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First Timer Guide - Your Questions Answered


Apart from a recommendation from one of your friends the quickest way is to look through your Yellow Pages for addresses, you should find that all these are registered tattoo artists. If unsure, your local Environmental Health Department will be able to give you the address of any tattoo studios registered with them. We do not recommend any particular tattoo artist on artistic ability, as all tattoo artists have their own particular style. If we were to recommend a tattoo artist that did very good work and the style is not what you were looking for, you might be disappointed. We keep a list of telephone numbers of registered tattoo artists for telephone enquiries, please call between 11am and 5pm Monday thru Saturday. Our advice is to visit the tattoo artist on a busy day such as a Saturday, look at the work they have done on people waiting to be tattooed, watch the way that they work. If the studio looks clean and tidy (they all should as the health department will visit them regularly), and you find the tattoo artists' attitude to your liking, youcan ask about the tattoo that you are looking for.


A very common question, not an easy one to answer. From time to time some tattoo artists will take on an apprentice, this can last for 2 to 3 years. You would be expected to purchase your own equipment and sterilising units. There would be a charge for this. You will be taught the necessary skills gradually and will begin to put on your own tattoos after about 6 months. It takes around 5 years for a tattoo artists to become fully competent, and able to carry out the various styles of tattooing available today. There are no correspondence courses on tattooing that we know off, if there were we would not recommend them, as tattooing must be taught with "Hands on" experience, tattooing real people on living skin. It is illegal to tattoo without being registered with the local Environment Health Department, this comes under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions)Act 1982, Chapter 24. If you do not comply, equipment can be confiscated, you are liable to a massive fine (on a daily basis) until you prove you have stopped tattooing. Sterilising equipment must be checked and serviced regularly, all clinical waste must be disposed through a licence waste disposal service e.g. Rentokil Medical waste collection service.


We never give details of tattoo supplies unless you send a copy of your Health Department registration certificate. If tattooing equipment gets into the hands of amateurs the work looks terrible, they do not sterilise their equipment which is extremely dangerous, and they give the whole profession a bad name. We can put you in touch with some of the top manufacturers of tattooing equipment, an engineering company that specialises in tattooing equipment, custom built to your specification. They will only sell to registered tattoo artist.


This is published by the Tattoo Club of Great Britain at approximately monthly intervals, subscriptions for 12 issues are UK £20.00 (Europe £25.00) Back issues available. please send £1 per copy postage and handling. Rest of world, please ask for prices, Airmail is about £2.00 per issue. Each issue features News from around the world, convention details, dates, venues, reports, History of Tattooing. BOOK LIST A lot of enquiries come from students doing essays and thesis' on tattooing. Send for our book list. we list a few books that will be of help in finding information. Art, Sex and Symbol by Scutt and Gotch, Cornwall Books. ISBN 0 84534756 X 1974 This book is full of historical facts, the photographs are now very dated. The Japanese Tattoo by Donald Ritchie and Ian Buruma, Weatherhill Books. ISBN 0 8348 0149 3 1980 This book tells the history of Japanese tattooing. Memoirs of a Tattooist by George Burchett and Peter Leighton by Oldbourne Book Company 1958. Not an easy book to find sometimes found in second- hand bookshops. Full of fascinating anecdotes and facts, based on the diaries of famous tattoo artist George Burchett. Pierced Hearts and True Love by Hanns Ebenstein, Derek Verschoyle Limited. 1953 another hard to find book, but interesting reading. Skin Shows I, Skin Shows II, Tattooed Women, Skin Shows III , Skin Shows IV, Skin Shows V. Skin Shows 6 All books by Chris Wroblewski , all contain photographs of modern tattooing from various parts of the world, in full colour. We have a few copies of AWOL magazine, this has a 16 page tattoo magazine pull out centre section, photographs and short history of the tattoo machine. Cover price £1.80 These are postfree in U.K. (Europe add £2.00 postage.) Check for availability. A full up to date book list is available from Tattoo Club of Great Britain, 389 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 2BS. Tel +44 (0)1865 715253.


The Tattoo Club of Great Britain houses the British Tattoo History Museum, open by appointment only. Contact the club for opening times. A display area is constantly changed showing the work of artists throughout the world Here are a few answers to the most common questions that are asked about tattooing.


Tattooing has always been popular, more so in the past ten years or so. Especially with the new generation of rock bands many who are heavily tattooed. Also a lot of women and teenage magazines are featuring tattooing a lot more, many are giving away stick on temporary fake tattoos.


Yes it has been increasing over the past 10 to 15 years. But also a lot more people are aware of it now, there have been several books published on the subject in recent years. One of the main authors for books on tattooing is Chris Wroblewski who has done a lot over the past ten years to increase the awareness towards tattooing. This is also due to the increasing number of tattoo conventions, which started around 1975 in the States, and around 1979 in the U.K.


Just about everyone these days a lot more women are getting tattooed and also professional people. Tattooing has now done a full circle, in the late1900's royalty were getting tattooed in Europe, through the two world wars a lot of soldiers were getting tattooed and it began to appeal to the working classes and more tattoo shops began to open. In the eighties the work began to get a lot finer and detailed, so more women began to get tattooed. What is the most common design? Again just about everything you could think of, people these days are more influenced by other art forms, record covers, video game designs, Celtic art, tribal art. Most women like small feminine designs, flowers, butterflies, small birds, etc. But again unusual designs also; Bertie Basset, Super Mario, Bart Simpson, Strawberries off the yoghurt containers, flowers from wallpaper, designs from T shirts, pop records, etc.


Ask everyone this and they give you a different answer, but basically it comes down to everyone wanting to be different, and individual. It would be a boring world if we all wore the same clothes and drove the same cars etc. A tattoo is a permanent record of a particular time in your life, it cannot be lost or taken from you. The name of a loved one, friends that have passed away. That small tattoo you had on holiday? People who collect tattoos are like those that collect autographs, you are collecting a special experience, a reminder of a special time in your life.


Tattooing as we know it began with a few designs about 100 years ago, these were redrawn and more designs created from them. An American tattoo artist named Lew the Jew takes a lot of credit in the early years of modern tattooing. He was a wallpaper designer as the story goes, and started tattooing the end of the last century and drew a lot of designs that are still with us today.It is said, that he created the Black Panther design. In recent years we are influenced by all around us. Do you remember the old 33rpm gramophone records with the brown paper sleeves? just look at record covers today! We see influence everywhere. Now that we have tattoo books, magazines and conventions we see a lot more tattoo artwork so tattoo artists are now copying other tattoo designs that they see and add their own style and influence to the design.


Tattooing has not changed a lot since the introduction of the electric tattoo machine about 100 years ago. The design if first drawn or placed on the skin with a transfer and the line drawn around with a machine not unlike a small sewing machine which injects the ink under the skin. Like painters tattoo artists use different shape and numbers of needles for different jobs. Is the art still based on the old traditions? Modern day tattooing as we know it is done for arts sake, in past civilisations it was done as a right of passage, a mark that changed you from a child into an adult. These old traditions have mostly been lost over the years.


You can tattoo any parts of the body, most professional tattoo artists however will not tattoo the hands face or neck.

There are several tattoo conventions, Just look at our events listings page HERE


King Frederick (IX) of Denmark was tattooed, he visited George Burchett in London in the 40s to have the tattoo redone. George I of Greece was said to have been tattooed while serving in the British Navy, his wife Queen Olga was also tattooed it has been claimed. George V was a naval cadet in 1877 with his elder brother Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence. In 1870 whilst serving on the HMS Bachante they found themselves in Japan, and whilst there were both tattooed by Hori Chyo of Yokohama. George became King of England in 1936. Edward VII the eldest son of Queen Victoria. Prince Edward was tattooed before he became King in 1901. He was tattooed in Jerusalem by Francois Souwan, this first tattoo was a cross. He was later tattooed in London by Sutherland MacDonald and also Tom Riley. Lady Randolph Churchill was tattooed, this was Sir Winston Churchill's mother. Lady Churchill was tattooed by Tom Riley and had a snake around her wrist. Lord Lichfield has a sea horse tattooed on his arm, this was done by George Burchett when he was working in the Waterloo Road, London.


Here are a few tattooed people from the pop world: Jeff Pinkus of the Button Hole Surfers. Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Johnny Winters. Henry Rollins. Steve Tyler of Aerosmith. Wendy O'Williams. Jerry van de Made of the Rock a Fellas. Derry Brown of E.M.F. Jon Bon Jovi. Corey Glover of Living Colour. Adam Ant. Slim Jim, Stray Cats. Brian Setzer Stay Cats. Slade of New Model Army. Cyndi Lauper. W. Axl Rose. Mark Almond. Ringo Star, Phil Anselmo of Pantera. Joolz. Cher. Janis Joplin. Michael Falzarano, Vauxhall. Tommy Lee of the Rogues. Slash. John McVie and John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac. Peter Kaukonen. Jefferson Starship. Animal and Mr. Magoo of the Anti Nowhere League. Mick Geggus, Vince Riordan and Stinky Turner, Gass Wild, Lightning Raiders. Rich Thomas, Ron Young of the Kingpins. Gary Long and Bob Kingston, Tenpole Tudor. Cockney Rejects. Billy Idol. Nicki Six of Motley Cru. Lenny Kravitz. Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction. Billy Duffy of the Cult. Helen Wheeler, Helen Wheels band Nick Cave Chris Bond and Nez Pierse, Chris Bond and Band. Sarah Jane of the Belle Stars. Tommy Price, Mink de Ville. Dee Dee Colvin of the Ramones. Chas Smith, Madness. Filfy Phil and Lemmy, Motorhead. Angry Anderson of Rose Tattoo ,Peter Wells of Rose Tattoo. Sebastian Bach of Skid. Chris D. and Don Kirk of the Flesheater. Row. Ozzy Osbourne. Throbert of Primal Scream. Mick Fleetwood. Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Dave Barborossa of Bow Wow Wow. David Bryant of Bon Jovi. Rob Halford of Judas Priest. Brian Setzer.

So you now know a little more about tattooing, want to add some more questions?



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