BzzBzz Teach me to tattoo!
April 19, 2014 1:01 PM   Subscribe

I am teaching myself to tattoo (NOT ON PEOPLE!! Are you crazy! ... on fruit :D ) I'd love some great online resources or books for this process! Help me be awesome at this.

I am entering a new artistic hobby that involves tattooing on fruit. I'm teaching myself. I'm having a tough time finding reliable, professional (preferably) online resources for learning this process.

Things I need to learn:
Proper settings for running your machine and setting your needles.
Learning how to run good lines and shading.
Really knowing how all the parts of the machine interact together.

My experience: I've been getting tattooed for a long time. I watch tons of tattoo shows and pay attention to the technical aspects of good tattoos. I have a DEEP respect for tattooing. I've always wanted to know more about the process, and then thought of an awesome art project to make that happen. I absolutely am NOT going to tattoo people.

What I already have: 2 Machines (pic and pic) (cheap, in case this whole project flopped or to take them apart if one broke, I'm happy to spend more later.) Power supply, black ink, ink cups, o-rings, "nipple" covers, rubber bands, a variety of disposable tubes with grips, a variety of needles, gloves, water cups, and just ordered more springs.

So far I watched a quick video on machine setup and actually did okay with just screwing around and getting a feel for my machine settings. (Bow and my husband made me draw a penis....I surprised myself with it not being a TOTAL mess with these just being freehanded quickly.)

So, I ask you hive, where are some good resources to really learn what I need to make this a success? Online is preferable, but I wouldn't mind books. I'm not interested in apprenticing since I won't be tattooing people.
posted by Crystalinne to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I know you said you had no intention of tattooing people, so I'm saying this for the benefit of people reading this later with the intention of doing so.

Teaching yourself to tattoo people is a really bad idea. Seriously, just don't do it. Even big name tattooists who learned under structured apprenticeships have about a year or two's worth of really shitty tattoos under their belt haunting them. People who try to teach themselves usually never get out of the phase of making rookie-mistakes until much, much later. If ever. Most quit before they rise to the level of a person one-month into a proper apprenticeship. There's a world of skills you can teach yourself at home/online but tattooing is not one of them. Source: 10+ years of working/owning tattoo&piercing studios[1].

OP, most DIY tattooers go to Huck Spalding's Tattooing A to Z. Sorry I can't be of more help than that. There's also a Huck Spalding DVD. It took me about 5 seconds to find a pirate-downloadable copy of the book if you want to go that route. Very few working tattoo artists would have an ethical problem if you did--they'd probably prefer it. Tattooing fruit as an art-project (instead of a step towards being a teach-yourselfer) seems pretty cool to me.

[1] Alternately, go right ahead. Not-famous tattoo artists make serious bucks fixing the bad tattoos done by teach-yourselfers. Every fifth tattoo you do is another $100-150 in their pocket.
posted by K.P. at 5:30 PM on April 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks KP. Looks like that's about as good as this question will get.

As I said, I am NOT teaching myself to be a tattoo artist. I am teaching myself to tattoo fruit as an art project. (I will be selling photo prints of the final pieces through Etsy and other places as an unique medium as opposed to paint/pen. I'll be linking my new website in my profile soon.)

I completely agree that anyone looking to tattoo people should do a proper apprenticeship in a clean shop with all the proper certifications and sterilization materials.

Also for future lookers, this guy seems to have decent advice.

I've been working off what I can find and have gotten a bit better lines. Here's my rosebud, lotus, and cherry blossoms. Not bad for day 2 I guess.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:43 PM on April 20, 2014

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