Mike DeVries  Discussion Board


Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Meganmax23 from IP: 166.147.77.40 on 02/27/12
USA

I'm a beginner tatooist and I failed... I did a few in myself with a 5rl came out awesome.. My husband let me do one on him and I did alot of research to make sure I was doing it right... Set eveything up... Put the needle out an eigth of an inch... Put Vaseline over the transfer.. Started,, did a bit of the outline and stopped... There wasn't a line... And when there was it would just puddle (a bit like water rolling off a ducks feathers) barely any inthe skin... It looks f'ing horrible... Did I put too much Vaseline?? Or was my needle out too far?? Or both?? Idk... I have so many other questions... If someone would like to give me their email to bug them or a number too text that would be great... I really want to get an apprenticeship and have been trying for five years with no luck... Please help me so I can fix my husbands arm.. Thanks.

Meganmax23@yahoo.com



 
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Replies:

RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by El ro from IP: 178.190.44.201 on 02/27/12
Mexico

honest, you must start from the beggining please really, use pork skin, and practice a lot before touch any person, is unbeliveble that you learn like this, you must be patience, draw a lot before, read a lot, ask in forums like this, but not to fix your mistakes, to dont do mistakes like this.
wich ink are you using? wich machine? if is from china put it in the rubish and buy another one first.

Really if you could wait 5 years, wait another one learning by your self if you dont have another option before damage someones skin again


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by J_Klink from IP: 76.188.141.197 on 02/27/12
PA

I don't want to come across as rude. However the modern age age of tattooing there is no reason to be tattooing without proper training. If this is something you really want to do an apprenticeship is basically a must. These forums are great for. Product questions and reviews, technical questions on equipment, even techniques to create a certain look with a style of tattooing. Which makes these forums great! However it is not a substitute for being properly trained. My advice is to have your husband go to a professional artist to finish it for him. While there you can ask some questions about apprenticeships.

Again it is not to be rude just honesty. I am all for new artists learning this wonderful medium. However you cannot learn properly over the internet. Best of luck.

Justin


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Superman from IP: 24.150.223.80 on 02/27/12

.


Hey Megan,

you might want to sit down , this is going to take a while. I'm going to be as blunt and honest as I can, if you find some offense in my post, I apologize..

first thing i'm going to do is list your mistakes,

-
-hanging the needle out 1/8 of an inch is irrelevant if you don't know the proper skin depth of each part of the body. ( I can only assume that you measured 1/8 of an inch and then buried the tip of the tube in the skin, with the assumption that "you can't go too deep or do any damage if you set your needle to 1/8 of and inch. well 1/8 of an inch calculates to 3.175 mm. considering that most tattoos fall between 1 mm to 1.5 mm, you are definitely in the danger zone if you bury the tube...
-tattooing your husband without a certification in blood born pathogens, and some basic first aid is dangerous both to you and your husband, as well as others including animals who may accidentally come in contact with your materials that may not have been properly disposed of.
-I'm going to take guess that you may be using the vaseline incorrectly, A&D ointment would be a better choice in substitution to the vaseline, however knowing why a7d is used during the tattoo process is also important...
- you had mentioned that you have been trying for 5 years to get an apprenticeship, but in this 5 years, I'm at a loss to hear that you have not gained any of the basic knowledge that could have been easily obtained through some dvds and books.
- another guess I'm going to throw out there, did you take the time to properly sterilize your station, or was the tattoo done in you kitchen,
did you cover all important expose areas for blood born pathogens, for example, did you use a clip cord cover, machine bag, bottle bags. polypropylene barriers on all surfaces, barriers on your table surface, barriers on your power supply, gloves, distilled water or tap water, disposable tubes or metal ones, if so were they cleaned properly with a sonic cleaner and autoclave? barriers over any light source like a lamp. were you on carpet or a floor that can be easily sterilized. ect, ect, I could go on and on, but you get what I'm trying to say...

now onto what you did right.

-you came to this forum and asked for advise.

first thing I would like to do is try and put to rest the controversy covering apprenticeship and learning on your own.

there are 3 types of tattoo artist:

1. SCRATCHER--- this is someone who watches a tv show and says to themselves, "yup I can do that", they go to ebay and buy a tattoo kit and immediately begin tattooing their family and friends without any disregard for the health and safety of these individuals, they have no interest in learning and only do it cause they think its cool.
2. professionally trained tattoo artist who have completed an apprenticeship--- this is someone that knew right from the beginning what it takes to be a professional artist, so they work their ass off to get their art skills to a level that they feel would give them a better chance at being accepted as an apprentice.
3. self taught professional tattoo artist---these are people who have tried and failed to get an apprenticeship, and thus sought out all the information they needed to become a professional and safe artist who takes a little longer to earn the respect of those artist that have done a proper apprenticeship. this includes going to seminars, purchasing all the information/books/dvd they can, and taking the time to get tattooed by real professionals.

right now you have just made the first step into transforming from a scratcher to a self taught professional, and hopefully a professionally trained artist.

so now onto my advise.

1. stop tattooing before you end up with too many bad habits that you may not be able to fix in the future,
2. sign up for a course in blood born pathogens and basic first aid.
3. collect and purchase as much information on tattooing as you can possible afford. start with this page on mikes reflected art educational supplies.

http://www.reflectedart.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=7&pg=1

4. go back to drawing and painting to try and get a really good portfolio that you can use to help get you an apprenticeship.
5. if you still fail at getting an apprenticeship, then once you have gained enough knowledge that you don't even need to ask the basic question, then proceed to learn all you can about tattoo machines, once you have done this, you should begin practicing on synthetic skin to help build the muscles in your hand, do this for a min of 6 months , next, move onto pig skin, this will help give you a better feel for real skin and is the closest you will get to the feel of real skin. do this for another 6 months
6. practice you needle depth by using thin pieces of pig skin about 2mm thick, wrap this piece of skin around a balloon, this will give you a feel for some awkward surfaces and when you "POPPED" the balloon then you know you have gone too deep, keep practicing this until you can tattoo continuously for a week @ 8 hours a day without popping the balloon.
7. next move onto yourself again, do small basics skills like lines and easy tattoos, about the size of a quarter. continue on your self until you have at least 50 hours of work that is clean and crisp with no blown out lines, and the tattoo has healed well. after that you can begin back on your husband, starting small again until all your tattoos are healing perfect and the lines and colors are sharp and solid..

just another bit of info, over 50% of all tattoo artist that work in a shop have never had an apprenticeship, and an even larger percentage of those who have had an apprenticeship have been taught by a "self taught" person. just because you get an apprenticeship, doesn't mean that you are going to be professionally trained,.
during my apprenticeship I had obsessed over obtaining as much knowledge as I could on everything surrounding tattooing, I've invested tens of thousands of dollar on my quest, however very early on I began to notice some basic "rookie" mistakes that my teacher was making, and I began to question his level of knowledge, unfortunately for me, he had lacked the knowledge to properly teach me, so technically I had to go from a professionally trained artist to a self taught artist. but I did my homework, and filled my head with as much info as I could, but I had the patience to study.. I even spent over a year just studying color theory. but it payed off, and I'm glad I worked so hard, It has given me the ability to even give proper advise on forums like this one...
so my point is, just because people keep preaching "get an apprenticeship", doesn't mean your going to get the best education and training... you have to do your own work as well..
a good example of this would be a tattoo I had done on this guy that was "finished" by my "mentor". you can easily see that just because some claims to have 27 years experience, doesn't meant they have the knowledge to tattoo, or teach for that matter...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150488737510633&set=a.10150488733210633.357488.588490632&type=3&theater

this was an unfortunate occurrence, but I was happy to fix this up for him.... what I got out of it was to never trust anyone, always question everything and force yourself to learn. don't ever get comfortable, always stay humble, don't let you ego get the better of you, always remember, it don't matter how good you get at tattooing, there will always be someone better than you. focus on yourself and not the people around you, don't look for approval from those you love and respect, it could interfere with your success and put a damper on your drive...

I really hope that helps you Megan, take care.


Stephen Stacey


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Meganmax23 from IP: 166.147.77.159 on 02/28/12
USA

Thank y'all for your comments and for not verly criticizing me... My side (not trying to be rude) I properly sterilized everything.. Neeldes cam presterilized with the little letters hat say sterilzed by gas as did the tubes... I had gloves , clip cord cover, I did the works ven changed my gloves when I adjusted the equipment... I did eveything possible to keep eveything hat I was going totouch sterile.... I take this seriously and the last thing I want to do is hurt anyone... He wanted me to do the tattoo (not tryin g to blame him... I didnt refuse) nad when I realized that I had done something horribly wrong I stopped.. I told him he needed to go to shop and have it fixed.. I have literally not slept since I did the damn thing... And I want to punch myself everytime I look at it knowing hat I did that before I was ready... Trust me I feel awful... A friend of mine saw the one I did on myself and I was supposed to fix one of his tomorrow and I told him I'm not doing It and I may never touch a machine again... I take this shit seriously... I don't like the fact allot of artists out there assume that if you royaly f'd up a tattoo that means your not being serious... Stephen like you said... Your teacher had been an artist for years.... You can mess up no matter how long you've been doing it... I deeply appreciate your mssg Stephen.... Helpful without being a dick... The only reason I felt confident enough to even touch someone else was because mine trned out so well... I'm not a tard,,, I won't. Be doing it again...
Also you said that you can't learn off the Internet... I'm buying books... I just found out there were DVDs available... I have read countless forums... Books online... I mean I've devoted alot of time to figure out how to properly sterilize everything... My question.... Why is evryones opinion so competely different from somene elses??? Evryones says something different so I don't know what to take from it. Anyway thank you for trying to elp and not burn me at the stake... I'll be back with more questions.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Superman from IP: 24.150.223.80 on 02/28/12

.


Hey Megan,


The main reason you get different opinions from people is based on their personality not so much their level of knowledge,
there are 4 types of people that come to these forums
1. the silent stalkers. these are people that just stalk the page for information and never ask a question because they fear the rejection they may get from other artist.
2.the shit disturbers. these are people who have nothing better to do than simply throw a wrench into a conversation just to get a response, they have no interest in learning, and usually post a fake e-mail or name.
3. The under dogs. these are people that would like to help but have a limited amount of knowledge. they will give an opinion. but keep it very generic and vague,in fear that they may be wrong, and they don't want to get any critism from pros. they care about the craft, and are always looking for oportunities to answer a question thet may gain them some more acceptance.
4. the professional. these have 2 categories.
1. are people that have been tattooing for years and have a very strong opinion on how they feel things should be done, and what has worked for them in the past.they don't mind helping , but feel it necessary to see some credential before they give you their advise, they are confident in their advise because they have seen the results that have worked for them
2. these are people who gain knowledge from all sources to help better their skill level, they are constantly looking for ways to do things better and never seem to stop wanting to learn more. they love to help people any way they can, and don't follow any set of rules as to who deserves to know how to do things. so long as they respect the art form and do things right. they are confident in their advise because it comes from experience and the advise of other respected professionals...

most artist fall into 1 of 4 personalities if you learn them it will help you to better communicate with them as well as your clients. they are Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholy. I won't go into detail on this, you can look them up later.

back to your response. the main reason I responded the way I did was due to your lack of "details in your question", I had no knowledge to determine if you were a kitchen magician looking for some quick and easy advise to fix up a botched tattoo, or if you were a person who really cares about what shes doing and want to get the proper advise on how to fix a real problem...when you post a generic concern, it will leave it open to opinionated responses, and in most cases nasty ones. it all depends on how the personality of those who are reading your post interprets your question... another reason my response was so lengthy...

As for your response to my teacher screwing up my work, I'm guessing that you did not look at the links I posted. My teacher has not been tattooing for 27 years, this is just something that he tells everyone. It is very common for artist to exaggerate how long they have been tattooing, and in the case of my teacher , he has added at least 22 years to his "real" experience. the reason he screwed up my clients tattoo so badly is not an accident, it is simply lack of knowledge on tattooing and letting his ego get the best of him, he is just another statistic of artist that taught himself how to tattoo on his buddies and screwed up enough to learn the "oops!, I better not do it that way again" method of tattooing. trust me there are people like this all over, that why I mentioned that even if you get an apprenticeship, you might not be getting the best advise...

could you email me a photo of the tattoo you did on yourself as well as the one you did on your husband, and any others I'm sure I can determine what went wrong by looking at it.

and if its any consolation, If I was the one who screwed up a tattoo, I would rather wait until I got all my knowledge and skill to a level where I could fix the tattoo myself.. if you ever want to feel like a failure it would be to let someone else finish the race for you because you fell down. so now that you have learned a valuable lesson, its time to get back up and get back to the basics again, and rebuild your knowledge, do the exercises I mentioned earlier with fake skin and pig skin,balloon ect.. keep pushing to get an apprenticeship. your on the right path because you have recognized that you fu*ked up, so now its time to learn over. the first step to recovery is admitting that you made a mistake, the first step to insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If tattooing is something you really want to do. then pursue it, learn all you can, go to seminars, get tattooed by real pros
( not your local shop) but real mega pros like mike and other superstars. ask to pick their brain a little, watch them very closely as they do things... don't forget the $500 tip if they let you pick their brain...read, read, read...

I hope that helps, take care.


Stephen Stacey.

ps. as for the type of person giving advise, I fall into the personality type category #4, with subcategory #2 ;)


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by J_Klink from IP: 76.188.141.197 on 02/28/12
PA

Superman I always imagine you at a large black board when explaining yourself. Like a professor (all in a good way). I do hope if you love the idea of being a tattoo artist you find a way. When I read the original post the horrors of some of the things I have seen take over in my mind. I still hold to the my belief that your best bet is an apprenticeship under an experienced and humble artist. Keep building a portfolio of drawing, paintings, sketches etc. Build a relationship with an artist you admire and show interest before dropping the A bomb. As tattoo artists you would be surprised how often we are asked to apprentice somone. You have to go.above and beyond to find a way to set yourself apart from the others. A great portfolio of your art is always a great start.

Also Stephen what category would I fit in? Pure curiosity at this point. :)


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Superman from IP: 24.150.223.80 on 02/28/12

.

Hey J.

I firmly believe that the absolute best way to learn how to tattoo properly and safely is to acquire an apprenticeship.

However, I do not believe that you should follow any tattoo artist thats willing to apprentice you with blindfolds on.
there are so many talented artist that get taken advantage of in this tattoo community that end up causing more damage because they were led down a path by an incompetent tattoo artist/teacher. In a lot of cases, these artist use their apprentice as an escape goat, in that they will give them small tattoos to do on a client, and if they screw up, its not so much the apprentice looks bad, but the teacher looks like a hero when he touches it up, it gives a false sense of security to the customers that come through the door, and makes the teacher look like a pro. but clients are clueless as to what to look for when it comes to picking out what makes for a good tattoo. when they compare their work to the apprentice that is the only reference they have to go by in judging a skill level. this is what happened to me. With my O.C.D. I learned very quickly, and when people began to request me to do their work instead of my teacher, that false sense of heroism was taken away from him, and thus he found an excuse to get rid of me...
so yes you should absolutely get an apprenticeship, but from a respected artist. don't take anything that comes available, because in my case I was better off learning on my own, if I had taken any advise or habits of my teacher I would not be on this forum giving advise.. I think you should critique the teachers artistic abilities a question if they are qualified to teach you...
another reason I am willing to give advise on here is to help prevent people from harming others. I feel its better to help those who ask than to have them use the "oops, I won't do it like that again" method...if people are competent enough to ask then they are competent enough to learn.

J, I don't know enough about you yet to form an opinion as to what group to categorize you under. I put that in there to help answer her question to the mixed responses she was getting, that last thing I need to do is to form an opinion on those that post in this form, that is only asking for trouble. however if you would like to know which of the 4 personalities or 16 different specific personalities you fall under, there is a test for it and I'd be happy to give you one. however you can also find these types of test on line also..


take care


Stephen Stacey


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Meganmax23 from IP: 166.147.76.252 on 03/01/12
USA

This forum is awesome.. The only place where I have gone that I haven't felt like someone was tryin to eat me... I have wanted to be a tattoo artist since I was ten years old and my recent epic fail acompanied (not sure if that's spelled right) with all the negative criticism I have gotten from other places has almost squished my dreams entirely... I apolgize for not being more clear in my original post... And my second one I realized by reading back that it could have seemed a bit rude... Not my intention... I am grateful for all the feedback... And incredibly relieved that it has been so positive... Literaly have been avoiding getting back on for fear that I would be viciously torn apart... Due to all the negative feed from all the artists with huge egos.... Long story short I'm so relieved and grateful that someone finally is taking me seriously and is willing to help... Thank you all so much.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Helmet from IP: 76.120.15.26 on 03/01/12
CO

Megan, Superman aout said it all, but I'm going to disagree with him about the mega pro statement. There are real pros with amazing skills that you will never hear of. I totally agree with the part about getting tattooed. If you are serious about this you should be getting tattooed by the best artists you can find. Look at their portfolios and really pay attention to the details; don't just get excited by bright colors, but really look at the whole tattoo; because there are alot of scratch shops out there. When you find some great artists, get tattooed by several different ones and watch everything they do carefully. This will accomplish a few things. #1 you will learn alot just by watching, #2 you will build a repoire with the artists, #3 it will help show people, including potential mentors, that you are serious about the art. I am so tired of hearing from people how they have always wanted to learn to tattoo and then they show me the one or two tattoos they have. What that says to me is they wanted to tattoo after they got their first one a year ago and it seemed so easy and the guy made like 150 bucks in like an hour. By the way nobody needs to remind me that Anil Gupta Tattooed for over 20 years before he got his first; his story is the exception not the rule; he also admitted that getting tattooed changed his perspective alot. Megan, I'm not trying to talk down to you or squash your dreams but there are alot of resources out there to aid in learning but it will literally cost thousands of dollars and hours to learn properly.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Helmet from IP: 76.120.15.26 on 03/01/12
CO

That's Superman about said it all. A spell check would be handy LOL.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by El ro from IP: 213.33.21.75 on 03/02/12
Mexico

I dont agree with Helmet, why just cause you want to tattoo, doesnt mean you must have a lot of tattoos, some people is artist and dont like to have on, I know a really good tattoo artist frim Austria and he has one only tattoo in his leg, I dont want to have a lot, and I dont think that changes anything the art that you do.

I have the oportunity to see really good artist tattooing and I didnt need to get no one tattoo on me.


Just practice a lot to draw, watch DVDs, and do everything that Superman said and you will be ok in some years.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by MattSssss from IP: 12.43.40.25 on 09/16/12

I know this is old, i wanted to jump on here and say, more power to you Megan. If you like to tattoo.. then tattoo.

These tattoo artists that are running around here saying you are a "scraggler" or "poser" or w/e they are saying was once a beginner too. If you enjoy it, then do it.

Ill compare tattooing to welding. Its a skilled trade.
Someone that welds because thats all they know may look down on people learning to weld. But people that weld because they like to make stuff may have a positive outlook on people learning to weld.

Tattoo artists, unfortunatly have their heads too far up their asses to have a positive outlook on anything.

Keep doing what you do.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by ebfarnum from IP: 68.45.188.79 on 09/16/12

Have you tried stretching the skin? common rookie mistake. think of the skin as a "balloon". if a balloon is flacid with no air(unstretched)and you try and prick it with a needle, the needle will just bounce off the baloon without even popping it, wont even put a hole in it. (thus the ink not entering the skin) if you blow the balloon up to the maximum stretch the slightest poke will cause it to pop( thus ink enterring skin) get a proper 3 point stretch, 2 fingers and use ur machine hand palm to pull and stretch as well.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by stilltz90 from IP: 76.97.90.153 on 09/20/12
cville ga us

just quit dont bother tattooing


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by DjCat from IP: 207.38.236.70 on 11/26/12
NYC

That happened with me before, but then i learned that it was becuase not only does the skin have to be stretched while injecting the ink, but you have to dip the needle just right. Many beginners see ink splatting on the skin and think ' ahh the ink is in ' yet the ink is not in but only on the surface. For a 5 year period of doing this you should usually be very good, but then it could be the following factors : cheap equipment, cheap ink, lack of effort, not enough concentration. Many people think they can be professional tattoo artists overnight, Remember, drawing on paper is not the same as drawing on skin. Many people would say that just because they can draw good on paper, their tattoos dont come out the same. you have to study skin types, skin areas,many things which is why apprenticeship is highly recommended. I am a self taught artist myself and worked my asssssssss off to gather the skill i have now. I tattooed on oranges, pig skin, myself, a few clients for free, buti paid close attention to what im doing. Also never be nervous or shaky while doing the tattoo because that is a no no. my friend is a big tattoo scratcher and is doing all these bad looking tattoos for free and aside from that he does not take proper health precautions seriously, Before i was doing tattooing, he randomly bought a tattoo kit on ebay. when he got it he somehow assembled the gun, but not properly. i thought it was cool but then i didnt know anything about tattooing so i let him to some tattoos on my house. and what i saw really pissed me off. He didnt wear gloves even while setting up the machine and inks. he didnt wear gloves during the tattoo, the client would bleed and he gets a paper towel and crumbles it and threw it on my couch just like that with the blood touching my sheets. I didnt notice after the first half hour because i was watching tv and then i saw a pile of bloody paper towels on my couch and aside from that he is touching stuff all over my home. I was like Helll no!!! dude you gonna take your stuff and get out. i kicked him out. I may not know about tattooing then but i did know how people catch AIDS and such. till this day he didnt get anywhere with it just crappy tattoos. I bought my own kit, i bought better machines and good quality ink and subjected to the proper training and took it seriously. It took me a few hours sanitizing my home!!!! Of course he doesnt care because its not his home. i literally used all my bleach and alcohol and went out to buy a special germicidal spray and cleaned my entire home. he would ask me if he can come over and do a tattoo on someone and i say NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! so to get to the point. if you think you cannot find good solutions to be a professional artist, maybe ots not ment to be. you can always get into something as good as tattooing like make up artists or special effects artists, thats also a good career. Tattoos are beautiful pieces of art thats takes time of dedication and seriousness to commit to. take time to think about it before picking up the machine again. as for me i keep on practicing and getting better, doing every style out there, I am currently practicing Biomechanical and very detailed portraits. Think about it and let yourself know what you want to do.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Lady Diaboli from IP: 77.162.99.231 on 12/11/12
Netherlands

Wow!
Reading all this really helped me regain my confidence in pursuing my dream in becoming a tattoo artist.
I live in the Netherlands and getting an apprenticeship is very hard here.
2 years ago I did get an apprenticeship but my mentor treated me very badly so after a couple of months I left.
After that I had a trial period at another shop where I left within a week. The shop owner was very self-centered and treated me badly. I didn't feel comfortable at al, while learning to tattoo should be a happy experience for me because it was my dream come true.
After that I was done with finding an apprenticeship and decided to learn on my own. I gained alot of information from books and dvd's. And I started to practice on fake skin, and after that pig skin.
Later on I tattooed my own foot, which went really well and after that my boyfriend wanted me to tattoo him. Which also went really well if you ask me, and he was very pleased as well. (before I started tattooing myself and my boyfriend i got a permit which means i got approved by the public health service in the netherlands which means I work according to the hygiene guidelines)
I got a lot of positive responses to the tattoos I did, but I still get a lot of criticism from tattoo artists where they call me a scratcher and stuff like that.
And sometimes I think about giving up my dream because of this.
But after reading the messages on this discussion board I regained my confidence. And I am determined again to prove everyone who didn't believe in me wrong!


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by parlor from IP: 199.47.66.60 on 12/21/12
midwest

i am self taught. as i also own my own legitimate studio (not because i am rich or famous, of which i am neither) i am by definition a professional. i started at my kitchen table on my family and friends, and i regret it. i thought i understood what to do not to spread bbp's or infections/allergic reactions but had not a clue before i took my bbp's. the products that i used, and where my disposables came from were questionable at best. but i was confident i was doing it right.
now, let me back up a bit:
i was born into a family of artists. my uncle owned the sign shop that i 'grew up' in, and worked at as a teen. i have had private art lessons since i was a child and have all the art classes you would have for a A.A. degree and many more. my father was a fine artist, employing and teaching me watercolor, acrylic, oil, sculpture, air brush, and most importantly: drawing. my mother was ranked #2 in the U.S. for photo-retouching until the digital age replaced her specialty. these were my back ground, experience, and my families passions before i found tattoo.
i do not like needles, or other people's blood. but happened upon a cheap chinese kit because i told my wife "if anyone's drawing on you it will be me" when she demanded a tattoo. well, she called me on it and one fathers day there it was. she insisted i tattoo her first. did i say tattoo? i mean carve.
i was hooked anyway. i chopped myself up and now wear my learning experience on my arm. i didnt even draw out, let alone stencil, the first time because i knew it was gonna suck (it does) but it's the worst i will ever do. from there i devoured information but found way more bad than good out there from anyone but a few (here at M.D.'s sight is 1of course). i had a mentor, and he moved from the underground himself. he used to start and end every conversation with ' you got your bbp's yet?' he was right. as soon as i took them (and the other required medical courses) i discontinued tattooing (nearly 6 mos)until i was able to make the investment in a license, shop and professional equipment. i did not stop drawing, tracing, reading. just tattooing. i live where an apprenticeship was out of the question, and every day i am fully aware of how much further along i would be if i had been able to. getting certified and licensed shows a respect for the craft, is incredibly easy in most states, and it can literally save your (and your loved one's) life to boot.
i would not recommend my method to anyone as thats' my point: this is what NOT to do. i have managed, but ONLY because i came to the table with a solid background and fundamentals down before i ever started.
i am honest with people where i am at and I DO IT FOR THE ART,not the money, status, lifestyle. i see tattoos as the oldest surviving art save pottery .. and cave drawings depending on your take on modern graffitti. it is a ritual and a higher art form with an incredible mix of the prehistoric, modern graphical, and fine arts and is the closest thing to a self induced religious experience for many clients.
buuut; EVERYONE wants an apprenticeship!(but no one will do the BBP's that i require before letting them even start coloring flash for me). i tell them i want nothing as i am passionate about the craft; but require them to show the craft respect and spend the 250 bucks and 2 weeks it will take them to be certified/licensed.....and none return. if you are passionate like i am, and are willing to get your paperwork; then you will find a way; but if not; quit carving your friends before you hurt them to death.
my experience any ways


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by john from IP: 72.35.35.200 on 12/26/12

Try an apprenticeship.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by john from IP: 72.35.35.200 on 12/26/12

Try an apprenticeship.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by MYarborough from IP: 65.126.115.215 on 12/30/12
Morgan City, La, USA

Not a good idea. Seek out an apprenticeship from a professional. Without the proper training someone could get seriously hurt, or infected with something that may not go away. No disrespect and always happy to see people interested in tattoo, but I urge you to get into it responsibly.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by darth shader from IP: 75.72.227.16 on 01/26/13
minnesota

dont listen to these fucking clowns i started in my kitchen and rock ten tattoos a day i apprenticed for 6 months and those fuckin dicks had me scrubbing toilets and laughing at me behind my back i told em to suck my dick and went did it on my own that was 6 years ago now i own a private studio and have far surpassed the ego maniacs and so called professionals that told me id never be any good years ago stick with it do your homework tattoo yourself get tattooed get licensed and draw non stop FUCK APPRENTICING youll waste alot of time not tattooing and getting treated like a fucking dog by pricks spare no expense when it comes to machines and be safe and clean i started with zero knowledge now iam crushingsolid work CALL ME A SCRATCHER A TO MY FACE AND SWALLOW TEETH IAM A PROFESSIONAL SELF TAUGHT LICENSED TATTOOIST AND I MAKE A GREAT LIVING DOING IT ITS POSSIBLE DONT LET THESE RETARDS TELL ITS NOT DO IT


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by darth shader from IP: 75.72.227.16 on 01/26/13
minnesota

dont listen to these fucking clowns i started in my kitchen and rock ten tattoos a day i apprenticed for 6 months and those fuckin dicks had me scrubbing toilets and laughing at me behind my back i told em to suck my dick and went did it on my own that was 6 years ago now i own a private studio and have far surpassed the ego maniacs and so called professionals that told me id never be any good years ago stick with it do your homework tattoo yourself get tattooed get licensed and draw non stop FUCK APPRENTICING youll waste alot of time not tattooing and getting treated like a fucking dog by pricks spare no expense when it comes to machines and be safe and clean i started with zero knowledge now iam crushingsolid work CALL ME A SCRATCHER A TO MY FACE AND SWALLOW TEETH IAM A PROFESSIONAL SELF TAUGHT LICENSED TATTOOIST AND I MAKE A GREAT LIVING DOING IT ITS POSSIBLE DONT LET THESE RETARDS TELL ITS NOT DO IT


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by kenny m from IP: 50.75.80.115 on 01/26/13
new york

Just because you did it that way doesn't mean that its the best way to do it. There's plenty of professional self-taught artists that do amazing work, but I guarantee a large percentage of them would tell you that they would have rather had a proper apprenticeship. To tell us we're retarded for suggesting the safest, most professional way to learn to tattoo is just stupid and shows how much you really know.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by jaka from IP: 125.167.110.48 on 03/02/13
kuta /bali/indonesia

wow...


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by abjunior from IP: 108.221.172.50 on 03/05/13
orlando,fl,us

Been An apprentice at tattooing for a few month now. I've been reading up and really studying the text & the videos of the setup of the machine down the the techniques used. i feel confident in my artistic abilities & i've went ahead and ordered the full kit with the practice skin and all. Just wondering what kind of practice tips do you have for me & how long should i keep practicing before I actually try someone?


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by frosticus from IP: 68.0.109.111 on 03/06/13
tulsa, usa

wait...what?!?!?! you have an apprenticeship and you are thinking about a kit? slow down bro. give it a bit and you will have a decent foundation for skills that will last you a lifetime.

or worse, your mentor will find out and kick you in the ass.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by catfish from IP: 67.183.236.196 on 03/06/13
EVERETT

I started my apprenticeship over a year ago. it was a great learning experience in all aspects of tattooing. from sterilization techniques, to the tattooing process, machine building, dealing with customers, and everything else. I have also met quite a few scratchers in my community. after looking at their work and hearing their attitude towards tattooing and their "art," I am thankful to have had the opportunity to apprentice and learn properly. there are so many things I would not have been able to troubleshoot on my own. I am thankful for every time I had been in a bind, and had someone to ask "what am I doing wrong?" or "how should I approach this?" in short, I would like to thank my mentors and encourage anyone interested in tattooing to commit to a proper apprenticeship, no matter how much shit they put you through. you will get there and you will gain respect of other artists, but not if you're scratching your buddies in the kitchen.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by 17DAISY from IP: 108.223.166.135 on 05/11/13
FORT LAUDERDALE FL USA

THERE IS A STUDIO THAT JUST OPENED A YEAR AGO THAT IS TRYING TO CLEAN THINGS US AND TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO TATTOO STUDIOS. THEY ARE ALWAYS MAKING TATTOO SAFETY AWARENESS A TOP PRIORITY. THE FIRST TIME I WENT THERE THEY GAVE ME A TRI-FOLD THAT HAD A TON OF INFORMATION ON IT ABOUT HEALTH CONCERNS AND DANGERS. HERE I WAS ABOUT TO GET TATTOOED AND THEY WERE SCARING ME... BUT THEY HAVE A NICE VIBE IN THE STUDIO AND THEY TOOK THE TIME TO EXPLAIN IT WAS NOT TO SCARE ME BUT TO MAKE ME AWARE SO THAT I MAY PROTECT MYSELF REGARDLESS WHERE I DECIDED TO GET MY TATTOO.
THEY WHERE REALLY NICE CHECK THEM OUT WWW.HYPERINKSTUDIOS.COM .


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Vaderdavid from IP: 99.150.173.170 on 05/16/13
Detroit,MI, Usa

I have recently undergone an apprenticeship, without the knowledge of Tattooing, or the background of the shop. Well lets just say they used to be affiliated with a shop that has a bad reputation. They were happy to "take my money". Being as it was the only option, I jumped at what I thought was an opportunity. I don't mind doing the shop "bitch" work, however; enduring someone's attitude daily is becoming very frustrating. My so-called Mentor was supervising a Tattoo i was doing on an old punk friend of mine.He was satisfied, as he knows I am learning. The lines were a bit shaky and he did not hesitate to tell me. That's fine. My friend texted me shortly afterward, and replied" Your Boss sucks". This individual is always in a bad mood and yells at me for not knowing something though He has not shown me yet. I quit a job to do this and paid these people really well. I think they do not care. They got my loot and that was their goal. The other artists that are there, also have bad attitudes and when I ask a question seem annoyed or reluctant to give me feedback. I asked one guy how to pull lines...His response was" do an apprenticeship" Ha!! I am supposedly. Sometimes the shop has such a negative aura about it , that I do not even feel like going in. I truly wished I would have done more research before going to this shop. I advise anyone who is seeking out an apprenticeship to make sure you like the people, the shop, and that this is really what you want to do. I will continue tattooing though I am 40, by learning through DVDs, media, forums, newsletters, and picking the artists brains that i respect. I appreciate some of the comments here and wish everyone here good luck!! Just for the record, I have a formal background in art, and have drawn most of my life..As I heard previously mentioned make sure you respect whom you choose to apprentice under. I am a better artist than my supposed mentor and every other artist in the shop mentioned above. I am not saying this egotistically, however as much as so someone can learn.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Vaderdavid from IP: 99.150.173.170 on 05/16/13
Detroit,MI, Usa

I have recently undergone an apprenticeship, without the knowledge of Tattooing, or the background of the shop. Well lets just say they used to be affiliated with a shop that has a bad reputation. They were happy to "take my money". Being as it was the only option, I jumped at what I thought was an opportunity. I don't mind doing the shop "bitch" work, however; enduring someone's attitude daily is becoming very frustrating. My so-called Mentor was supervising a Tattoo i was doing on an old punk friend of mine.He was satisfied, as he knows I am learning. The lines were a bit shaky and he did not hesitate to tell me. That's fine. My friend texted me shortly afterward, and replied" Your Boss sucks". This individual is always in a bad mood and yells at me for not knowing something though He has not shown me yet. I quit a job to do this and paid these people really well. I think they do not care. They got my loot and that was their goal. The other artists that are there, also have bad attitudes and when I ask a question seem annoyed or reluctant to give me feedback. I asked one guy how to pull lines...His response was" do an apprenticeship" Ha!! I am supposedly. Sometimes the shop has such a negative aura about it , that I do not even feel like going in. I truly wished I would have done more research before going to this shop. I advise anyone who is seeking out an apprenticeship to make sure you like the people, the shop, and that this is really what you want to do. I will continue tattooing though I am 40, by learning through DVDs, media, forums, newsletters, and picking the artists brains that i respect. I appreciate some of the comments here and wish everyone here good luck!! Just for the record, I have a formal background in art, and have drawn most of my life..As I heard previously mentioned make sure you respect whom you choose to apprentice under. I am a better artist than my supposed mentor and every other artist in the shop mentioned above. I am not saying this egotistically, however as much as so someone can learn.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Red from IP: 71.217.30.78 on 05/21/13
Renton, WA

Lol, In Reference to what Dark Shader said, Apprenticeships are not a waste of time. The only reason you get treated like shit from anyone is because you've brought it upon yourself. Im at the end of a 2 year apprenticeship, and never once felt like a tool or that they were treating me like shit. I had a job to do, so i did it. End of story. Unless you want to dole out 5000 dollars and not expect to do any hard work, Not exactly a bad trade off. And honestly? I talked with my boss about extending my apprenticeship. I don't care what you say or who you are, 6 months is not enough time to know enough about everything that goes into the job. It's mathematic, it's organic, it's patience, and it's time. And within all of this, you better believe cleaning tubes is probably one of the most beneficial forearm strength training exercises you can possibly fucking do.
Peace and love
red


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by maclethal from IP: 184.155.65.1 on 05/21/13

@ darth shader.. if ur killing 10 pieces a day id like to see some pics of the quality if u have time.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by anonymous from IP: 99.42.90.24 on 01/02/14

I am a self taught tattoo artist. I wish I could be an apprentice. I even know the guy who I would want to be my mentor, I just gotta work on other things before I can do that. I honestly study more on the subject than I do hands on, but that is because the few times I do actually put the needle to the skin I want to know exactly what I am doing and be as clean as possible.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by HelloGretch from IP: 130.156.24.211 on 01/27/14
Boston,MA

You flooded the needle with ink.. When your starting a tattoo tap on the foot peddle about 8 times not too long of a tap or maybe 5 for you only get the needle with ink on it and a little bit in the space and try... im curious to how yours came out awesome and his came out like that ..

&& I'm a person that barely knew how to draw and had no knowledge of what to do as a tattoo artist and got the hang of it in less than a month and started making more money then a average tattoo artist ... All it takes is patience and perseverance .. until this day i still cant believe people book me to do their tattoos and that i make so much money just from a curiosity of mine that turned into a second career for me..

So, dont give up get more help from a professional and go for it again. FEMALE ARTISTS are awesome! Look at my story : )


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by King Cobra from IP: 92.41.67.184 on 03/26/14
Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK

Hi there. I am also a beginner tattooist and would like some advice and help to begin my journey to becoming a professional and I also have my own Tattooing Kit. Could you please tell me how long it would take to actually become a pro? One of my uncles was a tattooist and sometimes I do wish I'd taken it up when I was younger. Can you help?


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by Nite Terrors from IP: 50.92.56.59 on 03/26/14
Maple Ridge, BC, Canada

@Darth Vader: I gotta say, man, if you're doing ten tattoos a day while running your own private studio it sounds like you're doing too much goddamn work. I honestly think you sound like you're full of shit and if what you say IS true, you're doing shit tattoos. I have yet to meet the artist rocking out that many tattoos a day that are doing anything of any kind of quality, or better yet, are actually doing ten tattoos a day. That's horse shit. I worked in a fairly busy street shop for my first year and ten tattoos a day was unheard of, and I wasn't going hungry.

I don't want to say that artists of any decent caliber are doing large pieces all the time because there are some dope artists who rock out small pieces of flash all day everyday, but I think your advice sounds like the advice of a scratcher who couldn't cut it and is out there hurting people. I could be wrong... and PLEASE prove me wrong because I'd love to know you're not out there doing bullshit tattoos on people and playing professional but that was some of the least professional advice I've ever heard.

That being said: Any self taught artist worth his salt that I've met has unanimously agreed an apprenticeship is the way to go. Obviously you can find bad ones, and I know a few people who'd had really bad experiences that SHOULD have led to more in the right hands, but overall apprenticeships are the smartest, cleanest, FASTEST way to become a tattoo artist of decent quality as long as you have the drive to do it.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by sagar mali from IP: 101.221.131.50 on 04/24/14
kolkata,west bengal,india

i m beggner in tattooing .these days i m practicing in fake skin.and i have already made 10 tattoos. these r only tribles . i m facing problem in lining . what should i do to be perfect in lining ?


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by gorge from IP: 12.43.40.25 on 04/24/14

easy get an apprenticeship and you learn all you need


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by BomberMann650 from IP: 216.128.108.89 on 04/24/14
Tenino, WA, USA

Gorge,

I wanna know where you went to get an apprenticeship. Because I've been looking all over the county and haven't found an open seat.

Yet.


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RE:Beginner tattoo artist.. Help!

Posted by BomberMann650 from IP: 216.128.108.89 on 04/24/14
Tenino, WA, USA

I should add that searching for an apprenticeship has not been easy. At least I have met some cool people along the way.

But I don't know what an apprenticeship hunt would look like for a person living in India.


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