Studio Ghibli Tattoos

Studio Ghibli is often called the Disney of Japan, and Hayao Miyazaki the Walt Disney of Japan. Studio Ghibli is the most well known Japanese film studio, having won many awards over the years.

Brilliant full sleeve of Ghibli characters from some of the most famous Ghibli movies. Done by Andy Kurth at Electric Chair Tattoo.

Studio Ghibli was officially founded in 1985 after the success of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which came out in 1984. The character of Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro is the company’s mascot, but the company’s most popular film is Spirited Away, which has won multiple awards such as a Golden Bear, and an Academy Award.

Totoro done in watercolour style all by Anton YellowDog at Mad Fish Tattoo in Moscow.

The company is most associated with award winning director Hayao Miyazaki, but the company also has other talented directors such as Isao Takahata, Yoshifumi Kondo, Hiroyuki Morita, Gorō Miyazaki, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

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Forest spirit from Princess Mononoke by Adam Machin at Three Kings Tattoo.
Neo-traditional Princess Mononoke by Juan David Castro Ramos.

The film company has many amazing movies, with brilliant characters that have captured the hearts of fans all over the world. Fans around the world have immortalized Ghibli characters on their skin with the help of some amazing tattoo artists.

Sketch style Haku in dragon form by Caro at Utopian Tattoo Tribe in Ireland.
Haku and No Face from Spirited Away by Russel Van Schaick in Florida.
Realistic No Face from Spirited Away with background, by Jes-Tay at Keys on Kites Tattoo and Gallery.
Dotwork No Face from Spirited Away by Goldie Bold in Istanbul.
Howl’s Moving Castle and other characters by Athena Chan at Solo Tattoo in Hong Kong.
Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Victoria Kurtz at Bananafish Tattoo Parlour.
Giant guardian from Castle In The Sky, by Kalatu at Gristle Tattoo in NYC.
Bright little Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, by Tiggy Tuppence at Briar Rose Tattoo in London.
Dotwork and blackwork designs from Grave of the Fireflies by Fabian Pedroza at Good Fortune Tattoo.

What is your favorite Ghibli movie?


Pin-Up Girl Tattoos

Pin-up girl tattoos have been a popular design since around 1890 when magazines started to feature photos of scantily clad women. These women were usually famous actresses or models. These images became even more popular during world war one and two when men went off to war and wanted to carry a picture of their sweetheart (or favorite actress) on their arm for good luck or as a reminder of what awaits them back home. Eventually these designs were seen as crude, but now men and women wear them with pride. Women in particular often get them as a sign of their feminist beliefs of empowering women.

Pin-ups started in the American traditional style, and that is usually the style people still go for today, although more people have been getting pin-ups in black and grey, neo-traditional, and realism along with American traditional.

An American traditional pin up of a sailor girl by Luke Gould at Skeleton Man Tattoo in Oxford.
Neo traditional pin up head with a neck tattoo and rose by Diego Mata in Mexico City.
Punk rock pin up girl with leg tattoos by Moira Ramone.
Girl Power pin up by Me Gus in France.
Half skull half face pin up head by Anatol Krygowski.
Full body pin up modelled after Dita Von Teese done by Stephen Kelly in Glasgow.
Black and grey realistic pin up by Aaron King at Life Family Tattoo in the UK.
Another realistic black and grey pin up by Sir Focus at Street City Tattoos.


Artist of the Month: Dust “Horitsuki” Wu

Horitsuki is a tattoo artist and owner of Galaxy Tattoo 3 in Hong Kong. He studied under Nicckuhori, the god son of the brilliant Horiyoshi III, in Singapore before finding his own style within Japanese traditional art, despite working in China.

He has gained recognition throughout Asia and Europe, travelling as a guest artist. He does all the classic Japanese designs such as hanya masks, snakes, koi fish, fu dogs, and flowers. However it is dragons that he is most famous for. He is nicknamed the Dragon King in Europe.

Fu dog hand piece.
Brilliant Hanya with a bold placement.
Colourful chrysanthemum.
Ghost lantern.
Koi and cherry blossom sleeve.
Koi and cat piece.
Matching foot namakubi.
Beautiful, bloody namakubi.
Bold red Oni.
Traditional smoking frog.
Beautifully detailed Japanese tiger.
Angry dragon head.
Dragon head and claw.
Dragon chest piece coming off of a sleeve.
Gorgeous dragon back piece with flowers.

Horitsuki is the guy to see if you’re in Hong Kong.

Tattoo History 4: Pirates and Tattoos

There is much debate over the idea that pirates were tattooed. Pirates in this case existing in the Golden Age of Piracy which was 1650-1730, though piracy existed before and after, and still exists today in a more modern form.

Thanks to popular culture many people assume that pirates during this time period would have had tattoos due to their lives of crime. In the popular films Pirates of The Caribbean, Jack and other pirates do have tattoos and body modifications, as do a number of the pirates seen on the show Black Sails.

Captain Jack has a ‘P’ branded on his arm, meaning that he is a pirate, as well as a tribal piece from his sailing travels, and a sparrow design on his arm, hence the name. On his back is also the poem the Desiderata, meaning that the world has both joys and troubles. This poem also speaks to Jack’s tendency towards non-violent methods of resolving problems (for a pirate anyway). Johnny Depp (the actor) also has many of his own tattoos, and they were not covered for his role as Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack with all of his tattoos showing.

Black Sails features pirates with tattoos such as the character Mr. Gates, who has the iconic naval tattoo “Hold Fast” tattooed across his knuckles, as well as an all seeing eye in a pyramid on the back of his head, which nods towards the esoteric linkage of pirates to secret masonic groups such as the Knights Templar. These ideas were all researched by the actor playing Mr. Gates, Mark Ryan. Other tattooed or bodily marked characters from the show are Albinus (portrayed by Garth Collins), as well as Joshua (portrayed by Richard Lukunku) who features large scarification pieces that would have been done in Africa where his character is from. There are other minor characters from Africa who also have scarification.

The back of Mr. Gates’ head featuring one of his tattoos.
The pirate Albinus with facial and arm tattoos in tribal patterns.
The pirate Joshua with large scarification arm piece and pointed teeth.

Realistically it is unknown if pirates had tattoos or not. They were criminals who frequently visited places such as Africa and the Polynesian Islands, both of which had rich body modification taking place at this time, which makes it plausible.Historically, Captain James Cook and his crew brought tattoos to the forefront of European culture after their voyages to New Zealand and Polynesia in 1771.

Captain James Cook.

We know that pirates also visited these and other islands before that, so it is plausible that they would have been tattooed on the islands, or at the very least seen tattoos being done, and copied them. If not tattooed, at the very least some pirates would have had some marks on themselves in the form of brands and, or, scarification. Many pirates were either African , Irish, or other European slaves, and all groups were quite often marked cruelly by their captives as proof of their enslavement. Many people brought from Africa would have had art made by scarification which has been done for centuries. These designs made by pricking the skin so it protrudes outwards in magnificent designs were for social rankings, age, gender, and certain rituals throughout life. It is estimated that approximately 90% of pirate crews were made up of former slaves (these were men either freed from slavery who became pirates, escaped slaves, or freed by pirate raids and joined them).

Large scarification back art.

The argument against pirates having tattoos is more one of plausible deniability on the part of pirates. Pirates would often be caught, and if one was to try to deny being a pirate, why would they have marked their bodies permanently showing that they were in fact a pirate, as tattoos were still seen as quite criminal at this time. As well as the fact that historical descriptions and paintings of real pirates such as Edward Teach (Blackbeard), Charles Vane, (Calico) Jack Rackham, Mary Read, Anne Bonny, William Kidd, and other famous pirates were usually seen wearing clothing that covered their whole bodies (hiding potential tattoos). Though pirates may not have been the tattooed miscreants we often think of, they certainly did have piercings through their ears and noses, though they would often be removed for battle so they would not be caught on a sword. Piercings were part of the pirate look, but also a superstition. It was believed that a golden ring would save one from drowning, as believe it or not, many sailors at this time couldn’t swim.

Drawing of Calico Jack Rackham.
Blackbeard in battle.
Anne and Mary in battle.

Whether or not pirates were tattooed, they were fearsome fighters not to be trifled with. If you would like more information on pirates check out the books The Republic of Pirates, Under the Black Flag, and Pieces of Eight: More Archaeology of Piracy.

Winnipeg Artists 2: Reuben Todd

Reuben is a tattoo artist working out of Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg. His main styles are American traditional and Japanese. Along with tattooing, Reuben also paints; mainly Japanese inspired images.

Reuben has years of experience under his belt and is a pleasure to be tattooed by. Even while tattooing my stomach which is quite a tender area, he was able to take my mind off the pain with conversation.

My own blackwork American traditional stomach piece.
Blackwork American traditional clasped hands and dagger with flowers.
Peter Pan inspired piece with pan flute and script.
Blue traditional rose.
Matching knee ditch Halloween pieces. A witch and Casper the friendly ghost.


Reuben has been doing larger pieces recently including half and full sleeves. His American traditional pieces are reminiscent of the old days, but have a twist of newer style, particularly while tattooing lady heads.

Ladyhead with apple and different coloured eyes based on his clients photo.
Large healed ladyhead with new traditional wolf below.

His Japanese work is bold, often featuring waves or flowers, which really make the main center piece of the tattoo pop. His Japanese work is generally done large in a arm or leg sleeve.

Japanese dragon 3/4 sleeve with fire.
Full Japanese leg sleeve with koi, waves, and leaves.
Japanese snake sleeve with waves.

Reuben is a must see artist for your traditional or Japanese tattoo needs.

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