Home » Tattooing For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started

Tattooing For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide To Getting Started

It doesn’t matter if you are totally new to this whole art of tattoo design; having the proper skillset and passionate desire to learn more will immensely help you in this journey.

This article will precisely guide you through all the detailed research, tried and tested methods, industry secrets, and definitive choices on becoming a professional Tattoo Artist.

In this article, we will thoroughly explore all aspects of tattooing that must be dealt with to produce outstanding work. We will also share enough details about the trade secrets related to tattoo art.

First, remember it’s not an easy journey, especially if you start as a fresher who knows little about tattoos. But sheer perseverance and determination towards learning this as a legit art form will benefit you greatly.

It may take years of practice and constant learning, experimenting, and innovating through your style to reach a certain level of spectacular professionalism. It’s a fascinating journey.

Compared to other businesses, it’s a precious in-demand profession that requires a precise level of artistic skillset, in-depth knowledge of the right equipment, and the whole cost-effectiveness of this trade.

It is a growth type of industry in which the demand vastly exceeds the supply and will remain as such for many years. So, first, for all beginners, let’s learn what Tattooing is.

What is Tattooing?

A tattoo is a form of body modification made specifically by inserting tattoo inks, dyes, or color pigments into different parts of the human skin as a stylistic design.

Artists create these designs using several tattoo processing techniques through hand-tapped methods or modern tattoo machines.

Tattooing is an age-old tradition of art existing for centuries, practiced by various cultures across the globe. The symbolism infused in the tattoo design is aesthetically provocative for everyone.

Some tattoos are decorative with no specific meanings, whereas some are designed with particular purposes and cultural impacts. Tattoos reflect class status, order of rank, and statements. It also serves- religious sentiments, spiritual devotions, bravery, achievements, amulets, and many more.

There are many types of tattoos, like- Traumatic tattoos, identification tattoos, cosmetics, and medical tattoos (for Alzheimer’s patients and short-term memory loss).

Today, people choose to be tattooed for artistic, cosmetic, sentimental, religious, and spiritual reasons or to symbolize their belonging to or identification with particular groups, including criminal gangs, a specific ethnic group, or a law-abiding subculture like the military forces.

Making a tattoo is an art form; your customer is your canvas as an artist. The quality of your work largely depends on knowledge of the trade, techniques, and how to use them correctly. Always remember, “Practice makes a man perfect,” and the right equipment plus a positive attitude will help you be a great Artist.

Getting The Right Tattooing Equipment

Getting The Right Tattooing Equipment

Descriptional analysis for the tools of the trade is essential to know as a beginner tattooist.

This article segment discusses all the furniture, equipment, and sterilizers required for making impressionistic tattoos. Please follow them:

  • Work Table (Chairs, lifter bench, footstool)
  • Paper Towels and Dispensers
  • Autoclave Sterilizers (for sterile dressings)
  • Tattoo Machines (For shading and lining)
  • Feeler Gauge
  • Needle Bars
  • Antibiotic Ointments
  • Spray Bottles
  • Corbolated Vaselines
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Scissors
  • Hemostats
  • Gloves

A Color assortment and Black inks, with ink bottles, caps, holders, flash, and watercolors, are all a must for artistic purposes in tattoo making.

Although this list is incomplete, it’s a great guideline to get you started. All of these pieces of equipment are small and easy to carry anywhere. They are usually not so expensive and can be bought with minimum cost-effective.

You must have an organized work area to create efficiency in your work life. Please find all the equipment and start professionally collecting them.

Preparing For Your First Tattoo

Preparing for your first tattoo is a great experience. It enlights you in many ways about what to do and what not to do while making a tattoo.

It is imperative to know how to draw efficiently. Drawing skills or sketching is a bonus for you. Your ability to draw something through imagination will eventually fuel your artistic vision. Having a vision before you use the tattoo machine is essential.

These steps are essential to follow when you make your first tattoo:

1. Develop Basic Tattooing Skills

Develop Basic Tattoing Skills

Tattooing skills are essential to acquire as an artist; these basic skill sets will certify your brilliance. Outlining, coloring from darkest to lightest, tattoo shading, and lettering is the basic skill set you need to work on.

2. Always look For Authentic Inspiration

The real inspiration for your art is highly beneficial. With all the skills and the right equipment having a perfect source of inspiration fuels your work significantly. Look for things that move you profoundly or stimulate your creative imagination.

3. Follow All The Great Artists

Follow all the great artists

Extensively research tattoo artists worldwide. Learn more about their style and personal approach toward tattoo art design. Artists like- Adam, Chris, Cortini, Cool Aid, JC, Marlo, and Isaac are all great tattooists to follow.

4. Make Yourself Comfortable

Knowing what your customers want is essential. It is vital to make your customer feel comfortable by being comfortable yourself. Then only they can express their expected tattoo on the body part. Always wear gloves and take necessary precautions for tattoo engraving.

How to Draw Tattoo Designs?

How to Draw Tattoo Designs

One of the basic foundations of tattooing is to learn the art of tattoo design. Understand their flow, structure, and impressionistic design. There are endless tattoo designs available for you to practice and learn from.

There are enough materials available on the internet to indulge yourself with. There are thousands of youtube video tutorials, graphic books, design skills, and tattoo artwork everywhere.

It’s also important to understand an individual’s human body on which the tattoo will be imprinted. It should be fitting on his body and should look beautiful. It would be best if you were instinctive in knowing which tattoo will look good on a particular body.

Creating a tattoo design that goes along with the Body structure of an individual makes the tattoo look more dynamic and gives it more aestheticism. Learning more about it will be immensely beneficial for you.

Traditional tattoos can be easy for you to begin with. They are primarily drawn in a specific 2D format. They are simple in design and can be removed without shading, but they should use flat colors.

Consistency is the key, my friend. Try replicating what other artists are drawing and the specific methods they apply to their design flow. The more you practice them on your own, the more you learn and eventually improve.

Practice on a Fake Skin

Manufacturers make fake skin from rubber, silicon, pigskin, or polyvinyl chloride. They are usually available in the market everywhere. Practicing them is highly beneficial.

As an aspiring tattooist, your biggest tool of medium is the needle. Precision in your handling the needle and applying it on fake skin will give you enough time to get better at outlining the design flow of the tattoo.

Understand the importance of the human skin and how it changes. It will affect your design if you want to create something that can be long-lasting. Practicing on fake elastic skin will give you a much better idea in a practical way.

Keep going even if your first attempts are disastrous. You must keep going and practicing, and your work will improve.

Needle Depth

Needle Depth is not supposed to be too shallow or incorrect for ink deposition. If it goes too deep and penetrates the skin palette, it will lead to excessive bleeding and skin rash.

These are some of the most important steps to remember while doing the needle depth for tattooing. They are as follows:

1. Understanding The Human Skin

Understanding the Human Skin

There are three distinct layers of skin, each performing a specific function.

  • The Epidermis (top layer of the visible skin),
  • The Dermis (it is the most crucial for tattooing, the needle needs to penetrate this layer),
  • Subcutaneous fat is the final skin layer.

2. Ink Deposition

The Needle ink deposition should always be 1 and 2mm into the skin to ensure it infuses with the dermis layer of the skin.

3. Setting a Proper Depth

Setting a proper depth

Tattoo needles are disposable. Always use a new, refreshed sterile needle for each client. Attach the needle to the bar of your tattoo machine.


The lining is more challenging than you may think. You need to put a lot of time and consideration into the lining. The lining is not a race. Usually, the lining of a tattoo will take you longer than shading or coloring it.

You can attach the clip cord now that your machine is set up. It doesn’t matter which way. Run the machine and check the tuning. You may have to make some last-minute adjustments, but your machine should have been tuned beforehand.

While running the machine, check if the needle tip is not loose. If it seems loose and not entirely seated in the needle tip, stick another rubber band on the device. There should be an equal distance between the back of the tube and your armature bar. If you put them too close, you will bend the needle bar. The rubber band might also cause the machine to run differently than expected.


Q1. What is tattooing?

Ans: A tattoo is a form of body modification made specifically by inserting tattoo inks, dyes, or color pigments into different parts of the human skin as a stylistic design.

Q2. How to be a professional tattooist?

Ans: It requires years and years of practice to learn tattooing as an art form. It depends on your passion and need for knowledge to become a professional.

Q3. How costly is all the tattooing equipment?

Ans: It is not so expensive; it can be very cheap, depending on the place you want to set up your business as a tattooist.

Q4. How painful is tattooing?

Ans: It hurts a little while shading on your skin, especially if you do it for the first time. Hence it is always advised to choose a professional artist.

Q5. Are tattoos safe for the skin?

Ans: Yes, tattoos are generally a common form of self-expression. However, there are cases of skin complications and diseases due to tattooing. Safety is always an essential factor in tattooing.


There are a lot of great tattooists out there, and there is always room for more innovative artists and aspirants. Making a mark for yourself in this business might be challenging, as it is a challenging art trade. The competition is accurate, and everyone has a unique and stylistic approach to tattooing.

We hope this article encourages you to take your chances as an artist. The guidelines discussed in this article might give you a proper understanding of how tattooing functions. But we advise you to learn more and find your voice as an artist.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!