Ink Master Season 12: Swapping Designs on Episode 10

Please note: This post contains spoilers about Ink Master Season 12 episode 10.

On Ink Master, it’s never a good idea to dish out more than you can handle yourself. Because the second you start trying to trip people up with tricks, karma will come back for you. 

On episode 10 of Season 12, the remaining nine tattoo artists were on their own—no teams, no coaches, and no flash challenges. 

This week, tattooing started right out of the gate. The ask from the judges was to create a line drawing that a member of the other team would have to execute as a tattoo. With only a handful of artists still left on each team, strategy starts to matter more than ever. 

Who had both the drawing and tattoo chops to stay another week in the competition? Let’s get into our weekly recap. 

Drawing Designs for the Opposing Team

Usually, Ink Master always has one episode each season where the artists have to tattoo someone else’s design in one way or another. This week, the artists on both the men’s and women’s teams had to create their own line drawings that would be tattooed by artists on the opposing team.    

Prior to getting started, the judges explained that the tattoo artists would be judged on the design they executed, as well as their original line drawings—so each remaining artist had to play smart with their initial sketch. 

Ink Master artists swapping designs on episode 10.

Instead of being assigned a specific drawing, the artists had the opportunity to pick their tattoo designs from the opposite team. For this round, here is the breakdown of the chosen designs and who tattooed them:

  • Pon tattooed Holli’s traditional boxing man design
  • Cam tattooed Janelle’s heart and dagger design
  • Creepy Jason tattooed Laura’s robot-guy design
  • Jake tattooed Alexis’ sandwich design
  • Alexis tattooed Creepy Jason’s broccoli-face design
  • Holli tattooed Pon’s traditional horse design
  • Janelle tattooed Pon’s traditional horse design
  • Dani tattooed Jake’s spider design
  • Laura tattooed Cam’s dragon design

The only design that did not get chosen to tattoo by the opposite team was Dani’s witchy lady. 

No one chose to tattoo Dani Ryan’s design.

As with any Ink Master challenge, there was a little bit of drama and some bumps in the road for a few of the artists. Cam was offended when Laura, who he considers his biggest competition, decided to change up his dragon design to make the scales larger and alter some of the elements. 

“Laura took some pretty heavy liberties with my tattoo,” Cam said. “Which I think is shitty because I was super pumped on that. To watch her tattoo something far and away from what I intended it to be just makes me feel like she thinks I did a shit design.” 

Janelle struggled with Pon’s design and made some alterations to the finished piece. When she finished, it was obvious that Janelle was unhappy with the finished product, specifically because she saw blowouts in her canvas’ skin. 

A Twist Before the Elimination

When the teams showed up to the judging room, instead of being critiqued for their tattoos, the judges threw them a curve ball. Each artist would have to tattoo their own original design, and both tattoos would be taken into account during judging. 

The artists get a surprise from the judges.

All of the artists were pretty excited to be able to work on their own designs—especially Dani, who could see her lady finally come to life, and Cam, who kept his design as-is to prove to Laura that it could be done as a black-and-grey tattoo. 

Laura was also challenged when deciding on an approach to her own design. During the first round, she gave Creepy Jason advice on how to tattoo her robot, which included adding rust. So, Laura had to go in a different direction with the style in her tattoo. 

During the critiques, the judges had high praise for Laura, Creepy Jason, and Cam—who created beautiful tattoos in both challenges. Ultimately, it was Creepy Jason who took home tattoo of the day. 

Dani and Holli were also praised for their work, and Pon had a strong showing with his two traditional tattoos. 

But Jake, Alexis, and Janelle were placed in the bottom. Alexis was praised for her out-of-the-box sandwich design, but the judges thought she used too much black in her piece and didn’t allow her tattoo of Creepy Jason’s broccoli guy breathe enough. Janelle was criticized for the darkness in her heart and dagger tattoo and the judges picked apart the blowouts on her horse tattoo. And while Jake’s application was clean overall, the judges felt like he played it too safe with his simple, spider design. 

When it came down to it, Janelle and Alexis were placed in the bottom. Ultimately, after a review of each artist’s full body of work, the judges decided to send Alexis home. 

“I’ve been tattooing for so long, and I haven’t pushed myself in a really long time,” she said in her exit interview. “The judges have shown me that I can draw, and I’m going to take that home and make my tattoos the most technical, sound tattoos you’ve ever seen.”

Alexis Kovacs leaves the Ink Master set.

We’re not going to lie—we are totally bummed to see Alexis go. As someone who owns a shop in our home state of Pennsylvania, we were definitely rooting for her to go to the finale. We loved her originality, no-bullshit attitude, and the way she naturally took on a leadership role on the women’s team this season. 

Make sure to follow along with Alexis on Instagram to keep up with what she’s doing in the future. 

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