You always know it better in the retrospect. … that also applies to learning how to tattoo !
If I look back on my time as a tattoo newbie, I immediately notice some mistakes and traps, which I had to struggle with…If I would have had my current knowledge, how to learn tattooing most effectively and within very short time … oh, what time I could have saved, in my learning process and my further development!
Altogether I could have saved certainly 1.5 years of ” trial and error “!
During these 1.5 years I also missed my my chance to earn good money.
Let's assume that 1.5 years consist of approx. 330 working days (i.e. a five-day week with 30 annual holiday days). With 4 hours tattooing per working day this would be 1320 hours in total.
An average tattoo artist in can charge about 100 US $ per hour (very popular tattoo artists charge 150 to 200 US $).
Did you calculate the amount I missed? I won´t because ist simply annoys me too much….
Let's rather come to the list of my 6 biggest mistakes when learning to tattoo … thus you have the chance to avoid them:
1. The inner saboteur
Everybody has heard him once in a while: the inner saboteur, whispering: “you won't be capable of this anyway…just let go and save the effort” …at least that's how it was for me. If I am honest, I already had the desire to learn tattooing at the age of 25, but then I finally started at 30. In the 5 years in between I went on struggleling with my bookeeping job. What a waste of time !
So if your inner saboteur tells you that you can't do it anyway, are too untalented, too old or too clumsy… DO NOT listen to him. The right time to start tattooing is NOW.
2. Irregular practice
Every day a little bit of practice, even if it's only half an hour. Most tattooing skills are a matter of practice and routine. Therefore a strict practicing frequency is very important. Please do not make the mistake and don´t practice for days or weeks at all. During my learning process I went on holiday for 6 weeks… afterwards it was, as if I had to start all over again…
3. Changing equipment (during the learning process)
If your budget allows it, get a reasonable machine right from the start. Because if you change the maschine in the middle of the learning process, this can also throw you back several weeks. When I started to tattoo, I bought a starter set for about 400 US $, which included 2 coil machines. But then I quickly realized that coil machines are not my game at all… then I bought a Cheyenne hawk thunder, while I was still practicing on artificial skin, with which I still tattoo today. And I'm really glad that I changed at the very beginning of my learning process! But I could have saved 400 US $ for the 2 coil maschines… for the very first steps on artificial skin a starter set for about 60 US § would have done the job.
4. No teacher or bad teaching material
I taught myself tattooing 6 years ago, which was really exhausting and often frustrating. In retrospect, I know that what took me months or years, with the help of a qualified teacher, would certainly only have taken a few days or weeks.
My biggest mistake certainly was watching tattoo videos on Youtube. Unfortunately I adopted a lot of wrong techniques there. Because with my today's knowledge, I can say that a lot of videos on Youtube come from beginners who do not know themselves how to do it right. And even the videos on Youtube from professional tattoo artists are also not useful to learn the basic techniques. Simply because they where not made to teach , so nobody explains the techniques step by step and in detail.
Even if you want to so the biggest tattoos right away… (and I remember the feeling all too well) … don't do it! At least not right at the beginning… Because that usually leads to frustration for you and for your customers. For really big designs I lacked the necessary oversight at the beginning and the serenity to work everything through in peace.
It's much better to start very small and improve gradually. Because also your ability to concentrate has to build up step by step.
Conclusion: It's good to keep challenging yourself, but please don't overstrain yourself!
6. the wrong artificial skin
You should practice on artificial skin daily in the beginning (I'm currently creating a comprehensive video tutorial in which I'm detailing 30 exercises for artificial skin that will boost your tattoo skills immediately).
However, it is important that you use the right artificial skin. Because 95% of all artificial skin available on the market is scrap and simply useless.
The only artificial skin on which you can achieve a learning effect at all is quite thick (approx. 4 mm) and has a belt with which you can strap the artificial skin around your own leg, for example. The belt is of course a useful feature. But the most important thing about this artificial skin is that it is so thick ! because of that thickness, it is the only artificial skin on which you can practice the correct penetration depth with your needle.
Here´s a link to the right artificial skin:
The best thing to do is to get some of them directly!
All other artificial skins that you can buy on ebay or Amazon are extremely thin and can't be used for practicing, so they're a waste of money.
Okay, have fun practicing!
Best regards, Dr.K