Jaime Ames Navarro

Feb 28

Jaime Ames Navarro

I’ve been on the hunt for a skilled charcoal artist to feature for about a month now, and luckily for me, I met Jaime Ames Navarro, Chicag0-based tattoo artist at Code of Conduct Tatttoo. Before I met him, I was doodling in a fold out chair while a friend of mine was getting a tattoo at the shop, and I saw a small sketch pad with some Prismacolor Charcoal Pencils beside it. The book belonged to the artist inking someone else, but that didn’t stop me from asking him about his work. A man of few words, Navarro shares a little bit of his life with us.

Care to see more?

How long have you been drawing?

I’ve been drawing all my life. It has been a part of me from hobby to profession during the years to present time.

Why choose charcoal?

Charcoal is one of the mediums I use along with painting and other forms. I like charcoal because of  dynamic contrast you can create while having a soft subtle touch to the piece. It’s bold, daring and dramatic. It’s much darker than any pencil and has a richness. It’s the perfect tool for executing the large, sweeping strokes needed to capture a gesture.

Do you have any tips or techniques to share?

Layering charcoal is key. Don’t be afraid to get messy. Start soft and work in the harder charcoal as you refine your image.

What inspired you to become a tattoo artist?

After finishing college and working in an office setting, I quit and devoted my life to doing what I love. The challenge of tattooing is what intrigued me the most. Many people don’t understand the difficulty. Seeing the capabilities of what can be accomplished on skin really turned on my inspiration. Everything from the most simplest traditional styles to the most complex hyper realistic renditions. One does not realize how working with the human body is an art of its own. Applying an image to a three dimensional surface is not as easy as a seems. Anyone can “stamp” a tattoo on someone. But being able to compliment a piece of art to the body’s anatomy, natural flow  and moment is the true skill.

How does your ability to draw and shade with charcoal affect your ability to tattoo? Would you say it makes you better?

There is no likeness between charcoal and tattooing. They are two worlds of their own. But I do find charcoal useful in practicing technique with values, contrast and lighting. This can then be applied to black and grey tattooing techniques. In theory, increase your skill over time.

What advice would you have to someone trying to become a tattoo artist?

My advice is simple. Never give up. You can never stop learning. When you think you have the hang of things, you’re wrong. There is always something new to learn and to improve upon. Never settle.

What is your favorite subject to draw?

Really, I like drawing simple cartoons to complex, photo realistic drawings, and everything inbetween.

Finish this sentence: “I am…”

“I am only passionately curious, I have no talent.”


To see more of his work, visit Code of Conduct’s website.

Guest writer Samantha DeCarlo








  1. Code of Conduct is a real nice shop. Nice to heard from one of their artists!

Leave a Reply to Alexandria Ortiz