The Evolution of the Tattoo

Tattoos have been around for so long that there’s no real consensus on or when, why, or where the practice started. But, based on historical and archaeological evidence gathered thus far, the art of tattooing has been practiced for millennia.

It was just a couple decades ago, a group hiking in the Alps discovered remains that would prove that man has had tattoos for over five thousand years. This particular specimen was literally covered in markings, from his ankles to his neck.

Still, it’s only in recent years that we’ve seen a surge in this ancient art. In fact, based on information from the Pew Research Center, approximately 40% of millennials have at least one tattoo.


Tattooing Throughout the Ages

Nowadays, tattoos are used as a form of self-expression but, back in the day, things were a lot different. For instance, in some cultures, they were used to let everyone know that the wearer had committed a crime.

When the first emperor of China was in power, he wanted to prevent the passing on of knowledge. To accomplish his goal, he deemed books illegal and began burning all he (and his loyal followers) could find. Anyone that was found with the offending item (like a scholar or an intellectual) were tatted on their foreheads to let everyone know about their crime.

Things weren’t much different in Japan except that one didn’t receive tattoos for having books in their possession. Instead, first offenders got a line mark on the forehead, second offenders got an arc added to the line, and those who got caught a third time would get another line. When placed together, the markings formed the Japanese hieroglyph for a dog.

In the Pacific Ocean, however, tattoos were considered to be an art form. These drawings were used to tell stories or depict family lineage. In these places, having a tattoo was something to be proud of and both women and men were expected to get at least one in their lifetime.

When Europeans came to these islands, the travelers were amazed to see people covered in markings. They developed a fascination with them and pretty soon sailors were sporting them as well. Unfortunately, due to their rough nature, tattoos became associated with shady characters – a stigma that remained in place until about 50 years ago.

Tattoos in the Workplace

One of the biggest fears associated with getting tattoos revolved around employment. Tattoos were not considered to be professional… at all. Many employees thought that, similar to purple hair, tattoos would prove to be a distraction in the workplace.

There are some employers who still feel the same, they haven’t gotten past the rebellious stigma that was once associated with these works of art. But, the changing perception of tattoos is making these antiquated thoughts a thing of the past.

Based on a Pew Research Study done in 2013, almost $2 billion are spent every year on tattoos. Furthermore, about 14% of all Americans have tattoos and the percentage is significantly higher in those between the ages of 18 and 25. This is a huge portion of the population.
Thus, if employers use tattoos as a way to dismiss potential employees, their pool of applicants will dwindle quite a bit. As a result, employers are coming to terms with the fact that tattoos are a growing phenomenon and something they will have to accept.

Tattoos are no longer for just members of the military, rebellious teens, or criminals. Now, you will find that middle class working women and men, parents, celebrities, doctors,- you name it – are now sporting tattoos.

Tattoo Culture Now

Tattoos have now taken over pop culture and can readily be seen in TV shows, online, and more. Because of popular tattoo shows, like Miami Ink, the average man was given the chance to see the inside of tattoo studios and the amazing work being done at these places.

As a result, people are becoming more open-minded about covering their bodies with artistic representations of their personalities. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to walk down the street without seeing at least one person sporting a tat. Thus, it’s no surprise that the tattoo industry is one of the fastest growing retail businesses in the country.

What’s Next for The Tattoo Industry

Because of the internet and popular tattoo-focused TV shows, the tattoo industry is expected to evolve in ever-innovative ways. We’ve already seen a rise in styles that are unique and diverse. And, this trend will continue to grow, especially as the younger artists start making a name for themselves.

In today’s chaotic and fast-paced world, tattoos offer us a sense of permanence and identity. Tattoos show other people who we are in a way that can’t be deleted like an Instagram or Facebook post. But, we mustn’t forget that it wasn’t always like this. In this way, learning about the evolution of tattoos helps us gain a deeper appreciation for the art form.

Picking The Perfect Tattoo – What You Need To Know

Because of their permanence, picking a tattoo can be a stressful event. What if you make the wrong decision and it haunts you for the rest of your natural life?

To help shoo away the specter of regret, there are a number of factors to consider before you make your final decision.

They include:

  • Design style and placement
    Tattoo artist

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With everything that’s entailed, it’s important that you take your time and get as much information about tattoos as possible. To make it easier on yourself, consider the following tips:

Why Do I Want a Tattoo?

  • The first thing that you want to do is think about the reason why you’re getting tatted in the first place:
    Is it a lifelong dream?
    Do you want something that commemorates a special event in your life?
    Are you doing it for to please someone else?
    Are you just happy that you are finally old enough to get a tattoo without parental permission?

Answering these questions (and any others that you may think of) will help you determine how serious you are about getting a tattoo. You don’t want to get tatted on a whim.

Will Getting A Tattoo Affect My Employment?

Not everyone looks at tattoos in a positive light and, although self-expression is a personal thing, going ahead with this step may affect you in the workplace and other important areas of your life.

No matter how strong your desire to get tatted, it’s most likely not worth losing your employment. And, the buck doesn’t stop there – you should also check to see if the organizations you are involved in have any rules that prohibit tattoos. You may be surprised. Whether it’s a pleasant surprise remains to be seen.

Picking Your Design

Tattoos are incredibly personal, so it’s vital that your chosen design accurately reflects who you are. The best tattoos represent something that you are attached too, enjoy, and/or love. It may even be in honor of someone else.

If you already have a specific idea in your head but can’t find any good representations online (or in books for that matter), consider putting pen to paper. Although you may not be the best artist in the world, this may be all that’s needed to give your tattooist a better idea of what you are trying to accomplish.

Also, if you want a word or a phrase inked on your body, you must do even more research. Think about it – how many times have you seen tattoo fails (words spelled wrong, Chinese characters that don’t mean what the tat recipient thinks they do) on the internet? It is for this reason that you must get a good understanding of the meaning of the words you want to be inked on your skin, their origins, etc.

Finding the Perfect Location for Your Tat

Another important consideration when picking out the right tattoo design is its location. Do you want everyone in the world to notice your tattoo or would you prefer that your ink is a little more discreet? Consider the clothes that you wear, how your hair is usually combed, and the things that you love to do. Will these factors affect how often your tattoo is seen?

To help you pick the right spot:

  • Get a printout of the design you are interested in and ask your tattoo artist to recreate a temporary version on your ideal location. This will help you get an idea of how the final product will look.
  • Consider getting a henna tattoo. These types of tats are temporary (they tend to last for anywhere between a week and a month.) But, it’s important to note that, the color options with this choice are limited, usually to brown.

Going through with either one of these options will give you an idea how your tattoo will look in a certain place as well as the size that’s best for what you are trying to accomplish.

Picking the Right Tattooist

Do you want your tattoo done in the black and gray realism style? Do you want a portrait? Picking a tattooist that specializes in the type of ink you want is just as important as your ink’s design, size, and placement.

All artists are not created the same so this is where the advice of others can come in really handy. Don’t just go into any studio, make sure that the tattoo artist that you are interested in has lots of good reviews from both current and former customers. Also, take a look at his or her portfolio to see if he can indeed do the kind of art that you want.

Getting a tattoo isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. Give yourself enough time so you can do your due diligence and pick the right tattoo for you. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are happy with the finished product. Good luck!

What You Need To Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and get your very first tattoo. Now, what?

For many of us, tattoos are considered to be a permanent form of self-expression. And, while expressing yourself is a beautiful thing, it is this permanent nature of the tat that deems it necessary for you to learn as much as you can before making a commitment.

This year marks my 25th Anniversary as an artist and I'm proud of what the industry has achieved.

Beauty is Pain

Getting a tattoo is a painful process but, the level of pain varies based on the size of the tattoo and where you get it. The places that inspire the most complaints are the ribs, fingers, feet, knuckles, knees, elbows, and other areas that are close to the bone. The knee and elbow pits are also sensitive.
Generally, fine lines feel like a cat scratching you slowly with a single claw. Shading feels like an eraser being rubbed against the skin over and over again. But, the good news is, when the tat is over, so is the pain. And, you’ll have a great new piece to show off for your trouble.
Do Your Research

We don’t want to put a damper on your desire to get a tattoo but, these personal pieces of art shouldn’t be an impulse buy. It’s recommended that you take your time and do some research before the needle ever pierces your skin.

Tattoo design: Your tattoo will probably be with you until the end of your days, so a timeless design is best. A Bugs Bunny tattoo may look great on a 20-year-old body, but it probably won’t do a 40-year-old any justice.

To find the perfect tat, check out tattoo magazines or do an online search to get some design inspiration. If you want something that fits your personality, consider getting a custom tat. You can also ask the artist to add custom elements to a popular design to make it uniquely yours.

The shop: When researching the tattoo studios in your area, word of mouth is an invaluable resource. But, if you don’t know anyone who’s sporting the quality of ink you want, head online and check out reviews of your favorite studios. Are they clean? Well organized? If the answer is no, you may want to choose another studio to do your tat.

The artist: One of the first things you must consider when choosing an artist is his or her specialization. Most tattooists have a preference and are skilled in one area more than others. For instance, some tattoos are masters at creating realistic designs while others are able to make even a simple flower look like a masterpiece.

Furthermore, the artist you pick should be licensed and trained, with the proper certifications. Also, he should have a portfolio for you to look through that showcases his best work. Like any other type of art, your chosen artist’s work should speak to you. If it doesn’t, keep looking until you find an artist you truly respect, admire, and whose work you will be happy to show off on your body.

If you want your ink done by a real pro, chances are you will be put on a waiting list. Take this time to do the needed research to ensure that you are genuinely ready to take the next step.

Err on the Side of Caution

Although beautiful, a new tattoo is essentially a fresh wound. And, like any other scrape or cut, it’s at risk for disease and infection. To minimize your risk of anything untoward, follow these tips BEFORE you head into the tattoo parlor:

  • Make sure that you’re up to date on your immunizations, especially your tetanus and hepatitis shots
  • If you have a medical issue (like allergies, heart disease, diabetes, immune-related disorders, etc.) ask your doctor about any special concerns or precautions you should take
  • If you are prone to keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue), you should probably avoid getting tattoos altogether

Picking the Right Spot

If this is your first tattoo, don’t be surprised if the artist refuses to tat your hand or your neck. There’s a good reason for this. We are often judged by first impressions and those who have tattoos on prominent parts of their body are generally perceived in a negative light.

This may not matter in most cases, but it may affect your employment since visible tattoos are considered to be unprofessional. You don’t want to mess with your money and picking the wrong spot for your first tattoo may lead to unintended consequences. In other words, if you want to get your knuckles tatted, consider the repercussions first.

It’s ok if you are still wondering about the location of your tat when you arrive for your session. Your tattoo artist will be able to give you advice about the optimal size and placement of your ink for longevity and quality. He or she may also inform you about technical factors that probably never crossed your mind i.e. how the curvature of your muscles will affect the tattoo or how the ink will stick to your skin’s pigment.

Preparing for a Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is akin to running a mini-marathon. So, it’s important that you prep yourself beforehand.

One of the first things you must prepare for is the possibility of unwanted bleeding. To avoid excessive bleeding and possible damage to your new tat, stay away from the following blood thinners for 24 hours before going to the studio:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Aspirin

You may also want to increase your consumption of foods that contain Vitamin C, like sweet vegetables and citrus fruits. They possess healing properties that will help your tattoo heal faster. In addition:

  • Drink a lot of healthy fluids like herbal tea, juice, soup, and water to help you remain hydrated
  • Eat before your appointment to give your body the fuel and sustenance it needs to last a few hours on the tattoo table

What To Bring and Wear to Your Tattoo Session

Tattoos aren’t usually a one-hour affair, so wear loose clothing to ensure your comfort. Doing so will also give the artist easy access to the body part getting tatted.

A sweater or jacket will come in handy as well. Sometimes, a long tattoo session will make you shiver, which indicates that your body is going into shock. Staying warm will reduce your discomfort.

Other items you will want on hand include:

  • Breath mints
  • Music and headphones
  • Water bottle
  • Change of clothes
  • Snacks
  • Tattoo aftercare cream

Hygiene is Key

During your session, you and the tattoo artist will be in each other’s personal space for hours. Don’t be the stinky customer that plagues your tattooist’s nightmares. So, before leaving home, make sure you:

  • Shower with soap
  • Brush your teeth
  • Put on clean, fresh clothes
  • Don’t overdo colognes or perfumes
  • Put your hair in a ponytail
  • Wear clean socks

Be Open Minded

If your tattoo artist suggests something that may enhance your chosen design, pay attention. He or she is an expert whose job is to provide you with the best experience possible.

If you are unsure about this advice, don’t be afraid to ask questions. This isn’t to say that you should go with his or her recommendation, only that you should keep an open mind.

The Price

With tattoos, you get what you pay for so you cannot expect a masterpiece for dirt cheap prices. Artists that charge low prices tend to cut corners. Do not sacrifice the quality of your tattoo just because you want to save a couple dollars.

Your tattoo will be with you for life and, as such, you will want to make sure it’s of the highest quality. And, there’s no way around it, a good tattoo from a respected and talented artist will cost a pretty penny. But, it’s also important to note that, the actual price will vary depending on the style and size of the tat you want.


Ok, you’ve suffered for your art and we commend you for your determination. But, the process isn’t quite over yet, we still have to discuss tattoo aftercare.

Taking proper care of your tattoo after you’ve left the studio is essential. Neglecting this aspect will surely see you back at the tattoo parlor because of faded ink or the doctor because of infected skin.

Thus, to prevent any unexpected/unpleasant experiences:

  • Keep a bandage on the area for at least one hour after getting your tattoo
  • Don’t touch the tattooed area or pick at any scabs that may have formed
  • Wash the tattoo with antibacterial soap, peroxide or alcohol will dry it out. Use a soft towel to pat (not rub) it dry
  • If you are not allergic to antibiotic ointment, use some on your tattoo
  • If you see any swelling or redness, put an ice pack on the tattooed area
  • Avoid getting the area wet until your tattoo is fully healed. This means stay away from hot tubs, pools, or long hot baths
  • Keep your tattoo away from the sun until fully healed. If this is something you can’t avoid, put on sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 before heading out. Doing so will protect your skin and prevent any fading
  • Increase your consumption of onion and garlic. Many naturalists believe that their antimicrobial properties help a great deal
  • Avoid eating dairy products, sugar, and processed foods. These items are believed to slow down the body’s healing process

Also, if you notice any signs of infection, like excessive tenderness or redness around the area, pus, prolonged bleeding, or changes in the skin color around the tattoo, contact your doctor right away.

There you have it – virtually everything you need to know about getting your first tattoo. Good Luck!

11 Astonishing Facts About Tattoos

Did you know that the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby prompted worried parents to tattoo their children? This is just one of the amazing facts that populate the storied history of tattoos.


Intrigued? Check out 11 more below:

What’s in a Name?

The word “tattoo” comes from the Polynesian word “ta” which means “to strike”. This describes the sound that a tattooing spike makes when it hits the skin. The first recorded references to the word “tattoo” are located in the reports of a naturalist named of Joseph Banks, who sailed with the infamous Captain Cook. Before they brought the word to Europe, tattoos were called “marks”.

Now, That’s Commitment

There’s a man walking around with 99.9% of his body covered in leopard-spot tattoos. But, believe it or not, he is only the second (you heard that right) most tattooed man on the planet. The honor of being the first is held by Lucky Diamond, a street performer who lives in New Zealand. His entire body (even the inside areas of his foreskin) is covered by tattoos.

Tattoos are Forever

The oldest body in existence belongs to the Iceman, an individual who lived circa 3300-3200 BC. But, that’s not his only claim to fame, this ancient man also has the oldest preserved tattoos ever seen. And he didn’t just have one, he has well over seventy in various places on his body. But, perhaps, what’s most intriguing is what scientists found when they x-rayed his skeleton. The scans revealed that there were instances of joint disease under every tattoo. This suggests that the Iceman’s tattoos were placed in those specific spots as a way to help him alleviate his pain.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Anthony Garcia, a gang member in California, was arrested for driving with a suspended license a few years back. It was during this time police officers noticed that a tattoo on his chest accurately depicted a liquor store robbery that occurred a couple of years before. After being questioned, the unlucky man confessed and was ultimately convicted of committing the crime.

Hannah Montana Forever

Stephen Baldwin, one of the infamous Baldwin Brothers, has an HM (short for Hannah Montana) tattoo on his left shoulder. It is a result of a pact made between Baldwin, Kayla Bell, and Miley Cyrus. The condition was, if he got the tattoo, they would let him make a cameo on the popular show. Baldwin lived up to his part of the bargain but the same can’t be said for Hannah. Baldwin has never made one appearance on the series.

Stop! Don’t Shoot!

Back in Soviet Russia, prisoners would get tattoos of Stalin and Lenin engraved on their body. They believed that this practice would save their lives because guards weren’t allowed to shoot at images of the nation’s leaders.

Macy’s True Legacy

Many of us are familiar with the red star on the Macy’s department store logo. But, I bet you didn’t know that it is a depiction of a star tattoo that a young RH Macy received while working on a whaling ship.

Beauty is in the Eye of The Beholder

There is an orangutan named Sibu that resides at a zoo in the Netherlands. His caretakers have tried their best to get him to mate with female orangutans, but their efforts have all been in vain. It seems this picky orangutan is only sexually interested in his human caretakers. But, that’s not all, his favorites seem to be blondes with tattoos.

American Born and Bred

It wasn’t always common practice for sailors to tattoo their bodies. The tradition began as a way for them to prove that they were American citizens and thus, avoid being forced into service for the Royal Navy.

It’s a Family Affair

America’s first professional painted lady went by the name of Nora Hildebrandt and she toured the country with the Barnum and Bailey circus in the 1890s. Her father, Martin Hildebrandt, was the first professional tattoo artist in America.

It’s All About the Money

Kimberly Smith, a devoted mother, got Golden Palace tattooed on her forehead a few years back. Doing so enabled her to come up with the money to pay for her son’s college tuition. This marked her as the person on the planet to tattoo an advertisement.



Las Vegas has always been known for the glitz, the glamour and its insane night life, but they’ve also become famous for fine cuisine, world class resorts and now it can include tattoos.

Skin Design Tattoo has become the leading purveyor of the fine art tattoos in the Las Vegas area. Aside from their stunning work, their attention to detail is evident in everything from the products they carry, the artists they employ all the way to the way they designed their HQ.

With a 4,000 sq. ft. state of the art facility, Skin Design Tattoo wanted to make sure that the Vegas experience doesn’t end at the Strip. Located just a few minutes from the infamous Strip, Skin Design has become a global icon housing some of the best black and grey tattoo artists in the game.


So if you’re looking for portraits, landscapes, memorial tattoos – or even laser tattoo removal – then stop on by and see what we’re all about. With over 50 years of collective experience, our staff is geared at providing the ultimate tattoo experience and all consultations are free so stop on by.



Would you do it?

Getting a tattoo using the ashes of a loved one might seem morbid to some, but for others it’s the ultimate form of love of dedication. According to one tattoo shop manager in Toronto, “Ashes are essentially carbon and carbon is the main ingredient in black ink”. To read this full article on here.


Lil Wayne vs. 2 Chainz.

Even though it sounds like rapper Lil Wayne had his nuts squeezed in a vice, he still does a good job in this collaborative battle against 2 Chainz. Directed by HdotRoss, the battle track features a cool video which is very reminiscent of 80’s style rap battles.



It’s been said that the devil is in the details, and here’s the proof. This latest black and grey tattoo by the legendary Fernie Andrade, shows off his remarkable skill in creating realistic tattoos that draws the viewers eyes into the details of this majestically orchestrated piece.

Done a few weeks ago, this is a prime example the work that comes out of Skin Design Tattoos. At Skin Design, we pride ourselves in being one of the best shops in the Las Vegas area so if you’re in or around town be sure to stop on by. Aside from Fernie Andrade, we have a house packed with award-winning and internationally published tattooists who specialize in everything from realism, color, black and grey, portraits and lettering. No job is too big or small, and we take great pride in giving all of our customers the ultimate tattoo experience.



Joan Sebastian tattoo by Fernie Andrade. 

This memorial tattoo of Joan Sebastian was done by Las Vegas tattoo artist, Mr. Andrade. Mr. Sebastian was the fabled Mexican singer/songwriter who rose from the ranks of a poverty-stricken childhood in Mexico, and became one of the most recorded, acclaimed and best selling acts in Mexico.

Aside from being a musician, Joan Sebastian was an accomplished producer, actor on both television and film but set all those aside and he was known as being one of the best entertainers of our time. Some of his accomplishments include insane Billboard charts, up until his passing.

He charted 10 top 10 sets on Top Latin Albums, including two No. 1s: En Vivo: Desde La Plaza El Progreso De Guadalajara (2001) and 13 Celebrando El 13 (2013), his last studio album.



SDT Family, Lee Happs, takes home Runner Up in Best Portrait Category for his Kris Kristofferson tattoo.
Just a few weeks ago, SDT Family Lee Happs entered one of the larger tattoo shows in UK. That show, called Tattoo Freeze, is presented by Skin Deep Magazine and out of 100’s of entries, Lee was awarded Runner Up in the category for Best Portrait.
The tattoo he showed was done by Las Vegas tattoo artist, Fernie Andrade, and the very detailed tattoo is of legendary actor Kris Kristofferson and the rig he drove in the movie Convoy.

 Convoy Movie Trailer. 
Lee will be back this year to do some additional work so we’ll keep you posted on any new updates and a big thanks and pat on the back goes out to Lee as well as Skin Deep Magazine for recognizing his art work.