Some advices. “Don´t work more than two or three hours on a large tattoo”

Establish a regular pattern of working hours. During your slow periods, you’ll find many ways to occupy your time. If and when you have a day when you’re tired, distraught or ill, go to bed or go fishing, tomorrow’s another day.
On a busy day, work customers on a rotation basis. First in, first out. Don’t offend anyone by taking on someone else before their turn comes.
You’ll find it better to do large pieces by appointment outside your regular office hours. Some artists work exclusively by appointment, but they are usually well known and established. It’s not a good idea to work more than two or three hours on a large tattoo anyway, it is advisable to spread the work over several or more sittings. Don’t touch it again until the previous work is healed.
You will be approached by people you would prefer not doing business with. There is always one out of ten that are just plain trouble. Don’t be arrogant with them, just explain in a firm way that if you’re not accepting their money, you don’t owe them anything.
From time to time, you might be approached by the media looking for what they like to call a human interest story. While it may be in your interest to cooperate with them, don’t forget that publicity is a double-edged sword. Once they get their foot in the door, they can write it the way they see it. There are those who swear that publicity promotes business, but it would be hard to prove that those customers wouldn’t eventually have found their way to your doorstep anyway. Give it your best thoughts, because in the end, it’s a decision you’ll have to make when you are confronted with it.
Spend some time building good public relations in your community, having friends on your side always helps.
A question that comes up is one about tattoo removal. Tattooists all have their special removal techniques, but you should be advised to stay clear of them all. The best answer is to have the name and address of a reputable dermatologist who specializes in tattoo removal, and send the client there. Your thing should be putting them on correctly. Let someone else’s thing be in removing them correctly.

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Tattoo Business practices

Before even starting in the tattooing business, the material in this chapter should be given some serious thought. For example, how will you ever start tattooing if perhaps it is against the law in your community? Since it is a tattooing career that you wish to make it in, it would be smart to make sure no authorities will visit you and permanently shut you down. Whether doing business at home or at a shop (which will be the eventual goal), certain local and state ordinances should be looked into in depth.
The first step would be for you to investigate into the local laws at City Hall to see whether there are any conflicts with what you plan to do, and meet what they require on this subject. This also should involve a visit to the Sheriffs Department to check on other requirements and law stipulations. A trip there should be on your schedule regardless, just to clear things up like zoning and businesses.
Another important place to go see would be the Health Department to find out what they require. Be prepared to answer their questions like a pro. Knowing all the information in this site down pat would be an excellent start, and you should practice all the information in this book too, like a professional. Meet all the regulations that are required of you. You want to set up a respectable and permanent business and not be a gypsy outlaw. State, local and health laws vary greatly, so be sure to check them out and any other establishments that they point you to.
There are some other things to consider also, about other general business practices.
Before diving right into a shop, you better know exactly what makes up a legal shop and be prepared to meet those requirements. Also, some knowledge on real estate would help, so you don’t get stuck paying off a shop you can’t use. Look up zoning laws to be sure you can tattoo in the area. Once the shop is located and the deal is going through, it is wise to have business insurance on your shop and your equipment. In case of fire, theft or accident, you will be covered. If you are not covered, it could cost you the shop. An insurance policy is a small price to pay to be protected today.

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Methods for Seeling tattoo Work.

Another method to use is called the grid system pricing guide. This is where a grid is made up on a piece of paper or acetate in one inch square increments. The idea here is to cover the tattoo with the grid and see how many square inches it encompasses. You would charge by the square inch of tattoo space. You will have to determine what you want to charge per square inch. This can save you time, and if you decide on different prices, all you have to do is charge more or less per square inch instead of changing all the flash sheets.

These are just a few examples of pricing and it is probable that the tattooist will find a way of pricing that is both fair to the customer and profitable to himself. Always remember though, don’t be greedy.

Selling Work
Another aspect of tattooing which is linked to pricing is the possibility of drumming up more business. This is self-promotion, and there are endless ways to go about doing it. One way is, as soon as you open up a shop, call the local newspaper and try to get them to do a local story on you. A lot of people will read this that otherwise would not have any other way of knowing about your shop. Advertising yourself always helps and to place an advertisement for tattooing, promoting yourself, will really get you some business. An advertisement in any related type magazine is also good. Business cards are a must to hand out to people and it is a tradition to design them with clever drawings and original ideas. T-shirts, buttons and bandanas with your shop name log silk-screened on them are another way to go. They are like walking billboards, and the price to have them printed up is marginal compared to the business that you will get. Many tattooists photograph all the tattoos that they have done (while on the customer). When a collection of them starts to pile up, arrange them in books or on the walls and they become a great portfolio, showing what you are capable of doing. Proof of your work really puts the odds in your favor when a customer is undecided about actually getting a tattoo. Following these guidelines, it shouldn’t be hard to get more work, and a little imagination in promoting yourself, really adds up to more business. Tattooing advertises itself by word of mouth, and aside from the cost of business cards and some advertising in the yellow pages, they advertise themselves. You can sell the same tattoo over and over again, but to the customers, they’re always new.

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The Tattoo Studio

As we said earlier, it’s likely you will be starting out at home. Chances are, you will be most secure and have more confidence in your home setting, and develop a reluctance to move on. There are a lot of advantages working at home. If you are employed elsewhere, the overhead, after the initial outlay for equipment, is almost nil and whatever you take in, is spending money. If you are happy at home, you are ahead of the game. By using discretion and keeping a low profile, you may never run afoul of the zoning laws that exist in most communities. There are many instances of “kitchen tattooists” who do very well in their spare time and couldn’t be moved by flood or flame. If you’re a family person, keep equipment locked up, tattoo machines aren’t toys.
Others, like the “here today, gone tomorrow” call of the open road type, they setup shop in a van and can put the show on wheels at the drop of a hat. You have the choice of setting your own pace and schedule, stopping off wherever crowds gather for any number of reasons, or throwing in with a carnival or travelling show. Not everyone is thrilled with such a free-spirited life, but it does suit some folks. You may want to try it to see if that’s where you fit in.
Having a nice shop uptown, downtown or across the tracks is also hard to beat. It provides an atmosphere of stability that encourages people to put their faith and trust in you.

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Some advices about tattoo colors

According to this chart, white would be the last color to be put in a tattoo. Brown before yellow, etc. When a color is tattooed as mentioned before, thousands of tiny holes are being punctured into the skin and the color goes down these holes to stain the under layers of skin. These holes are all open when working, so one color can actually flow into the holes of another color and stain it differently. Bad mixtures are the result of this. If a dark color is used first, a lighter color can’t really change it but if a lighter color is used first, and then a dark color over it, the dark can change the light color, staining it dark. When a dark to light sequence is followed, this overpowering condition disappears. Before tattooing color, it is good to mentally line up the color sequence that is going to be used beforehand so no mistakes are made and some order is maintained efficiently without stopping and thinking about it.
Tattoo colors can be mixed with each other in a cap and/or blended together in the skin for even more variation of tones. Remember though, not every great artist uses hundreds of different colors, and a piece of work should not be evaluated just on the amount of different colors that it contains. A tattoo with 18 assorted colors can look really spectacular, but so can a tattoo with three or four colors. The trick is proper color placement to get a certain effect rather than random selecting and placement of color just for colors sake.

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The process of coloring tattoos

The actual process of coloring a tattoo is a relatively simple one if you always remember and apply a few key rules and regularly practice them. The technique is the same for solid black tattooing as it is for solid coloring. Actually, black tattooing is a little easier as black ink seems more readily accepted by the skin than colored ink. The motion is a circular one, and coloring a tattoo is done in small circular steps, a little at a time. If a constant pace is maintained, a lot of area can be covered in a small amount of time. Each circle just barely overlapping the last circle until the areas are covered solid in just two sweeps. Never do an area more than once or twice over. Just small, constant, flowing circles covers an area smooth and efficiently, and always working off the tips of the needles.

Don’t press hard and don’t stay in one area repeatedly crisscrossing or try to color the skin in like with a crayon or pencil. This will turn the skin to hamburger and create a bad scab or possibly, leave scars, the ultimate error. While the needles are in contact with the skin, keep the machine moving, never hold it still or that will cut the skin. Don’t go back over any work just done. Get it right the first sweep through. It will look better with the fewest amount of holes in the skin. The more holes, the more bleeding, the more scabbing, and the more ink will be absorbed out in the scab. “Packing it in” won’t get you anywhere so let the machine do the job and pay attention to the work being done. A little area is done and then wiped to be inspected. Continue in this fashion and monitor the results. Any adjustments can be quickly made when done in this manner. The color of the tattoo will not be any more colorful or brighter when you try to hammer the color into the skin.

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Working with the tattoo machine. Some advices

Dip the tip of the machine in the ink cap that was used for outlining (being refilled when need be) without letting the needle points hit against any side of the cap. The machine tube tip will fill up and the ink will gravity flow down the needles and enter the holes your shader needles are making in the skin and at the same time putting in the black.
Begin the tattoo by working on the portions of the design that are to be solid black. Let the machine do the work and do not press down on it, just guide the machine and move the tip in small circles, letting the needle points enter the skin where you want the black ink to go. Never try to run out of ink and try to keep the needles continuously wet with flowing ink. Don’t waste time by tattooing without ink or doing a tattoo that is bleeding excessively. Always work off the points of your needles for best results.
Learn early in your career how to put in solid black (or color) where it is needed. The tip must be kept moving in small circles, slowly covering the desired area. Wipe occasionally with tissue to keep an eye on how it is coming along. Do not over do it because the skin can only handle just so many of those small holes. Remember, all those holes have to heal later. Some people think that the deeper you go, the better the results. This notion is unfounded. If continuously grinding and pressing the machine, the skin will rip and excessive scabbing will occur which will reject ink from the body. If an area is covered way too rapidly, unshaded areas will be left and a very basic rule will be broken, and that is that a tattooist should not go back over what has already been done. Do it the first time right. The skin has to be stretched tightly and the needles should be going into the skin evenly with about a 45° angle measured between the skin and the tilt of the needle and tube.

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Tattoos. How to Sterilize liquids.

If you sterilize liquids, use the “slow exhaust” or the inside of the clave will wear it! The clave will sterilize everything except some rubber items and most plastics. For tabletop models use only distilled water (HOH). Filters are supplied for floor models.
Clean the clave once a week according to manufacturer’s specs. If you don’t, the company rep will be only too glad to pick it up and refurbish it for you when it fails to operate. It will be gone 3 to 6 weeks and carry the National Debt when returned. Check it with a spore strip once a month, and keep a running record in a log book. Log all maintenance, it makes good sense.
Never stand over a clave when you open the door, as the residual, steam, when exiting upward, will burn you. If liquids are autoclaved, remove the bottle tops, jar tops, etc., and place them inverted on the tray or shelf of the clave. Remember to slow exhaust.

The Ultrasonic Cleaner
This machine in no way sterilizes, it is a cleaner only. If you use one once, you’ll buy it, as it’s simply indispensable. It will remove dried ink from tubes and needle bars quickly. It works on a unique process. A cleaning solution is added to the tank and the soiled article is suspended in it. The machine, when turned on, cleans with microwave energy. It forms small bubbles on the dirty surface and causes them to implode. This action pulls the dirt away from the surface leaving it clean.
The tank should be sanitized with a 10% bleach solution whenever it is emptied.

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Tattoo Placement

Some areas of the body are easier to tattoo than others. On a male, the easiest places are the forearm, upper arms and legs. The most popular and easiest areas for the female are on the shoulder blades, breasts and hips. The fleshy portion of the upper breast (above the nipple) is the easiest spot for a woman to get a tattoo. Women seem to take a tattoo a lot easier than a man. This is due to the fact that they have a naturally higher threshold of pain and also an extra layer of fat in their skin than men do.
Some thought should go behind the actual placement of tattoos, such as the size and shape of the design as opposed to the size and shape of the skin area being tattooed. A large flying bird spanning left to right would look a little awkward on a skinny arm that hangs basically up and down. Try to use the lines of the tattoo to enhance the curves of the body part, this will be making more of an artistic statement than just slamming any tattoo in any position.

Use a design that is compatible in size and shape to the area it s going to be on. For example, on the forearm, use a long design that goes up and down the arm from elbow to wrist, also taper it so it conforms to the bulge in the upper forearm and slims down as it comes down to the wrist area. Small, rounder shapes work well on shoulders. Large, round ones on the chest or back. Oblong designs are great for biceps and legs.

Small tattoos don’t usually look that good on large areas and seem to get lost. Large tattoos squeezed into small areas are confusing and usually the entire picture isn’t visible from one angle.
Sometimes what looks the best isn’t necessarily what the customer wants. It isn’t your job to argue with them, after all, they’re always right, but it does help to make a few suggestions and to state how you view things. People will usually consider what you have to say.
The direction a tattoo faces also should be considered. Although the customer always has the final say, a general rule to follow is that a tattoo that is in profile (or partial view turned) should always face to the front of the person. That is, don’t have them pointing backwards to the rear. Some examples are shown on the following page.

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Skin Streetching for being tattooing

One of the major bonuses that you have working with skin is in its elasticity. It stretches a lot. In order to perform any kind of precise work and to get the ink in correctly, the skin must be taut. It’s important that the skin be stretched tightly like a drum so the needles don’t bounce, or get hung up in the skin. If the skin isn’t very tight, your lines will go from too strong to too weak. If it is too strong, you have gone way too deep and a big fat line with “knots” in it may occur and scar tissue will usually result.

If the skin isn’t stretched tight, it will be difficult to get the color to go in the skin. The needles will bounce off the skin instead of penetrating it. It may look like the ink is getting in all right, but it could be an illusion and be getting in on only the very top layer of epidermis. Keep the area you have just finished clean so you can see how solid the color is. Use a magnifying glass, if necessary, and stretch the skin while you are examining it.

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