Frog and Toad Tattoos:

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.

By Sidney Thoreson
By Amber Howe

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.

By Sara Taylor at Arsenal Ink
By Kiki Kono at Great Whale Tattoo

There are four books, each containing five wholesome short stories that are simple, humorous, and full of teachable moments.

By Ryan Bray
By Knotted Sword Tattoo

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.

By Julia Seizure at Divine Ink Devon
By Mark Bennett at Tough Luck Delaware

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.

By Ian Powers at Powers Tattoo Company
By Julia Hayes at Moonrise Tattoo

what is your favourite Frog and Toad story?

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Artist of the Month: Duncan X

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.

Bold anchor and rope.
Lock and chain.

He is one of the most popular artists in London, and he works out of Old Habits Tattoo shop.

Filler rib piece.
Lines and lines on a portrait tattoo.

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.

Black work castle.
Full sleeve done by Duncan X.

While Duncan uses mainly old school motifs for his source of inspiration, his style resembles medieval wood carvings and is distinctly working class.

Foxes on feet.
An evil and beautiful looking crow.

To learn more about Duncan and see his own tattoos watch David Penn’s short film here.

Another back done by Duncan X.
Torso in progress.

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Hand of Glory Tattoos:

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.

American traditional Hand of Glory done by Cassie Lynn O’Neal at Floating World Tattoos.
A lit Hand of Glory with an eye and a snake done by Oskar Gurbada.

The name reportedly comes from the French, “main de glorie”, which in turn got its name from the magical mandrake root.

A more realistic and black and grey Hand of Glory done by Alex Pea at Drop of Ink in Pennsylvania.
A very magical Hand of Glory done by Pa Dundon, done at Sands of Time Tattoo in Ireland.

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.

Another American traditional Hand of Glory with wings done by Emil Dz at Philadelphia Eddies Tattoo.
Hand of Glory radiating light for this wearer, done by Sam at Westside Tattoo in Brisbane.

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)

A more colourful and stylized American traditional Hand of Glory done by Jon Harper at Black Friars Tattoo.

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.

A bleeding American traditional Hand of Glory done by JP Farias at Atlantico Tattoo.

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

Black and grey Hand of Glory with an eye done by Lindsay K at Urge Studios in Victoria, Canada.

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.” 

A solid linework Hand of Glory with burned out candles and an eye done by Nevada Buckley at Firefly Tattoo Collective.

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.

Tattoo Artist Couple: 1

Couples who tattoo together stay together!

Demons and monsters by Osang
Three witches spinning the threads of human destiny done by Sojung

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.

Burning candle, skull, and magic hand by Osang
A goat and its brides done by Sojung

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!

Burning church set ablaze by a mischievous demon, done by Osang
A burning witch done by Sojung

You can bring in your own ideas or get an original piece from either of them.

Torture device and a big ole bug done by Osang
Guillotine by Sojung

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.

A meeting with a demon done by Osang
A dance with the devil by Sojung

If you want a one of a kind, detail oriented black work piece, look no further.

A witchy hanging done by Osang

Anatomical human by Sojung
Traditional Korean tiger done by Osang

Medieval torture by Sojung
Beheading done by Osang
Demonic Angel by Sojung
Gallows and face done by Osang
Vision of the valley of dry bones by Sojung
Gallows in Hell done by Osang
Three eyed goat by Sojung

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

Vlad the Impaler Tattoos:

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.

ryan murray Salem Ma. identical twin. co-owner of @blackveiltattoo
Terrifying portrait in heavy blackwork style done by Ryan Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem Ma.
Melissa Vargas in Costa Rica
A bloody Vlad with impaled skeletons done by Melissa Vargas in Costa Rica.

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.

Done at Black Book Tattoo Romania
Vlad and the castle done at Black Book Tattoo in Romania.
VT at The Amber Rose Tattoo
Zombified Vlad head in American traditional style done by VT at The Amber Rose Tattoo.

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.

Jason Herring at Inkaholics art Studio
Realistic black and grey portrait with some red background done by Jason Herring at Inkaholics Art Studio.

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.

Jelle Jansen at The Office Tattoo
American traditional Vlad portrait done by Jelle Jansen at The Office Tattoo.

Many lovers of horror choose to get tattoos of Vlad, the “original” Dracula. Most tattoos are portraits, often blackwork or American/neo traditional.

Lisa Orth
Beautiful line work piece with Vlad and impales bodies, made to look like the old wood carvings. Done by Lisa Orth.
vlad impaler
Wood carving of Vlad eating while watching his guests being impaled.

Which tattoo is your favourite?

Artist of the Month: Jack Peppiette

Jack is a black work artist working out of Insider Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Peony in the ditch.
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Back of the neck and across the shoulders in a more Polynesian layout.
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Two cuffs, leading onto the hand.
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Heavy black and some dot and linework in this sleeve, featuring mandalas.
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Lots of flowers!
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Gorgeous hand and cuff piece.

Jack uses geometric patterns, adding flowers, mandalas, solid bands of black, and sometimes religious icons.

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Healed and heavy on the black.
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Chest piece with laurels.
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Gorgeous finished Ganesha back piece.
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Flowers and collar.
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Matching shoulder peony flowers.
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Detailed back of the neck piece, all the way up onto the bottom of the head.

Jack has incredible attention to detail, making large pieces filled with incredible line and dotwork.

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Ganesha and geometric patterns.
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Healed full sleeve with sacred geometry.

Jack does do some smaller pieces, but most of them are fairly large. Such as sleeves, backs, half sleeves, and chest pieces.

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Beautiful face tattoo.
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3/4 sleeve with lots of dotwork for the shading.
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Forearms added to existing pieces leading onto the hands.
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Mandalas, dots, and lines on the legs, leading onto the feet.

Jack is a must visit artist if you are in Scotland.

Artist of the Month: Susanne König

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.

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A girl and her cat, the start and the moon.
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Victorian octopus lady looking very serious.
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Fantastic night time land and city scape.
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Gorgeous Venus piece!
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Lovely jellyfish in a jar.
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Three adorable foxes cuddling.
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A girl and her big dog!

Much of her work features popular characters or places from books, film, and tv.

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Eleven from Stranger Things!
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Severus Snape wearing Neville’s Grandmother’s clothing.
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The first years heading to Hogwarts!

She draws much inspiration from histories famous painters, and even does their portraits.

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Brilliant portrait of Van Gogh with his own sky design as the background.
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Frida Kahlo as one of her own portraits.
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Dot and blackwork Picasso vase!
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Katsushika Hokusai’s wave, one of the most iconic Japanese motifs.

Her whimsical animal portraits are fantastical and heartwarming, such as space narwhales, dogs in space, dinosaurs in clothing, etc.

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Sloth bathing in some tasty ramen!
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Super cool badger rocking out.
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Pirate kitty!!
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Narwhale with a cool space theme.
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Brachiosaurus in some fancy clothes.
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Very pretty mermaid.
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A heavily tattooed and bearded merman.

Susanne is a must see artist if you’re in Manchester!

Homer Simpson Tattoos:

Homer Jay Simpson, beloved fictional father of the Simpson family. He was created by Matt Groening and named after his own father, Homer Groening.

Alex Strangler
Homer and his love of donuts done by Alex Strangler done in Venice, CA.
Josh Herman Blackwood Tattoo, Denver
Hyper realistic Homer from Treehouse of Horror episode recreating Stephen King’s The Shining. Done by Josh Herman at Blackwood Tattoo, Denver.
Matthew Hockaday
Homer and Krusty! Done by Matthew Hockaday.
winston thw whale
Chromatic shift, trippy Homer done by Winston (the whale).

Homer was born in 1956, and has been making the world laugh with his wacky antics since his t.v. debut in 1989.

Anna Plienko
Homer and a nice frothy Duff beer. Done by Anna Plienko.
Jasmine Keats •23 year old Tattoo Artist at Shogun Tats tattoo and piercing studio
Homer as Santa Claus, strangling Bart. Done by Jasmine Keats done at Shogun Tats tattoo and piercing studio.
Michela Bottin
Creepy ghost Homer done by Michela Bottin.
Zane Donnellan
Picasso inspired Homer portrait done by Zane Donnellan at STR Tattoo and Art Studio, Wyong, NSW, Australia.

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.

Ariana Tormenta
Homer and Plopper sharing a carrot. Done by Ariana Tormenta.
Jed Squire Desbrow Vintage Inx
Young Homer in his grunge band, Sadgasm. Done by Jed Squire Desbrow at Vintage Inx.
Rodrigo Bittencourt de Azeredo
Super creepy Duff beer/Homer portrait done by Rodrigo Bittencourt de Azeredo.

Along with Moe’s tavern, some of Homer’s hangouts include Apu’s Kwik-E Mart, and Krusty Burger.

Atena Bazofia
Tattooed Homer and Marge done by Atena Bazofia.
JON SPROUL ネオン黒 NEON BLACK ➕ LA, CA - Clandestine Rabbit Tattoo
Neon Homer as Mr. Sparkle, his Japanese soap mascot. Done by Jon Sproul at Clandestine Rabbit Tattoo in LA, CA.
sassybury
Snuggly Homer in bed done by Chanel (sassybury).

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!

black bones custom tattoos UK
Fancy Homer portrait done at Black Bones Custom Tattoos in the UK.
Joshua Davis at Wicked Inklination
A Flanderised Homer from another Treehouse of Horror, done by Joshua Davis at Wicked Inklination.
Sebastion Camargo
Dot/linework zombie Homer done by Sebastian Camargo at Chronic Ink in Toronto.

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.

Erin Davies La Belle Tattoo Studio Melbourne, Australia
Homer and his pink donut done by Erin Davies at La Belle Tattoo Studio in Melbourne, Australia.
Kelly Doty ▪️BOOKS CURRENTLY CLOSED▪️Ink Master Angels . Owner of Helheim Gallery. 28 Norman st, SALEM MA
New school giant headed Homer done by Kelly Doty at Helheim Gallery, in Salem MA.
Thomas Bates
Matching Marge and Homer linework portraits done by Thomas Bates at Five Keys Tattoo Studio, Norwich.

What’s your favorite Homer moment?

Alice in Wonderland Tattoos:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (better known as Alice in Wonderland) was written in 1865 by Charles Dodgson (under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll).

Omar Orozco
Black and grey Caterpillar (Alan Rickman) done by Omar Orozco.
Ace Of Spades Tattoo Established tattoo shop located in Asheville NC. Owner operated Brian Reaid
Bright back piece done by Brian Reaid at Ace of Spades Tattoo in Asheville NC.
Julia Dumps
Bright pastel coloured Tim Burton sleeve done by Jules Boho, an Austrian based traveling artist.
a̶̶b̶̶b̶̶o̶ ̶F̶̶l̶̶o̶̶r̶̶e̶̶z̶
Matching Alice and the White Rabbit in a delicate black and grey design. Done by Abbo Florez.

The story follows a young girl, Alice, who falls down a hole into a fantastical land full of bizarre characters and situations.

Aleksandra Katsan
Watercolor Cheshire done by Aleksandra Katsan in Kiev, Ukraine.
Bryan at Nirvana Tattoo Studio in Glasgow, Scotland
Linework version of Disney’s Alice done by Bryan at Nirvana Tattoo Studio in Glasgow, Scotland.
Kristen Goetz
Dark and sinister looking Mad Hatter done by Kristen Goetz.
Ricardo Gomez TATTOO ARTIST @ Soledad Tattoo & Art Studio 505 front st. Soledad ca
Cheshire in Mad Hatters Hat done by Ricardo Gomez at Soledad Tattoo.

There are also films based on the book, with the most popular being Disney’s animated version from 1951.

Alex Moro
Realistic and stylized version of the Red Queen. Done by Alex Moro done in London, UK.
Efthimis Vrettos
“Drink me” done by Efthimis Vrettos in Athens, Greece.
Lucatesdiferro
Stylized White Rabbit in a teacup done by Luca Testadiferro in Jesi Italy.
Sanninolello
Sleeping Alice done by Lello Sannino in Italy.

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.

Ben Kaye Tattooer & part owner of Ship Shape tattoo, New Zealand
Hyper realistic White Rabbit and his pocket watch done by Ben Kaye at Ship Shape Tattoo, New Zealand.
Fabio Onorini
Black and grey Disney’s Mad Hatter done by Fabio Onorini Fronte Del Porto tattoo , in Rome.
Mugs Costa
Neo traditional portrait of Alice done by Mugs Costa in Australia.
Sigbjørn in Copenhagen
Blackwork Mad hatter and teacup done by Sigbjørn in Copenhagen.
Tania Catclaw
Sketchwork/watercolour Cheshire done by Tania Catclaw.

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.

Brent O'Leary I am an artist, custom guitar maker, and musician. I'm currently working at Blue Collar Tattoo in Plainfield IL
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland sleeve done by Brent O’Leary at Blue Collar Tattoo in Plainfield IL.
Gina Gila 💔 Tattoo Artist at Riverwest Tattoo Company Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Linework version of the Walrus and the carpenter with their tasty clams. Done by Gina Gila at Riverwest Tattoo Company Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Nick imms Fumbling through life. Owner of @thechurchtattoo ☦️ 1
Brilliant black and grey version of the Mad Hatter done by Nick Imms at The Church Tattoo.
Nick imms Fumbling through life. Owner of @thechurchtattoo ☦️
Queen of Hearts and White Rabbit, also done by Nick Imms.
Nick Imms
And a third done by Nick Imms.

Popular characters include the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Red Queen (Queen of Hearts), the March Hare, White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, and many more.

Bruno Corvalan Tattoo artist Currently working at MISSION INK in San Francisco
A partial watercolor style March Hare and a lovely cup of tea done by Bruno Corvalan Mission Ink in San Francisco.
Jack Goks Pearce
Neo traditional Red Queen done by Jack Goks at Cloak and Dagger Tattoo in London, UK.
Oash Rodriguez
Brilliant neo traditional White Rabbit hand piece done by Oash Rodriguez.
Steve LaMantia
Hatter’s hat, pocket watch, and painted rose done by Steve LaMantia at Ever After Gallery, Spring Hill, FL.

Who is your favourite character?