Preparing for a Tattoo
Using a disposable wooden spatula remove a good dollop of petroleum jelly from the jar and place it on a folded paper towel in a convenient place on your worktop. Replace the lid of the jar and under no circumstances place fingers into the jar or touch your customer with the spatula during the tattooing process. Should you require more petroleum jelly simply repeat the process using the spatula. Always remember that anything you touch with your gloved hands during the tattooing process is likely to be contaminated with bodily fluids, resulting in the risk of passing on infection to your customer(s)
Select number of ink caps you will need for the tattoo (one for each colour) and place them into your ink cap holder. Alternatively you can simply place the caps onto a paper towel and secure them in an upright position with the aid of a good blob of petroleum jelly.
Take the bottle of black ink that you will be using for outlining and give it a good shake, open the top and squeeze out enough to fill one ink pot.
Should you require more ink as you are tattooing, remove your gloves and put a clean pair on before handling the bottle (It’s that cross contamination thing again) Before attempting to apply a tattoo to living skin, it is important to be aware that the process can only be successfully performed when the skin is stretched. If not sufficiently stretched and taught the needles will simply bounce off the skin, resulting in an uneven and patchy finished result.
Stretching the skin for an arm tattoo. is relatively simple and straight forward, simply grasp the underside of the arm and squeeze, tightening the skin of the outer arm and producing a nice taught surface to work on. Other body parts will require a different technique. In order to stretch a flat area of skin, place your thumb and middle finger around the area of skin to be tattooed, apply a little pressure and force your thumb and finger outwards and apart.
Ok, it’s nearly time to ink your first tattoo, but before going any further, this is a good time to address the business of nervousness.
Perhaps this is not an issue for you as you will have practiced your Tattooing technique for hours and hours on practice skin and feel confident and eager to get started with the real thing. There are, however, many mere mortals amongst us that will feel less confident and experience degrees of nervousness ranging from slight tension to blind panic. While not being able to totally remove the difficulty of this situation, for you, I can offer a few suggestions that may help:-
- Always remember that a degree of nervousness is natural and that all successful tattoo artists have experienced the same thing.
- You will definitely improve and feel more confident as you progress, providing you stay positive and don’t allow a few little difficulties to dent your enthusiasm.
- Don’t expect to produce world class work straight away, believe me, that’s not going to happen for a while.
- Your first attempt should, if possible, be on the skin of someone that you feel comfortable with. Importantly, they will be aware that you are a beginner and willing to help you achieve your ambition.
- Choose a small, simple design that you are familiar with and have practiced numerous times, both on paper and practice skin.
- Some areas of the body are more difficult to tattoo than others. Former areas such as arms, legs and upper back are good places to start. Avoid softer, difficult to reach, wobbly parts to begin with, such as chest and abdomen.
- Lastly, I offer the suggestion that you choose either the upper back or the lower leg ( with your customer laying flat) for your first tattoo. Positioning the tattoo in either of these areas will not allow your customer to watch you as you work, which, in turn, may help you relax.