Tattoo Kits - The Ultimate Guide
- Introduction - Let’s set the record straight
- Tattoo Artist’s Rules
- Bad Tattoo Kits
- Tattoo Artists’ Priority
- Tattoo Designer Beginner Kit
- Digital Tattoo Designer Kit
- Apprentice Tattoo Gear
- Professional Tattoo Kits
- The Dream Tattoo Kit Of Every Tattoo Artist
Introduction - Let’s Set The Record Straight
If you landed here looking to find the perfect tattoo kit, you came to the right place but before that, it’s important to get some things straight, so you won’t damage a promising career as a tattoo artist down the road.
While there is no such thing as a quote unquote tattoo kit we realize people outside of the industry who research topics online, for simplicity’s sake we are going to offer a Mulligan and use the term for simplicity sake, going forward.
Tattoo Artist’s Rules
- Rule 1: If you are considering becoming a professional tattoo artist - Don’t ever start tattooing your friends out of your house.
- Rule 2: Don’t waste your money with cheap tattoo kits.
- Rule 3: Don’t enroll in an tattooing course provided by a tattoo school or university unless it's provided by a licensed professional tattoo artist that actually works in a tattoo shop.
- Rule 4: Don’t ever call the machine a tattoo gun.
- Rule 5: Take responsibility and get things done! - You’ll need a whatever it takes attitude and determination to take crap and continue until you succeed!
- Rule 6: Take it seriously! Being an artist is not a hobby or seasonal thing.
- Rule 7: If you are not an artist at heart and doesn’t have a passion for it, don’t waste your time trying to become a tattoo artist.
Please do not think that tattooing is a matter of collecting some box-tops and sending in $199.95 plus shipping and handling to buy a “tattoo kit.” To even begin tattooing one must respect the the artistry and realize the havoc an scratcher or non-accredited artist can wreak upon it. AGAIN, “kits” are not sold and no self-respecting artist would deign to buy one. There are no shortcuts in tattooing, and an apprentice will be told by his mentor when to worry about equipment. Just listen to the artist’s lessons, and you will learn much more by simply following their guidelines.
A proper setup is not at all important yet. But will be something acquired in time. Chances are that anything you buy or bought already on your own is crap and will end up stuffed into the back of a closet, or better yet in the trash. Or make a shadowbox as a joke and hang it on the wall. Just DO NOT GO TATTOO PEOPLE with it, period.
Safety Warning - What Can Cheap Tattoo Kits Do To Your Body?
In 2014 the FDA warned consumers about tattoo kits purchased online.
- Inks - Contaminated inks can carry bacteria that can spread through the bloodstream.
- Needles - Bacterial infections that are potentially life-threatening. Every needle should be examined for performance and sterilized.
- $3 Dollar Machines - Coils won’t hold a tune, may miss and skip, stroke is inconsistent.
- Cheap power supplies - Fire hazards and associated risks.
Bad Tattoo Kits
Ask any professional tattoo artist and they will say that cheap tattoo kits purchased off of your friends or online is self degrading, dangerous and a waste of money!!!
If you want anyone to take you seriously as a tattoo artist, stay away from beginner tattoo kits! Save your money to build your tattoo station with the best tattoo supplies available.
Tattoo Artists’ Priority
Anyone who’s inspired to become a tattoo artist, should set a goal to build a consistent portfolio of 50 to 250 quality drawings before considering applying for apprenticeship at a tattoo shop.
Under no circumstance anyone should purchase a home tattoo kit or tattoo equipment and start tattooing without proper education or the guidance of a licensed tattoo artist.
If you are just starting out or recently started to build your portfolio, we recommend the following:
Tattoo Designer Beginner Kit
A designer tattoo kit contains all drawing supplies, books, DVD’s and online drawing classes that will give you inspiration, knowledge plus creativity and help you build a remarkable portfolio that opens the doors of high-end tattoo shops for apprenticeships where you’ll learn the ins-and-outs of the trade.
This is the first step towards building a portfolio, one that demonstrates your skill and desire to serve a legit apprenticeship.
- Art pencils, pens, markers
- Pencil sharpener
- Blending stumps
- Sand paper
- Sketch books
- Portfolio case
- Online drawing classes and DVD’s
Tips From Tattoo Artists on Tattoo Apprenticeships
Tattoo Apprenticeship Advice
Building Your Portfolio
Free Drawing Lessons
If you have put in the effort outlined above and reached this point and feel confident with your ability. Get some feedback from tattoo artists on your portfolio. Stop by as many shops as you can manage and speak candidly with all the artists. The more feedback the better and maybe you’ll find a shop looking for an apprentice that fits for you. As with tattooing and art, most people find a specialty niche and gravitate towards that field. However to achieve real success in the industry, one must be able to handle all types of tattoo requests that walk through the door.
Digital Tattoo Designer Kit
Some pieces start as a sketch and then are edited in Photoshop. With modern tech, more and more shops are using these tools to simplify the process of drawing and redrawing something fresh for every tattoo.
- iPad pro 12.9” with Apple Pencil
- Software - Autodesk sketchbook or ProCreate and ProCreate Brushes or Manga Studio or Adobe Photoshop
- During this time take advanced drawing classes in subjects like portraiture, calligraphy, Japanese, traditional Americana, and especially subjects of nature. The ability to draw a dragon freehand without reference comes somewhat from talent but mainly from repetition. There is a difference between a Chinese dragon and a Japanese dragon. So draw as much as possible, as often as possible, every line will help you learn.
- Learn digital sketching - https://vimeo.com/ondemand/learntattooart/197024097
Tattoo Design Websites - Make Money While Sharpening Your Tattoo Design Skills.
CreateMyTattoo.com is one place you can actually make money from designing tattoos.
What Do You Need to Create an Impressive Tattoo Portfolio
Are You Ready For a Tattoo Apprenticeship?
By now the term apprentice has been thrown about a blot, but, what exactly is an apprentice?
Artists have some great stories of what they or their apprentices endured and that apprenticeship means you will become best friends with the brooms, mops and cleaning supplies.
It also means you will be busy when you arrive until after the doors close, shop is cleaned until the alarm gets set.
The first month of that apprenticeship will be spent learning exactly how every inch of that shop needs to be cleaned and how often, including tops of door casings, frames of artwork, nooks, crannies and yes, most importantly the bathrooms. The next month might focus on how to setup and breakdown stations.
Each artist has a way they want their workstation setup and an apprentice will be expected to do this for every tattoo and maybe at times for the whole shop.
Again. That is up to your mentor. Nobody else. But approach everyone with respect, be courteous and everything will fall into line. The rest of the time the apprentice will spend drawing and learning tips and tricks that one day you can use. Each apprenticeship has circumstances that set the tone and guidelines, and yes, the length of it. Expect a fairly long interval before even thinking of bringing in friends for your first tattoo.
Once all the above conditions are met, after spending some time apprenticing in the shop your mentor will guide you as far as your tattoo machines or other tattoo equipment. DO NOT BUY AND TRY ANYTHING UNTIL THEY BRING IT UP. Most likely they will allow you to use a machine of theirs or sample a few (again, their shop their rules).
Before You Start Tattooing - What Will You Need To Get Licensed?
- You’ll need to be at least 18 years old
- Complete the bloodborne pathogens and communicable diseases course
- Pass the exam with at least 70%
Apprentice Tattoo Gear
- Tattoo machines: one for lining and a second for shading/colorwork
- A power supply and foot-switch
- Various inks, basic pigments as well as a larger supply of black
- Multiple needle configurations, as well as tubes and tips for each type of configuration (unless using a cartridge setup)
- Rubber surgical gloves (for protection against blood-borne pathogens for the artist and client)
- If using coil tattoo machines: Armature bar nipples and rubber bands (for coil machines)
- Ink caps and vaseline to hold them in place on plastic wrap (to protect surfaces from contaminants and ink stains)
- Stencil paper and a heat transfer machine
- Spray bottles. One for green soap, one for alcohol (use different colors or learn the hard way after drilling a rib-cage you spray alcohol on a monster and he knocks you the EFF out.
Tattoo Station - Tattoo Kits for Professional Tattoo Artists
*Check it out a number of prize-winning artists that use and endorse some of the tattoo supplies we provide.
Build Your Tattoo Station With Tattoo Supplies Used by Professional Tattoo Artists
- Tattoo Machine
- FK Irons
- Tattoo Inks
- Anchored stencil
- Coil Machines
- Aaron Cain tattoo machine
- Blood hound tattoo machine
- FK irons number 3 tattoo machine
- Rotary Machines
- Shag do
- Stigma Hyper
- Stigma bizarre
- Frankos - bishop
- Next generation tubes
- Anchored Stencil Solution
For this piece Steve took 19 hours and used the following equipment
- Tattoo Machine
- Intenze tattoo ink
- Killer ink tattoo
- Tattoo Aftercare
- Dermalize pro
- Electrum stencil
- Mithra needles
- Tattoo Light
- LVX light
The Dream Tattoo Set Up for Professional Tattoo Artists
Who is this tattoo workstation for?
Unless you are an established artist, this is for “another time.” Again, speak to your mentor and they’ll nudge you in the right direction. Those who have already started or completed their tattoo apprenticeship served their time and paid their dues, and are professional tattoo artists, then obviously anything you want.
What comes with this tattoo station?
This is the best tattoo kit ever assembled and includes only top of the line tattoo supplies that masters of tattooing use, including the latest and greatest tattoo machines from FK Irons or Cheyenne. Tattoo inks from Fusion, Eternal and Intenze which are inks used by the greatest tattoo artists. Tattoo needles that give consistent results. The most used and reliable tattoo power supply pedal.
With just about everything you need to attend a convention or improve your career as a professional tattoo artist!
- Primary rotary tattoo machine - Peak Kyan or Cheyenne Hawk or FK Irons Spektra Xion
- Cartridge needles - Peak cartridges
- Tattoo inks - Fusion, Eternal, Intenze
- Tattoo power supply - Foot pedal - Critical CX2R Gen
- Tattoo gloves - Black dragon gloves
- Stencil Paper - ReproFX Spirit Green Sheet Carbon Stencil Paper
- Stencil Machine - S8 Stencil Thermal bluetooth stencil printer