Tattoo Smart recently launched Craig Brock’s Stars & Dots, a collection of Traditional stamps and brushes.
When he began work on this project, Craig initially intended to make a flash set for himself with the imagery he loves and uses the most in his tattoos. Inspired by American Traditional themes, and including the most popular neo-traditional motifs, what started as a personal project quickly grew into a flash stamp set Craig knew could benefit any tattooer working in this style.
Stars & Dots includes 100 designs of the most common tattoo requests, ranging in size from small gap-fillers to complete scenes that can be the foundation for large-scale work.
Ahead of launch, we sat down with Craig to learn a bit more about his personal and professional life. We hope you enjoy!
Craig is a family guy, a Georgia native, and advocate for normalizing tattoos in the Bible Belt. He got married relatively young and had two daughters before starting his career in tattooing in 2008. Craig completed his apprenticeship at Karmic Tattoo in McDonough and spent time tattooing in Florida and Maryland before making his way back to the Peach State at Ink & Dagger.
We sat down to chat with Craig, to get to know him better as a person and a tattooer.
I don’t know if there’s anything interesting to tell people about me. I’m just a regular ol’ guy with a family, and that occupies a decent amount of my time and attention. Over the years, I’ve figured out a way to adjust my schedule to have more time at home and that’s the driving force behind anything I’ve tried to push myself to be. I want to make sure they’re taken care of. It all comes back to them really.
Before tattooing, Craig worked in a variety of industries from restaurants and grocery stores to electrical work and even at a skate shop where he became friends with the local tattooers. He got his chance at Karmic Tattoo where he learned the fundamentals and then decided to move to Florida and focus on Traditional, where bold colors and soft Black and Grays hold up in the sun.
Craig understands the difficulties of working in a tourist town. It was very challenging for him to build clientele and work on large scale projects in an area where folks were only around for a week at a time. He worked at a few shops and did a stent at a private studio that looked more like an antique store than a tattoo parlor. The artists had established clientele, some starting tattoos at 8:00 pm, and there were rarely walk-ins. That vibe didn’t mesh well with Craig’s family lifestyle, and after six months another opportunity presented itself.
Craig moved to Maryland to work with Dave Kruseman, a tattooing inspiration known for his large scale work and modern twist on old school imagery. Dave’s studio is situated in the middle of battlefields and farmland, and Craig was able to begin booking clients immediately since the shop’s demand was so high. After 3 years, the clientele began to learn Craig’s style and trusted him to execute tattoos with creative freedom.
Hearing the call to come home to Georgia, Craig snagged a spot at Ink & Dagger and is now close to his family and friends.
It’s a lot of pressure as a dad and as an artist, but it’s also a driving force to make me try really really hard to make it work. To push myself to the next level. To the next opportunity that presents itself. I’m not the type of person who will pass on an opportunity that could be a good thing.
We asked Craig about his technology adoption journey, starting with a Generation 1 iPad he used strictly for storing artwork and reference materials. But then he noticed other artists using the iPad for digital design and slowly over time, Craig began to draw more and more on the iPad.
Tattoo Smart has made it so much easier. I’m a visual learner. We can sit here and talk about a design for hours, and we are picturing something completely different. Tattoo Smart allows me to see what the client is actually thinking and wants. Let’s say they want a sea, with a lighthouse and some palm trees. Scratch that. We want a ship. And a treasure chest on the beach. With the Tattoo Smart setup, we can easily get a visual of what all those different things would look like and you can give them the option of where you want to go. Without it, I’m not drawing six different half sleeves - It’s a lot of work. By cutting some of that work out, it allows you to communicate with the client and work though that initial thought process.
We would love to see how you use Stars and Dots. Craig challenged you to make something weird and funky with unique color schemes. Perhaps you want to put some stamps together in a large sale piece? Whatever you make, be sure to tag us #madewithtattoosmart. You can follow Craig on Instagram @craigbrocktattoo.