Digital Tattoo Design Using Astropad

Sep 22nd, 2016
Savannah Reising

Since the release of iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, tattoo artists have envisioned the potential for a more digitized workflow. Turned off by the high price tag and single-use functionality of the traditional Wacom tablet, the iPad Pro is a more accessible tool for tattoo artists. Alex Ellis — owner of Forget Me Not Tattoo Studio & Gallery in Ocala, Florida — shares how he has integrated Astropad into his business.

Do your tattoo designs follow a specific style or theme?

My style of work is more on the traditional side. I like bold, clear imagery that is easy to read from across the room. That being said, I also think it’s important to be open to other styles as well. As an artist it can be very inspiring to dabble in other styles and incorporate a little of your own flare.

What’s your design process like? 

I first take a tracing and photos of the area I will be tattooing. With the iPad Pro I can now draw directly onto the photos to get a better idea of how the tattoo will fit the body. Not only are there some quality native drawing apps, such as Procreate and Sketchbook, but with the Astropad app and my MacBook I can use programs like Photoshop and Clip Studio.

How did you decide to get an iPad Pro? 

When I was making the transition to digital art I was torn between the iPad Pro and the Wacom Cintiq. I liked the portability of the iPad, but the idea of being able to draw directly into Photoshop (a program I had used for years and was comfortable with) was very intriguing. After some research I came across the Astropad app and it was a no brainer for me at that point.

What have been the biggest changes to your workflow? 

Switching to digital design in my shop has made things run more smoothly and efficiently.  It allowed us to be able to make multiple color studies and variations in a fraction of the time. It’s also great for saving supplies. Before, I drew with markers and went through many rolls of paper — which added up. And it’s not always easy to find a big, flat surface to draw on comfortably.

Being able to draw at any size on a device that fits in a backpack is definitely a game changer for the on-the-go artist. I spend multiple hours a day drawing for appointments, so I like that I can rely on Astropad to function smoothly through my design process — especially since the most recent updates!

Do you think that the digital design process helps to prevent tattoo remorse?

I definitely feel like it has helped in situations where a client may be unsure of a placement or color.

What’s the most satisfying part about being a tattoo artist?

The reaction on a satisfied client’s face. It’s a great feeling to have someone so into your art that they want to put it on their body for the rest of their life.

More insights into digital tattoo design: The Tattooers Guide to the iPad Pro

Instagram: @alexellistattoo / @ipadprotattooteam

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