Learn How to Tattoo: Live Tattoo Demonstration

One of the best ways for new tattoo artists to learn is to watch the process while a more experienced artist explains what they’re doing. 

In the video below, Brandon will walk you through each part of the tattooing process from start to finish.

In this article, we’re breaking down:

Materials Used in This Tattoo

To do this traditional-style tattoo, Brandon used:

  • Cheyenne SOL Unlimited (4mm stroke)
  • 11 round liner
  • 15 curved mag
  • Vaseline
  • Black ink

Tattoo Technique

When we talk about the techniques of tattooing, we mean:

Pro Tip:

After wrapping up the arm rest, Brandon put a paper towel on top of the plastic barrier to catch ink and plasma so it doesn’t drop onto the floor.

Tattoo Walk-Through

In the following section, you’ll find each of the steps Brandon took during this tattoo, as well as the timestamp for each. 

1

Get the Needle Set Correctly (1:17)

We recommend hanging the needle out a little bit so you can “float the needle.”

2

Start Tattooing at the Bottom of the Design (1:24)

You always want to start from the bottom of your design. That way you're not rubbing your stencil off the whole way through your tattoo.

3

Linework (1:40)

For the linework in this video, Brandon used an 11RL.

Whip Out the End of Your Lines (2:06)

When you get to the end of the line, you kind of want to whip it out, so it's not just a solid stopping point.

Depth Control (2:31)

When you are tattooing, you want to make sure that you are going the same depth the whole time. You don't want to go too deep in some areas or too light in some areas, because it won't make crisp lines. Getting used to going the same depth the whole way through your tattoo will help you get clean lines. 

Hand Speed (2:48)

Another thing you want to pay attention to while tattooing is how fast your hands are moving. For example, moving too quickly will keep the line from being as crisp as it would be if you kept the same consistent hand speed the whole way through the tattoo. 

3 Points of Contact (3:16)

When you’re pulling a line, you should have three points of contact the whole time. This lets you stretch the skin while also keeping your tattooing hand stable.

Keep Dipping Into Your Ink (4:32)

We recommend dipping into your ink every time you pick up the needle. That way, you’ll have enough ink in the tube at all times to be able to pull a line.

Break Up Your Lines (4:42)

If you're pulling a line and you start to feel uncomfortable, instead of trying to push through and do the whole line, you can break the line into separate pieces. 

To do this, you whip out at the end of your line, and then when you go back in, you start back a little bit so that your “pieces” overlap. This will give the illusion of a consistent line.

Protect Your Stencil (6:59)

Always pay attention to where your hands are, because it's really easy to wipe away the stencil. Anytime you do a line, instead of wiping away with your paper towel, just dab it. 

Apply Vaseline (7:57)

Using Vaseline makes it a whole lot easier to get the ink off the skin instead of it just smearing everywhere. You can apply the Vaseline with your pinky to make sure it doesn't get all over your fingers and affect the way you hold the machine. If it gets on your grip, it’ll be harder to hang onto your machine and not have it slip out. 

Tattoo Near Your Dominant Side First (9:50)

In the video, you’ll see that Brandon is right-handed. Because of this, he tattoos the right section first to keep from wiping away the stencil. 

4

Shading (12:59)

We recommend always starting out with your black, especially for traditional pieces like this one. Brandon used a 15CM for the shading in this tattoo.

3 Points of Contact (3:16)

In this tattoo, Brandon used the pepper shading technique. To do this type of shading, once you just go into the skin, you flick out at the end. (This is also called the whip technique.)

By flicking your needles out at the end, you’ll get all the transitions that you need. After that, you can go back with some gray, just kind of feather it out a little bit.

Packing (17:58)

To pack ink, you just make little circles. That way it's completely saturated in the super dark areas.

Cross-Hatching (18:17)

Another way you can saturate an area is to use a cross-hatching technique. You would move in one direction and then go another way. 

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

examples of students own tattoo

Watching a professional artist work is super helpful when you’re learning to tattoo, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community
AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain. When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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