How to Practice Tattooing: All you Need to Know

How to Practice Tattooing: All you Need to Know

As a tattoo artist, the work you do is a permanent representation of you and your skills, which can be built up by learning how to practice tattooing.

You will no doubt be dealing with a wide range of tattoo designs, even if your style is very specific, and you will likely encounter challenges as you go. Many artists practice for an entire year, or sometimes longer, before tattooing the skin of a person.

What to Practice Tattooing On: alternatives

A part of knowing how to practice tattooing includes knowing which type of skin to practice on – certainly not your friends skin, that’s for sure!.

As you may or may not already know, there is a small variety of skins you can practice on to hone in on your skills.

Not long ago, artists were forced to use rubber skins or fruit to practice on. In modern days, commonly used skin includes silicone skin and pig skin, each of which has its own pros and cons.

  • Silicone skin

Synthetic skin made from silicone was developed to give tattoo artists, who were learning, a soft surface that behaved more like real human skin and responded accurately to the needle and the ink. The silicone skin is available in sheets that can be laid flat, which is not recommended, or wrapped around body parts like the wrist.

Silicone tattoo skin sheets
Silicone tattoo skin sheets – Check on Amazon


This synthetic skin also come shaped like hands and feet, providing a more accurate surface to practice on complete with folds and contours you would encounter on real skin.

The silicone skin is often recommended to beginners as it accepts the ink in a way that accurately reflects how it would look on real skin, allowing you to create precise lines and vibrant colors.

A downfall of the silicone skin is its inability to transfer stencils on with ease and many artists experience ink smudging when cleaning the skin.

  • Pig skin

Pig skin has been used by artists for many years and is also a surface which closely resembles human skin, especially in the way in which it accepts the ink. When using the softer skin, such as from the belly, you’ll be able to see and feel the needle depth.

The pig skin is also a more cost effective option for beginners.

A disadvantage of this commonly used practice skin is the toughness and leather-like feel. This toughness can lead to you overcompensating and developing a tattooing technique that is much more firm than you’d want to do on human skin.

Some of the colors such as grey, and many of the lighter colors will also show up much differently on the pig skin.

  • Tattoo stencil paper

Hectograph paper
Free-hand paper – Check on Amazon

Since your work is going to become a permanent feature on someone skins, you’ll want to ensure that your design is perfect in the eye of your client before getting anywhere near their skin.

Using tattoo stencil paper is an important part of learning how to practice tattooing and it’s a habit that should begin as soon as you start practicing. As a tattoo artist, you have the choice of hectograph paper and thermal paper.

Hectograph paper, also known as free-hand paper uses pressure to create a duplicate image on the side of the paper that will be transferred onto your client’s skin. For precise accuracy, it is recommended to use a hectograph pencil when sketching the design.

Thermal paper is a 4 layered paper system, allowing you to trace or stencil an image from its original source, transfer it onto your client’s skin and reference back to the drawing for even more accuracy.

Thermal Paper tattoo transfer
Thermal Paper – Check on Amazon

Most commonly used stencil paper is the thermal paper.

How to Clean Ink Off Practice Skin

You may be wondering if you can clean the ink off after you have practice tattooing on fake skin. This is an advantage if you want to practice on a different design and save some money.

Many artists find that using Vaseline to clean the ink off the skin is an effective practice. While surgical spirits work well for removing the stencil lines, and green soap cleans some of it off, Vaseline has proven to be one of the most effective solutions.

Best Fake Tattoo Skin when Learning How to Practice Tattooing

Silicone torso tattoo practice
Silicone torso tattoo practice – Check on Amazon

The best tattoo skin for practicing your designs is agreeably by experts in the industry silicone skin. This practice skin best represents human skin and the way in which the ink is going to transfer into it.

Practice tattooing - Silicone Arms
Practice tattooing Silicone Arms – Check on Amazon

As well as this, the pressure needed when tattooing on silicone skin is very similar to what is needed when tattooing on humans, so you will get a better feel for what the tattooing process will be like.



Combining this with the use of thermal stencil paper will produce the most accurate results and aid you in developing the skills you need to produce a high quality work with each tattoo you do.

Best Tattoo Machine for Beginners

Now, you will need to figure out if you are going to practice using ink from a pen or ink for tattoos. Using a pen would be okay just for the sake of creating your design but, the real deal is when using a tattoo machine, which will give you a different sensation in terms of weight, balance, noise and finally, how comfortable you will be when working for hours.

When it comes to buying your first tattoo machine, there are a few brands that outshine the others in terms of reliability, cost and ease of use for a novice.

Here are three (3) of the best tattoo machines for beginners:

  • Cheyenne

Cheyenne Hawk Spirit
Check on Amazon

Well-known German brand Cheyenne is well liked among artists for its ease of use, precision and rotating grip. The Cheyenne brand offers 4 different models each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

From the four (4) models available, the Cheyenne Hawk Spirit is considered to be the best machine for beginners with its cartridge loading system, light weight and its ability to react well on any skin type and tone.

  • Bishop

By contrast, US company Bishop, another popular brand among artists, sells a variety of coil and rotary machines. The Bishop machines, particularly their rotary machines, are favoured by many of the industry’s best due to their power and light weight.

Fantom Bishop Tattoo Machine
Check on Amazon

Out of the rotary tattoo machines on offer, the Fantom Bishop is said to be the best for beginners and is described as perfectly balanced and light.

  • Neotat

Neotat Vivace Tattoo MachineLast but not least, made in the US, NeoTat is another known brand among artists producing rotary machines. The NeoTat Vivace is recommended for novice tattoo artists as it is lightweight, easy to clean and affordable for someone just starting out.

Its versatility is a highlight as you’ll be able to experiment with shading, line work and many other techniques to help you refine your skills.

  • Other options

This just a taste of what machines are available in the market for beginners. If you want to get more information about other top rated brands and understand more in detail how a machine works and its variations, we recommend checking some tattoo machine reviews here on Tattoo Machine Advisor.

The right machine for you depends on what specifically you are looking for.

Final Thoughts

While there are many things to take into consideration before beginning to tattoo on real human skin, learning how to practice tattooing effectively should be one of the first steps you take to becoming a top quality tattoo artist.

“Practice Makes the Master”


Tattoos to Cover Stretch Marks: the Art of Camouflage

Tattoos to Cover Stretch Marks: the Art of Camouflage

Using Tattoos to Transform Stretch Marks. Besides covering up self harm scars, you may be looking for something different such as tattoos to cover stretch marks.

You may also be wondering if you can tattoo over stretch marks. Well, below we explain what to consider before getting a tattoo on those undesired marks.

Tattoos to cover Stretch Marks

Tattoos over Stretch Marks: Background

Stretch marks occur as our bodies grows, especially when gaining weight. During pregnancy, women develop stretch marks extensively (mainly on the belly) and other parts of the body in order to accommodate the baby. You certainly can cover stretch marks with tattoos, although you need to take few precautions to ensure your tattoo is done properly.

The skin area on which stretch marks appear is basically broken, which is why fresh stretch marks appear more visible in red, purple or pink color. With time, the stretch marks heal and start to fade.

Tattoo on ribs

As with other tattoos meant to cover up scars such as self harm ones, it is imperative that you look for a professional tattoo artist that specialize in covering stretch marks.

Healing Time and Stretch Mark Tattoo Camouflage

One of the most common questions from tattoo lovers is “how long does it take for a scar to heal?” Long short story, there are different factors that influence the healing process, such as type of skin, size, depth of the affected area and location of the scar.

It is advisable to wait for your stretch marks to heal for at least a year before you can tattoo over them. Healed stretch marks will take ink better without the risk of your tattoo appearing distorted after.

A good tattoo artist will assess the possibility of a tattoo and give advise if the tattoo is feasible.

Tattoo over stretch marks

Tattoos are permanent and can act as a camouflage if required, but consider the fact that removing them can be a painful and expensive procedure (check here to review the best tattoo numbing creams before and after a tattoo). You should not rush into tattooing over your stretch marks, especially if your marks are still fresh or have the characteristic explained before.

Patience is your best allied over the healing process. In the mean time, do your research and have a look to beautiful designs that could fit onto the area that you want tattooed.

Common Tattoos to Cover Stretch Marks

Stretch marks can cover an extensive area and the tattoo, thus, needs to be elaborate enough to cover the entire area effectively.

The most common tattoo designs for stretch marks are flower cover up tattoos with elaborated petals (review beautiful flowery designs), which are very easy to use and design for long scar or stretch marks areas.

Tattoo & stretch mark

Tattoos have certainly transformed from being just body art to a functional way used to cover up many types of scars.

Tattoo artists have mastered the art of helping individuals with tattoos to cover stretch marks resulting from surgery and naturally occurring to beautiful ink designs. So, can you tattoo over stretch marks? Yes! If you are sure that what you want is a permanent tattoo over stretch marks, you should go for it.

Stretch marks & tattoos

When done properly on healed stretch marks, your tattoo will be a beautiful piece of art to behold and you will no longer have to see those marks on your skin.

When tattooing over stretch marks, the artist needs to figure out how to work along the marks and never against them. The idea is to make the tattoo blend-in with the stretch marks.

The tattoo may need to have a deeper color and texture to camouflage the stretch marks, which requires the artists to go over the area several times.


Tattoos & Scars: The Art of Tattoos to Cover Self Harm Scars

Tattoos & Scars: The Art of Tattoos to Cover Self Harm Scars

Tattoos to cover self harm scars can be done professionally and successfully.Most scars come from painful experiences such as surgical procedures, a disease, an accident or self harm.


Scars in any part of our bodies usually have a story about something that we have gone through (check some cool stories about why people get tattoos). Over time, the wounds heal but the scars are a constant reminder of that experience.

Tattoos to Cover Scars | Fish

Tattoos to cover self harm scars | Bird

Can you Tattoo Over Scars?

Covering scars is an option for people who love tattoos, and view them as a beautiful form of expressing art. The number one question for people who are looking to disguise their scars is, can you tattoo over scars? The answer is yes.

Tattoos to cover up self harm scars | Rib

Cover up Scars | Spine

Scars vary depending on the extent to which, they cover a particular part of the body. Professional tattoo artists can use their skills and creativity to help cover up a scar, to a point, where it is almost invisible. The artists can also tattoo over large scars which may still remain visible but disguised in beautifully colored patterns.

What to consider in getting tattoos to Cover Self Harm Scars?

  • Nature of the Scar

You need to consider the nature of your scars. This will help you to determine whether a tattoo will work or not. A self harm cover up tattoo is going to look better on a scar that is healed, as opposed to one that is still healing. Scars less than a year old are still healing; tattooing over it, may end up looking to a distorted tattoo.

Tattoos to cover self harm scars | Wrist

Tattoos and Scars | Marine Turtle on burned Leg

It would be a great idea to talk to your physician about your intention to cover up the scar with a tattoo. They will advise you on whether you can do it or wait for the scar to heal further.

  • Tattoo Artist

Take time to look for a professional tattoo artist who has the experience in covering up scars. For big scars especially, it may take a few sessions of brainstorming for the artist to come up with a creative design that covers up the entire area of the skin.

Consider as well that the scar tissue on that part of your skin may not easily take tattoo ink. It would be a good idea for your artist to try out the tattoo on one part of the skin. If the ink takes, then they can go ahead and cover up the entire area.

Tattoos to Cover Scars | Upper Back Ocean before and after

Tattoos to cover self harm scars | Snake on Wrist

Naturally, tattoos are painful to sit through but more so when done on a scarred part of your skin. In the natural process of tattooing, the artist may have to go through a spot several times to ensure than the ink has caught adequately. Obviously, this is bound to me more painful on a scarred area.


Tattoos to cover self harm scars, surgery scars and stretch marks provide relief for individuals who want to make beautiful art on parts of their skin that no longer look smooth and flawless. Tattoos allow individuals to transform their scars into something gorgeous.


Covering up self harm scar | Wrist Quote

Scars and tattoo on foot

There are many tattoo artists that have mastered the art of perfect tattooing on scars. If you find tattoos to be attractive body art (click here to see some fresh and cool ideas on Tattoo & Body Art), you can explore how to cover up your scar effectively. The important thing to remember is to take caution so that, the tattoo does not lead to more scar tissue.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have some ideas on tattoos to cover self harm scars or any other type of scars, you are ready to perform due diligence all round from the artist to how well your scar is ready for the tattoo. Then you can get a tattoo that looks good and makes you feel better about your scars.


Tattoo Facts: is tattoo ink safe? Risks and Precautions

Tattoo Facts: is tattoo ink safe? Risks and Precautions

Risks and precautions are important aspects that need to be covered before getting a beautiful tattoo. It comes to mind a very important question that a lot of people ask: is tattoo ink safe? If you intend to join the tattoo fashion or add one more to your precious canvas, you should perhaps take into account a factor that probably is for some people, unknown.

A recognized magazine, Scientific Report, also ask the same question: is tattoo ink safe? They confirmed that the elements that make up the ink in tattoos, travels inside the body, in the form of micro and nano particles, reaching the lymph nodes. It also was found that it carries both, the organic ink and tiny impurities and toxic components that can cause skin inflammation and other ailments.

is tattoo ink safe?
Henna Tattoo infected

When someone wants to get a tattoo, it is common to carefully choose the tattoo shop and, check on the equipment to be use. But, who has verified the chemical composition of the colors? Hiram Castle, one of the authors of the study, researcher at the European Synchrotron in Grenoble (ESRF) in France, explains that it should be considered.

The reality is that, little is known about the possible impurities in the mixture of color applied to the skin. The majority of tattoo inks contain organic pigments, but also include preservatives and metals (such as nickel, chromium, manganese or cobalt) that, at certain levels in your blood, could be toxic.

In addition to the carbon black, the second most common ingredient used in tattoo inks is titanium dioxide (TiO2), a white pigment applied generally to create certain shades when mixed with colorants. This compound (TiO2) is also commonly used in food additives, solar screens and paintings, so do the maths.

The delay in healing, the elevation of the skin and itching after a tattoo are often associated with white drawings, and by consequence, using this TiO2.

Risk and precautions: for whole lifetime

The risks and precautions resulting from tattoos have been investigated so far only by chemical analysis of the inks. It is clear that tattoo pigments travel to lymph nodes because of the visual evidence: lymph nodes are stained with the color of the tattoo.

This is as result of the body responding to clean the area where the tattoo was placed (we recommend to read, tattoo facts: what to consider when getting a tattoo)

Scientists from the ESFR, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt and the Ludwig-Maximilians University found strong evidence of the migration and long term deposit of toxic elements and pigments of tattoos, as well as alterations of bio-molecules that sometimes are linked to skin inflammation and other adversities when inked.

In summary, there are a lot of aspects that need to be covered before getting a tattoo and don’t forget to ask again and research: is tattoo ink safe?



Tattoo facts: what to consider when getting a tattoo

Tattoo facts: what to consider when getting a tattoo

To understand more about tattoo facts and what to consider when getting a tattoo, here, we explain more in detail some important points on Onpoint tattoos.

From the beginning of ages, numerous cultures have used cave walls to carve their own identity, from the start to the end. At the same time, as part of their culture, they saw that their body were also a space for creativity, bringing numerous tattoo ideas and designs to represent their believes so that, they were able to interact with their gods, animals and elements. But, what exactly was considered when getting a tattoo?

Certainly, pain was not one of them, as long as the right idea and design was shaped properly.

Tattoo fact #1: HOW MUCH IS GOING TO HURT?

tattoo facts
Tattoo facts. (image source: tattoo chief).

Well, it depends on how brave you are and how well you can deal with the pain. Nevertheless, in this list of tattoo facts, it is known that some parts of your body are more susceptible to pain than others. In this case, based on the image, intimate areas, joints, ribs and nipples are the most sensitive areas and certainly, the most painful ones.

Some artist, and of course, tattooed people, describe the pain like a cat’s scratch or a dull pain running down to you body.


It is a bit of a mystery how, in fact, the ink get trapped under your skin. However, thanks to studies carried out by experts within the tattoo industry, the mystery has been clarified.

It has been concluded that the needle has to reach into the dermis, breaking through the skin between 1 and 2 millimeters. Once the needle has injected the ink drop, that is where the magic starts. But why is it so magical? Well, as you are very aware, any foreign element getting into you body will be destroyed or moved by the white cells, however, in this case the injected pigment will be too large for the white cells to destroy or move.

Now the question is, how the ink stays there? In this case, the Epidermis acts as a window and therefore, the ink can’t get out of your dermis.


The final fact within our tattoo facts list is that you should be very aware that removing a tattoo is not an easy task and could be as painful as getting tattooed. Nowadays, there are way to get rid off of the ugly and undesired tattoo such as redesigning it (like combining with a new tattoo) or going extreme and using the laser technique.

Depending on the size of the tattoo, the laser technique could be done not only in one session, it could take many session and still the affected area will look like discolored white paint. Also, would be more complicated if the tattoo is colored.

Having those two alternatives (rest assure there are other ones that could be not that pleasant), it will be definitely much better redesigning the tattoo. Check out this article (tattoo removal facts) if you want to know more about how to go with tattoo removal.

There are many reasons why we get tattooed either to honor someone or simply something we believe or admire. These tattoo facts will definitely help you out to decide where, why and the final outcome about a tattoo.

If you are still not sure if getting a tattoo is a good or bad idea, think it twice.