Do you want to learn about tattooing, but you’re on a tight budget?
Let’s talk about the cheapest ways you can get the knowledge you desire.
We’ll begin with the least expensive method and work our way up.
Use your eyes
The best way to explore tattooing is to read and watch.
If you’re feeling shy, grab one of the best tattoo books and start there.
Check out tattoo types like American Traditional, Blackwork, and Geometric.
Or pick up a copy of Inked or Tattoo Life magazines.
But don’t just look at flash, get to know collectors. Ask them to show you their tattoos.
It’s also a great idea to watch shows like Ink Master or Black Ink Crew.
Finally, get yourself invited to watch an artist work in the studio. This might require getting your own tattoo or accompanying a friend.
Use your hands
To get a feel for what it’s like to be an artist, you need to do some art of your own.
Drawing on paper on a flat surface is not much like the reality of tattooing skin.
Use a marker and try to draw on a banana or a grapefruit. Is it hard to work with the curves?
Next, use a fine point Sharpie (with the non-toxic ASTM certification) to draw on yourself or a friend.
A living, breathing canvas increases the level of difficulty.
If you’re up for a real challenge, get a tattoo machine starter kit.
The cheapest sets cost a lot less than a day at Disneyland and provide many hours of entertainment.
Don’t expect to use this kit to ink your friends, but do have fun with the practice skin.
Strap a piece over your thigh, and line up the ink cups.
See how it feels to hold a buzzing tattoo iron as you draw.
Take the time to learn how the tattoo machine works. Practice adjusting it, cleaning it, and assembling it.
Use the rest of your body
Practically every artist ends up inking themselves. It’s a temptation that’s very difficult to resist.
In fact, as an apprentice artist, it’s a sure bet that’s exactly what you’ll do.
When you’re hands-on like that, you’ll learn quickly how to avoid blowouts.
Don’t be a scratcher, though. Follow proper hygiene even when you’re only practicing on yourself.
Moreover, at a minimum, invest in better ink.
Never tattoo skin with the cheap stuff. There’s no guarantee that it’s sterile or free of toxins.
Happily, high-quality tattoo ink is readily available online at reasonable prices.
But if you’re not sure which kind to get, skip to the next step below.
Get a tattoo
In our shop, we’re never offended by clients who ask questions. We’re pleased to meet knowledgeable people who have insight into tattooing.
An excellent way to learn about tattooing is to get a tattoo if you haven’t already.
Look for a studio with a good reputation, sanitary conditions, and pleasant staff. Ask to see artist portfolios, too.
Find an artist with experience doing the kind of art you want.
This is the time when cheaper is not better. Be prepared to pay a fair price for quality work that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.
Also, ask about the artist’s favorite ink brands, machines, and equipment.
But what if you already have a tattoo that you don’t like?
It happens – someone gets inked with the name of their partner, then the relationship ends. For whatever reason, the tattoo just doesn’t apply to your life anymore.
Don’t worry – get a cover-up. Ask an artist to rework the ink you have into something new and beautiful.
A cover-up is usually much less expensive than laser tattoo removal.
Furthermore, learning about cover-ups is especially useful if you plan to become an artist. It’s one of the ways studios pay the bills. It can also make for some very happy clients.
Become an apprentice
It’s not cheap to become an apprentice.
You’ll need your own equipment, and you’re unlikely to get paid, at least in the beginning.
Depending on where you work, you’ll probably have to pay for whatever health and safety certification that jurisdiction requires.
But being an apprentice is the number one best way to learn about tattooing.
Are you ready?