I am a licensed, self-taught tattoo artist who has tattooed professionally for more than seven years. Here, I share my expertise in a series of articles about what it takes and how to go about becoming a tattoo artist.
The reason I share this information is to help those serious artists out there who haven’t had luck getting into a tattoo parlor. Well, here is a great start. Below, I introduce you to all the tools and gear you will need to start out. I will also answer a lot of the frustrating questions many new tattooists have.
In this lesson, we will discuss what type of equipment you should have and I’ll try to explain some of the photographs I have provided. This is the first tattoo lesson, so if this your first time learning about tattooing, pay attention, because it is important to know how your equipment operates.
Necessary Equipment: Let’s Check Your Gear
Tattoo machine : A liner will be preferable for starting with. I am assuming that you all know the difference between a liner and shader, but if you don’t, I will share the types of tattoo machines I use and some basic mechanics that will help you tattoo a 100% better below.
Power supply: Whether you have one from a kit or you spent a little more for something extra, figuring out how to work the settings on these things is an absolute must. Also, tuning your machine correctly will help you manage the normal current you run through it, making it easier to adjust your power supply if you’re tattooing at different locations and your equipment gets knocked around.
Foot pedal: Your foot pedal is used to activate or terminate an electric current by simply pressing or lifting your foot on the device.
Clip cord: This is the cord that connects your machine to your power supply while the foot pedal activates or terminates the current that goes to your tattoo machine.
Tattoo lining tube: Diamond-shaped dimension tubes are great for beginners, and many people with plenty of experience seem to prefer them as well.
Proper lining needle: I just use the standard bugpin tight needle grouping. It gives me a solid line every time. if you got a kit and are not sure what type of needles you have, just make sure that the liner grouping you are attempting to use is round in nature like the head of a pen.
Two or three rubber bands: Make sure you have at least two or three rubber bands that will fit snugly around the tattoo machine and hold your needle bar firmly in place. These allow for an excellent line while tattooing.
Armature bar nipples: This is an essential part of the gear you need. It’s important to fully understand the mechanical components of your machine and determine how the needle bar loop fits and functions. Try to use these items, as they help establish great tattooed lines.
More Tattooing Essentials
Ink: Again, if you got a kit and are using non-brandname inks, do a little research and give me some feedback on what types you are using. I can give you a thumbs up or down if I know the brand.
A tub of Vaseline: You will use this on the skin during the tattoo process. It prevents the ink from sticking to the skin, allowing you to pay more attention to your linework and shading.
At least one cup of water: Sometimes you’ll need up to three, depending on how extensive the lining or shading is.
Plenty of paper towels: The best size towel is the 11×10-inch. It folds well into shapes you will value as you get really into the tattooing.
Razors for shaving the area you will be tattooing: Some dudes are hairy (oh so scary), so sometimes you will need more than one. I use a Schick double blade—I get a pack of 12 for 2 or 3 bucks.