Frog and Toad are two characters of a series of illustrated short stories written by author Arnold Lobel in the 1970’s, that were also made into short claymation animation pieces in the 80’s.
The stories are meant to teach children to be kind, and were also the beginnings of Arnold coming out as gay. He described frog and toad as two aspects of himself, and his daughter described the pair as of the same sex that love each other.
There are four books, each containing five wholesome short stories that are simple, humorous, and full of teachable moments.
Frog is tall, green, cheery, and relaxed; while toad is short, squat, light brown, and while still friendly, is the more serious and pragmatic of the two.
For many these two were a favourite couple growing up, and getting them as tattoos can be a callback to childhood and simpler times. As a tattoo, they are largely drawn quite similarly to their illustrated selves, meaning simple designs, colours, and textures.
Duncan X is a old school artist whose inspiration comes from early photographs of old school tattoos. These photographs are of course all in black and white, so the tattoos appear black even if they were colourful. This led to Duncan tattooing in only black.
He is one of the most popular artists in London, and he works out of Old Habits Tattoo shop.
Duncan was born and raised in London in the 60’s and was introduced to tattoos through the punk scene. Artist Dennis Cockell taught him tattooing and helped him shape his unique style.
While Duncan uses mainly old school motifs for his source of inspiration, his style resembles medieval wood carvings and is distinctly working class.
To learn more about Duncan and see his own tattoos watch David Penn’s short film here.
The Hand of Glory was a particularly grotesque tool used by criminals, particularly thieves, to aid in robberies. The legend dates back to the 15th century, and there are numerous accounts of people using them throughout history.
The name reportedly comes from the French, “main de glorie”, which in turn got its name from the magical mandrake root.
According to legend, mandrakes grow under gallows from the seed of a hanged man, and they were believed to shine like lamps at night, also in roughly the shape of a hand.
The process of making a hand of glory is quite particular, and adds to the macabre nature of the thing. Sabine Baring-Gould wrote in his book, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages: “The Hand of Glory .. is the hand of a man who has been hung, and it is prepared in the following manner: Wrap the hand in a piece of winding-sheet, drawing it tight, so as to squeeze out the little blood which may remain; then place it in an earthenware vessel with saltpeter, salt, and long pepper, all carefully and thoroughly powdered. Let it remain a fortnight in this pickle till it is well dried, then expose it to the sun in the dog-days, till it is completely parched, or, if the sun be not powerful enough, dry it in an oven heated with vervain and fern. Next make a candle with the fat of a hung man, virgin-wax, and Lapland sesame.” (1873)
The people who used hands of glory had different beliefs. Some believed it could give light only to them, leaving others in darkness, some believed it could make them invisible, many thought it could burn forever and could only be put out if the user so desired, others believed and hoped it could render any nearby person motionless or put occupants of a residence to sleep. All tales of the hand of glory seem to show the belief that the hand could open any nearby lock, making it an even more useful tool for those wishing to take something that does not belong to them.
Open, lock, To the Dead Man’s knock! Fly, bolt, and bar, and band! Nor move, nor swerve, Joint, muscle, or nerve, At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand! Sleep, all who sleep! — Wake, all who wake! But be as the dead for the Dead Man’s sake!
Now lock, nor bolt, nor bar avails, Nor stout oak panel thick-studded with nails. Heavy and harsh the hinges creak, Though they had been oil’d in the course of the week. The door opens wide as wide may be, And there they stand, That murderous band, Lit by the light of the Glorious Hand, By one! — by two! — by three! By Thomas Ingoldsby
And of course fans of Harry Potter will be familiar with the Hand of Glory from Mr. Borgin and Burkes’ store when young Mr. Malfoy takes a fancy to it. “Ah, the Hand of Glory!” said Mr. Borgin, abandoning Mr. Malfoy’s list and scurrying over to Draco. “Insert a candle and it gives light only to the holder! Best friend of thieves and plunderers! Your son has fine taste, sir.”
Which gruesome hand is your favourite and why? Let me know in the comments and remember to check out any of the artists if you liked their work.
Osang and Sojung are a South Korean couple who tattoo at Hysteric Garden, Seoul, and also do guest spots around the world, including America, Canada, Australia, Europe, and Taiwan.
Both artists specialize in black work that is heavy on detailed lines, and macabre subject matter. As Halloween is right around the corner, they are a perfect pair to get a couple of tattoos from!
You can bring in your own ideas or get an original piece from either of them.
The couple do lots of specifically occult pieces such as demons, devils, black goats, witches, etc. They are also happy to tattoo more traditional Korean designs such as tigers and ravens if that’s more your style.
If you want a one of a kind, detail oriented black work piece, look no further.
Keep an eye out on their Instagrams for their travelling guest spots, or pop in while you’re in South Korea. @osangbrutal @goatblackeyed you can find their emails for bookings on their individual Instagram accounts
Bram Stoker based his fictional character, Dracula, on the real person with a taste for blood, Vlad the Impaler. Vlad III, the Prince of Wallachia, was born in 1431 in what is now Transylvania.
Now to his gruesome nickname. Vlad invited hundreds of people to a banquet, people who were questioning his leadership, and had them stabbed, then impaled on spikes. According to legend he then continued to eat while watching his guests twitch as they slowly and painfully died on large spikes.
Vlad is also credited with impaling dozens of Saxons in 1456, as well as a group of Ottoman men. The latter refused to remove their turbans for Vlad, and Vlad commended them on their belief, saying they would never be apart from their turbans again, reportedly nailing their turbans to their skulls.
Though there is much uncertainty surrounding Vlad, it is confirmed that he did die, unlike the numerous Dracula stories. Vlad was killed during a raid, but there is much debate as to where his tomb is.
Many lovers of horror choose to get tattoos of Vlad, the “original” Dracula. Most tattoos are portraits, often blackwork or American/neo traditional.
Susanne is a tattooer at Redwood Tattoo Studio in Manchester. She does fine linework, dotwork, and blackwork. All of her tattoos use only black ink, but her intricate dotwork make a great contrast to the heavy black.
Much of her work features popular characters or places from books, film, and tv.
She draws much inspiration from histories famous painters, and even does their portraits.
Her whimsical animal portraits are fantastical and heartwarming, such as space narwhales, dogs in space, dinosaurs in clothing, etc.
Susanne is a must see artist if you’re in Manchester!
Homer Jay Simpson, beloved fictional father of the Simpson family. He was created by Matt Groening and named after his own father, Homer Groening.
Homer was born in 1956, and has been making the world laugh with his wacky antics since his t.v. debut in 1989.
Homer can often be seen either at home with his family, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie; at work with Mr. Burns, and Smithers, or at Moe’s tavern with his pals Moe, Barney, Carl, and Lenny.
Along with Moe’s tavern, some of Homer’s hangouts include Apu’s Kwik-E Mart, and Krusty Burger.
Homer is most well known for his love of beer and donuts, and his job at the powerplant. BUT, Homer has also been a musician, an astronaut, a truck driver, actor, mobster, carny, coach, farmer, and so much more!
As a tattoo, Homer is mainly done in a new school design, as he is a cartoon character. He can also be seen in neo traditional, American traditional, realistic, linework, hyper realistic, and blackwork.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (better known as Alice in Wonderland) was written in 1865 by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll).
The story follows a young girl, Alice, who falls down a hole into a fantastical land full of bizarre characters and situations.
There are also films based on the book, with the most popular being Disney’s animated version from 1951.
More recent films Alice in wonderland (directed by Tim Burton) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (directed by James Bobin) are also produced by Disney, but take on a much darker theme.
People in the 1960’s-80’s speculated about what the story was “really” about. Many people thought that it was really a psychedelic trip. Due in large part to the frequent usage of drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms at this time. Experts usually disagree with this theory though, as Charles isn’t thought to have been a user of recreational drugs.
Popular characters include the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Red Queen (Queen of Hearts), the March Hare, White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, and many more.