Fireside Tattoo Network


Helping Tattooers Become Tattoo Artists Since 2013

Podcasts, Tutorials, Workshops and Courses Designed for the Tattoo Community

Start Your Tattoo Education With The Fireside Method

"Nobody solves a problem by adding complexity".

Thats why we focus on design principles rather than "tattoo tricks".

Fireside Foundations is our flagship beginner course which introduces the Fireside Method of Tattoo Design. If you are new to tattooing or have been tattooing a while without a great understanding of fine art principles, this is the course for you.

Fireside Simplify was designed for intermediate to advanced tattooers who are looking to become more efficient and define their personal style. This course will help you to make better choices quickly by using "if/then" scenarios. You will follow Jake's design process from consulation to full color design, to stencil on skin.

Not sure which to choose? Join the Inside Fireside Tattoo Club to spend some time getting feedback from your peers, participating in drawing challenges, and get real prizes mailed to your door.

Finally, if you aren't ready to purchase, just join our Tattoo Tips Tuesday newsletter and cruise around the site watching and reading the huge amount of free tattoo content we offer

Videos & Livestreams

Breaking Through The Shapes of the Old Tattoo

Breaking Through The Shapes of the Old Tattoo

“To cover that band, I was going to need some big, beefy, kind of chunky shapes.”

- Jake Meeks

Cover up designs require careful consideration when it comes to the kinds of shapes used; they must effectively break apart, conceal and integrate with the problematic area. It's a good idea to section off or chunk out the old tattoo into smaller areas and shapes instead of trying to just cover the whole thing in one go.


hammer head shard armband cover up tattoo

When you have a thick black armband like this, making huge wide shapes can create motion, fluidity, and direction in your design. For example, Jake used the blocky shape of this hammerhead shark to cut through the band at an angle which draws viewers' attention up into the waves before leading them down, past the old tattoo towards the other elements of the design.

You’re also going to need to make multiple passes at this stage, so packing in a layer of white into the thick dark areas at each pass can really help to break those shapes down even further. Now, you’ll never really be able to get rid of the black completely, this only lightens it about 15-20% every healed layer. This starts to neutralize the area and gives you some extra workability room to come in later with other shapes and colors.

adding in white ink to tone down black ink

Lastly for this section, the key to ensuring the new design stands out over the old one is contrast. Make sure the new design has darker features and hues compared to the original tattoo, as this will make a huge difference in separating both designs.

Watch the full episode:

White Ink Over Black Ink!?! | 3 Minutes to Better Tattooing |

Plan As If the Client is Getting their Whole Body Tattooed

Plan As If the Client is Getting their Whole Body Tattooed

“I didn’t think I’d have to deal with that tattoo. But, as we start the first block-in sitting, the client mentioned that he wants to cover the band and move past it.”

- Jake Meeks

Tattooers doing large scale work, often when asked about their process for starting a design, mention planning ahead "as if" the client is getting their whole body tattooed. Ensure that you are taking into consideration not just the area you're going to work on, but also leaving room or shapes for potential additional tattoos or designs to be added on later. Not only does it make it easier for you or the next person, but it makes it easier and more satisfying for the client.

Coexist armband tattoo before cover up

Planning out the design as if it will become a full sleeve is really ideal, and gives you a chance to think of some “What If” scenarios. Things like running up against existing tattoos when the client wants to extend the piece, what other ideas the client might have down the road, or in the case of the clip what would you come up with if they DO decide it’s time for a cover up.

octopus shoulder cap

Honestly, it's really common for the client to change their mind or get inspired mid-tattoo. So always keeping that in mind and planning ahead “just in case” can keep you from getting into tight spots. And, could really be incorporated into most of your process and design choices.

Watch the full episode:

White Ink Over Black Ink!?!

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This course has really changed me as an artist, it's changed the way I look for references, it's changed my approach to tattoos, it's changed my mindset to tattooing. My wife still brings up the course a lot, actually, every time I do a tattoo that she likes, she praises this course.  I couldn't thank you guys enough for allowing me a chance to take it.  I appreciate what y'all do for tattooing.  


The reason I joined  this course is because I found myself stuck in my mind after two years of a tattoo apprenticeship. I thought I could draw but actually I do lack of a solid foundation and logical understanding about the way I drew.  After joining the course, starting from a basic concept - shapes/ values/ shadows/ edges that really helped me to rebuild the core structure of a drawing. This is important for me to realise what kind of mistakes that I used to make. Furthermore, I think this course is very well-planned, from a foundation concept to the creative thinking process which is all we need to know as an apprentice or young tattooist, the sooner the better. I know it is a long way to keep going and become a good skilful artist, however really appreciate what Jake trying to combine his knowledge from different fields and share it with the new generation artists.  Last but not least, I learnt not only the skills but also the true attitude from the fireside team. I wish every success to the Fireside Tattoo Network  in the coming future. You guys rock! Respect!