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How do you tattoo using India ink?

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As a tattoo artist, the correct answer to this question is that India ink is not really the best thing to use for tattooing in the context of this question, and what I mean by that is... if you have to ask how to use it, then you are going to give either yourself or someone who trusts you a really aweful and embarassing thing that they will have to cover up later.

Here is a little homework for you on this topic. Please read this. It is an article by a guy who has gone down the road you are asking about, and you can experience his regret first hand, as well as see some really great photos showing you the different between good and bad tattoos. Good tattoos make you look cool, and smart, and tuned into the world. Bad tattoos make you look like someone who is headed for a prison cell to be Bubba's girlfriend. So, what's it going to be... laughing stock, or cool dude?

India ink is made by taking something and burning it to produce soot. The soot is "harvested" and made into ink. It will work, but it is really thin compared to the real thing. Some people take a cluster of fine sewing needles and tape them together, and do hand poke method. It is slow and painful, and I can pretty much guarantee is will look really bad. Just like a jailhouse tattoo. Oh I know... there are some good jailhouse tattoos... yep, but the guys that do them have been doing them for many many years, and they draw all day, and have serious skills.

Option B is to get one of those scratcher sets sold on Ebay. Well, tattoo artists don't call them scratcher sets for nothing, my friend! Frankly they suck, and you would need to tune them before using them. Tuning a tattoo machine is complicated. I have had mine professionally tuned for years until I was fortunate enough to befriend a machine builder, and learn how to do it properly. Let me tell you up front that any tattoo machine that costs less than $250 is most likely going to be garbage. Even the $250 ones need tuning. Of all the tattoo machines I have bought in 12 years of tattooing, only one pair have been tuned and ready to go out of the box, and they cost me $450 and $525, and were built to my specs custom.

But even then, the machine is only a tool. It is the hand and mind of the artist that provides the talent.

Here's a much better idea:
Go to your art supply store and buy a stack of sketch books (and yes, you can get the cheap ones). Now, fill those sketch books up with drawings. Every single page front and back. Also think about the kind of tattoo you are interested in. Give yourself months and months to really evolve the idea so it will be a really good one. Bring your highly developed sketches to a real tattoo artist on your 18th birthday, and go for it. Oh, and make sure to save $600-1500 to bring with.

And remember, when you're out with a hot chick, and she starts rubbing your tattoos all over because they are "sweet", you have me, some anonymous guy on the internet, to thank for giving you some good advice. I took my precious time to write all of this for you, and I sincerely hope you take my advice.

--What he said ^^^
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Thanks for the feedback!

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