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

Why Do We Care About Give? - Carson Hill

Understanding Give: Mechanical vs. Digital

"Defining 'give' in rotary machines should align with its function rather than borrowing terminologies from coil machines." — Carson Hill

Carson Hill brings a wealth of knowledge and innovation to the tattooing industry. His mission is clear: to create the best possible tattoo machines that enhance both the artist's and the client's experience. Carson's insights into the concept of "give" are particularly enlightening. Traditional coil machines and modern rotary machines operate on fundamentally different principles, which affects how "give" is understood and implemented.

Direct Drive Machines and Chipped Motors

One of the central themes of this episode is the distinction between direct drive and chipped motors. Direct drive machines push the needle forward and pull it back directly, with no mechanical cushion. This can lead to what's known as "bogging" when the machine encounters resistance from the skin. The slowing of the motor increases the dwell time, or how long the needle contacts the skin, potentially causing more trauma.

In contrast, chipped motors boost power when encountering resistance, maintaining RPM consistency. This ensures a steady performance, reducing the likelihood of trauma and allowing for quicker skin penetration. Carson Hill prefers the slight slowdown of direct drives, finding it more natural, while others, like Ty Pollotta, appreciate the boosted performance of chipped motors.

Mechanical Give and Tattoo Trauma

Mechanical give, a feature in coil machines, involves a cushion or dampening system that shortens the needle's stroke, reducing skin trauma. Rotary machines, like the Neuma 4, mimic this effect through innovative cam designs. Understanding these differences is crucial for artists seeking to optimize their equipment for different styles and techniques.

Factors Influencing Dwell Time

Dwell time, or how long the needle stays in the skin, plays a significant role in tattoo trauma. Factors like hand speed and the design of the cam system in rotary machines affect this. Symmetrical cams offer an even profile, ideal for large fields of color or black, while asymmetrical cams slow down needle insertion but maintain a quick recoil, reducing unnecessary trauma.

Innovation and Personalization

Carson Hill's Neuma Tattoo Machines stand out for their interchangeable cam systems, allowing artists to customize insertion and retraction times. This flexibility ensures that artists can find the perfect setup for their hand speed and style, enhancing both efficiency and client comfort.


In sum, the right setup for your tattoo machine is a matter of personal preference and experimentation. Whether you prefer the natural feel of direct drives or the boosted performance of chipped motors, finding the right balance will improve your efficiency and the client's experience. Carson Hill's contributions to the tattooing industry through Neuma Tattoo Machines exemplify the importance of innovation and personalization in this art form.


Learn More: 

Tattoo Science: Why Do We Care About Give? | Carson Hill | EP 239

Understanding the Lifetime Value of a Client in the Tattoo Industry - Jesse Drach

In a recent Fireside Tattoo Network podcast episode, Jake Meeks delved into the dynamic world of tattoo industry marketing with Jesse Drach, the visionary behind Ink-Link Marketing. Jesse, whose journey into the industry began with a passion for tattoos at 18, has since grown Ink-Link into a powerhouse helping over 300 tattoo shops triple their client bases.

The Evolution of Marketing Strategies

Jesse's insights are rooted in a deep understanding of digital marketing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. He emphasizes the importance of targeted advertising to reach ideal clients effectively. "Just show off your work," he advises, stressing the value of directly addressing potential clients in ad copy to resonate with their interests.

Maximizing Client Relationships

Central to Jesse's philosophy is the concept of the Lifetime Value (LTV) of a client. This metric goes beyond initial transactions, focusing on the long-term revenue generated by each client relationship. By nurturing these relationships through exceptional client experiences and personalized communication, tattoo artists can maximize their LTV.

Strategic Use of Reviews and Geofencing

Jesse highlights the pivotal roles of Google reviews and geofencing in enhancing local visibility and reputation management. Positive reviews not only attract new clients but also contribute significantly to SEO efforts, boosting organic search rankings. Geofencing, on the other hand, allows precise targeting of potential clients within specific geographic areas, optimizing ad spend for maximum impact.

Crafting Effective Ad Campaigns

Another key takeaway from the episode is Jesse's approach to crafting ad campaigns tailored for specific outcomes. By repurposing high-performing organic content into paid ads and meticulously analyzing cost-per-lead metrics, tattoo artists can achieve better ROI and engagement.

Enhancing Communication Strategies

Communication, or "speed to lead," emerges as a critical factor in converting leads into clients. Jesse emphasizes the need for prompt responses to inquiries, drawing parallels with customer expectations in other service industries like plumbing. Effective communication not only secures immediate business but also fosters long-term client loyalty.


In essence, Jesse Drach's expertise underscores the transformative power of strategic marketing in the tattoo industry. By leveraging digital platforms, understanding client lifetime value, and prioritizing exceptional client experiences, tattoo artists can thrive in an increasingly competitive market. Whether you're a seasoned tattoo artist or a shop owner looking to expand your client base, integrating these insights can pave the way for sustained growth and success.

For more insights and detailed strategies discussed in the podcast, be sure to connect with Jesse Drach and explore the resources available through Ink-Link Marketing. Harness the power of digital marketing to elevate your tattoo business and cultivate lasting client relationships.

Watch the full episode: 

Lifetime Value of a Client Jesse Drach EP 281

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!