Where do you start when you are new to tattooing? How can you perfect your line work and shading without scratching around on your mate’s arm or taking on your own skin like often people do?
Well one answer for this is to use ‘fake skins’ which are a synthetic rubber type composition which is obviously not as good as human skin but can offer you a good surface to practice on to build your confidence when using the tattoo gun. Unlike human skin, the fake skin does not retain any moisture and so the lines created by the varieties of needles are more apparent on the skin. You can still shade on the fake skin and follow all the normal procedures which are undergone when tattooing a person so it is always good practice to use the likes of vaseline on the fake skin which would normally be used to keep the skin lubricated and minimize irritation.
The fake skin is not as smooth as real skin so when you wipe down the excess ink during the tattooing process you will find that it smudges more on the surface and can look very messy if you don’t use enough cleaner. When the needle goes into the fake skin there is more resistance than when you go into real skin which is naturally more supple and moist.
I would recommend the use of fake skins when tattooing to help you achieve more accurate line work but also to help familiarize yourself with the correct setup of the tattoo gun and voltage speed settings on the DC machine. Don’t go expecting beautiful works of art with the fake skin but do expect to gather experience from them. It sounds gross but a better way to practice tattooing is to use pig’s skin as it is very close in genetic makeup to human skin. It is much easier to shade on and you can notice a huge difference in the ease at which the needle moves through it.
Above all else though, have fun when you’re tattooing and become confident with your technique. There is no right or wrong way to hold the gun but there are certain guidelines you must follow in order to not injure yourself or anybody else.