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Going From Practice To Tattooing Real Skin


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14 Jun 2018
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Anders
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Male
Hi. Sorry if this is the wrong place or this question has been up before (sure it has but I couldnt find anything on searching)

(SKIP TO LOWER FOR ACTUAL QUESTION)

Ive been drawing all my life and the last couple of years i got really in to tattooing. The simplification it often takes to draw something that will work as a tattoo. And the hard work it takes to translate pencil drawing to tattoo. I am really impressed by people who can draw as if they did pencil drawing, on skin. Also the layering, be it realism or oldschool or whatever. The whole process is pure fascination. As i studied i of course did tons of drawings. First copying and slowly building up habits and specific drawing techniques (especially for oldschool/neo)

I lOve how there are these classic motives, that almost always are the same, but slightly different from artist to artist. (Panthers, gypsies, roses, etc)

Over the years ive gotten better and better, and after inheriting a full machine set, i started training on various stuff. Today i tattooed my leg and well, it suck ed, but not as bad as i thought.


(QUESTION PART)

Anyhoot.. My question is..

What are peoples thoughts on the ethics regarding tatting other people. I have tons of friends, saying stuff like "just practice on me". I bet everyone here knows that sentence, but when should u, if ever, agree to that??

My friend who is a pro, let me set up his stand loads of times, and he tells me i could do it with him present and only do simple and small (ish) stuff, that people can have covered. How ever i am worried about accepting my friends "free canvas".

Is it okay to start "scratching" at home on friends, if you feel like u have the necessary hygiene and routine down? (All except the tattoo technique part)?

Should people actually sign papers of agreement?

And what about the reputation.. is it damaging?


Sorry for the long post. This question just haunts me a lot, cus i have so many friends eager to "help". I feel like even though I am honest about my skill level, if they still want it, then Maybe i should do it. But part of me feels that Would be using my friends.

But then when i see the other shit some of them have, i know i am way better.. (i am in the punk scene)

Please, your thoughts. That is, if you read this rant. .

Cheers from Denmark. Anders
 



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TexasPT

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You have to learn. Ideally, you practice enough on paper, pig, reelskin, fake skin, etc. that when it's time to tattoo real skin you have a basic understanding of what you're doing. then you'll mess up on real skin...so keep your initial stuff small and simple. And you have to realize when you've run out of talent.

Your question is like asking who's god is the real one...too many opinions to decide that one is the right one.
 

Dazza

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I think if you’ve practiced a lot on fake skin and you have the correct needle depth and your line work is good ,and hygiene ect is followed then it’s ok to practice on your friend as long as they know you are only learning ,start with some small designs and maybe on a part of the body that not in full view ,it will help with you learning and your confidence,I think we all need a practice buddy or two
 
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Anders
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I hear what yall saying.

Its just kinda scary.. And such an honor to get to practice proper on a friend. I just always wondered what other people did statting out. But u right its a "which god" kinda question. Im just scared itll make an apprenticeship harder to find.. But then again, i love my small ugly tats. And what a friend.

So best bodypart skinwise, calf? Thigh?
 

Daisy

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I am new as well - as I would only ever do something on a close friend and do something that I know I can do to the best of my ability - i.e I am not at the shading/ colour blending etc stages - I am at the put the best line down & very/very basic colour stages. Every day that I read/ watch & practice I learn a little more and I know this tattoo journey is a gonna be a long one!

It is a huge deal that someone trusts you enough to allow you to mark them for life. so use that trust wisely.

I would also say don't be over confident - thinking you can do more than you have the ability to do - is a huge no no
If you are at that stage - step away - your friends will still be there in a few months time.

If you are at the stage where you do not understand hygeine/ do not have the ability to clean all your equipment - step away.

If you only have cheap chinese ink - step away.

My husband has been amazing with me and so paitent - I have done a few bits on his lower leg. This weekend I will add a smallish skull to him that he's found and really likes. This will be my first time using a mag on skin to colour in- if I feel I cannot use the mag - I will leave this at the outline/ leave it to heal - then practice as much as I can on reel skin & then go back to this in a few weeks with some more hours under my belt.

I also have a little touch up & a small heart to do on another close friend - she has a tattoo and a little part is missing due to an injury she got - again this is massive for me - that she belives in me and I even though it is just small - I am going to take my time and make sure it is a good as possible.
 

dirtnail

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Personally, I decided to only start tattooing my friends when I am satisfied with the stuff I do on myself. Not talking pro level here but decent enough to not be a guaranteed cover up ;)
Most of my friends would not care what I put on them really. Since they put more value in the experience than the actual tattoo itself. Which of course is (for me and my mates at least) a big part of tattooing also. Still, I decide to not do it until I am confident that I can deliver work of at least decent quality. And there are definitely people who I would feel comfortable tattooing earlier than others.

In the end I guess it is a personal thing and depending on the situation and person. Only real advice I can give is, just go with what you feel comfortable with. Fact that you are actually thinking about it and ask the question, to me, shows that you care. Which is already way more than a lot of want-to tattooers seem to do... (y)
 

Goldwingdaz

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only 1 thought comes immediately to mind, Hygiene. So long as thats taken care of then its down to confidence and practice. if your friend is happy to let you then no problem, but a signature saying they realise your learning and that they fully accept liability for any outcome to you tattooing them is a good idea.
 

MalligaMallan

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A lot of top artists started out on their own. That doesn't mean anyone should or could though. First big issue is hygiene. Then comes technical tattoo skills and also your artistic ability - equally important I'd say. As I haven't seen any pictures of what you do it's impossible to advice you whether you may be ready for trying on human skin.

Best is to start on yourself, but I would save that skin to till it's worth it. You run out of places to tattoo on yourself pretty fast, better to use it when you're not just messing it up.

Yes, it can affect your abilities to get an apprenticeship. I wouldn't tell them if you did look for one.

Yes, it can affect your reputation if you would start out on your own and never be an apprentice. Oth I think that has a lot to do with how talented you will be.

Go slow. Don't rush anything. I have ppl who waited 3 years for getting tattooed by me, I didn't want to start on ppl before I felt ready. And start SMALL.

If you don't have the artistic skill, and don't want to put the effort in it that's required, don't start at all.

If you do have what it takes, are very cautious of hygiene, and have practiced on fake, pig etc - then I'm very eager to see what you can do. Why not post a pic of the one you did on yourself? You won't get any better by hiding your practice pieces.
 

TamaraC

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This thread is really good to read! I have a question.. is it better to start on close friends or friends friends? :LOL: Just curios which choice has more advantages..
 

Daisy

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I would say close close friends. People who are aware you are learning, support you and are happy for you to take your time and they are prepared to maybe come back for touch ups if required , and understand that you might take much longer to tattoo them that a pro would.
 

Goldwingdaz

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First clients are ideally;-

Close friends.
High pain threshold to avoid squirming about.
Fully happy that you are learning and will support you.
Accepting that you may have to go over things twice, or even three times to get them perfect over several months.

Willing to sign a waiver like the one posted by Daryl.
 

tattookata

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If you have total confidence on yourself and you want to make human skin as your canvas, you can go for it. Till date, you have tried a lot of canvas as like fake skin. Now, it is the time to do something great and interesting. If you know the actual needle depth and you are well learnt about the various tattooing techniques, you can go for it.
 

Hooma Annoy

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If you are confident about your skill, then you can try tattooing on your friends. However, if you think that you are not ready yet then you should focus more on your learning. You can also consider meeting a professional tattooist in person and know about the process in details.
 

JP

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My fist "real" tattoo was on myself, a very simple line drawing done in white ink (in case it went horribly wrong)...my first on another human was my brother in law, he is already covered in tattoos and we have a good relationship, the design was simple...it's extremely nerve wrecking the first hundred times you tattoo so it's important you choose your first client/victim wisely, choose someone with experience with being tattooed who's also a close friend. Most importantly keep the designs simple
 
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No matter how many times your friends pester you to practice tattooing on their skin, please avoid doing so unless you have gone through training, procured certification as well as license, and have actually mastered the said art. Also start with simpler or smaller designs because anything intricate has a chance of going wrong.
 
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