Madison Valgari

How to Practice Tattooing

Have you ever thought about the differences between drawing on paper and drawing on skin?

Have you wondered what you can do to become a professional tattoo artist?

Then let’s begin with how to practice tattooing.

Practice Tattooing

Pencil to Pen to Skin

Tattooing is permanent, so it’s good to get into a certain mindset.

It’s fine to sketch with pencils to practice your art. But as you plan to become a tattoo artist, it’s time to use pens and markers more often.

With ink, you can’t just erase a mistake. You have to go back and find a way to fix it creatively.

Get used to working with ink, even if it’s on paper. Trace designs and create your own.

Then transition from paper to more difficult media.

How to Get Used to Drawing on Skin

Drawing on paper is easy compared to drawing on a contoured surface. That’s why artists practice on fruit.

Grab a Sharpie, and an apple then try to reproduce something you like to draw.

How hard is it to keep the perspective and the proportions accurate on the apple?

Don’t worry; you’ll get used to it. Just keep drawing.

Practicing on People

Now it’s time to draw on your friends and family and yourself. And I do mean literally draw on them.

Put down the Sharpie and pick up a non-toxic marker, preferably the washable kind.

Now, doodle away on hands, arms, legs, and so forth.

Get used to how it feels to have a client who might have trouble sitting still.

Up the ante by adding weights to the marker. This will help simulate what it feels like to hold a tattoo iron.

Weigh out about three ounces of metal washers or nuts and slip them over the pen. Secure them with rubber bands.

How does the extra weight affect your control? How fast does it tire out your hand?

In time, you’ll become stronger.

Upgrading Tools

Are you still enthusiastic about becoming a tattoo artist? Then you need the proper tools.

Take a look at the best tattoo machine brands to become familiar with what’s available.

As you shop for tattoo machines, you’ll see that there are two main kinds. But you don’t need to make a decision now between coil or rotary machines.

In fact, I recommend that you experiment with both of them.

Each kind has its pros and cons.

Coil Tattoo Machines

Coil tattoo machines are the type you’re most likely to see in studios around the world. They make the characteristic buzzing sound.

The best coil tattoo machines aren’t outrageously expensive. Sometimes they cost less than rotary machines.

Coil tattoo machines are customizable, too. It’s possible to buy handcrafted machines made specifically to your specifications.

The main downside is that you’ll need more than one machine. Some are built for drawing lines and others for shading or coloring.

Spend time practicing with a coil tattoo machine. Draw on practice skin and fruit peels. Get used to the way it vibrates and feels in your hand.

But just because coil irons are popular doesn’t mean you should ignore rotary machines. You’re likely to find that you prefer one or the other.

Rotary Tattoo Machines

Rotary tattoo machines are quiet, and they lack the vibration of a coil machine.

Many of the best rotary tattoo machines weigh less than the other type of iron. Some come in a pen shape that’s easy to hold and control.

Additionally, rotary machines require less maintenance. They can be configured to do both lining and shading.

On the downside, they tend to cost more than coil machines do.

If your hand gets tired easily, try using a rotary machine. After all, a professional tattoo artist works for hours nonstop each day.


That old phrase, “Practice makes perfect,” is valid. The more you get used to a thing, the easier it is to do.

Things that you see as obstacles now will be speed bumps in your rearview mirror soon enough.