Understanding human anatomy is important to your success as a tattoo artist. Tattooing will be different based on different parts of the body, and you’ll need to understand how to get ink into the right part of the skin.
That being said, there are some particularly difficult parts of the body you’ll want to stay away from when you first start tattooing.
In this article, we’ll talk through:
5 Hardest Areas of the Body to Tattoo
Understanding the Basics
Before we get into specific tattoo placements, you need to understand that different parts of the body have different skin thicknesses.
For example, when you’re tattooing over a bone, like a collarbone, the skin is going to be thinner than on the arm, so you won’t want to go in as deep. People also have different types of skin as well, so you’ll need to understand how thick or thin an individual person’s skin is when you do their tattoo. For example, older clients tend to have thinner skin.
For the first two minutes of a tattoo, work on understanding the client’s skin type so you can make adjustments.
The skin is made of three layers. You want to get to that middle layer of skin in order for a tattoo to hold up effectively.
Some parts of the body can be harder to tattoo because of the extra skin. The front of the shoulder next to the armpit can be a really hard area to tattoo because of the extra skin there. Stretching the area out and keeping the shape of the armpit in mind makes this an even tougher placement to tattoo.
The stomach is a difficult area to tattoo because of the extra skin as well as the fact that it is an extremely painful area to tattoo. The stomach is probably one of the most painful areas, which can make it harder on both you and the client.
Another big area that new tattoo artists have trouble with is the ribs, because it’s really hard to stretch out that area and the rib bones can make the area feel “bumpy,” even when the skin is stretched.
Rib tattoos can be set up for failure because the client has to be in an uncomfortable position for a tattoo that is very painful. If you don’t understand how to use the right amount of pressure, stretch out the skin, and hold the client still, the tattoo could easily go wrong.
Hands and Face
We have touched on this in other articles, but we suggest you stay away from hands, the face, or any areas where it could affect jobs or affect the client for the rest of their life. Until you’ve had at least three years of experience with professional tattooing, it’s best not to tattoo areas that are so hard to cover.Thin skin on the hands and face could result in blowouts, and you need a good understanding of how the tattooing and healing process works before you touch these areas. Additionally, the way hands - especially palms and knuckles - move results in faster fading.
The throat is a difficult area because of the way the jaw and chin make it difficult to position your machine. Trying to get the tattoo machine to fit into that area might stress you out and lead to messing up the tattoo.
Throat tattoos are also uncomfortable for the client, because they have to stretch their necks out as much as possible for a long time, and they may get lightheaded.
Easier Areas to Tattoo
The best areas that you could work on if you're first starting out would be the arms, legs, and other areas where you don’t have to distort the skin a lot to get a good tattoo. If you're going to tattoo yourself, we recommend sticking to the upper thigh only.
Tattooing other parts of the legs or your arms requires you to twist your body and makes it hard to get a good stretch on the skin, which means you won’t get high-quality practice (the reason you are tattooing yourself).
Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program
Learning how to draw tattoo designs is an important step in your journey, 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.
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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.