Artist of the Month: Mike Roberts

Mike Roberts is a tattoo artist working out of Grizzly Tattoo in Portland, Oregon. His style is mainly old school with a tendency towards darker imagery such as horror movie icons, weapons, and the undead, but you can catch him making more Japanese inspired pieces such as flowers and dragons as well.

Wolf head and skull/drinking horn
Plague Doctor (fitting for the times)

Mike is the perfect artist to feature in October, as much of his work consists of the macabre; everything from wolves and spiders to medieval torture devices and undead warriors that give me strong Evil Dead and Army of Darkness vibes.

Gory devil stomach piece
Mouth of Sauron for all you Tolkien nerds

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to Mike in October, he’s tattooing spooky pieces all year round, doing both large scale pieces and one offs. Grizzly Tattoo is a must stop shop if you live in Portland or are passing through.

Crow and roses
Awesome medieval looking dragon on the ribs

What’s your favourite horror movie?

Bloody knight
Bloody guillotine
‘Tis but a scratch! Monty Python piece
centipede and spider both done by Mike

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Artist of the Month: Joey Ramona

Joey Ramona is a tattooer working out of Under My Thumb Tattoos in Toronto. They do old school tattoos while taking lots of inspiration from Jewish culture.

Gorgeous florals in old school colours
Jewish lady head from Joey’s flash

Joey strives to make a welcoming environment for all who wish to get tattooed, regardless of body type, skin tone, gender, etc. They are a fierce defender of Queer folks and also do their part to call out anti-Semitism, particularly in sub cultures of tattooing and alternative music. You can read an interview that features Joey and other Jewish artists here.

Bad ass Jewish heroine, Judith
Jewish lady head and flowers from Joey’s flash

When you check out Joey’s instagram (linked above) you can expect to see lots of flowers, (Jewish) lady heads, and Hebrew script intermingled with classic old school tattoo designs.

Spider lady and flowers
Ketubah-inspired flowers

Now (August 2020) Joey also makes face masks with other local Toronto artists, and has flash, shirts, tote bags, and more available on their Etsy.

Sofa and radio with a cassette around the corner
Healed cow girl, flowers, and dice

Be sure to check them out if you live in Toronto or are passing through!

“kindness” in Hebrew
hand drawn flowers

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Tsuchigumo Tattoos:

Tsuchigumo is a Japanese yōkai, or demon. It’s a creepy crawly beast that according to legend can grow to a monstrous size, big enough to eat a person with no problems.

Tsuchigumo as a NSFW shunga piece by Carlos Guerrero.
More American traditional style Tsuchigumo piece by Isaac Bushkin.

Tsuchigumo literally means “ground spider”, and is found in mountains, forests, and caves.

Traditional Japanese Tsuchigumo by Harriet Street.
Crazy neo-traditonal head piece by Alex Rusty.

In legends, these beasts live in silk tubes in trees and caves, from which they trap their human or animal prey. Think Aragog from Harry Potter or Shelob in the Lord of the Rings.

Tsuchigumo sleeve topper with a Hannya mask, done by Lukas Speich.
Bright and bold Tsuchigumo by Dani Ardila Escobar.

Like a lot of Japanese yōkai, particularly snake and spider ones, Tsuchigumo relies on tricks and deceit to catch their smarter prey.

Tsuchigumo with a traditional Japanese skull done by Rocky Burly.

For example, one legend tells of a Tsuchigumo using an illusion to torun itself into a beautiful woman, with an army behind her, to attach Japan. Warrior Yorimitsu met army on the battlefield with his own force, and first attacked the woman general. When she was struck by a sword she transformed back into a creature, while her army disappeared as it had all been an illusion. she ran away back to her cave where she was sliced open. This led to thousands of babies spilling from her swollen abdomen, but each one was killed by the Japanese warriors.

Black and yellow Tsuchigumo done by Nero Morte.

Many more tales feature Tsuchigumo using illusions to trick their prey, leading to many people being eaten by the giant spider-beast.

Traditional Japanese Tsuchigumo as part of a sleeve by Jason Lambert.

As a tattoo, Tsuchigumo is usually done in a traditional Japanese style, as it comes from Japanese folklore. Though it can also be done with a more American traditional twist, Neo-traditional, or realistic style. It pairs well with Japanese warriors, or as fillers with webs, skulls, or flowers.

Big thigh Tsuchigumo by Ricardo Araya Con.

Which piece is your favourite?

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Winnipeg Artist 12: Joel Mijker

Joel is an artist working out of Rebel Waltz Tattoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Classic cry baby.
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Big panther and a snake locked in battle.
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Deconstructed anchor and a bit of a seascape/sunset.
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Fingers crossed.
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Swallows and a heart for mom.
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Spooky demon.

Joel does classic American traditional tattoos. He has plenty of flash to choose from, or you can bring an idea to him.

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Good luck horseshoe. This design used to usually be done with the horseshoe facing upright, to keep the luck in. But now people seem to get it upside down more and more, seeming to be a sign of making your own luck.
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Nice vacation in a bottle with this one.
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Geisha with a beautiful kimono and umbrella.
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Blackwork stomach with geometric flowers and peony. Lots of lines!
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Black rose and Bert Grimm crying heart.
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Mean looking spider and crying eye.

Joel does both colour pieces as well as blackwork.

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Blackwork peony in more of a Japanese style.
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Twisty dragon, an American take on a Japanese design.
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Geometric vase and wrap around snake.
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Traditional Aboriginal lady head.
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Fortune teller lady head and Bert Grimm tiger head.

You can search him up on Instagram and see when he is doing walk-ins, or contact him and set up an appointment.

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Sleazy Mickey.
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Blackwork snake.
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Tough boxer and rose in blackwork style.
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Butterfly for a gap filler.
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Crowned Jesus blackwork piece.

Joel sticks to the classics, and does it well. He has crisp bold lines and solid shading, all within a readable trad piece.  He is a must visit artist if you’re in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Artist 11: J. Majury

J is the owner of First String Tattoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works in a number of styles including black and grey, Polynesian, black work, realism, Japanese, and neo traditional.

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Fantastic coverup with deer skull, flowers and a book!
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Massive peacock. Look at those details in the tail feathers!
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Realistic black and grey Japanese Kitsune and skull.
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Big sugar skull inspired rib panel.

He does both large and small pieces, from sleeves and back pieces to tiny one shot pieces!

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Creepy crawly head tarantula.
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Some feathers and an awareness ribbon.
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Healed black and grey lighthouse.
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Viking themed frost giant on a bloody rampage!

You can check out his flash on his Instagram or in person and choose something cool, or talk ideas with him!

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A lovely loon covering up some old script.
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Neo traditional lady head.
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Japanese koi fish as a chest panel to lead onto a half sleeve.

As well as working in Winnipeg, J also guest spots in Saskatoon at Rites of Passage Tattoo.

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Neat drawn on Polynesian inspired piece.
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Polynesian elephant.
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Bright neo traditional owl!

If you’re looking to have some ink removed he can also do that for you as he does laser tattoo removal right out of the shop. If you’d rather have a piece covered up he does lots of that too.

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Brilliant brightly coloured sleeve with some skulls and flowers.
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Healed Where the Wild Things Are themed piece.
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Realistic black and grey snow leopard.

He has an incredible attention to detail and is sure to make you happy with any style you choose.

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Huge flower for a coverup.
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Fresh and healed. Sugar skull and a more nature themed skull.
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Healed shots of an octopus sleeve.

J is a must visit artist in Winnipeg or Saskatoon!

Artist of the Month: Brando Chiesa

Brando Chiesa is a “pastel gore” artist based out of Florence, Italy.

Ryuk death note
Ryuk from Death Note, drinking some brains, no big deal.
Elfen lied piece
Elfen Lied inspired piece.
cardcaptor sakura severed head
Cardcaptor Sakura inspired severed head piece.
tokyo ghoul Ken Kaneki
Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul.
purple kitsune and
Purple Kitsune and kanji characters with Japanese masks.

Brando’s work features a whole lot of pink, yet still manages to be terrifying.

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Horror slave character.
digimon Garurumon
Badass Digimon piece. Garurumon.
horror school girl
Horror/hentai school girl.
Lil peep inspired piece also based on Rem
Lil Peep inspired piece based on a gender swapped Rem from Death Note.

He mixes graphic imagery, mainly from anime shows and movies, with pastel colours. Along with anime (some hentai) and manga, Brando also takes inspiration from Japanese mythology and folklore.

berserk demons and monsters
Berserk inspired piece with monsters and demons.
galactic parasite
A graphic galactic parasite and alien lady.
more sailor moon
A gory Sailor Moon slut.
nure-onna Japanese yokai
Nure-Onna Japanese Yokai.

His designs are mainly either sexy or terrifying. Featuring lots of anime women in tight clothing, and creatures and monsters you wouldn’t want to meet in real life.

bunny and skull neck piece
Bunny and skull neck piece.
Haku and no face from Spirited away
Haku and No Face from Spirited Away.
kinky sailor moon piece
A kinky semi-nude Sailor Moon piece.
pokemon umbreon and gengar with DS
Pokemon piece with Umbreon and Gengar, along with a pink DS.

Brando does do some darker colour work but the vast majority of it is pastel. His darker work has more of a neo traditional look to it, while the pastel pieces are a bit of a mix of neo traditional and hyperrealism.

filler skull spider
Terrifying filler spider skull piece with black web.
Japanese kitsune
Neo traditional Kitsune.
spooky snake piece
An angry looking snake filler piece with Japanese mask.

Brando is a must see artist for your anime/manga needs!

Artist of the month: Gakkin

Gakkin is a (mainly) blackwork and freehand artist working out of Amsterdam after first working in Kyoto.

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Blackwork raven across the back of the neck.
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Large octopus sleeve and chest piece.
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Bodysuit featuring birds, flowers, wind, and clouds.
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Huge snake torso piece.

His pieces are all large scale. Full sleeves, large torso pieces, back pieces, and bodysuits.

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Gruesome namakubi (severed head), with hair that flows into an almost cloudlike state.
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Massive crane back piece with clouds, waves, and koi.
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Negative space stomach hannya as part of a full bodysuit of mainly solid black.
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Red flowers on heavy black leg sleeve, with white spider web.

He collaborates often now with another Japanese blackwork artist, Nissaco. The two work well together, and their pieces flow seamlessly into each other.

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Bright flowers within a dark backdrop.
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Chrysanthemum with Japanese noh mask.
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Back of a bodysuit featuring negative space geometric designs.
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Beautiful blackwork moon and cloud back piece.

His work is largely inspired by nature. Everything from wind, water, flowers, mountains, the sun, and the moon, and animals.

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Large brushstroke style.
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Geometric, blackwork sleeve.
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Large chrysanthemum as part of a sleeve.

Gakkin also takes direct inspiration from ancient Japanese painters, adding his own interpretations.

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Waves and wind in these nature sleeves.
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Part of a bodysuit featuring wind and waves.
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Bright red flowers on heavy black.

Though he mainly works with black, he does also add splashes of red to draw the eye. In an interview with Tattoo Life, he said about working with black “I believe that black is the most important color in tattooing. Every ancient tattooing culture – Maori, Japanese, and Polynesian – considers it as such. It just works better than any other color on the skin.” (www.tattoolife.com)

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kuchisake-onna ghost, from stories dating back to the Edo period.
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Tsuchigumo, the Japanese spider demon.
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Collaboration piece done with Nissaco at the London tattoo convention 2017.

Which piece is your favourite?

Winnipeg Artist 8: Jan Veldman

Jan Veldman works at Gypsy Cat Tattoos in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Matching Russian nesting dolls with totem designs.
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Blackwork death’s head moth.
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Big ole’ werewolf and red moon.
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Badass cobra with witchy hands.
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We all float down here… Pennywise and balloon.
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A Salvador Dali inspired piece.
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Traditional ship with flowers.
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He’s late! Black and grey white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
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Terrifying snake lady with barbed wire.

Jan’s style can be characterized as neo traditional and new school, with a hint of American traditional thrown into the mix. He tattoos everything from classic roses to characters from shows and movies.

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Ghost sheet tattoo with some classic flowers.
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Devilish baphomet in black and grey.
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American traditional style Jesus Christ and cross.
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Hobo cat doing his thing!
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Japanese good fortune Maneki Neko cat.
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A drunk Speedy Gonzales.
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Road Runner and Wile E Coyote.
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Creepy new school spider with eyeball.

Most of Jan’s work is bright and bold, but he doesn’t shy away from some brilliant black and grey work either!

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Neo trad woman and wolf head.
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Classic and deadly scorpion with red background.
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A ghostly Bart Simpson with some script and trad flowers.
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Cute little cactus with budding flowers.
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Bender!
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Bright red chameleon.
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Adorable Michelangelo with his favourite food.
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Super cute new school cupcake.

Bring in your own design or pick one of his. Whatever you choose, Jan is a must see artist in Winnipeg!

Artist of the Month: Dan Gagné

Dan Gagné is an artist working at Loveless Tattoo in Montréal, Canada. Dan’s tattoos are perfect for the month of October, and those who love Halloween and horror year round. His work is mainly American traditional and blackwork, and is heavily inspired by horror movies. His work often features monsters and other icons of classic horror movies and stories.

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Bright Creature from the Black Lagoon with unlucky number 13.
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Ghostface from Scream with phone and knife.
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Creepy witch with hard black shadow.
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Fantastic werewolf and full moon.
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Huge mostly blackwork Alien torso piece.
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Creepy crawly spider head tattoo.
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A sinister looking Dracula!
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The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth.
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Norman Bates and loving mother from Psycho.
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Battle of the monsters with Godzilla and King Kong!
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Nasty looking Gremlin. Don’t get it wet!
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Alien from Mars Attacks!
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Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th!
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Creepy skull and vampire bat with red moon.
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A startled looking Leatherface with his pretty mask and chainsaw.
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Matching loving undead.
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Jason Voorhees Vs. Michael Meyers. Friday the 13th and Halloween.
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The Demogorgon! From Stranger Things, featuring the classic light bulbs.
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The mighty Count Orlok from Nosferatu.
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For all the bookworms and halloween lovers. Book, vampire skull, and candles.

What classic Halloween/horror design do you want?