Ink Master (season 3)

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Ink Master (season 3)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 13
Original network Spike
Original release

July 16 (2013-07-16) – October 8, 2013 (2013-10-08)

Additional information
Host(s) Dave Navarro
Judges Oliver Peck
Chris Núñez
No. of contestants 16
Winner Joey Hamilton
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4

The third season of the tattoo competition series Ink Master premiered on Spike on July 16 and concluded on October 8, 2013 with a total of 13 episodes. Its premise and rules mimic those of season two, with some changes to make it unique from the previous season.

Season three followed sixteen tattoo artists competing against each other in an elimination-style competition leaving the last person standing with the title of Ink Master, a $100,000 grand prize, and a feature in Inked Magazine. The show is hosted and judged by Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro. Other judges include former Miami Ink cast member Chris Núñez and accomplished tattoo artist Oliver Peck.

Season three is the first time in the series a contestant has been brought back for another season. Katherine "Tatu Baby" Flores was eliminated in season two, but was voted to return via Ink Master's Facebook poll.[1]

Judging and ranking[edit]

The judge listing types are:

Judging Panel[edit]

The judging panel is the table of three primary judges, and any guest judges for that episode if applicable.

Audience Voting[edit]

Audience voting returned and expanded to include Twitter in Season 3.[1]

Human Canvas Jury[edit]

Following the elimination tattoo, the human canvases gather and vote for the worst tattoo of the day that'll send one artist to the bottom. While the primary judges have the final say, the weight of the canvas vote does affect the judging panels final decision.


Contestant Years
Yovan "E.S." Barraza 18 Bridgeport, Connecticut
Kyle Dunbar 20 Flint, Michigan
Jason Clay Dunn 22 Montclair, California
Katherine "Tatu Baby" Flores 9 Miami, Florida
Craig Foster 20 Carrollton, Georgia
Joey Hamilton 19 Las Vegas, Nevada
James "James Danger" Harvey 10 Sacramento, California
Joshua Hibbard 12 Portland, Oregon
Jacqueline "Jackie" Jennings 13 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Ally Lee 11 Santa Cruz, California
Jime Litwalk 24 Orlando, Florida
Madison "Maddie la Belle" Loftis 7 Greensboro, North Carolina
Chris May 18 Dekalb, Illinois
Frank McManus 8 New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
Richard "Made Rich" Parker 7 Queens, New York
Mike "Mystical Mike" Paterek 10 Bronx, New York

Contestant progress[edit]

No. Contestant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
No. Flash Challenge
Joey Jackie
Joshua Craig Tatu Baby Kyle Jason Joshua
Joshua Jime Jime None None
7 Jackie Jennings IN IN IN IN HIGH LOW IN IN OUT
10 Made Rich IN IN IN IN LOW OUT
11 Chris May IN LOW IN IN OUT
12 Ally Lee IN IN IN OUT
13 James Danger IN IN OUT
14 Maddie la Belle LOW LOW OUT
15 Mystical Mike LOW OUT
16 Frank McManus OUT
     The contestant won the competition and was named Ink Master.
     The contestant was the runner-up.
     The contestant finished third.
     The contestant won best tattoo of the day.
     The contestant was given an honorable mention by the judges.
     The contestant was considered to be among the top.
     The contestant was considered to be in the bottom.
     The contestant was among the bottom group in the judges recall.
     The contestant was voted worst tattoo of the day.
     The contestant was eliminated from the competition.
     The contestant was voted worst tattoo of the day and was eliminated.
     The contestant was eliminated in the flash challenge.


Episodes begin with a Flash Challenge, a task that usually does not deal with tattooing itself, but has contestants utilize skills related to tattooing in an unusual way. Most of the time the skills highlighted in the Flash Challenge will be needed to complete the Elimination Tattoo. The winner of the Flash Challenge gets to pick which human canvas they would like to tattoo during the elimination challenge and, as a new twist from the first season, assign each contestant their canvas. The contestants are then given a chance to meet with their canvas before tattooing them the next day when they will be given a set amount of time to do the tattoo. A judging panel then commences where the best tattoos of the week are recognized, the weak tattoos are pointed out and one contestant is eliminated from the competition.[2]

Episode 1: Baby Got Back[edit]

Episode 1

First aired July 16, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Flexibility
  • Flash Challenge: Tattoo a prisoner using a single needle tattoo machine.
    • Winner: Joey
  • Elimination Challenge: Cover-Up
    • Winner: Tatu Baby
    • Eliminated: Frank — Although Mike did a bad tattoo (and was not adequately prepared for the competition) and Madison's tattoo lacked details, Frank's tattoo was the worst executed with rough edges and a bad outline.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Madison.

Episode 2: Thrills for Grills[edit]

Episode 2

First aired July 23, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Precision
  • Flash Challenge: Work in teams of three to draft and create a custom automotive grill plate.
    • Winners: Jackie, Joey, James
  • Elimination Challenge: Realistic Medical Anatomical
    • Winner: Craig
    • Eliminated: Mike — Contestants Chris and Madison were on the low end; sharing equal shortcomings. The anatomy realism from Mike's tattoo was not present and textures failed to produce.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Mystical Mike.

Episode 3: Tattoos and Lace (aka Fire and Lace)[edit]

Episode 3

First aired July 30, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Texture
  • Flash Challenge: Create and tattoo a realistic sexy leg garter on a live model.
    • Winner: Joshua
    • Eliminated in Flash Challenge: Madison — A new aspect in this episode resulted in the elimination of the worst tattoo in the Flash Challenge, Madison's tattoo displayed only basic texture for the leg garter.
  • Elimination Challenge: Tattoo a phoenix.
    • Winner: Craig1A
    • Eliminated: James Danger — Danger's canvas did not see eye-to-eye with him. She walked out, resulting in no canvas for Danger to showcase his ability upon. The judges interviewed both Danger and the canvas to see what the problem was; after which it was determined Danger could not handle the nagging personality of his canvas. The judges agreed that being an Ink Master, one would need to know how to instill confidence in their client, and should have the skills to do what is requested. They also factored in his Flash Challenge tattoo of a leg garter which was poorly detailed and rough in different areas to reinforce their decision to eliminate him.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
There was no official human canvas vote for this challenge.

^Note 1A : The winner was not officially confirmed during the show but on the Ink Master website.

Episode 4: Elysium Challenge[edit]

Episode 4

First aired August 6, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Linework
  • Flash Challenge: Assemble a tattoo machine and tattoo a barcode, inspired by the movie Elysium.
    • Winner: Craig
Ally and Tatu Baby failed to assemble their machines.
  • Elimination Challenge: Tattoo a Celtic design.
    • Winner: Joshua
    • Eliminated: Ally — Ally and Jason were on the bottom for failing to be consistent and symmetrical with their Celtic tattoos. After deliberating, the human canvas panel voted to release Ally (with Jackie as their second choice).
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Ally.

Episode 5: Baby Beats Down[edit]

Episode 5

First aired August 13, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Values: Black and Gray Shading
  • Flash Challenge: Tattoo an evenly-shaded design over a scar on the client's body.
    • Winner: Tatu Baby
  • Elimination Challenge: Black and Gray Day of the Dead tattoo.
    • Winner: Jime
    • Eliminated: Chris — The judges were not very impressed this challenge across the board, and the results were the opposite of their expectations. Chris, Craig, Jason, and Rich's tattoos were overly dark; with Craig drawing additional criticism for mixing black and white ink for the gray shading (a faux pas in the industry). Tatu Baby executed a good design but failed on detail. Joshua, Joey, and ES came up short on their usage of black. Jackie and Jime were the only artists who elicited praise from the judges. The judges ultimately decided Chris had the worst tattoo.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Craig.

Episode 6: Animal Instinct[edit]

Episode 6

First aired August 20, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Detail
  • Flash Challenge: Paint a model in the pattern of animal chosen randomly.
    • Winner: Kyle
  • Elimination Challenge: Tattoo an Asian themed tattoo with detail.
    • Winner: None of the artists qualified for a win according to the judging panel.
    • Eliminated: Made Rich — Tattoo was too simplistic and lacked any detail. None of the artists displayed the talent to rank highly in this traditional Japanese tattoo challenge. The two other lowest-ranking artists in this challenge were Jackie (who failed to use detail in a legible fashion) and Joshua (whose tattoo was too basic and suffered from bad placement).
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Joshua.

Episode 7: Monumental Mistakes[edit]

Episode 7

First aired August 27, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Dimension
  • Flash Challenge: Each artist designed 2 tattoos for the judge: one "good luck" design and one "bad luck." Dave Navarro was the canvas for this challenge; the two artists with the strongest designs were given the chance to tattoo one of their two designs at the same time. Jason and Tatu Baby were chosen to commit their tattoos to skin.
    • Winner: Jason
  • Elimination Challenge: Landscape — Create a large tattoo depicting a realistic landmark.
    • Winner: Joey
    • Eliminated: ES —The objects in ES's bridge landscape all appeared similar-sized, and did not show dimension. Joshua's tattoo showed a strong outline; but lacked detail and dimension. Tatu Baby had a similar issue due to her use of shading.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Tatu Baby.
  • Next Episode Teaser
The Episode 8 teaser showed previous artists from Ink Master Season 2, leading everyone to believe they may be in the canvas pool for the next episode. It also depicted Tatu Baby stating she may drop from the competition, seeking council from the judges.

Episode 8: Baby Don't Go[edit]

Episode 8

First aired September 3, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Proportion
  • Flash Challenge: Design a tattoo for a fellow artist to artistically apply to another artist. The person chosen to tattoo an artist must receive a tattoo from the person they are tattooing.
The winners of the flash challenge receives a fully paid trip to Germany to visit the Jägermeister facility and receive a private tour.

The teams are

Tatu Baby and Jime; Joey and Craig; Joshua and Kyle; Jackie and Jason
  • Winners: Joshua and Kyle
  • Elimination Challenge: Tattoo a pinup, using Ink Master Season 2 contestants as their canvases.2A
    • Winner: Jime
    • Eliminated: Craig — Craig's piece was judged the most unappealing, and his weakness with black and gray shading was apparent. In the recall, Tatu Baby mentioned she was ready to drop out because of embarrassment from poor work over the past few episodes. She was disappointed in herself, however the judges convinced her to stay on board if she was not voted out. Joshua and Craig were also emotional about the degree of challenges they faced, and the results thus far were not what they expected. Craig was eliminated after the judges determined his tattoo was the worst of the group.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Joshua.
  • Next Episode Teaser
The Episode 9 teaser indicated the group would do engraving into skulls. Conflicts were shown between the artists as the field dwindled down.

^Note 2A : Jessie Smith, Mike Tacij, Lalo Yunda, Steve Tefft, Jamie Davies, Sebastian Murphy, and Tray Benham, contestants from Season 2, were not present in this episode.

Episode 9: Skulls and Villains[edit]

Episode 9

First aired September 10, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Consistency
  • Flash Challenge: Carve a design into a replica human skull.
  • Winner: Joshua
  • Elimination Challenge: Design and tattoo a super villain from the world of DC Comic books, with consistency being the primary skill tested.
    • Winner: Joey
    • Eliminated: Jackie — The judges were split over the use of color in Jason's tattoo, however it displayed consistency. Jackie's tattoo contained bad linework, and the design was mirrored compared to the actual DC Comic character, failing to display consistency on multiple counts. Jime rounded out the bottom with a style that was not fitting of a comic book icon.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Jime.
  • Next Episode Teaser
With Ink Master LIVE fast approaching, Episode 10 depicts a narrowing road of contestants, destined to face off for the title. There were hints that eyelid tattoos are on the table, as someone is sent packing with no deliberation from the judges.

Episode 10: Eyes of the Beholder[edit]

Episode 10

First aired September 17, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Accuracy
  • Flash Challenge: Tattoo a client's eyelid.
  • Winner: Jime
  • Elimination Challenge: Tattoo an accurate portrait on a customer, using a live person as the reference.
    • Winner: Tatu Baby
    • Eliminated: Jason — Despite Jason's tattoo having a good overall look, the blending of the hair could have been more accurate; and a few features appeared inaccurate when comparing side by side with the model. Kyle overly worked his tattoo: although the features appeared accurate, the overworking made his piece appear scary. Jime's portrait skills were out of practice, and the overly dark shading of his tattoo sent him to the bottom three.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Kyle.
  • Next Episode Teaser
The next episode displayed tribute to US soldiers, and presented a statement of a fallen soldier.

Episode 11: Heroes and Heads[edit]

Episode 11

First aired September 24, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: Finesse
  • Flash Challenge: Engraving personalized dog tags for veterans and families of fallen soldiers. The challenge is connected to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
  • Winner: Jime
  • Elimination Challenge: Tattoo the head of a client, with no style limitation.
    • Winner: Jime
    • Eliminated: Joshua — Kyle had less detail than the judges were looking for; and from a distance one could not tell what the tattoo was supposed to be. Tatu Baby's piece featured strong color but weak linework, and the overall anatomy was not her best work. Joshua drew mixed reviews from the judges: his lack of drawing skills appeared in this tattoo, and his design was less detailed than previous work. As a result, and factoring in his past mistakes, Joshua was the next contestant to be eliminated.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
The worst artist, as voted by the human canvas jury, was Tatu Baby.
  • Next Episode Teaser
Episode 12 will reveal the finalists for season 3. The teaser indicated something surprising will happen during the next episode and that all artists will learn of their fate in the Live finale.

Episode 12: Enduring the Pain[edit]

Episode 12

First aired October 1, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: All aspects of tattooing combined.
  • Flash Challenge: None
  • Elimination Challenge: Tattoo a design created by a previous guest judge. Chuey Quintanar's design goes to Jime; Seth Ciferri's design goes to Kyle; Troy Denning's design goes to Tatu Baby; Corey Miller's design goes to Joey. Each artist must apply their tattoo to the same canvas at the same time. In a secondary challenge, each artist must apply a 6-hour custom tattoo of their own creation onto a dedicated canvas.
    • Winner: Jime
    • Eliminated: Kyle — Kyle's first tattoo had a simple, bold design and was well executed. However the design of his second, custom tattoo was difficult to read, and its texture fell flat. Jime's first tattoo by Chuey Quintanar was applied well, with shading and line-work on par. For his custom tattoo he used his specialty (new school), and the line-work and coloring combined with shading proved to be one of his best works. Tatu Baby's first tattoo (designed by Troy Denning) was unfinished. The shading and line-work was well done in the portions where it was completed, but her failure to complete the piece was a major issue. Her custom piece featured strong lines, even shading and good coloring; a contradiction to her first tattoo. The unfinished piece weighed heavily on the judges' decision whether to keep her. Joey's first tattoo by Corey Miller was decently applied, but judged as slightly too dark in the background, and not well-defined. Joey's custom tattoo was well done from a glance but not anatomically correct. Kyle became the final contestant to be eliminated as his tattoo was difficult to read, as well as for not having won any elimination challenges and being in the bottom three times in a row. Despite this, the judges informed Kyle that he and the other eliminated contestants may have a second chance of coming back for season four of Ink Master depending on audience votes.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
There was no human canvas jury for this challenge.
  • Next Episode Teaser
Episode 13 will reveal the Winner for season 3.

Episode 13: Ink Master Live: The Epic Finale[edit]

Episode 13

First aired October 8, 2013

  • Skill of the Week: All aspects of tattooing combined
  • Elimination Challenge: The three remaining artist must apply a tattoo incorporating each skill tested on throughout the season. They have the flexibility of location of the canvas, studio to apply and design of their application. Other than the other standard rules, the artists each have 35 cumulative hours to complete their work.
    • Winner: Joey
    • Runner Up: Jime
    • Third Place: Tatu Baby
    • Season 4 Returning Artist: Kyle
      • The Show
The live 2-hour finale started with a quick recap. It transitioned into the 2 artists who received the highest number of audience votes: Chris May and Kyle Dunbar. These two artists had the opportunity to apply a tattoo live in a battle to be the returning contestant for season 4. The time limit was 6 hours to complete the tattoo.
It was announced that "Madison Maddie la Belle" Loftis will not return to season 4 and was excluded from the voting due to pregnancy. James "Danger" Harvey also opted not to return due to personal reasons, and was excluded from the voting process. He was not present during the finale.
The remaining artists and finalists were brought on stage, and the judges offered the chance to discuss their reasons for participating in Ink Master. Josh was given solemn advice by other contestants and judges regarding his attitude. The canvases throughout the season were also given a voice, and some returned to the finale to make comments, which ranged from praise to arguments with the artists and judges.
The judges decided to produce the vote tally for the various artist levels of popularity during the live finale. They also reviewed some of the controversial eliminations and season tattoos. The person with the highest number of votes throughout the season received a guest artist spot at Oliver Peck's and Chris Nunez's respective shops. Joey Hamilton was the winner and most popular artist of the season.
By this time in the episode, the time limit for Chris and Kyle's tattoos had expired. Kyle's tattoo was liked by the judges, with the one criticism of needing to use more black. Chris's piece received a positive review as well, and both artists were asked why this quality of work was not produced during the season. Chosen solely by the audience, the winner and recipient of a season 4 contestant seat was Kyle with over 170,000 votes.
The show lead to interviewing the three finalists, starting with Tatu Baby. She discussed her challenges and thoughts during the season, and was glad she did not quit. Joey Hamilton expressed his joy to have made it to the finale and in classic competitive fashion, compared himself to the other two finalists. Jime rounded out the trio with his comments and expression of excitement.
  • The Critique
Tatu Baby's back tattoo was first up: a partially nude Native American woman with a wolf. The judges found it satisfactory overall, but had issues on its placement and continuity, and pointed out some areas that should have been tighter. Joey's design was a partially nude mermaid in an aquatic environment on a leg. The design was missing some contrast and would have benefitted from additional black to bring out the emotion and depth, but the time spent showed through. Jime did a full chest/stomach tattoo of a traditional battle royale; however it appeared dull and lacked punch. The coloring could have been better, and the background overcrowded and overshadowed his primary artwork. Despite a rebuttal, the judges' criticism remained, and he was chastised for not sticking to his area of expertise for this open challenge. After deliberation, Joey was decided to have done the best tattoo.
  • Human Canvas Verdict
There was no official human canvas vote for this episode.
  • Next Episode Teaser
Season 4 will see the return of Kyle.


Kyle Dunbar competed in the fourth season but was disqualified in the eighth episode after getting into a physical altercation with Nuñez prior to the Flash Challenge.

Joshua Hibbard and Jason Clay Dunn both returned for Ink Master: Rivals. Hibbard was disqualified in the eleventh episode after he admitted to smoking pot during the competition despite signing a contract that vows he wouldn't smoke prior. Dunn won the season, making him the first veteran to win the competition.

Jime Litwalk and Tatu Baby competed on "Merry Ink" where the former won the special while the latter finished fourth.

Joshua Hibbard won the "New Year's Ink" special.

Mystical Mike finished fourth in the "Cupid's Ink" special.

Jackie Jennings competed in the "Sirens of Ink" special and finished third while Mystical Mike acted as her human canvas in the first elimination tattoo.

Joey Hamilton and Jason Clay Dunn competed in the "Master Vs. Master" special where they were both eliminated after losing their head to head battle against Season 2 winner Steve Tefft and Season 4 winner Scott Marshall respectively.

Despite his controversial elimination, Craig Foster competed on Season 6 as an apprentice to Miami Burgess, and would go on to finish fourth.

Jime Litwalk returned for Season 7. He was introduced in the fifth episode and was eliminated in the ninth episode.

Made Rich represented Think Before You Ink on Season 9. He was introduced in the third episode but was eliminated in the fifth episode which also happened to be the same episode where E.S. and Season 4 contestant King Ruck were introduced to represent Black Spade Tattoo. Black Spade Tattoo would go on to finish eleventh after they were eliminated in the eighth episode.


  1. ^ a b "Ink Master Facebook Voting Page". SpikeTV. 
  2. ^ "Ink Master: TV Review - The Hollywood Reporter". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 

External links[edit]