Hi Reddit, I'm a young tattoo artist from Montreal, Canada and I do neo-traditional/psychedelic tattoos. I travel a lot around the world. Ask me anything!

Here is some of my work: http://instagram.com/thedavidcote

Comments: 144 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

Polysilent14 karma

Hey, amazing work. Do you start with a solid idea beforehand when you are sketching? What is your method of thinking of what to design

thedavidcote14 karma

Thank you for your question. Yes i do have a solid idea when I start but I always add stuff around it when i'm drawing it. I feel like my creativity is more active just before going to bed, so I either keep a sketchbook next to my bed to sketch it or I just write it down when I'm tired. I am a lucid dreamer so a lot of my ideas come to me when I'm dreaming. My clients idea also guides me toward the design.

Polysilent7 karma

Wow thanks, that's a really good tip, are you a natural lucid dreamer or have you taught yourself? Is it easy?

thedavidcote10 karma

I've always been a sleepwalker/sleeptalker so I guess it's in me since i'm really young.

alawa9 karma

Do you ever use drugs for inspiration?

thedavidcote23 karma

hahahaha. Actually I used to. Even tho I stopped, I still have memories of what I would see on LSD and that influences me a lot.

Big_En3 karma


thedavidcote5 karma

Yes I do, I totally feel you on that one. Feels like it gets you in a state where your subconscious mind makes the art for you.

303rd7 karma

Hey David! Love your work. Whats your favourite tattoo you've done?

thedavidcote11 karma

Thank you, I appreciate it. I would say that my favorite tattoo is the cat with the highway inside. It got featured on some really cool page on Instagram (like @cooltattoos).

303rd6 karma

Hey David. Another question: where do you see yourself in ten years?

thedavidcote7 karma

That's a hard one. I would say a busy traveller tattooing all over the world at conventions. I don't look to far ahead, I make good choices now for myself and wherever that leads me, I will be happy with it.

imogentibby3 karma

Gorgeous stuff, reminds me a ton of Sasha Unisex, who was my first tattoo artist. It's pretty hard to find an artist who does this style and does it well, may I ask when you'll be in the Toronto-ish area, if ever? Also, how would you recommend someone to get into the business? I have always wanted to, but my main issue is my utter lack of skill in drawing with pen and paper, I can only illustrate on computers. I adore and study graphic design, would it help for tattooing? Thanks!

thedavidcote1 karma

Thank you for the kind words. I will try to come do a guest spot in july, august or september in Toronto. It's a business where you gotta know people to get a good plug. I was just like you, I started doing illustrations on computer and then I moved to paper. Try to do what you do on computer on a piece of paper. If you want to tattoo, you must have a really stable hand, so at first make sure you have a stable hand using a pencil.

Lord-of-the-manor3 karma

Hey David thanks for doing the AMA! How did you get into tattooing?

thedavidcote6 karma

It started when I was studying graphic design in college. I had a preference for illustration and I got kind of sick of sitting behind a computer and do the same chore everyday. I got tired of the routine. I was hanging out with people from the tattoo industry who got me into it. I started off with traditional tattoos and ended evolving in the style I am right now.

TragicallyCute3 karma

What is your ideal tattoo request?

thedavidcote5 karma

It's when the customer allows me to do whatever I want on their skin. Sometimes, the stencil (the lines I put on you to guide me when I'm tattooing) is really hard to understand and they don't really know what colours i will put and they still trust me.

TragicallyCute1 karma

Thanks for answering! One more question, if you would - is it that unusual to just ask an artist to go to town? I've always wanted to point at a patch of skin and tell them "have at it!" but I'm not sure if anyone would be comfortable doing that...

thedavidcote3 karma

It's not unusual at all, but not all artists like that. I love when people ask me to do whatever I want on them, even if the spot is pretty limited. Ask them, maybe you will be surprised!

Slapmeone3 karma

Driving across Canada in September looking to let you do whatever you want. Dope shit man keep it up, love the style.

thedavidcote2 karma

Awesome! Hope to see you soon!

bobbythewhale3 karma

Dude, just wanted to give you props on your artwork. Your style is fuckin' legendary!

If you could get tattooed by any artist living or non-living, who would you choose? What would you get?

thedavidcote5 karma

Thank you for the kind words. That's a very good question! I would get a tattoo from all the people that paved the modern way of tattooing like Sailor Jerry, Cap Coleman, Bert Grimm, Amund Dietzel, and the list goes on. It's all tattooers from the beginning of the past century. It would be awesome to have a collection from these guys. I would let them put whatever they want to put on me. I even think I would let them tattoo a vagina on my face if they wanted because I know they would make a really good job with it haha.

bobbythewhale1 karma

HHAAHAAAHA. Vagina face blast by the legends, that would be epic. Hope to get some work done by you in the future!

thedavidcote1 karma

Cool, that would be great!

cornflowered3 karma

Hi David- this is Noah Gordon- I sent you my paypal info for the deposit on my work when you stop in Miami. Also- my girlfriend would like a small tattoo as well- do you still have spots open?

Last question- who is your favorite artist? Thanks man!

thedavidcote5 karma

Hi Noah, of course I have a spot for your girlfriend as well! I don't have a favorite particular artist. I would say the illustrator Rick Murphy and many tattooers from Poland.

Mazep1 karma

like Piotr Deadi by any chance?

thedavidcote1 karma

I'm not a huge fan but I can tell the guy is crazy!

Xaydenne2 karma

Wow, I absolutely adore that fox! Your work is very intriguing.

I have 2 questions.

  1. Have you ever had a client freak out as you were tattooing them?

  2. What's your favouring thing to do in Montreal in the summer?

thedavidcote2 karma

Thank you. To answer your first question, yes. Some people fainted, yelled, cried. I've seen a lot of that. My favorite thing to do in Montreal would be walking down the main streets and go from bar to bar. Or go hiking on the Mount-Royal. The view is stunning from the top of it.

Draft_Day_Decisions2 karma

David, what were some tattoo ideas you've turned down?

thedavidcote4 karma

I don't really turn down ideas, I play around with them. I try not to be too repetitive. For example, if someone asks for a scenery tattoo, I will always add something different in every single one of them.

almostacceptable2 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA, and what would your advice be for someone who wants to get a sleeve but doesn't know of any quality parlors?

thedavidcote6 karma

Do your research. If you find an artist that you like and that is not available for the moment, wait for him instead of asking the guy in your city to imitate the style you really want immediately. Or you can create a sleeve by collecting pieces of different artists you like. That's what I do when I want to get tattooed and i'm travelling the world. I think it looks nicer than a complete sleeve (it's just my personal point of view).

TheMythicalNarwhal1 karma

Huge huge fan of your work, been following you for a while on instagram, please come to Los Angeles!!!! Question: Being in the industry, how do you feel about where tattooing is headed as a whole? Has the "main-stream" bubble burst or do you see tattoos becoming even more popular and accepted? P.S. i would love to hear what you think of my artwork, @tmb_art if you ever have a second. Thank you!

thedavidcote2 karma

Thank you. The whole industry is going up, that's for sure. It's sad that the internet is helping it but also killing it at the same time. It's good exposure but also an easy way to have your work copied. We spend hours and days drawing stuff to push the limit a little further when there's John Doe who just traces your art and tattoos it on people without giving you credit. I checked your art out and you have some really creative stuff! I really like the 'nocurvesallowed' one with the swallow and the geometric rose!

JRG20131 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA, I love your work. How long does it take you to finish one of the psychedelic tattoos compared to like the traditional tattoos you used to do?

thedavidcote1 karma

Thanks for the kind words. It takes me around 2 to 5 hours per design depending on the size. When I do traditional stuff, it takes me about 1 to 3 hours max to finish it.

ThisHasNoMeaning1 karma

Is there a schedule somewhere of where you'll be and when?

thedavidcote1 karma

I post every month a picture of all the countries/cities I will be on Instagram. You can also follow me on facebook where I sometimes post dates also. https://www.facebook.com/the.david.cote

i_amnotacanadian1 karma

in /r/tattoos, they really hate quote tattoos, how do you feel about quote tattoos?

thedavidcote1 karma

I think it's fun to do. I never turn down some tiny script on a forearm. It might be a little overrated but people do whatever they want I guess. I just love tattooing stuff.

563710001 karma

Hi David! Where and how have you learn to draw? Have you copy other's drawings at start? Why do you do/prefer that kind of tattoo? And why tattoo instead of art more classical like painting? Thank you for your AMA! Very interesting!

thedavidcote1 karma

I've been drawing since i'm really young (around 5). I used to copy stuff from others until I was in high school, where I started creating my own stuff a bit. I like doing the style i'm doing right now because it's very challenging. It's very amazing to see the face of the customer when the tattoo is done. I prefer tattooing because it's so different and so addictive to work on a living canvas with needles than a simple canvas with brushes and classic painting.

hoodyuplod1 karma

have you ever tattoo a woman pussy ?

thedavidcote1 karma

Not yet.

Skr501 karma

Hey, very nice work, sorry im asking that, but what is the average price for one of those tattoos ?

thedavidcote2 karma

Thanks for your question. It's a very large question that I can't really answer. It all depends on the size, idea, placement on the skin, colours and the duration. The rate changes also when I'm travelling from country to country.

BuddhasPalm1 karma

Are you concerned with how your work will last over the years?

thedavidcote1 karma

I think it's really important. I try to put a lot of black/darker colors in it so I will age properly.

urleftsock1 karma

How often do customers ask for a tattoo on there "private" areas, and what was your most awkward experience?

thedavidcote5 karma

It's kind of rare that I tattoo private parts. Nothing awkward really happened to me (yet), but to the piercer that used to work with me. She pierced the clit of an older lady and I heard a scream. The piercer told me she got squirted on her face haha. That was reallllyyyy awkard.

urleftsock1 karma

Has anyone ever asked for a tattoo so ridiculous that you had to turn down?

thedavidcote1 karma

Yes I did a few times. I answered a question like this earlier. I called these tattoos a "fleamarket". Too many things for the restricted place we have.

beliefisdeath1 karma

Have you ever done a tattoo that you thought was bad or were embarrassed to have done?

thedavidcote1 karma

When I used to be an apprentice, I would say yes to everything almost. It would turn not as cool as I thought it would be. But now, I know how to say no and where my limit is.

rb6121 karma

What's one common misconception people have about tattoos? Great work by the way.

thedavidcote2 karma

Thank you. I would say that it's okay to ask a tattooer to give you a piece of a tattoo that another artist did on someone else. I feel like it's disrespectful for both artists and clients.

banned_accounts1 karma

Has anyone requested a tattoo so bad (or so weird) that you couldn't do it?

thedavidcote3 karma

Yes, I get that a lot. I call these requests 'flea market' haha. Too many ideas/stuff to put in a limited spot. For example, someone will ask me for a whale to represent the love of sea, with a hat because the person's dad wears a hat everyday, with waves of flowers because they love flowers, and dumpster because they like the smell (i don't know haha). If you put all these things in one, it's not gonna look nice. Instead, get a tattoo of each of the things separately.

craigdaddy1231 karma

Hi David!

love you're stuff! out of curiosity, is it true what other tattoo artists say that traditional style with outlines will hold and last longer than say watercolour style or tattoo's without outlines? or is that just a myth?

I have 2 tattoo's by you that I got last year or so ago, and they are looking great, I get lots of compliments on them! cheers

thedavidcote1 karma

Thank you! It's very hard to tell if it's a myth or not. I always put a lot of black or darker colors if I don't do any outline so it will hold better. Glad you still like the tattoos I did on you. They are both tattoos that I really like also!

RaPiiD381 karma

Whoa that's awesome stuff.

What do you think about extreme body mods like eyeball tattoos and those crazy ear piercings that weigh the ear down?

Also what do you say to people who think that people with/who want to get tattoos are insecure/stupid etc?

thedavidcote1 karma

Thanks! I don't really have any opinion concerning body mods. They do whatever they want to do with their bodies.

I don't really give my time to those who judge others based on their looks.

TheLemonKing1 karma

Wow, amazing work, would you tattoo me?

thedavidcote1 karma

Of course I would. Stay tune for my traveling dates on instagram or facebook.

semperconstans1 karma

If you could choose one piece to be remembered by, which would it be?

thedavidcote1 karma

I'm actually hesitating between two. Either the cat with the highway or the fox going through a watery portal.

plastic_venus1 karma

Hi David,

You work a lot with vibrant colours - do you find that they just don't fare as well on darker skin? I have dark skin (think Spanish-esque), and as such have stuck to black tats. How do you think your sort of work would work on my sort of colouring. Also, have you come to the inevitable realisation yet what you truly want out of life is to give me a tat? ;)

thedavidcote1 karma

There's many skin color tones. I try to adapt my work in consequence of it (using less bright colours as the skin gets darker). It's very hard to answer your question if I don't see the color of your skin haha. If you are tanned, most colours would work.

Arpikarhu1 karma

when will you be near michigan?

thedavidcote2 karma

I have no plans for Michigan yet but hopefully soon! I've always wanted to go to Michigan.

KarlNorky1 karma

Hey David, discovered you about half a year ago. Thoroughly impressed with all your tattoos. I would like to ask what you would you think you would be doing with your life if you hadn't gotten into tattooing? Also, how old are you?

thedavidcote2 karma

That's awesome that you've been following me for a while! I'm 21 years old. I think I would be a touring musician or a painter if I wouldn't be tattooing. Many of my friends are in bands that tour quite often and they've offered me a spot in their van many times. I've had to refuse the offers because of my job which kind of sucks.

LeTricolore1 karma

I see you travel around all over the place. Do you go to other tattoo parlors (is that the right word?) and just set up shop there through connections you've made in the tattoo world? When you're in Montreal, where do you normally have at it? I live in Montreal and I eventually want to get a 2nd tattoo and haven't looked too much into it yet.

thedavidcote2 karma

Cool to see someone from my town here! Yes. When I travel, I do guest spots at other tattoo shops for a few days. I meet a lot of people when I do tattoo conventions, I think it makes life so much easier when it comes to find a place to guest at. I am based at Imperial Tattoo Connexion in Montreal. Here's the facebook with all the details if you want to come by one day. https://facebook.com/imperialtattooconnexionshop

Ky3l1 karma

Hey, I like your style a lot. I've always wanted detailed, nice body art but I'm worried that when I get older, the tattoo would become disfigured to the point where it would look potentially ugly. For example, I've always wanted one of my favorite pictures, a trippy cat's face, tattooed on my thigh. How long would you say the tattoo would look nice, and could I keep it fresh by getting it detailed every 5-10 years? I'm strongly considering going to you for when you come to Miami by the way.

thedavidcote1 karma

Thank you. It's important to keep in mind that the skin is really tricky. You should remember that details are not aging as well as a simple design with not many details. If the tattoo is well made, it should be good for a good 15 to 20 years at least. We're all gonna end up old and saggy, so you shouldn't really care about that stuff haha.


You're insanely talented! What (if anything) do you draw just for fun? What music do you listen to while drawing it? Thanks for being amazing!

thedavidcote3 karma

Thank you so much. I draw stuff that's on my mind at the moment when I have a chance. I need music to sketch, feels like i'm a thousand times more inspired. I really like psychedelic rock (Acid Mother's Temple, Tame Impala, Makoto Kawabata, Morgan Delt, Jefferson Airplane, and the list goes onnnnnnnnnnnnn...)

maxlef1 karma

Awsome art!

Have you study in art before you started tattoo?

What's your biggest inspiration?

Which is YOUR favorite piece?

And it's fun to see that there's great talent from Quebec

thedavidcote1 karma

Thank you! I started by studying graphic design at Ahuntsic College. My biggest inspiration would be minimalist illustrators. My favorite piece so far is the cat with the highway inside.

alyss0r1 karma

How do you design tattoos to customer requests? Do they just give you a base idea and let you run wild?

How often do you get a design turned down by a potential customer?

thedavidcote1 karma

They give me an idea and I work around it. Sometimes, they give me too much information and it doesn't really inspires me. Since what I draw is really particular, the customer and I are not on the same line. That's why I prefer drawing it with the person in front of me.

ItsReallyMeSid1 karma

I've recently wanted to get a tattoo but I'm Indian and I'm not sure how it'll turn out (in regards to the colors used) do you have any experience on it? Also I might have to visit you soon I really dig them

thedavidcote1 karma

It all depends on your colour skin tone. There's some colours that works pretty well on darker skin. It's different from case to case.

hornwalker1 karma

Awesome work David. I have a few tattoos, would love to get some more someday from an artist like you(someone with a unique style). If that happened, what would be the best way for me to go about getting a tattoo: 1) Say "Tattoo me baby" and leave it upto the artist completely 2) Give a general idea of what I want, a few themes perhaps, and let the artist go wild or 3) give quite specific detail? I always wondered about this, and what approach one should take.

thedavidcote1 karma

It's all up to you! I can work with any of these three questions. If you give the chance to do whatever I want on you, you might end up with some really cool stuff on you.

Fitlev1 karma

Does your works mean anything? Are they analyzeable? Do they have a deeper meaning, or are they just fucking awesome?

thedavidcote2 karma

Some of it are, some not. The meaning belong to the person who wears it.

haiduz1 karma

How many Alex gray and tool inspired tattoos have you done?

thedavidcote1 karma

Alex Gray is an amazing artist. I really liked the aura he's doing (i'm using a lot of it, in a different way). Not a huge fan of Tool tho.

Sekzybeast1 karma

Hi David,

I have been looking for someone with a story that creates the pictures i see in the instagram

Are you by any chance passing through Europe sometime soon?

I feel your designs are very interesting and would love to have a chat about possibilities of you inking my flesh

thedavidcote1 karma

I will be in Europe for the Dublin tattoo convention in october. I will travel a lot for one month to finally end my trip to either France or Beligum. Shoot me an email and maybe I could stop by near you anytime soon! [email protected]

LesterDiamond11 karma

real late to the ama but i love traditional work. and i the way you mix it with your psychedelic style is incredible. who are your favorite artist that do traditional work?

thedavidcote2 karma

I don't have one favorite tattooer but a bunch. I can name a few. I really like xGusakx, Cristian BACT, James McKenna, Joe Ellis, Slawomir Nitschke, Gluesniffer, JACA, JF Tattooer, Nick Oaks, Christian Lanouette, Kim-Anh Nguyen and Florian Santus.

redditfromwork1 karma

I'm very interested in getting a piece in the style of Maya Hayuk, the interaction and overlapping of the colors would be necessary. Is this an effect that can be done? This would have to be a no outline piece too. I would like to cap off my arm and bring it down to a short or half sleeve. I could travel to Montreal but I live in Boston, will you be travelling near anytime, or could you recommend someone nearby that could do this piece well?

thedavidcote2 karma

I have no plans yet for Boston. I got a bunch of friends i want to visit there. I would love to do something like this on you!

charlimonster1 karma


Do you only tattoo at conventions or do you also work at a shop in Montreal? Your work is amazing!

thedavidcote1 karma

Thank you! I do a lot of conventions but I also work out of a shop called Imperial Tattoo Connexion in Montreal. Also, thanks for reposting my picture on Instagram :)

6-21-3-11-211 karma

Hi David, if I wanted to be a tattoo artist, how should I learn to do tattoos? it seems like it requires alot of pulse.

thedavidcote2 karma

Draw a lot. It takes a lot of practice and determination to be a reputated artist. Work hard, do sacrifices and try to be original. That's the formula you have to keep in mind.


Hi, awesome tattoos!!

I've been looking for something really badass like what you're doing. Do you ever travel to Europe? Are the designs mostly yours, or are they requests from your clients that you work around?

thedavidcote1 karma

Thank you, Yes I will be in Europe in mid october for the Dublin tattoo convention and in november for the Brussels tattoo convention also. The designs are mostly mine but I also take requests from my customers. I add my personal touch to their ideas.

mcathen1 karma

Do you plan on coming to Los Angeles ever? If not, do you happen to know of anyone there that you would recommend for this kind of art?

You're fantastic, by the way; you've made a new fan!

thedavidcote1 karma

I was supposed to be there for last weekend but I had to cancel it on the last minute. I will try to be there by the end of the summer! Thank you for the kind words.

catsfive1 karma

Who are your influences? I see some R. Crumb in your work, definitely.

thedavidcote1 karma

Not a huge fan of R. Crumb. I really like Eyvind Earle, Charles Williams, Sarah Goodreau and Kilian Eng. I really like illustrations from the advertisings of the 40s-50s.

Unkn0wnn1 karma

Honest question: do other tattoo artists have hidden penises on tattoos? I was sold its a common occurrence.

thedavidcote1 karma

I've heard many stories about an artist from my hometown that hides dicks in every single tattoo he would make. Either cool or not. So I guess the answer is yes

ukrainequestion0 karma

Can I get one?

thedavidcote2 karma

Of course. Check my travelling schedule and maybe I will stop in your country so you can get one :)

Cynique1 karma

Will you ever come to Mexico? I'd love to get one...

thedavidcote1 karma

I will do my best, but I don't think I will come by the end of this year.

ImNotJesus-2 karma


thedavidcote3 karma

I posted on Instagram a picture concerning this topic http://instagram.com/thedavidcote

[deleted]-2 karma


thedavidcote5 karma

Thanks for the kind words. It's one thing that tattooers don't really like. It's like asking Picasso to paint like Munch. Every artists have their own styles. Give him an idea of a fox and let him imagine something without copying it. Watch my travel dates, I might be in your city/country sooner than you think!