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SwearJar

Learning to Tattoo in my mid-30's - no chance?

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Hey all, 

I'm not sure if I'll get a warm, luke-warm, mildly tepid or just straight-up cold welcome here. I know enough about the tattoo community to hazard a guess but I thought I'd sign up and at least have a go.

I'm 36 and just started learning the art of tattooing. I cannot do an apprenticeship. I have a mortgage and bills and there's no way I can spend a year or whatever it takes working unpaid to do it the 'respectable' way. I taught myself how to rebuild car and motorcycle engines, build guitars (from scratch) & repair amps and I've taught myself a whole host of art techniques - sometimes you have to do things yourself - BUT - I'm also a firm believer in sharing knowledge and would welcome some straight-talking advice here and there...I'm hoping I can get it here, if you'll have me?

Now, I have a fair amount of tattoos and hung around in shops for most of my teenage years - even did a little piercing for a while - so I already knew my way around the equipment somewhat before I took the plunge and the procedures in place to be clean! I have been painting and drawing for 25+ years (I do art for skateboards as a side business) so have an eye for design, composition & colour. Aside from the self-taught part, I'm determined to do this as 'correctly' as possible! I would like to point out that I have ZERO intention of touching another humans skin with a needle until I am confident I can produce work that is of a high enough standard, and have correctly tattooed myself safely enough times that I will have lost count - I'm not a ****ing idiot. 

I have amassed a reasonable collection of equipment to learn with, I would appreciate any advice as to gaps in this lot I may have missed:

  • Micky Sharps Micro Dial Liner 2010 model
  • Micky Sharps Iron Hybrid (currently set as a shader, mid-tuning-learning)
  • Ronnie Starr (unknown older model)
  • Unknown maybe-80's Brass machine to convert to a packer (just bought, it's on its way - pic below as I'd like to know its origins!)
  • Basic, no display, analogue power supply - 2amp output - to learn by sound and feel
  • Metered power supply - 1.5amp output - to learn the numbers involved in tuning
  • brass shims and various sizes of springs
  • associated items (clip cords, pedal, dedicated allen wrenches, etc)
  • a nickle and a dime 
  • Gloves, machine & cord bags/wraps
  • vaseline & sterile tongue depressors
  • disposable razors
  • ink cups, grommets, rubber bands
  • assorted disposable needles and tubes
  • jewellers loupe to check the needles
  • Green soap
  • Dettol
  • Stencil Fluid
  • distilled water
  • A couple of black inks (Kuro Sumi liner and Viking Black Fill)
  • sharps bin (a proper one) for used needles
  • about 2kg of fake skin (Reelskin)
  • Stencil carbon paper
  • head torch
  • a closed-off room in the house to learn in and to keep clean/pet free

I guess an autoclave and a stencil printer would be important next things to get? So far I've only run the needle on the fake skin and my own thigh (to actually get a feel for the depth and speed - I sure as hell know what it's supposed to feel like on myself!).

So, yeah, it would be nice to not get a solid ****-off from everyone because of my situation! I have done three pieces on myself as a 'can I even do this?' test. Here is my most recent (4 days old, very minor scabbing, slight bruise around some lines):

2vj63jp.jpg

 

And here is the old machine I have bought and would like if anyone could shed any light on it's origins? It has 1880 stamped into the base...

depx7l.jpg316kpiv.jpg

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And no need for brass shims, any shims should be steel  as your coils are magnets and brass is non-magnetic 😉

dont waste money on a stencil printer if you’re just starting out, look for an old 24 pin dot matrix printer usually found in thrift shops

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5 minutes ago, mac_1au said:

And no need for brass shims, any shims should be steel  as your coils are magnets and brass is non-magnetic 😉

dont waste money on a stencil printer if you’re just starting out, look for an old 24 pin dot matrix printer usually found in thrift shops

 

Ahh, damn. Will that cause an issue under a coil? I assumed that as long as it was conductive it would be fine.

And I think I have a dot matrix somewhere actually! Ill have to see if I can find it (and make it work on a modern laptop)

 

16 minutes ago, mark101 said:

No need for an autoclave if you go down the disposable route

That's a very good point. I would prefer to be a little more environmentally friendly so would like to get to non-disposable tubes at some stage.

Edited by SwearJar

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It won’t stop your machine from running, it just won’t run to its full potential 

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3 hours ago, mac_1au said:

It won’t stop your machine from running, it just won’t run to its full potential 

Fair enough. I shall order some steel ones! I already had the brass so I was going to just use what I had. Thanks for the advice

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