I observed my friend, Rickie, who works at Naked Skin Tattoo (@rickiestattoo). She has been a practicing tattoo artist for 2 years now. She first started by doing hand poke tattoos!
- Transfer paper (with the design on it)
- Tattoo machines (consists of the tip, the grip and the main body)
- Needle (disposable & varies in size)
The design is first printed out on some sort of transfer paper, which will then be transferred onto the skin, acting as a stencil for the tattoo artist.
The artist will then check with you if you are pleased with the placement of the design before getting you to lie down while she steralises the needle and prepares the tools that she needs.
She then cleans the area that the tattoo is supposed to be on and begins tattooing the person, using tissue to wipe off any blood or excess ink that comes off during the process. At the end, she cleans the area once again with some sort of gel.
Her worksite is a small space within the tattoo parlour itself and is cordoned off through the use of curtains, kind of like those in hospital wards. Her total work area is about 2x4m, with enough space for a tattoo bench, a small trolley desk (where she keeps her tools and needles) and about two stools. The whole tattoo parlour was quite dark (maybe to add to the scary vibes of it) so she had a super bright ring lamp in her work area as well.
I think some problems that she might face would be the ink from the image transfer smudging, especially if the area where the person wants to get inked on is under your clothes, so after she transfers the image on, you’ll have to make sure that nothing touches that area for a bit.
Another pain point could also be that some clients may move around while being tattooed (for example if they are very animated people and move unconsciously) or if they are ticklish, or shiver out of pain. This can make it difficult for the artist as it affects the lines that they draw, and could cause them to make a mistake.
While researching about tattoo artists, I came across another artist who specialises in fine line tattoos (@eatdiamonddust on Instagram). Besides her work being very nice, she really takes pride in her work and doesn’t tattoo designs that she doesn’t think are nice nor does she do cover up work because she respects other artists work. I think she’s really cool.