toreodor on 06.03.14ny
first of all, the use and misuse of the word "scratcher" will never be clearly defined, but there is a new word showing up called "choicer" that i LOL at but it's actually appropriate.
IMO a scratcher is someone who is looking for an easy job, an easily trapplies deable product, and in this case is tattoos.
With no folio or a folio that lacks progress and improvement, as well as short cuts in the art, tattoo application, and most importantly aseptic technique.
Doing a good tattoo may be safer in a shop enviroment simply because good technique becomes habit-forming. Bad choices and technique may be habit-forming too outside of the shop enviroment. And it takes exponetioally more focus, work, and supplies to do good tattoos safely outside that controlled zone. But it can be done and does happen more often than inside a shop these days.
If i ever use the term scratcher, i'm referring to a dirty druggie trading perpetually bad tattoos, or a street shop legal tattooer who thinks they have all thier shit together but they produce nothing special for years.
It can go both ways, and simply paying rent and fees for certifications can;t make you a good artists, or a safe one.
Self taught: Well i am a self taught artist. Let me explain the history of this first. I've been an artist all my life, many different art forms. Thousands spend on clays and mold making, paints, airbrushes, clear coats. Junkyard hunting, resperators, activated charcoal vents. I've painted canvas, people, cars, furniture, walls, clothing, and movie makeup.
My night job was nursing and surgical assistant for ten years in the middle of all this. So i know more than i care to about the anatomy and disease process.
It wasnt till i quit nursing that i felt the RESPONIBILLITY of tattooing was worth it.
Read that last sentence again.
Because the whole time i was cabable of being a tattoo artist, but chose not to.
Onto the actual learning. toss the pig skin in the trash. Get a bloodborne pathanogen certificate. That is at least a start. Look up medical procedures, and unless you have an autoclave, you'll been an entirely disposable setup, so be prepared to drop money on plastic tubes. And cavicide is for friend. Bad everything, my set up takes almost 30 min sometimes more. Bag it all.
Use saniderm or tatuderm for after care. Pick a small design and do a black and grey just above your knee, or on an ankle.
Next tattoo you do is on someone else, someone you trust.
You cannot move foward till you are tattooing living skin, there IS NO SUBSTITUTE.
and you will be called a scratcher by some, even if it's only for a year or two.
Let me tell you a seacret: Of the millions of tattoo artists out there, 20 or so truly have the title "world famous" nearly all of them are self taught on the underground.
Results is how you shall be judged in all things.
So...reading and drawing and painting and certifying, and doing more research ad nausea is the right thing to do, and i still do it ad nausea today. and will continue till im dead.
But there is a point that you;ll need to be jumping in with no safetly net, i'm sorry this is the way tattoos work, and don't for one seccond think it's different under a mentor.
Go buy the latest addition of "reinventing the tattoo"
I was luck and got an autograghed copy, it is my bible, and i read through it once a month. No matter your art or machine handling style, that book has somehting for you.
Watch mikes videos.
watch niko hurtados videos
be carefull of what you see on youtube.
paint draw sculpt study.