How To Become a Tattoo Artist In 13 Easy Steps

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Tattooing For Beginners: 9 Simple Steps

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The 4 Secrets to a Successful Tattoo Business

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Inspiration, Tattoo Instruction
How To Become a Tattoo Artist In 13 Easy Steps
Tattoo Instruction
Tattooing For Beginners: 9 Simple Steps
Tattoo Business
The 4 Secrets to a Successful Tattoo Business

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About… is simply about the art and process of tattooing…

This includes not only the process of tattooing, but also about what it takes to become a tattoo artist the right and safe way. Before anyone can become a tattoo artist, a good understanding and background knowledge of the process, the equipment and safety procedure is vital. On this website, we will cover various aspects on the subject of tattooing from techniques, to equipment, to tattoo flash, even aspects such as getting your license and paying taxes as an artist, it's all here.

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At Bulldog Tattoo Supply we strive to bring you the best products, while staying within your budget.

Tattoo Artist Tips

The Five Foundations of Becoming a Tattoo Artist the Right WayFeatured

Tattoo GirlThere are so many paths that lead to a career as a professional tattoo artist, and one of the only things they have in common is the belief that the path one person took is the BEST path for everyone.  This really isn’t true, or else there wouldn’t be so many ways to end up in the industry.

So, this article isn’t saying that this is the “only” way to fulfill the dream of becoming a tattoo artist. Instead, it’s offering advice on what is a tried-and-true method for how to get to where you want to be.

Following a path along these lines provides a good progression toward becoming a tattoo artist…

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Traditional Portrait Illustration Tattoo: The Full Guide


Image from ParlorTattooPrints

Every tattoo fan is always on the lookout for cool new designs. Of course, sometimes “new” isn’t really new at all.

For example, the traditional portrait illustration tattoo is making a major comeback. Why is that? Because it’s a blend of something old and something new.

Wondering what’s up with this mixture of vintage and new? Keep reading to discover our comprehensive guide!

What Is a Portrait Tattoo?


Image from The Tattoo Movement

To better understand the traditional portrait illustration tattoo, you need to first understand the portrait tattoo.

It’s relatively simple. In fact, it’s all in the name: a portrait tattoo is a portrait of someone rendered in ink. And these traditional portrait tattoos are usually characterized by an attempt at photorealism.

Such tattoos are typically inked in darker colors such as black or gray. This gives them a vintage look, though these tattoos are very easy to mess up.

Think about all of those “worst tattoo” lists you’ve read over the years. Chances are they were filled with bad portrait tattoos that didn’t look anything like the actual person.

What Is a Traditional Illustration Portrait Tattoo?


Image from Envatotuts+

As we mentioned, the danger in a traditional portrait tattoo is the photorealism aspect. If anything about the design, color, or textures is a little bit off, you end up with something creepy or silly instead of something deep and moving.

A traditional illustration portrait tattoo manages to sidestep this potential pitfall by ditching photorealism altogether. Instead, these tattoos blend the portrait likeness of someone with the kind of colorful and stylistic elements you’d find on old pin-up posters.

A well-done illustration portrait tattoo will definitely stand out in the crowd. In fact, there are several good reasons why you should steal this ink idea for your very own.

What Makes These Tattoos So Hot?

traditional illustration portrait tattoo 2.jpg

Image from Tattoo Journal

One reason these tattoos are so popular is the “return of retro.” In recent years, everything from Mad Men to Stranger Things has glorified the groovier parts of years gone by. These tattoos, in evoking World War II-era pin-ups, taps into a whole new vein of nostalgia.

These tattoos also offer both you and the tattoo artist a lot more creative freedom than a traditional portrait tattoo. With those tattoos, there is little room for color or creativity: the tattoo either looks like the person or it doesn’t.

With an illustration portrait tattoo, you don’t have to capture someone’s exact physical features. Instead, you are capturing their “essence”–their personality, charm, wit, and so on.

Finally, these colorful tattoos are more suited to different skin tones and fashion senses. The gray of a portrait tattoo doesn’t look awesome with every person, but these illustration tattoos come in every color that you can imagine.

The Traditional Illustration Portrait Tattoo: The End of The Line

Now you know a bit more about this “new” tattoo trend that channels a very big “back in the day” energy. But do you know where you can learn about even more emerging tattoo trends?

Be sure to return to Tattooing 101 each week as we bring you even more awesome ideas and inspiration from the world of ink!

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Tattoo Facts

4 Questions to Ask Your Tattoo Artist

tattoo artist at work

Image from Eighth and Grand

So, you’ve decided to get your first tattoo. And that means you’ve started asking Google the important questions, like “where is a tattoo artist near me?”

However, it’s important to ask the artist certain questions in order to make sure they are a good fit.

Keep reading to discover what those questions are!

“What’s Your Experience Like?”

tico times artist

Image from Tico Times

One of the best questions you can ask is what their experience is like. This is because this one question will actually get you several answers you need.

For instance, it’s natural to wonder if the tattoo artist is licensed and if they have many years of experience. However, some people think asking these questions outright may seem rude.

By asking about their experience, you’ll get many of the answers you need. And other questions about their licensing and safety procedures will come up organically while you have your conversation.

“Can I See Your Portfolio?”

tat artist portfolio

Image from Harper’s Bazaar

For a tattoo artist, their artistic skill is the main “draw” for new customers. This is why you should ask if you can flip through the artist’s portfolio.

There are actually several good reasons to do this. First, it lets you quietly verify the quality of the tattoo artist. On top of that, this gives you a chance to make sure the artist’s style matches what you are looking for.

Finally, flipping through the portfolio may be how you find inspiration for your next tattoo!

“What Are Your Policies?”

artist police

Image from Havana Times

When you searched for “tattoo artist near me,” you wanted more than just the closest tattoo artist. You wanted someone who could really bring your artistic vision to life.

This is why you need to ask about any specific policies the artist has. Do they offer any kind of guarantee on the quality of their work? Are they willing to do touch-ups on a tattoo if anything looks faded or unfinished?

You’re basically doing the tattoo version of checking the fine print. Best to do it now before you’re waiting for the ink to dry!

“Any Privacy Screens?”

breast tattoo

Image from Pinterest

First tattoos are usually in modest places on your body. Arms, shoulders—that sort of thing.

However, you may eventually be tempted to get a tattoo on a more intimate part of your body. This is why it’s important to ask if the tattoo artist offers any kind of privacy screen.

Even if you fully trust the artist, you may not want your body on full display to all of the other customers. By checking on the availability of a privacy screen, you’ll be able to decide on whether to get more intimate tattoos.

Final Thoughts

Once you find that “tattoo artist near me,” you now know what questions to ask. But do you know where you can continue to get the latest news and trends about tattoos?

Stay tuned to Tattooing 101, where we bring you everything you’ve ever wanted to know (and more) about the art of tattooing!

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Tattoo Facts

Hurts So Good? The Strange World of Laser Tattoos

guy getting laser tattoo

Image from Imgur

When you think of lasers and tattoos, you probably think about tattoo removal. For most people, the lasers are a way to remove an old tattoo (which is a more expensive alternative to simply having the original tattoo altered).

However, a few brave souls have tried using a laser to give themselves a tattoo. So, is this a new trend that will be sweeping the world? Or just a terrible idea that no one should try?

Keep reading to discover the answer!

How Does It Work?

laser engraver machine

Image from Instructables

Before we dive further into the guide, it’s important to understand how a laser tattoo actually works. It turns out that this process is really straightforward.

To start, a person would need access to a laser engraver. These are the same kinds of machines used to engrave logos on corporate products.

This means you can load tattoos of various sizes and complexity into the computer and then have the machine laser everything onto your flesh. There is no ink involved in this process: it’s all lasers, all the time.

Sound crazy? There are actually some interesting benefits to this approach.

What Are the Benefits?

laser robot tattoo

Image from Instructables

One of the big benefits to some people is this is a complete DIY project. Assuming that you have access to a laser cutter, then you don’t need to hire a tattoo artist: a computer upload and some lasers can help to etch almost any image on your body.

The process is also very quick. If you dread the idea of sitting for a long time and getting a tattoo, it’s easy to see why this would be so attractive.

Finally, there’s a certain novelty factor to the whole process. The best tattoos have great stories behind them, and this makes for a hell of a story!

What Are the Drawbacks?

laser tattoo scar

Image from Instructables

As you might imagine, there are some drawbacks to a laser tattoo. The first is the pain factor: while not everyone can handle tattoo needles, a laser is literally burning your flesh into patterns. This is more painful than the traditional approach, especially if you want solid images.

The smell is also pretty bad. Before the tattoo is complete, you will know what burning human flesh smells like. That alone can be a real deal breaker!

Depending on your skin and engraver settings, your flesh might end up peeling right off. This kind of defeats the purpose of getting a tattoo in the first place.

Finally—and maybe this goes without saying—this is very dangerous. Small mistakes in the settings of the laser cutter can lead to terrible pain and scars.

Laser Tattoo: Our Verdict

laser skull tattoo

Image from Instructables

So, what’s our verdict on the idea of a laser tattoo? It’s complicated.

On one hand, we love the intersection of technology and tattoos. Things like Soundwave tattoos and motion tattoos show how we are still learning to push boundaries when it comes to getting inked.

On the other hand, this is more like mutilation than a tattoo. You go through a lot of pain and danger to end up with a simple tattoo that has no real art or inspiration behind it.

Think of it this way: corporations use these engravers to mark their products. And the last thing you want to do is feel like another corporate cog!

Final Thoughts

Now you’ve learned a bit more about the weird world of laser tattoos. If you want to stay on top of the latest (and sometimes weirdest) tattoo news, be sure to bookmark Tattooing 101 today!

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Tattoo Facts

The Eyes Don’t Have It: Your Guide to Eye Tattooing

eyeball tattoo 1

Image from Rebel Circus

One of the cool things about tattoos is that people are always wanting to take things to the next level. People like to push the envelope and see exactly what their bodies can take when it comes to getting inked.

Sometimes, though, we push the envelope a little too far. For instance, eyeball tattoos (also known as “sclera tattoos”) are back in the headlines. Is this a hot new tattoo trend that you’d be proud to show to the world? Or will you be too blind to see their reactions?

Keep reading to discover our guide to eyeball tattooing!

How Does It Work?

eyeball tattoo 4

Image from The New Daily

Typical tattoos are simple enough: the ink goes under your skin and changes how everything looks. However, eyeball tattoos are a bit different.

Instead of your skin, these tattoos go directly into the whites of your eyes. The intended effect is very striking: people with these tattoos look completely unique!

These tattoos should not be confused with other forms of eyeball tattoos. For example, plenty of people get tattoos around their eyes. But these eyeball tattoos actually go into the eye instead of around it.

A Pretty Big Risk

eyeball tattoo 2

Image from Healthline

As you might imagine, plenty of people warn against eyeball tattooing. At first, it’s tempting to ignore these warnings: after all, haters have warned you against getting tattoos your whole life!

However, even health experts are speaking out against these sclera tattoos. It’s possible for the ink in your eye to cause symptoms such as blurred vision and pain. And that’s basically the least of what could go wrong!

Obviously, we love tattoos and tattoo artists. But getting an eyeball tattoo means letting a person with no medical background stick needles in your eye. If things go wrong, it may not end with poor vision and headaches: it’s entirely possible for you to lose your eye entirely!

Breaking the Law

eyeball tattoo 3

Image from the Marianas Eye Institute

The risks of these sclera tattoos are so great that lawmakers are starting to take action. And the first places to do so are Canada and Washington State.

Canada has already banned these tattoos entirely on the basis of the risk they pose to the population. Now, Washington State has introduced a bill that would crack down on the practice. This bill, if passed, would allow customers to file complaints against tattoo artist if an eyeball tattoo goes wrong.

In the event of that happening, the state could investigate and even file charges against the tattoo artist. The message from Washington is clear: it’s not worth the time or money for tattoo artists to offer these tattoos!

Our Verdict

Like we said before, we are all for tattoos that push the envelope. It warms our heart, for instance, when people turn a humble arm tattoo into one part of a massive sleeve.

But this procedure is genuinely dangerous. You risk serious pain and inconvenience even if everything goes well. And if things go poorly, you could go blind!

Fortunately, we’re here to keep you safe when you’re getting inked. Wondering how else you can stay safe while getting awesome tats? Come back here every week and check out what Tattooing 101 has to offer!

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The Ultimate Guide to 3D Tattoos

3d tattoo faith

Image from Pouted Magazine

If you ask someone why they wanted to get tattoos, you’ll usually hear the same answer: “I wanted to stand out.” But what if you could do that with a tattoo that stands out more than any other?

More and more ink fans are choosing to get 3D tattoos. They look cool as hell, but many people who are on the fence about these tats wonder what they are and just how they work.

Want some eye-popping info on some eye-popping tattoos? Keep reading to discover our ultimate guide to 3D tattoos!

3d tattoo robot hand

Image from Tattoo Designs

Is It Really 3D?

The first question most people have: is it really 3D? The short answer to this is “no.” At the end of the day, this is still a two-dimensional piece of art that you get on your body.

The 3D part basically works as a kind of optical illusion. If you’ve ever seen still internet images seemingly pop out of the screen, it’s the same basic principle.

How Do They Actually Work?

3d tattoo spider

Image from Anarhi

So, you know that 3D tattoos are an optical illusion. That leaves a bigger question, then: just how does the illusion work?

It all comes down to the lighting and shading on the image. These techniques can make parts of a tattoo appear closer and parts of it to appear further away. Put these techniques together and you get tattoos that practically jump off your skin.

Trust us: as cool as these things look online, they are even cooler in person!

Do All Designs Work?


Image from Scene360

Now you know more about how 3D tattoos are put together. However, it’s worth exploring what best practices are when it comes to design. Are all designs going to work well with 3D tattoos?

The answer to this question is “yes and no.” In the hands of a skilled tattoo artist, almost any image can be given an awesome three-dimensional treatment. However, some kinds of art naturally work better for 3D than others.

For instance, some people like to get 3D geometry tattoos. The combination of these shapes, shading, and lighting can create a tattoo that is absolutely hypnotic to anyone looking at it!

Endless Possibilities

3D Tattoo Designs Best of Best 3D tattoos in the world Amazing 3D Tattoo Design Ideas

Image from GaxOnline

While they’ve been growing in popularity recently, 3D tattoos have been around for a while. And one of our favorite things about these tats is that the design possibilities are pretty much endless.

Do you like skull tattoos, for example? With a 3D tattoo, you can make it look like bone is protruding directly from your arms! Are you a fan of superheroes? A good 3D tattoo can make it look like you’ve got the uniform of your favorite character hidden beneath your chest.

If you’re in the “go big or go home” camp of tattoos, then it doesn’t get much bigger and louder than 3D.

3D Tattoos: Final Thoughts

Now you’ve learned a bit more about how 3D tattoos can bring your skin to life. But do you know where you’ll learn about the next big thing in the world of ink?

Here at Tattooing 101, we bring you all the news that’s fit to print, etch, or ink. Be sure to bookmark this site so you can get more hot info each week!

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Tattoo Facts

Everything You Never Knew About Synthetic Skin for Tattoos

Image from Tattoo Artist Magazine

Here at Tattooing 101, we hate to see people faking it. We just make one exception: fake skin!

New tattoo artists and veterans alike sometimes practice their craft on synthetic skin. However, many people don’t know what this skin is or how it works.

Want to learn more about how faking it can help tattoo artists keep things real? Keep reading to discover the secrets!

What Is Synthetic Skin?

synthetic skin 2

Image from Amazon

“Synthetic skin” is exactly what it sounds like: fake skin that tattoo artists can practice on.

It can technically be made from a variety of materials, but a popular choice is silicone. For many artists, this has replaced the older technique of practicing their skills on things like pigskin.

The next question, then: just where can you get the stuff?

How Can I Get It?

synthetic skin 3

Image from A Pound of Flesh
Get it Here: Pound of Flesh Breast

Strictly speaking, you can make your own synthetic skin. It is typically made from silicone and special molds, so someone with enough “arts and crafts” style talent could probably make some passable fake skin.

The more popular option, though, is to simply buy it. While multiple companies offer this product, the company that has made the most waves is definitely A Pound of Flesh.

Ultimately, the proof is in the synthetic pudding: a quick internet search will show you the countless tattoo artists that have enjoyed trying this product and taking their artistic skills to the next level!

What Are the Benefits?


Image from A Pound of Flesh

Get it Here: Pound of Flesh Breast

There are a number of benefits for tattoo artists using synthetic skin for tattoos. First, it is a much better alternative than pig skin (which can be leathery and hard to work with, or worse – carry salmonella and other diseases) or grape skin (which Is far too sensitive for any kind of serious work).

Second, professional companies like A Pound of Flesh have synthetic skin hands, feet, arms, and so on. This offers a much more practical experience for tattoo artists looking for practice.

Finally, those synthetic arms and hands make it an ideal way to show off your work. For those who want to transition from practice to marketing their craft, this is a great solution.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

synthetic skin 5

Image from Tattoo Cloud

With all the benefits of synthetic skin, there are still some drawbacks. The obvious one is the price: while A Pound of Flesh makes great products, they aren’t cheap: as of this writing, a practice hand costs between $50-$60. That cost adds up if you are doing a lot of practice.

And synthetic skin is never going to be a replacement for the real thing Some tattoo artists have struggled to transfer things like stencils over to the fake skin. That may ultimately take away from its value as a “one size fits all: practice solution.

Synthetic Skin: Our Verdict

With all these pros and cons, one question is left: what’s the verdict?

In our opinion, synthetic skin is pretty great. It’s the best option artists have ever had to practice their tattoos, and the practice pieces look pretty badass around the tattoo shop.

Want to stay up to date on more awesome news from the world of ink? Be sure to bookmark Tattooing 101 today!

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Tattoo History

Robot Tattooing: The Future of Ink?

robot tattooing

Image from PixelVulture

Recently, we got a glimpse of the future from Samsung. The tech giant unveiled a commercial that features things like smartphones you could fold and smart mirrors to make your morning better.

Our favorite detail, though, was the robot tattoo artist. We see a woman design her own tattoo and then the tattoo robot brings the ink to life!

Many who saw the commercial had a simple question: will robotic tattooing be the future of ink? If you want the answer, keep reading to discover our comprehensive guide!

A Painful Past

laser tattoo scar

Image from Instructables

When it comes to technology, we have to crawl before we can walk. And Samsung’s vision of an automated tattoo future actually has a painful past.

Previously, we’ve written about experiments with laser tattoos. This is what happened when a few rugged individuals loaded designs into a laser cutter and then had the tattoo seared into their flesh.

There are many downsides to this: it’s painful, skin damaging, and the “tattoo” might not even last. As these tattoo pioneers proved, machine-based tattoos would need to use ink instead of lasers.

Hold It Right There

robot hand

Image from BGR

Ever wonder why we don’t already have robot tattooing? It mostly comes down to the hands.

Human hands have the flexibility and dexterity to hold various tools and make small, precise movements. Compared to human hands, most machine hands look like the grabbing claw from those arcade machines that stole all your quarters.

However, this may be changing thanks to “soft” technology. Scientists have created robotic hands that feel like real flesh and have enough fine control to use and hold various tools.

Festo, the company leading this innovation, is also working on robotic arms powered by the same technology. Putting the arms and hands together helps move us one step closer to Samsung’s vision of the future.

Putting It All Together

tattoo AI app

Image from TheNextWeb

Of course, having the arms and hands in place is only one part of the puzzle. To truly have robot tattooing, we would need a power Artificial Intelligence powering it all.

Such a development may be closer than you think. Recently, two programmers (Dennis Mickey Jensen and Goran Vuksic)  created a very special AI that focused on tattoos. Its goal was simple: it could analyze and understand tattoos in order to categorize them and even make recommendations to users.

Think of this as “step one” for the kind of AI Samsung imagined. But this gives us hope that the future they envisioned is closer than we first thought!

Going Beyond Ink

electronic tattoo

Image from Futurism

We’re pretty sure that Samsung’s future forecast is right around the corner. While we’re excited about that, we’re equally excited for what will come afterward.

Michael McAlpine, a mechanical engineering professor, has made some future forecasting of his very own. Specifically, he believes we will be using 3D printers to create things like electronic tattoos for our bodies.

It sounds like a cyberpunk novel, but McAlpine believes we’ll all be able to become hybrids of man, machine, and ink within a few years. To be honest, we’re pretty stoked about the idea!

Robot Tattooing: Final Thoughts

Now you know more about the future of tattooing. But do you know how to keep track of the here and now?

At Tattooing 101, we have all the inky news you can use each and every week. Be sure to bookmark our page so you can stay up to date!

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