one of the priests with it.

Black and grey lamppost scene done by Oliver Palacios at Magnetic Tattoo Studio
Reagan covered in vomit and lamppost scene done by Michael Kelly in Ireland

Many people believe the film to be cursed, including people who worked on the set. Many accidents happened, including a fire that destroyed what was supposed to be the MacNeil’s home before shooting started (Reagan’s room was untouched by the fire); Ellen Burstyn (Reagan’s mother) was injured in a scene when possessed Reagan throws her, and the scene was used in the film; the actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros both died while the film was in post production (both of their characters also die in the film); other actors also had family members die while the movie was being made; Linda Blair injured her back when the rigging broke during a possession scene, and she also received so many death threats from people who hated or were afraid of the movie that she needed hired body guards; the son of actress Mercedes McCambridge (the voice of Pazuzu) killed his wife and children before killing himself, and finally, many people believed the actual film itself was cursed and that playing it would invite demonic possession.

Old school Pazuzu and heart done by Katy Bisby
Reagan in a ouija board planchette done by Calvin Von Crush at Lucky Soul Tattoo

That classic scene where Father Merrin stands under the streetlamp was based on a series of René Magritte paintings, and was so well shot that it was made the movie poster (and is tattooed by many fans).

Black and grey Reagan and lamppost scene done by Estock Ruiz Tattoo in Mexico
Pazuzu portrait done by Scully in Belfast

Other popular tattoos people get from the film include Reagan in her possessed form, Pazuzu, or a combination of any of these. Many people decide to get these tattoos in a realistic style, or old school or black work.

Creepy piece that incorporates Reagan, Pazuzu, and the lamppost done by Sherlane White at Sleepy Bones Tattoo
Pazuzu inside of a ouija board planchette done by Joel Dylan at Animalistic Bodyart

What is your favourite scene from the film?

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Jack the Ripper Tattoos:

One of the most famous serial killers in history, Jack the Ripper, killed at least five women in the East London/Whitechapel area between August and November of 1888. Despite some pretty good theories about who he may have been, the crimes are still unsolved today.

Black and grey half sleeve by Ricky Borchert at Black Hatchet Tattoos
Black and grey leg piece by Hans Heaton

Some of the most commonly cited suspects include Michael Ostrog; a Russian criminal and physician, Aaron Kosmininski; a Polish immigrant who lived in Whitechapel and fit the description, and Montague Druitt; a lawyer and teacher who also had great interest in surgery.

Black and grey piece by Pat at Borders and Boundaries Tattoo
Realistic back piece done by Sabian Ink in Bali, Indonesia

There are a dozen or so murders that many people believe were the work of the Ripper, but five that are more or less known. All five women were prostitutes, and all but one were working the streets at their time of death. The victims all had their throats cut, and their bodies mutilated in different ways; and the manner in which they were carved suggests the murderer had a reasonably good knowledge of human anatomy. The five women were Mary Ann Nichols (found August 31), Annie Chapman (found September 8), Elizabeth Stride (found September 30), Catherine Eddowes (found September 30), and Mary Jane Kelly (found November 9).

Ripper portrait done by Sammi at Aurora Tattoo, Lancaster
Creepy portrait done by Bullweih Stechwerk

The name “Jack the Ripper” comes from a letter that was published at the time of the murders. In fact, several letters were written to the London police, supposedly from the murderer, adding to the whole mystery of the thing.

Surrealist half back done by Browns Tattoos in Hasland, Chesterfield
Black and grey piece by Flóra Istvánffy

East London during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was a rough part of the city, despite it being a place where many skilled immigrants (mainly Jews and Russians) settled to start businesses. It was an area known for its poverty and violence. The area was home to countless brothels, which unfortunately attracted many untoward people, and gangs and petty thugs ruled the streets.

Realistic black and grey sleeve by Marc Warren in Sheffield
Realistic black and grey back by Andreas Olsson

Who do you think the killer was?

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