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

The Paradise Tattoo Gathering: A Unique Blend of Art, Community, and Growth.

Nestled in the serene town of Western Massachusetts, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering stands out from the typical tattoo conventions by offering an unparalleled experience that attracts globally renowned tattoo artists and those seeking artistic enlightenment. This event is more than just a showcase of talent; it provides an ideal setting for deep focus and creativity, fostering a community of generous and open-hearted professionals dedicated to mutual learning and growth.

A Gathering Unlike Any Other

The Paradise Tattoo Gathering offers a unique atmosphere that distinguishes it from other conventions. Set in a tranquil locale, artists can immerse themselves fully in their craft without the distractions of a bustling city environment. This serene backdrop fosters creativity and deepens one's artistic focus, making it a favorite among top-tier tattoo artists worldwide.

A Community of Generosity and Learning

What truly sets this event apart is its community of generous and open-hearted tattoo professionals who come together to showcase their work and engage in mutual learning and growth. These artists are driven by the desire to exchange ideas, share techniques, and form lasting connections. Unlike many conventions where financial gain is the primary focus, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering emphasizes the importance of community and the shared pursuit of artistic excellence.

Conversations with Amy, Derek, and Jake

In a recent conversation with Amy Nicholls, Derek Youngberg, and Jake Meeks, the unique aspects of the Paradise Tattoo Gathering were explored in depth. They discussed the event's impact on artists' careers, the invaluable networking opportunities it provides, and the introduction of a scholarship program to support aspiring tattoo artists.

The Evolution of Tattoo Education

The Paradise Tattoo Gathering has played a significant role in the evolution of tattoo education. Derek Youngberg highlighted the importance of mentorship and the event's emphasis on inclusion and diversity. "Everybody's coming from different backgrounds and experience levels. It doesn't matter if somebody was an apprentice there to learn or had been in the game for 20-plus years. Everybody was on the same level," he said.

The Scholarship Program

One of the most exciting developments discussed was the launch of a scholarship fund for aspiring tattoo artists. This program aims to provide opportunities for those who may not be able to afford to attend the event. Derek emphasized, "This scholarship opportunity is for somebody who can't afford to get there. It's not just about the education; it's about that networking platform they will find when they get there."

Amy Nicholls also spoke about the reinvigorating effect of the event on artists who feel they have plateaued in their careers. "For anybody out there who maybe could afford it but is hungry for that next step within your tattoo life and is feeling like you don't know what's next within your tattoo career, you feel like it has plateaued, and there's it's just a job for you, at this point. I feel like paradise can give you new wings. It can connect you with people that can reinvigorate your business model and talent."

Supporting the Future of Tattooing

Amy, Derek, and Jake also discussed the importance of community and giving back. They emphasized the scholarship fund's significance in helping young tattoo artists find their way to a brighter future within a supportive and inclusive community.

You can play a part in supporting this vibrant community. Consider donating to the Scholarship Fund to help young tattoo artists attend the Paradise Tattoo Gathering. Your contribution will be matched up to $10,000 by Coalition Tattoo Supply and Tattoo Career Builders, doubling the impact of your generosity. You can also nominate an artist to receive a scholarship or be considered for one.

Join the Movement

The Paradise Tattoo Gathering is more than just an event; it's a movement dedicated to the growth and development of the tattoo industry. By supporting this gathering, you contribute to a community that values artistic excellence, mentorship, and inclusivity.


Check out the whole episode to learn more

Free Ticket to Paradise Amy Nicholls Derek Youngberg Paradise Tattoo Gathering

Unlocking the Power of Thumbnails: Why You Need This Essential Design Technique

Hey there, tattoo artists and design enthusiasts! Let's delve into a technique that can revolutionize your tattoo design process: thumbnailing. These small, rapid sketches can significantly enhance your designs; we're here to explain why. Discover the game-changing benefits of thumbnailing and how you can start implementing it right away!

Importance of Thumbnailing in Tattooing

"Thumbnailing is crucial in solving shape and value issues in tattooing before diving into intricate details."

— Jake Meeks

Thumbnailing empowers you to create quick, simple sketches that develop your tattoo designs. It's a crucial step that allows you to solve major design problems related to shape and value early on, ensuring a smoother and more efficient tattooing process. By focusing on big shapes first, you avoid getting bogged down by intricate details too soon, leading to more compelling and cohesive compositions. This process puts you in control of your design, allowing you to refine and perfect it before adding the final touches.

Okay, How Do I Thumbnail For My Next Tattoo Design?

"I'm just thinking about the simple shapes that make up the design I want to make."

— Jake Meeks

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Start with Simple Shapes
  2. Create several quick sketches based on the general shape of the body area where the tattoo will be placed. Don't spend too much time on this—outline the potential areas and add a bit of musculature if needed to help define the flow.
  3. First Set of Thumbnails
  4. Use a complementary color palette or just black/pencil and white paper. Utilize basic shapes like cylinders, cubes, and spheres to outline the primary shapes and areas of the design. Spend about 2 minutes on each thumbnail.
  5. Refine Your Thumbnails
  6. Identify which compositions work best. Pick your strongest three and spend another 2-5 minutes refining those before moving on.
  7. Final Phase
  8. Out of the three refined thumbnails, choose the absolute strongest one. Spend another 2-5 minutes adding quick details before finalizing your design and moving on to the total value/color study.


In just 20-30 minutes, you've created a visually appealing tattoo design and saved yourself from potential design issues. This efficient process allows you to focus on what you do best-creating stunning tattoos for your clients.

Actual Benefits Of Using Thumbnails In YOUR Tattoo Design Process

"No one has ever solved a problem by complicating things or adding complexity. You only solve things by simplifying, and thumbnailing is the perfect tool to simplify your problems."

— Jake Meeks

Thumbnailing simplifies the design process by ensuring the basic shapes and values are effective before adding details. This approach emphasizes the importance of simplicity in tattoo design, helping you avoid wasting time on complex, ineffective designs. By repeatedly refining thumbnails, you can achieve the best possible composition, leading to more successful and visually appealing tattoos. This process instills confidence in your design choices, knowing that you've thoroughly considered the basic elements before moving on to the details.


"If it doesn't work dumbed down, if that arrangement of shapes you choose isn't pleasing to the eye, you will not fix it by adding fancy stuff. You will notice that cake and make it good; you'll waste a lot of time making a mediocre tattoo."

— Jake Meeks

Thumbnailing is a powerful tool for simplicity and efficiency in your tattoo design process. It's your secret weapon. So, the next time you embark on a design, don't overlook the thumbnails—embrace them! Start using this technique today and watch your art (and your clients) thrive.


Learn More about THUMBNAILING: 

Drawing For Tattoo Design: Thumbnailing Will Make You a Better TattooerFor Sure Fireside Technique

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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!