How to Learn Tattooing

How to Learn Tattooing

Creativity and precision merge somewhere in the form of tattooing, which is a form of art that captivates the viewers. We will be shedding light on learning tattooing by way of designing, inking and caring for the tattoos.

You will find here safety protocols to start with tattooing, essential conditions precedents and professional tips to keep your journey of learning moving ahead. However to find the answer to the query ‘How to learn tattooing’ find the detailed discussion below: -

Learn about Types of Skin

As a tattoo artist, it is incumbent upon you to learn about different skin types. In some countries such as Japan, physicians are the only ones allowed to tattoo since they have a deep understanding of various types of skin and if there occurs any side effects on the skin, they could readily respond to that.

variety for skins and tattooing

The human body is a canvas for the right tattoo artist therefore; you need to know how it behaves and responds to your design. You must be in a position to offer your clients advice regarding their skin, tattoos, and climate, and could also have the courage to defer the tattooing in case you find the skin of the client not suitable for tattooing at the relevant time.

Understanding variable skin types is crucial in starting your career as a professional tattoo artist. For instance, you may be required to design tattoos with vibrant colours on dark skin. However, there are some tricks you can use to overcome such difficulties.

Tattooing for Beginners – Learn the Basics

If you are interested in becoming a tattoo artist; it is compulsory for you to know the basics so you could get into the field and do alot of practice till you become renowned to the world. However, lets discuss briefly the basics you need to know and follow: -

combine tracing inking perfect lines add weight to open pencil etc 1


If you are new in the journey to become a successful tattoo artist, there are a few things that you should learn such as tracing. You can start by tracing some designs in your sketchbook. You can also look for a tracing paper and trace some sample designs to improve your skills.

Inking Perfect Lines

See if you make a tattoo on the body of your client and the design is shaky that would cause an irreparable loss to your reputation in the market. By practising, watching videos to learn, or enrolling yourself on some course, you must learn the art of inking lines in no time failing which you will not be able to deliver.

Can Henna be used as a Practising Tool?

Henna is a dye created from a tree i.e. Egyptian privet and mignonette tree. The tree contains natural colouring pigment used to do art on the body, to colour hair or to use on leather and wool etc. The use of henna aims at decorating the body. It looks like a reddish brown and is considered perfect for tattooing.

You must remember that the colour of henna on your body lasts for a few days. If you do not want the colour to remain on your body, you can use an inanimate object to practice your skills. However, you can seek comments from people who are experts in applying henna. Henna is an ideal tool for beginners to learn how to tattoo intricate designs on the body.

Adding Weights to your Pen or Pencil

If you are at the stage of learning tattooing, a useful tip would be to work with a weighted pencil or a weighted pen to impersonate a tattoo machine. Remember! The applicator of a tattoo machine is heavy and it drives ink in the inner layers of skin to create a permanent design.

Using a weighted pencil can help you to come into the habit of holding the tattoo machine. In the beginning, you can attach 80 grams or 3 ounces of weight to your pen or pencil. By using this repeatedly, you can learn to control your hand movements.

Vibration of a Tattoo Machine

Look whenever a tattoo machine is being operated by an artist like you that causes deep vibrations that you may feel in your entire arm while making a tattoo on someone’s body. Therefore, you need to do some practice to keep your hand steady despite the vibrations so the client may not suffer likewise your reputation and professional career.

Use Synthetic Skin to Practice

Synthetic skin can be used to learn tattooing. You can purchase it from the market or the online marketplaces. It is a great tool to practice tattooing. You can use an actual tattoo machine to practice handling its weight and vibrations. Synthetic skin helps you build the required hand strength to operate a tattoo machine for longer periods of time.

Watch like a Hawk

Try to learn practically while looking at the artist doing his job. You must look at him throughout the tattooing process which includes setting up the equipment and preparing for the process. While observing him; you must take a look at the angle at which the tattoo artist is holding the machine and the amount of pressure he is applying to it so you may become familiar with the process and incidental tips.

Work on Pig Skin

An effective tool to learn tattooing is pig skin. Pig skin is similar to human skin in terms of texture and thickness. It is a great alternative since it provides a more realistic experience than using synthetic skin or contoured objects. For centuries, pig skin has been used to practice tattooing.

Tattooing Yourself

Try tattooing yourself to gain some perspective. It is an effective way to gain first-hand experience of feeling the needle of a tattoo machine on your skin. This also helps you learn the depth at which tattoo ink needs to be deposited and the pressure applied while operating a tattoo machine.

Tattooing Eyebrows & Tattooing Your Eyes

Micro-blading or permanent makeup is considered part of a cosmetic procedure wherein eyebrows are made subject to the tattooing business. In the process, the shapes of eyes and eyebrows, offer a long-lasting solution; however, this type of tattooing is best for those who stand in need of shaped eyebrows but don’t have much time to keep them well through regular wear and tear.

Tattooing over Scars

People with scars need to hide them under the tattoo design. The process of tattooing over scars is commonly referred to as scar camouflage. Expert tattoo artist makes use of their specialized knowledge and skill to ink over those surrounding portions to keep the scars less noticeable. After concealing the scars under a tattoo design, you will gain emotional healing, a sense of empowerment and confidence.

Learn Tattooing - General Conditions

whatever field you have chosen for the future as life career; there are certain conditions, which are crucial to approach excel in a particular field. Like any other field or industry; the business of tattooing also needs some qualification in the individual so he could become artist and grow. The given conditions are as under: -

doing practice by artist

Dedication level

You may have seen some people more successful than others; although it’s normal when you start knowing the reasons behind this, would certainly come up with the history of dedication and their drive to grow. The drive to grow motivates us to overcome any obstacle in our path and reach new heights. With commitment and dedication, you can learn to harness your full potential.

Tattoo School

These days some schools and institutes offer subjects and courses affording people to learn the techniques of tattooing. You be there as a student or trainee, paid or unpaid, the formal education would bring confidence to you to keep you going up with momentum with more insights and learning of new techniques.

Practice Makes a Man Perfect

As the saying goes, practice makes a man perfect. When you start learning new skills, practice is the key to improvement in the performance of your work, whatever it is related. You must also learn that handling clients who undergo long sessions sometimes becomes very arrogant, which issue you need to confront and make them cool instead of trifling with them. 

If alot of practice is done by the artists; his exposure to the variety of designs and their impact on the variety of skins becomes widened. Therefore, it is essential for an artist to give his life and blood to the profession so he could groom more and more. Like the sportsman spirit, the dedication level is required to excel in any field including the learning of tattooing.

Drawing, an Essential Element

As tattooing is a creative process, therefore, you can use your spare time to create new designs and add them to your portfolio. Drawing is an essential element in becoming a successful tattoo artist. Your clients will expect you to recreate the designs they show you. In order to provide customized service at your own quoted rate necessitates a lot of practice and polishing up your creative skills.

Try Working on Different Styles

Try practising different styles of tattooing than on any single design. Design be it traditional, Japanese, tribal, or any other style; you must be an expert with a variety of designs without any fear of loss. This effort of using a variety of designs would also help you to incorporate some special designs with all rights reserved. However, remember mastering different styles will help you acquire new clients leading your business to grow beyond any limits.

Professional Conditions: Grow Your Skills

Once you have become accustomed to following general conditions to become professional in any field; then this part will get into some deep insight of the business of tattooing. Must consider an artist with growing skills and improvement in structure and designing would confirm the growth in profile and the income. Identically, the outcome of professional skill and growth has been discussed in another article How to Make Magenta.

Hone Your Drawing Skills

Keep practising to improve your skills. You are at the shop for training or you have developed your own business enterprise; what is required from you to craft your skills and deliver to the client what they are in need of? There is no cavil in holding that transitioning from pencil to pen is a major milestone in learning to tattoo.

Practice on a variety of Shapes & Objects

tattooing on different objects i.e rocks apples etc

If you are willing to break the ice and rise as a tattoo artist it is vital that you must get ready for any type of request from your client. For instance, your client can request a tattoo to be crafted on the hip or finger. In this case, you can use a variety of objects with different shapes such as oranges, rocks, apples, bananas, melons, grapefruit etc. to practice.

Seek Help from a Friend

To practice more efficiently and to develop unique art and skill you can also ask your friend to help you in this regard. What he is supposed to do is he will allow artists to make drawings on his body so the artists can see how the results appear and whether skin irritates or not. However, this will help you create designs for an actual person and get accustomed to working on different parts of the body.

How to Deal with Creative Blocks

Creative block is an inevitable part of any process which requires innovation and skill of the artists. It might be discouraging and frustrating to deal with something new but with a few simple tips and tricks, you will be able to overcome it in no time and come out of your comfort zone. However, you may follow the given tips to keep moving: -

Break the monotony

Spending life in the same routine makes life monotonous. If you are willing to become or even face creativity then you must change your routine, environment and way of working. You must consider yourself in need of some inspiration to keep you going further. For instance, some people keep doing their work with more dedication while listening to music and getting relaxed.

Pen Down your Ideas

Whatever design you have in mind just draw it on paper. Make it your mission to draw a few designs every day even if you consider them not confirming your ideas. The key is to forget about the outcome. If your goal is to create a beautiful design you would require several revisions after your draft in hand.

A Change of Scenery

Recharging yourself is also crucial to come up with new ideas and attractive designs. Remember, if you have to create a new design to deliver to a client and you are out of ideas, try changing your scenery, location, and environment and get some relaxation.

Keep a Notebook on Hand

artist writing designs ideas on his notebook

As the ideas may appear at any time and click into your mind it is always advised to carry a notebook with you to pen down ideas whenever any inspiration strikes. You can keep a notebook in your purse or pocket to record any ideas that come to your mind so as to quickly record them for future analysis and all practical purposes.

Accurate Depth

One of the most crucial factors in learning to tattoo is to know at what depth you should place your ink. The human skin has three main layers and some sub-layers. The upper-most layer is called an epidermis which has 5 sub-layers. If the tattoo ink is deposited in the epidermis, it will eventually fade.

Therefore, you need to make sure to deposit the ink in the middle layer so the tattoos last longer. The middle layer is situated two millimetres below the surface of your skin therefore it needs much care to develop a deep design so it could last longer than before.

Buying a Tattoo Machine

tattooing machines

There are two basic types of machines; some are used to colour, while others help in creating shading. If your budget allows, you may proceed to buy a tattoo machine to practice your art of tattooing. Before you launch it on your clients you can become familiar with the functions and processes of the machine so you will not be felt inexperienced before the clients. You can also use it to get accustomed to holding an applicator for long periods of time.

There is a trend to use a pencil in your tattoo machine to practice making scrupulous designs. In the quest to learn tattooing, you must have an understanding of the various types of tattoo machines available in the market and what are the specifications. However, considering the demand of your area and the budget you have, select the one to serve your purpose.

For the ready reference; a few types of tattoo machines are given below. If you become acquainted with these machines they will assist you in becoming a successful tattoo artist and gain competitive advantage in the market. Type of inexpensive machines are as follows: -

Coil Tattoo Machine

An electromagnetic circuit in a coil tattoo machine helps its needles move rapidly in an upward and downward direction.

Shader Tattoo Machine

Shader tattoo machines have needles which give a soft shading effect.

Pneumatic Tattoo Machine

Pneumatic tattoo machine uses compressed air. It is ideal for making complicated designs.

Liner tattoo machine

Liner tattoo machines have small needles to make sharp and crisp outlines.

Rotary tattoo machine

Rotary tattoo machine has a motor which aids in rotating the needle.


I hope the techniques we have discussed in this article will help you find an answer to the query of how to learn tattooing and take off your promising career.

Keep in mind that you are going to face a lot of trials and tribulations while working towards becoming a professional tattoo artist. However, with sheer grit and determination, you can overcome any hurdle that comes in your path.

Given conditions precedents and the ways of learning discussed in detail are very crucial to go with the business of tattooing. Market trend is high but unfortunately, formal professionals are not available to remedy their needs. Yet some focus has been made on the field during the last few years, which we could consider a step to development, progress and prosperity.


Can you teach yourself to tattoo?

YES, It is quite possible. Tattooing on the skin even on practice days gives you a lot of learning. For that purpose, you can ask your friend to help you or if he is stuck or not interested in extending help then you can do tattooing on your body to know the mistakes and shapes and improve them for use later.

How easy is it to learn tattooing?

It is not a big deal to learn tattooing; however, practice and persistence are crucial to achieve the desired results. However, the difficult part of learning to tattoo is to use the weighted machine without affecting the design of the tattoo and also to look for the size of the needle best suited to the body and blood group of the person concerned.

How long does it take to learn tattooing?

A tattoo school can teach you the basics for some time but your practice at home or even at the institute can pay you for the skill. As per the Alliance of Professional Tattooists; it has been recommended that aspiring tattoo artists complete an apprenticeship of at least three years.

How do I teach myself to be a tattoo artist?

If you don’t have any mentor to keep you updated on your designs then the best teacher you can find at home is to learn and also practice at home via online platforms i.e. YouTube videos, blogs, forums etc.

William Anthony

Passionate lifestyle blogger creating vivid narratives on fashion, wellness, and culture, weaving stories that inspire and captivate readers globally.

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