Dragon's Den: The Tattoo Preview Pitch
05:12 PM

To be filed under "Would You Stop Making Tattooed People Look Like Idiots": In the video above, Biker Mike pitches an idea to scrounge money off tattooing and gets shot down in the Dragon's Den, a BBC program that "sees entrepreneurs pitching for investment from some of Britain's Canada's top business brains." Mike asked for $150,000 and offered a 30% interest in the company.

Here's what Biker Mike proposed: 

A website where people can do the following: (1) upload a photo of the body part they want tattooed; (2) choose from a variety of popular 80s/early 90s flash (like the neo-tribal dragon) and place it on that body part via "breakthrough" software; (3) print out the image and take it to a tattoo shop for actual inking. This is all free. The money to be made outta this? Naturally banner ads on a "viral tattoo community"(!), plus referral fees paid by tattoo artists to attract clients who want that neo-tribal dragon.

What did the top business brains think?

In their own words: "It sucks." They said the technology was simple and gimmicky ("my son could create this in our garage") and most importantly, it will never make money. But we say there's more suckage to it...

What do the fried brains of Needles & Sins think?

1. Two dimensional designs on a two dimensional photo of a body part does not make for a "tattoo preview" because ... wait for it ... we are three dimensional beings. [I hear your collective gasp.]

2. The wonderful French artist Loic Zimmerman actually created a 3D CGI Tattoo Program in 2007 to preview how his own tattoo would look. [Details can no longer be found on Needled.com, but check Gizmodo for a quick review.] Essentially, he created artwork for a sleeve, scanned his body, and placed the design on his 3D doppleganger. He gave that design to tattoo artist Arnaud of Reimes, and while much of the design wound up in the finished tattoo, it still had to be changed because the body is not an easy canvas. One of the main changes was to the tight spacing in the computer design because it didn't properly account for the way lines may bleed out on skin, particularly the spreading as we age.  [Loic sent me photos of the finished tattoo, which are posted on our Flickr page.]

3. Bad flash is bad flash. Beautiful flash is beautiful flash. From what Biker Mike proposed to place on an investor's head, his business uses the former.

4. Saying you'll make money through banner ads is like saying you'll become rich from a lemonade stand. Banner ads barely buy the lemon peel in your martini.

5. And enough with "viral tattoo communities"! Us tattoo nerds loved our Rec.Arts.Bodyart boards (yes, I'm that old), then BMEzine (which remains the largest bod mod community), then along came InkedNation, InkedInc, neve rmind the multitudes of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter tattoo pages. The need to whine to others over how expensive tattooing has become and pontificate over the best healing method has been filled.

4. As for the presentation itself, if you start your pitch saying that "tattoos are mainstream and no longer for bikers," don't show up looking like a biker (and end your presentation saying that you could've been ruder, bringing out the biker in you).

Granted, I've brought out the Brooklyn girl in me with my own brand of rude, so I'll end here with just one plea to those wishing to make a quick buck: Leave the art we love alone. 

Direct YouTube link to the video. And mucho thanks to the amazing Matt Lodder for that link

Just a quick rectification, Dragon's Den isn't a British show from the BBC, but a Canadian show and it airs on CBC every Wednesday.

Thanks, Dom. Made the change!

Has this guy never heard of Tattoodoodles?

There is a site out there that does this basically, for really cheap - www.previewyourtattoo.com. well at least the 2d preview part. I've used it for my tattoos, just to make sure I get the right size picked out and even bring the print to my tattoo artist to aid him.

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