Tattoo locations. Best and Worst locations
Depending on where the tattoo is located, (some on the left side, some on the right) and what the tattoo looks like, you may need two stencils of the same design. On acetate, just
engrave both sides, having both a left and right image. Before randomly applying a stencil, give it a couple of turns and try different directions to see which way the design would look its best. Try
to be a little artistic and spend a little time shuffling the stencil around.
Skin has wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, lumps, cysts and all kinds of surprises in store for you. Stay away from all the problem areas and work around them if you can. Don’t tattoo moles. Avoid
working on heavy scar tissue because it doesn’t heal well. The same for pimples and hickeys. Try to incorporate these blemishes into the design whenever possible. You can actually get quite creative
here if you wish. For example, in a butterfly or leopard, a mole can sometimes be hidden as one of the spots.
Parts such as fingers, hands, faces, heads, necks and feet are poor places for a tattoo. Besides being culturally unacceptable, these places are most prone to infection anyway and
should be avoided. Even if a customer begs you, make up your ethics beforehand and don’t get talked into doing these things.
Some areas of the body are easier to tattoo than others. On a male, the easiest places are the forearm, upper arms and legs. The most popular and easiest areas for the female are
on the shoulder blades, breasts and hips. The fleshy portion of the upper breast (above the nipple) is the easiest spot for a woman to get a tattoo. Women seem to take a tattoo a lot easier than a
man. This is due to the fact that they have a naturally higher threshold of pain and also an extra layer of fat in their skin than men do.
Some thought should go behind the actual placement of tattoos, such as the size and shape of the design as opposed to the size and shape of the skin area being tattooed. A large
flying bird spanning left to right would look a little awkward on a skinny arm that hangs basically up and down. Try to use the lines of the tattoo to enhance the curves of the body part, this will
be making more of an artistic statement than just slamming any tattoo in any position.
Use a design that is compatible in size and shape to the area it s going to be on. For example, on the forearm, use a long design that goes up and down the arm from elbow to wrist, also taper it
so it conforms to the bulge in the upper forearm and slims down as it comes down to the wrist area. Small, rounder shapes work well on shoulders. Large, round ones on the chest or back. Oblong
designs are great for biceps and legs.
Small tattoos don’t usually look that good on large areas and seem to get lost. Large tattoos squeezed into small areas are confusing and usually the entire picture isn’t visible from one
Sometimes what looks the best isn’t necessarily what the customer wants. It isn’t your job to argue with them, after all, they’re always right, but it does help to make a few suggestions and to state
how you view things. People will usually consider what you have to say.
The direction a tattoo faces also should be considered. Although the customer always has the final say, a general rule to follow is that a tattoo that is in profile (or partial view turned) should
always face to the front of the person. That is, don’t have them pointing backwards to the rear. Some examples are shown on the following page.
Tattooing dark skinned person
There is no problem tattooing a dark skinned person. Of course, the tattoo will not stand out as much as it does on white skin, especially if the
person has real black skin. Contrary to belief, white ink is not the solution to tattooing black skin. Red and black tattoo ink will show up the best. Forget about using white, it doesn’t even look
good under black skin. On Latins, Mexican or Oriental people, all tattoo colors will show up well. Some dark skinned people will hesitate in getting tattooed because they think it won’t show well on
their skin. This is when you should do a bit of public relations work and assure them that the tattoo will look just great. Having a couple of photos of previous customers with dark skin showing
their new tattoo will help convince the reluctant prospect. Another thing you should keep in mind is try to have a real dark skinned person get the tattoo on the inside of his
forearm, they are usually a bit lighter in this area and the tattoo will stand out more vividly. Don’t forget if it is a profile tattoo, have it facing outboard on the inside of the arm and inboard
if it is on the outside of the arm.
How to elaborate stretching before tattooing
If no friends are to be found, you can stretch a large area by using the outside of your left palm, ring and little finger to push upwards. Use your little finger and
the outside of your right palm to pull down as you tattoo with the same hand. This is easier than it sounds and it gets easier with practice.
These elaborate stretching procedures are mainly for the outline, so you don’t smear any of the lines on the stencil before it has been all outlined. Once the outline is on, you can easily stretch
small areas of skin as you proceed through the rest of the operation, using your left hand as illustrated, to do the stretching.
A short word is in order here about some of the first skin you will come in contact with. You will need some skin to practice on. You are going to need some skin of some kind to learn on and get the
basic feel of things. In the beginning, start on yourself. If you are right handed, you can cover most of your left arm and both legs yourself. Why not? You want to tattoo don’t you?
Let’s not get squeamish. It’s better to make mistakes on yourself first than other people. If you plan to make a career in tattooing, you’ll find it difficult to market a product which you yourself
don’t endorse. Once you’ve covered yourself with fine tattoos, it’s time to start looking for friends. You can always find people to work on for free, who aren’t that particular at
first. Usually a deal can be made where if you tattoo them for free, they will advertise around where they got it. It’s a good form of practice for you. They get a good free tattoo, you get to work
on different people, and you also get the benefit of some free advertising.
Check the skin before tattooing
If the skin is slippery, put a clean paper towel down first, it will help keep your hand from slipping. Plus, you can always use the paper towel in your free hand for wiping, if
If a stencil is put on while the skin is stretched, it will look different when it isn’t stretched. So, check the stencil after it is on while the customer is standing in a natural position to make
sure it looks right before you start. Even if you have to make a new stencil print, do it until it’s right. If the stencil print isn’t correct, the tattoo isn’t going to look right.
Paper stencils are much easier to use for large back designs than are acetate stencils. Also, the print from the hectograph ink used on the paper stencil will not smear as does stencil powder used on
the acetate stencil.
To put a stencil on the back, have the customer stand straight up and fully relaxed. After the stencil is on, you can put them in any position you like, to do the actual tattooing.
If it’s a large tattoo, you may want to enlist the help of a friend to help stretch the skin. If so, have them wash up good with soap and hot water. Then spray their hands good with nibbing alcohol
before starting. Make sure they are wearing clean clothes, and a pair of latex gloves also. Keep it “professional.”
Give your helper a paper towel. Have him sit across the bench from you and hold onto the other side of your customer’s skin. To do this, have him spread out the fingers on both hands to cover as wide
an area as possible, about six inches from that side of the tattoo. Have him toward you from below the tattoo, giving your machine hand plenty of room to maneuver. Most of the time your helpers will
tire out easily in this position. Another “hold” is to have him sort of lean on the customer and use his entire forearm to hold the skin while the arm is bent at a 90 degree angle at the elbow.
Make contact with the skin before being tattooing
If you are working on an arm or a leg, grasp the back of it. Squeeze firmly, but not so tight as to cramp your hand or bruise the more sensitive person.
If you are working on a back, chest, breast or bottom or somewhere where you can’t grab the back of it to stretch, you will have to stretch it with your free hand. You do this by cradling the
tattoo area between the “V” formed between the thumb and the forefinger. Make contact with as much finger skin on the area as possible to make more “drag” to hold the skin
Skin Streetching for being tattooing
One of the major bonuses that you have working with skin is in its elasticity. It stretches a lot. In order to perform any kind of precise work and to get the ink in correctly,
the skin must be taut. It’s important that the skin be stretched tightly like a drum so the needles don’t bounce, or get hung up in the skin. If the skin isn’t very tight, your lines will go from too
strong to too weak. If it is too strong, you have gone way too deep and a big fat line with “knots” in it may occur and scar tissue will usually result.
If the skin isn’t stretched tight, it will be difficult to get the color to go in the skin. The needles will bounce off the skin instead of penetrating it. It may look like the ink is getting in
all right, but it could be an illusion and be getting in on only the very top layer of epidermis. Keep the area you have just finished clean so you can see how solid the color is. Use a magnifying
glass, if necessary, and stretch the skin while you are examining it.
Skin is the outer covering of the body, it consists of an outer layer called epidermis and an inner layer called the dermis. Beneath that is fatty tissue. The epidermis protects the body from
injury and invasion of parasites. Skin is waterproof and helps contain water in the body. Skin also excretes poisons (sweat) and also acts as a sense organ. The point here is that skin is not some
board to be etched on but an actual working, organism to be dealt with carefully, so extra sensitivity is needed.
Up to a point, all skin shares a common bond and certain characteristics. Beyond that, the variation is infinite. You should be aware of this because eventually you will come in contact with it
all. Some people’s skin is quite flaky while others are naturally oily. Some skin seems to reject ink through an entire tattoo, and some accepts it quite readily. Certain people have
extremely sensitive skin and others just the opposite, totally impervious to abrasion, as it seems. You should be aware of the type of skin that you are dealing with. For example, you shouldn’t grab
everyone the same way, some bruise more easily. Be open to individual needs. No matter what skin type a person has, it can all be somewhat equalized in texture by keeping it moist. Always keep the
skin lubricated with vaseline or bacitracin ointment while working on it.
A good tattoo does not have to go extremely deep to stay permanent, but can survive quite satisfactorily in just the epidermis layers of the skin.