Best Ink Blog

Judge's Corner: Joe's Final Blog of Season 3!

Watch Pete Announce the Winner of 'Best Ink 3'!

1. Sabina Kelley and Laird Hamilton.

Sabina's Top 5 Highlights from 'Best Ink 3'

Darnell's Deadly Sins Flash Challenge from Episode 1.

Darnell's Exit Interview: "Karly Deserved It"

Brother and sister!

Hannah's Top 5 Highlights from 'Best Ink 3'

1. All the 'Best Ink' Season 3 artists!

Joe's Top 5 Highlights from 'Best Ink 3'

Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Alayna's Exit Interview: I Was Rooting for Darnell & Karly

Winner's Chat with Karly: "I Didn't Think I had a Shot in Hell!"

The Final Ink Challenge

Darnell's Flash Challenge

The Street Shop Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Judge's Corner: It Felt Awful to Send Willy Home

Willy's Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Willy's Exit Interview: Being Eliminated Sucks

Alayna's Flash Challenge.

The Demolition Derby Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Darnell's Ink Challenge.

The 3D Photorealism Ink Challenge! (PHOTOS)

Judge's Corner: Joe Blogs about Shock, Awe, and Lara's Fatal Unpopularity

Alayna's Ink Challenge.

The Shock Art Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

Darnell's Shock Flash Challenge.

The Shock Art Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Lara's Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Lara's Exit Interview: "I Live to Piss You Off"

Alayna's Ink Challenge (top 2)

The Pin-Up Couples Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

The contestants and their significant others (and Darnell's blind date) gather for a photo shoot.

The Couples Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Joe's Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Joe's Exit Interview: I'm Not Cocky...I'm Amped

Judge's Corner: Sabina Blogs about True Pin-Up Tattoos and Joe's Demise

Sabina Kelley

Sabina Kelley Hits the Beach for Best Ink

Judge's Corner: Hannah Blogs about Surfboards, Lara's Mandala Fetish, and Romeo

Deadly Sins Flash Challenge

Romeo's Exit Interview: "Lara Should Have Gone Home Instead of Me"

Darnell's Ink Challenge

The Ocean-Inspired Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

Contestants had to paint surfboards in the Ocean Flash Challenge.

The Surfboard Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Judge's Corner: Joe Blogs about Women in the Industry, Biomechanical Tattoos, and Danny's Goodbye

Meet Danny! And check out his Deadly Sins Flash Challenge.

Danny's Exit Interview: No More Tattoo Competitions!

Darnell won his face-off against Willy.

The Biomechanical Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

Alayna's Flash Challenge

The Biomechanical Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

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Pete Wentz Is Thinking About Getting Married Again

Judge's Corner: Sabina Blogs About Sci-Fi Stuff, Darnell's Weepy Moment, and May May's Demise

May May's Deady Sins Flash Challenge.

May May's Exit Interview: "I Couldn't Handle the Pressure"

Alayna's Ink Challenge tattoo.

The Sci-Fi Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

It's the Sci-Fi Flash Challenge!

The Sci-Fi Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

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Watch Pete Wentz Find Out He Won a People's Choice Award

The Deadly Sins Flash Challenge

Exit Interview with Anthony: I Wish I Hadn't Been So "Laid Back"

Darnell's Ink Challenge.

The Japanese Ink Challenge (PHOTOS)

Alayna's Flash Challenge

The Anime Flash Challenge (PHOTOS)

Judge's Corner: Hannah Blogs About Danny's Tantrum, Alayna's Comeback, and Anthony's Farewell

Judge's Corner: Joe's Final Blog of Season 3!


Wow, seems like 12 weeks just flew by, and here we are announcing our winner! This particular season for us judges was such a change up from previous seasons, simply based on the fact that we never really felt there were any clear front-runners. I think that the young age of the tattooers, and their time in the trade was really what kept us on the edge of our seats week after week. 

I was happy, and a bit surprised to see our Top 3 for this last episode. While I half expected Darnell and Karly, Alayna really came through on last week’s Ink challenge, and took away the spot that I honestly thought Willy was going to occupy. 

Getting right to the finale: I so dug the Flash Challenge this week. I think that it’s so important for any tattoo artist to have Street Shop experience. I was a bit surprised to see the artists’ apprehension upon hearing what was expected of them upon entering the shop. I was hoping they all would all go into tattooer mode and kill it. That having been said, I was very happy with the end results. I think that every single one of them worked their asses off and performed fantastically. I think any shop owner would have been happy to have those three working for them that day.

But unfortunately we could only have two in the final challenge. It was pretty clear to us judges, that while Alayna did a fantastic job, her five tattoos just weren't as on point as Darnell's and Karly's. 

We all had a difficult time saying goodbye to Alayna. She's a great technical tattooer, has fantastic drawing skills, and one heck of an imagination. She hit a few bumps along the way, but for the most part she literally finessed her way this far with what I think is a style all her own. That’s a gal with a great career ahead of her. 

[embed:render:file:334936:full]Honestly I was a bit shocked by what the show was asking of the artists. A back piece. Not a challenge that should be taken lightly in the real world, and especially for this finale. Then to place such insane restrictions on them: a few hours to consult, draw, and then a mere 12 hours tattooing...a tall order to ask of even the best of us. 

Here is where we saw the differences of style, and thought process of each individual. Darnell's tattoo (for most of us judges) was lacking in its layout. Any tattoo that covers such a large portion of the body needs to have a solid lay out. If the layout is weak and reads poorly, it’s going to reflect poorly on the entire piece. That’s kind of what happened here. You had a final piece that was lacking a good foundation. By creating more perspective with different sized subjects in his piece, it would have added to the depth. On top of that, trying to cover so much ground, he was forced to fork looser than we'd seen him do thus far. Above all things, I want to see a solid, clean tattoo. It was Hannah, and my opinion both that a lot of the color and shading just wasn't solid enough to constitute a fantastic tattoo. 

Watching Darnell kind of grow, and come out of his shell a bit as a person and an artist was very inspiring. He really just ran with every challenge that was thrown at him and did his damnedest. When we told him it wasn't good enough, he got better, not bitter. He showed a lot of character, and above all talent. Like every previous season of Best Ink, sending that last person home is as rough as it gets for us judges. 

Now onto our winner this season. Karly’s back piece in my opinion, while maybe not as grand of an attempt as Darnell's, showed her cunning in creating what appeared to cover a lot of space. She was able to concentrate on all of the things that we judges want to see. A strong foundation (good drawing), solid lines, smooth shading, good use, and saturation of color, and above all: style. That’s what she came in showing, and that’s what sent her home as this season’s winner.

Karly came out like a shy little lamb, but in the long run allowed her talent to speak for her, and competed like a lion. She led with her style, and as we all know, she has more than enough of that to have been voted winner in quite a few of the challenges.  

Till next time...

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