Fireside Tattoo Network

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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

You Don’t Have To Be A Mechanic To Run A Rotary Machine - Carson Hill

You Don’t Have To Be A Mechanic To Run A Rotary Machine

[21:32] “I always had trouble keeping my coils perfectly tuned, they were always a little erratic and unpredictable. And the best ones for some reason are heavy. Probably because their made from brass or iron and those work better than aluminum [for stability]”

— Carson Hill

Nothing beats the precision and tactile feedback offered by a finely tuned coil machine, but the maintenance of such machines can be quite challenging, especially for those less “mechanically inclined”. These devices can be rather erratic, heavy, and less ergonomic, influencing the overall tattooing experience. Prolonged exposure to the machine's vibrations could lead to potential nerve damage unless proper hand exercises are consistently applied.

On the other hand, the pen-style rotary machines, with their ergonomic design and consistent performance, hold an advantage over the traditional coil counterparts. The less complex nature of rotary machines, in comparison to the technical demands of coil machines, likely contributed to the resurgence of rotary devices. This shift made tattooing more accessible to a broader spectrum of artists, allowing them to focus on honing their artistic craft rather than wrestling with the intricate mechanics of coil machines. It's akin to the distinction between an automatic and a manual transmission.

another type of rotary tattoo machine

Watch the full episode: 

Tattoo Gear: The Problem With Rotaries Carson Hill EP 238

The Efficiency of Coil Machines — Carson Hill

The Efficiency of Coil Machines

[16:44] Relating to rotaries “it wouldn’t necessarily be 10%, but it wouldn’t matter because the needle still gets in and out really quickly. It doesn’t have to go through that motion of completing a cycle.”

— Carson Hill

There’s something elusive about coil machines that rotaries have a very hard time replicating. The motor in a rotary machine needs to make one full rotation in order to make the cam drive the needle up and down, increasing the amount of dwell time, or time the needle spends inside the layers of the skin. Because of this you have to be extra careful since there is a lot more potential for the needle to cause skin trauma. 

With coils there’s a phenomenon called “give” that’s created from the needle interacting with the skin. The resistance from the needles puncturing the skin creates a small disruption in the up and down motion of the armature bar, and this disruption makes the needle far less likely to dig too deep into the lower layers of skin.

diagram of the dwell time of each type of tattoo machine

Because of “Give” a coil machine can make for a much faster and smoother experience for the tattooer when laying down lines, packing in solid fields, etc.. Because of this efficiency you’re a lot less likely to cause serious trauma to the skin and have unnecessary swelling or scarring.

Watch the full episode: 

Tattoo Gear: The Problem With Rotaries Carson Hill EP 238

All Fireside Tattoo News


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!