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Naturally, Ghostline drags the current millennium’s “inkto” tattoo stencil making

Dip-and-rip tattoos need little to no forethought, which appeals to some of us. And anyway, tattoos aren’t supposed to last forever, so what’s the big deal? Some people favour a more deliberate strategy. Getting a delicate, complex tattoo may take a long time, as many people who have one will attest. In an effort to bring tattoo parlours into the 21st century, Ghostline has released an iPad app.

At this point, the whole tattooing business seems hopelessly dated. Improvements have been made to tools and machines, but technology has not yet penetrated the field beyond the use of batteries and maybe digital art forms. “We’ve been spending the same amount of time for years, and it just seemed obvious to me that there has to be a method that I could optimise the process of generating a stencil, particularly for artists that make realistic artwork,” said London Reese, founder of Ghostline. We have iPads, software, and sketching tools galore, but none of them can convert that artwork into a stencil I can print out and use on my skin. Time spent on it each day might range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. That’s always been a part of the procedure, but I questioned, “Wait! Oh, I bet I could whip up something just like that!

Reese sees the advantages in being able to spend more time tattooing and less time making stencils; he often feels guilty about the time he spends away from his family or the money he loses.

Specifically, the software takes the role of stencilling in the production process. In the past, a picture would need to be passed through a Thermofax or similar thermal copier after being hand-designed and hand-traced using a stencil. This carbon stencil may then be used to create a permanent tattoo or body art. Rather of having to manually trace, you may use the app. It also has some other tools that come in handy when you need to enlarge your design and print it out on numerous sheets of stencil paper or stagger your tattoo sessions.

We figured out how to make the app AirPrint-compatible, allowing us to send print jobs from within the app to a high-tech ink-jet printer. Tattoo stencil ink will be used in the printer, and stencil paper will be used in place of regular printer paper, as explained by Reese. In other words, “all you have to do is print it out, cut it out, and stick it on your body.”

To demonstrate how it all works, Ghostline made a short film with Reese himself:

There are options inside the software that enable you to enlarge photographs and print them over many pages in a grid. Automation makes the procedure consistent, allowing for precise measurements to be taken and stored on the tablet computer. It may be removed, stored, and then reapplied at a later time, weeks or months later, to seamlessly continue an existing tattoo.

“You know, there is a cool old-school mentality in tattooing that I hope never dies. You learn the way of the forefathers of tattooing and you do it that way and you don’t bring anything else into it, because it works,” Reese laughs. “I love that. However, I’m a modern man in modern culture. If I can find something that will allow me to optimize my workflow, I’m all about it. I’ve been trying to optimize my workstation and my workflow for years, and this is just one little element of it. I don’t mind that some guys aren’t gonna like it or are gonna think it’s not for them. That’s fine. That’s tattooing. That’s art. Right? We all have a process.”