Tattoo Review

Let us review all the tattooing procedures you have learned up to this point. In an organized order, go over a mock tattoo schedule from start to finish. This will tie in. all of the tasAv-Tiqyxesm some sort oitogicaV order so you can understand where they all fit.
A customer has just walked in, and just for the sake of this explanation, let’s say they would like a tattoo on their upper arm. After briefly talking to them about designs and which one they will prefer, let’s assume one is chosen and agreed upon. The price is understood and paid for, and the release form is signed. (See Chapter on Shop Practices). If they wish it on their left side, they would be seated in front of you with their back to the work table. If it was in the same position on the right arm, they would be turned around and be facing the table.
The topic of body positioning should be stressed here. The relationship of the customer’s position in regard to your own should be considered beforehand. One inch either way can really slow you down and make your work awkward. Once the customer is sitting, move yourself around to find a comfortable and steady position to work from.
In conjunction with the Chapter on “Sterile Techniques,” clean your hands thoroughly as described. Take a paper towel and place it on the table. Place a clean ink cap holder on the towel. Remove a tongue depressor from a jar with a lid on it and lift out a liberal scoop of Carbolated Vaseline and place it on the towel (you may also use the individual packets of Vaseline if you choose, instead). Now is the time to “prep” the area on the arm that is to receive the tattoo. After the “prep” job and the skin is drying for a few minutes, so as to become tacky for the stencil, now you may remove an outliner tube and needle bar from a wrapper and put together the unit, following closely the assembly steps found in “Tube Setting.” Put this unit aside and set-up a shading machine. Decide beforehand what stencil method suits you best and prepare the design stencil. Have the customer sit up straight and let the arm hang loose in a relaxed position. Properly apply the stencil in the desired position (go back and read Stencil Chapter). After it is applied and you and the customer are satisfied with its location, clean the stencil (if acetate) and dry it for filing. Take the lamp and adjust it so the light shines on the arm and works to your best advantage. Fill the cap holder (should hold at least four) with clean caps, one cap for each color anticipated and black, and carefully fill one with black tattoo ink from a sterile bottle with a pouring spout on it.

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Black shading. Next step in the tattoo process after outlinding

Shading must be mastered because, not only does it really make a tattoo stand out, but many tattooing errors and tattoo cover-ups can be hidden and corrected by proper shading. Black shading is the next step in the tattoo process after outlining. All the black work must be done before any color can be put in.
The tattooing spectrum goes from dark to light. That is black first, then the next darkest color, etc., and the lightest colors for last. If not done in this order, the dark colors mix with the lighter ones in the pores already made from the machine and a bad smudged mess will result. So, all the black work must be done first, and after the outline is finished, that means the shading is next.
Black shading can be so attractive that some tattooists use this style exclusively. They feel that a black tattoo (one done only in black ink, no color) is the only way to show a tattoo and that the addition of color only hinders the design. With some of the quality work out nowadays, especially single needle tattoos, it’s not hard to appreciate this point of view. Black tattoos take on an aged “patina” with time, and after a few years, if the tattoo is retouched up with more black, a certain quality is obtained which cannot be reproduced in any other way.
The tattoo machine should have the four or six needle shader bar set-up properly with the corresponding shader tube. Let the needles stand out about 1/32 inch. The two outside needles should touch the sides just enough to eliminate any side to side motion but not enough to make them tight. Check it running and adjust so there is no side quiver (see Machine Set-Up Section for solutions). Now the artist is set-up to do the black shading. Start by washing the outline with green soap and apply another very thin coat of Vaseline over it.

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About paper tissues. Some are not satisfactory for use in tattooing

There are many brands of paper tissues, all are not satisfactory for use in tattooing. Some will just pull apart as soon as you start wiping ink with them, others are very dusty and this is where your big problem starts, especially with outliners. Small unseen paper dust particles will be picked up off the skin between the outliner needles. At once, your outline will change from a solid line to one that looks like two lines and with a very scratchy appearance. Also, the line will be starving for ink because of the paper tissue dust packed in between the needles. To remedy this problem, take a single needle and carefully pick out the paper particles from between the needles, after that, a few seconds in the ultrasonic cleaner and your outline needles will work like new.
When outlining, just like the rest of tattooing, close attention must be paid to what one is doing. Check needles frequently to make sure they are not hanging up. If the needles continuously hang up, they are probably sticking out of the tube too far and need adjustment, this usually happens only with a round tip tube. The needle tips should be just outside the tube tip so they can barely be felt with the machine off.
Unless the machine is running too fast, those needles aren’t going in as deep as they appear to be, but if it’s running too slow, you will lack depth. Don’t run the machine faster than what you can keep pace with and always work as shallow as possible.
What would be a good speed for single needle would be too slow with more than one needle. Also, using more needles reduces that tingling sensation that most people say they feel. By reducing the number of needles all the way down to one, they will feel less tingling. For back work, use a three or five needle outliner, as opposed to a single needle for a thicker, flowing line.
There are two ways of working an outliner. Use very short strokes and have only enough needle showing below tip to be visible when machine is resting. Move machine along so tip is in contact with skin. Otherwise, use longer strokes, set tube a little higher in the jaws and have a little more needle showing below the tip. When doing this, work off the needle exclusively, don’t try touching the skin with the tip of tube. A good system is to use the former for large body pieces (the skin must be very taut), and the latter for small intricate work.
The tattoo outline should be sharp, solid and definite. As the machine is being held and bridged, the needles should be just skimming the skin surface. A tattooist doesn’t have to dig it in. Don’t use brute force, the machine will do the work. The tattooist’s job is to guide the course of the needles so they puncture holes in the skin where the design calls for them. The ink, flowing along the needles, enters the holes by the way of gravity.
The main causes of bad lines are: Damaged points, (check frequently) side to side needle quiver, not enough ink flowing at the tip, in too big a hurry, too much pressure of the machine, digging into the skin and tattooing loose skin not stretched tight. If all these errors are avoided, few problems will occur and good sharp outlines will be consistent.

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Outlining. An important aspect of a good tattoo

Outlining by itself just might be the single most important aspect of a good tattoo. It takes special attention and concentration while performing. A cleancut line done with confidence displays professionalism and is the solid foundation for a great tattoo. The world’s greatest foundation is useless if the bricks are faulty, and the greatest quality outline is only as good as the pattern. In other words, as important as good outlining is, the outline itself is only as good as the line on the stencil. So, the first important step in outlining is taking the time to make the best possible stencil that can be made. Keep the stencil simple. In the case of a complicated design, use only the major outlines to establish the design and the other detail type lines can be added later by freehand.
Assuming the preparation of the skin has just been finished and the area of the design is lightly coated with carbolated vaseline (see Chapter on Sterile Techniques first), just the design and not too much beyond it, so the hand won’t slip around and the bridges will be more stable. The first real step is to fill the reservoir of the machine tip with black tattoo ink. To do this property, the machine should not be running and lightly dip the tip into an ink cap holding black ink. Careful pains must be taken not to touch any surface of the cap with the needle tip. The end of the tube will fill up. This supply of ink does not last very long and must be frequently dipped back into the cap for a refill. Run the machine over a paper tissue to test the ink flow. If the machine spurts and spits out ink, stop it for an adjustment. (Check Chapter on Machine Setting). Usually adjustment of the bands will correct the problem.
Always tattoo either forward or sideways with the machine. Outlines and shading both are done like this. In this direction, the needles have a slight backward pressure on them against the skin, which keeps the needles in the bottom of the tube where the ink is. Rubber bands keep this position in check, but tattooing in this direction keeps the needles working where they belong and does not work against the natural function of the machine. It makes nice tattooing easier. Using a square tip tube is a plus.
Outlining is done from the bottom up, since sweat, blood and ink run down, it makes sense to start at the bottom to avoid smudging while working up. Since wiping the area continuously while doing the tattoo will remove the stencil, starting in the bottom position will prevent this.

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Practice and be professional on lettering tattoos

When outlining letters, a good general rule to follow is that the less stops and starts you make, the better the lettering. It makes for a more consistent flow. Blot away the ink after each step so you can see what you have done and where you are going for the next stroke.
Some customers prefer names in a handwriting style. If they have better handwriting than you do, they can write what they want on a guidelined piece of paper, which you set-up, and then you can copy it and stencil it on the skin. This appeals to some, because their tattoo inscription will be in their own handwriting.
Discourage the use of girlfriends’ names in tattoos. These names are usually outdated in the majority of cases, and it leaves the customer with a name they no longer want on themselves. When people insist on it, just say no. If a compromise must be made, tattoo the name in a light red ink so when they return to get rid of it (and they will), you can tattoo over it to hide it. See Chapter on Cover-ups for more details on this.
One more important thing to bring up is spelling errors. You would be amazed at how many people are walking around with misspelled words tattooed on them. This looks bad and is very unprofessional. Never guess at a word that you don’t know and have a dictionary handy to look them up. Be positive at what you are spelling. If they are foreign words, have the customer spell them out for you, and the same goes for names.
Be careful and practice every night, and you will soon master lettering, an important category in professional tattooing.

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