There's nothing like getting tips from some of the tattoo artists you love. With years to explore their art, grow their business and enhance their relationships with others around them, listen to their gems of wisdom. And these aren't your typical tips; these are the game-changing, never-look-back moments in their careers.
Lainey "Bee," Javier Antunez, Luke Cormier, Marc Roy, Michela Bottin and "Mohawk" Jesse all contribute their knowledge just to help tattoo artists - like you - on their path.
As Zeke, our Pro Team ambassador, would say: it's about family, art and culture.
Everything changed for me when I stopped running a tattoo shop and started running a business. I took cues from dentists and lawyers. How would you feel if your attorney or dentist posted something extreme, or cursed and played heavy metal while you were consulting with them?
Aftercare was a eureka moment. Tattoo bandage films in my aftercare changed the outcome of my tattoos for the better. I have completely upped the quality of my heals.
I would hang out at a convention and see some of my heroes’ healed work and scratch my head thinking: “how the hell did they get that smoothness, saturation and crispness?” I then happened to start using a particular brand of tattoo bandage films on my clients in my aftercare routine and when the first piece came back healed - there was the answer. “Ohhhhh that’s how they get those results!” Simple and fast healing
Not only does it introduce simplicity for the customer and shorten the healing time, to me it seems it minimizes the “fresh versus healed gap.”
This particular brand of tattoo bandage film keeps the black smooth and dark, your mid- and light tones stay intact, whereas they could get washed out or your skin could push the ink out. I feel if you have a customer with more challenging skin to work with, or if things tend to wash out on them (which, as you all know, certain things are out of our control with skin behavior) it tends to remediate that. Some people heal naturally and very true to the fresh product, but with others there is a differential that is more significant when the tattoo is healed from the fresh piece.
Sometimes no amount of knowledge and technique can change that. When using those bandages I feel it really tightens up that healing differential gap. And if you have a customer that has magic skin to work on and would naturally heal amazing and you use the bandage to heal...the result is incredible.
My path develops slowly every day 😊 but a friend of mine recently taught me how to saturate color using: a powerful machine, magnum with a long needle depth and with the machine at a steep slant! It was a real blast!!!! So easy and so efficient.
Study anatomy books. I did this during my first few years of tattooing and it has defined me as a tattoo artist and has helped my art continuously evolve.
Become intimately familiar with color mixing and color theory. What really helped me was: using primary colors (red, yellow, blue, black and white) and trying to create a realistic image based on a photo of an object.
Here’s what I wish I knew 15 years ago.
Tip #1 Just because something says it's for shading doesn't mean you can't use it to line with. The same goes for things that say they are best for lining... whip shade that thang!
Tip #2 Take time off! I get it: you're young, you can stay up for 48 hours and breath, eat and sleep tattooing, but it all comes at a cost! Give your mind time to relax and rest!
Tip #3 Putting ointment on the top of your tattooing hand will save you time in the long run than going back n forth from your station to apply ointment on the tattoo... and your spine will thank me later... trust me haha!
Tip #4 Don’t be afraid to try new techniques. Even if the advice comes from someone that has been tattooing for less time than you, try it. You may be surprised how useful a little piece of advice can be!