Are you dreaming of a career as a tattoo artist? Or perhaps you want to open a studio? In 2019, the tattoo industry was estimated to be worth $83 million.
Some basic knowledge is essential if you want to avoid making mistakes on someone’s skin. So what do you need to know? And what equipment should you buy?
Preparation, safety, and practice are all important before you get started. Here is everything you need to know about how to tattoo.
Practice and Preparation
Before you take on your first client, you should practice and refine your skills. Take drawing lessons and practice sketching so that you can learn different techniques and styles. You should also research different art styles and cultures so that you can discover which styles you prefer.
You can practice your drawing skills by tracing sample tattoos created for a body. Ask your friends if you can practice on them with henna or a non-toxic pen so that you can practice on real skin. Synthetic skin is popular with tattoo artists but it is no substitute for real skin.
Pig skin is excellent too because it is so similar to human skin. By using real skin, you’ll be able to practice your needle depth and learn how to color the tattoo properly. Ask your local butcher for pig skin or find it online.
A tattoo apprenticeship is a great way to learn everything you need to know before you take on paying clients. Find a studio with a mentor that you admire. An apprenticeship will also increase your chances of getting a job in a studio.
Know Your Equipment
Understanding your equipment is essential if you want to produce high-quality tattoos. You do not need expensive tools but it helps to know the difference between tattoo machines. You can choose between a coil, rotary, or pneumatic tattoo machine depending on your preferences.
Beginners should start with a lightweight machine. Start with a liner tattoo machine before you move on to a shader. There are also various types of needles that you should learn how to use for effective lines or shading.
Complete the Outline
Your client will present you with a design and it is your job to advise on placement and dimensions. Why does your client want this particular tattoo? You can draw up their design and place a stencil on their skin before you start to see if they are happy.
Start by completing the outline and any other line work. This is your framework and guide for the tattoo. Begin at the bottom near your predominant hand and work up to avoid rubbing off the stencil as you work.
You’ll need to select the right needle size depending on the type of tattoo. A small needle can be used to create the outline of a tattoo. You can choose between round or flat needles based on the tattoo style.
Make sure that you hold the machine properly to achieve solid lines.
Shading and Coloring
You should complete all your line work before you add color or shading. Choose the correct needle and appropriate tattoo machine for the shading and color. Colors should be applied from darkest to lightest.
You can practice shading by using a pencil and paper. Once you feel confident that you know how to shade, you can then practice on synthetic skin or pig skin. You must understand how the skin works and moves to become a proficient tattoo artist.
Good hygiene practices are essential for tattoo artists to prevent illnesses and diseases in your studio. You should always wear gloves when you touch your client’s skin and wrap every single surface you are working on. Your machine and clip cord should also be covered.
Your tattoo station should be wrapped and ready to go before your client sits down with you. Use a disinfectant on all surfaces and make sure you have appropriate bins for your waste. A pedal bin is useful for hazardous waste and a separate bin should be kept near your chair for clinical waste.
If you want to take care of your clients then you should be able to show them how to clean a tattoo. A tattoo should be taken care of to prevent infections and scarring. An ointment can be applied to the tattoo to help with healing.
Your client should only wash their tattoo after a couple of days with mild soap and warm water. As their tattoo artist, it is your job to recommend how long they should wait before washing it. Show your clients how to take care of a tattoo before they leave your studio.
27% of people regret one or more of their tattoos. You can avoid this by making sure your client is happy before you start the tattoo. You can also advise your clients on how to remove a tattoo with laser treatments if they are unhappy with the result.
There are a few things you should know before you take on your first client. Pricing, customer service, and how much to tip a tattoo artist should be among your knowledge. You must keep your customers happy and provide your services at a fair price.
Experiment with ways to market yourself so that you have a steady stream of clients in your studio. Create a mailing list or client group on social media to start building your client base. Offer discounts and perks for returning customers to keep your clients coming back for more.
Learn How to Tattoo Today
Now that you know how to tattoo safely, you can open a studio or look for an apprenticeship. It is important to get lots of practice before you start tattooing on real skin. Being a tattoo artist means you will always be learning and refining your craft.
Do you want to learn more about how to tattoo from the best? Turn your passion into a career by learning from seasoned professionals in the business. Schedule a school tour today by contacting Florida Tattoo Academy.