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7 Essential Tattoo Tips for Better Tattooing
Whether you’re brand new to the field or have been at it for years, there are always interesting tattoo tips that can make the job easier, faster, or just more interesting in general. These tattoo tips have been gathered from some of the best artists out there, and if you choose to implement them, you will likely find that your quality increases while your frustration level drops.
These tattoo tips run the gamut, from those that make your needles work better to those that save you the headache of dealing with a disgruntled client.
Tattoo Tip One – Get Better Ink Flow
In order to improve the flow of ink on your shader, take the time in advance to slightly spread the individual needles apart. Lay the shader flat and then gently place a razor blade between the outside two sharps. With the slightest of pressure, tip the razor and bend the outer sharp the tiniest bit outward. Do the same on the other side, and move inward until each sharp has been spread. Be sure to use caution when placing the razor between the sharps, as you don’t want to accidentally bend the tips or pit the sides. Make sure to visually inspect your needle after this process to ensure you haven’t done any damage.
Tattoo Tip Two – Take the Right Approach
When beginning a tattoo, you will usually start by outlining over the top of your stencil lines. In order to do this, you need to be careful not to accidentally rub off the lines you need to be following. One way to help avoid this is to make sure that you’re never dragging your hand or tattoo machine over the stencil lines. Instead, start at the bottom right (bottom left if you’re left handed), and start lining toward the top left (top right if you’re left handed). That way, as you go along, your tattooing hand will generally only touch areas that have already been lined. This also keeps blood and sweat from running over the stencil design and needing to be wiped away, along with your guide lines.
Tattoo Tip Three – Keep It Clean
Some of these tattoo tips build on one another. As mentioned above, you will find that as you work, blood and sweat will run over the tattoo. Add ink to this mix, and you can have a real problem. Keep a tissue ready at all times, and continually wipe away any fluids that are impeding your view. Many tattoo artists keep the tissue wrapped right around the little finger of their tattooing hand and can easily wipe away fluid with a quick flick of the wrist. By doing this, you help make sure that you can always see the lines you are tracing. Otherwise, you may accidentally ink into another color or run over the end of a line, which can be very difficult to repair.
Tattoo Tip Four – Placement Is Key
Not all tattoos will look good on any part of the body. As a professional, you may find that you need to offer constructive tattoo tips to your clients. Just because Louise has always wanted a butterfly on her shoulder doesn’t mean it’s going to look good there. Consider the fact that a small tattoo will look odd on a larger piece of undecorated skin, that round tattoos may become warped by the movement of muscles below, and that tattoos on the face are pretty much never a good idea. In addition to where tattoos will look good, you also want to take the healing process into consideration. Many people find that tattoos on the extremities (like hands and feet) don’t heal up well, and some artists refuse to tattoo these areas for precisely that reason.
Tattoo Tip Five – Listen to Your Gut
Speaking of where not to tattoo, you may occasionally find that you have a potential client who you don’t think should get a tattoo. The person may be underage, intoxicated, or otherwise unable to make decisions for himself or herself, for example. In other cases, you may find that you just don’t particularly like someone and don’t relish the idea of spending the next hour or three in close proximity. There’s no law that says you have to tattoo this person. In fact, in regards to the underage/intoxicated/etc. person, there are laws against
it. Someone with obvious signs of an illness may also need to be turned away, as you don’t want to risk your own health or that of your other clients.
Tattoo Tip Six – Ink Color Issues
From time to time, you may come across various ink color issues that leave you or your client frustrated. Here are several tattoo tips on what to look for and to avoid. First, know that white ink doesn’t usually last very long, so don’t use much of it. Black ink, on the other hand, will fade a bit over time, but this is often considered a good thing, as it gives a tattoo a “patina.” Red ink has been known to cause various negative reactions such as swelling and itching, and it’s impossible to know if this problem exists in advance. On the other hand, red is a great choice for tattooing darker skin. Finally, purple ink should pretty much never be mixed with any color other than white.
Tattoo Tip Seven – Protect Yourself
There are risks and dangers that come along with tattooing, and you want to do everything you can to protect yourself. This starts out before the client ever arrives by ensuring that all of your equipment is clean and sterilized. During the tattoo process, wear gloves and glasses, and continue to keep your area clean and hazard free. You also want to protect yourself legally, so be sure that all clients sign a waiver, and double check their IDs before agreeing to do any work. Be clear about how to take care of the tattoo as it heals and let the client know he or she can call you with any concerns so that you can help out before a problem develops.
You can undoubtedly find tons of valuable tattoo tips from each and every artist you run across, and you’ll likely even develop some of your own. After all, we all work in different ways and you will find methods and tips that make the most sense for your own style. Make the most useful tattoo tips a part of your daily practices, and don’t worry about those that don’t work for you.
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