Ink Master season 13 episode 4 review: Schematic tattoo troubles

Going into Ink Master season 13 episode 4, we didn’t even know that schematic tattoos were a thing. Apparently, some of the artists in the competition felt the same way. This was a weird challenge with some weird results, but it also served as a valuable reminder that you should consider the skin of your canvas to go along with the design you’ve been tasked to do.

This seems to be what got Arlene Salinas into trouble tonight. At first glance, her schematic tattoo of a knife looked like one of the easier asks — it’s not overly complicated! Yet, after the West won the flash challenge and she chose the design some of the problems were made clear. For starters, her canvas wanted the knife done in a specific way that led to questions as to if it was technically correct. Meanwhile, the canvas’ skin was older and full of skin tags and moles. It was hard to work on, and that led to uneven lines and a handful of different dumps.

We’ll still say this — it was still a straightforward tattoo that looked like what it was supposed to. This is why the judges are the judges sometimes and we’re not. You can argue that the simplicity of the design made every mistake more prominent, and that may have been what sent her home. You could have made a case for Jordan Allred or Raul Ugarte, who each had some mistakes of their own. Yet, the judges seemed to give them more leeway due to the complexity of their designs.

Then, there’s the Bob Jones controversy. He had one of the coolest-looking tattoos of the room. Yet, it was also one with a number of different flaws and blowouts. Over the years the judges have been quicker to send tattooers home with blowouts — so why not here? We think it’s a cumulative thing, and the strength of his design was enough to overcome some of the weaknesses elsewhere.

Despite some weaker tattoos on the night, there were also some very strong ones. The Midwest team produced some great art, with Jerrel Larkins topping out returning artists Frank Ready and Jason Elliott, who each had some awesome designs. (Jason seems to be embracing this whole “heel of the competition” in a role in a way that we don’t often see. More power to him, we guess?

CarterMatt Verdict

We’re not going to say that this was the strongest Elimination Tattoo Challenge ever, mostly because schematic tattoos are tricky, technical, and not always the most artistic. Yet, we do at least have a competitive season with a number of strong artists and, in that sense, we don’t have all that much to complain about.

What did you think about Ink Master season 13 episode 4?

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