Outlining by itself just might be the single most important aspect of a good tattoo It lakesspecial attention and concentration while performing. A cleancut line done with confidence displays professionalism and is [he solid fountlati. ,n for a great tattoo. The world's greatest foundation is useless if the bricks are faulty, and the greatest quality outline is onlyas good as the pattern. In other words, as Important as good outlining is.
the outline itself isonly as go.»las the line on the stencil. So. the first importantstep In outlining is taking the time to make the best possible stenci] that can be made. Keep the stencil simple. In the case of a complicated design, use only the major outlines to establish the design and the other detail type lines can be ad.ied later by freehand.
Assuming the preparation or the skin has just been finished and the area of the design is lightly coated with carbolated vaseline (see Chapter on Sterile TVchniiiues first), just the design and not too much beyond it, so the hand won't slip around and the bridges will he more stable. Thefirst real step is to fill the reservoir of the machine tip with black tattoo ink. T.> do this properly the machine should not be running and lightly dip the tip into an ink cap holding black ink. Careful pains must he taken not to touch any surface ..r the cap with the needle tip. The end of the tube will 1111 up. This supply of ink does nol last very long and must be frequently dipped back into the cap for a refill Run the machine over a paper tissue to test the ink now. ir ihe machine spurts and spils oul ink. stop it for an adjustment. (Check Chapter on Machine Setting). Usually adjustment of the bands will correct the problem.
Always tattoo either forward or sideways with the machine. Outlines and shading bolh are done like this. In this direction, the needles have a slight backward pressure on them against theskin, which keeps the needles in the bottom orthe tube where Ihe ink is. Rubber hands keep this position in check, bui tattooing in this direction keeps the needles working where they belong and tines nm work against the natural function of lhe machine. It makes nice tattooing easier. Using a square tip tube is a plus.
Outlining is done from the bottom up. since sweat, blood and ink run down, it makes sense to start at the bottom to avoid smudging while working up Since wiping the area continuously while doing the tattoo will remove the stencil, starting in the bottom position will prevent this.
Tattooing must be done on tightskin. It will have to be stretched by the free hand of the tattoo!st. It createsa tautand solid surface to work on. For all practical purposes, it is impossible to lattoo loose skin. No matter whatstyle of stretchingis used .just make sore the needles go into a tight akin surface. (Reier lt> Skin Chapter for mvre ™ this.)
When putting ink into the skin, the machine should take on a subdued sound as soon as the needle touches skin. This is called "chokmgdown." If It doesn't sound like this, the machine is probably running too fast, try to slow It down a little. It doesn't take a lot of power to do good tattoo work.
To begin start witha few insignificant lines near the bottom of the tattoo. This is for settling yourself in and the client down to the feeling and to warm up yourself with some practice. Somewhere on the design are a few hues that are less important, or seMindarv to the major or more unportantlines. These secondary lines are the ones to start on and work vour way up to the primary lines. Make sure the bridge is solid for the area anil make a practice stroke. Do this over every time you tattoo. It rehearses the movement for the fingers and gives you time tor ajiytast minute shirts or adjustments. Have the machine off the skin, press the footswitch to turn ¡ton. The machine should be running before you put the needle into the skin. Never start it wlule in the skin. Make the line without hesitation and continue in this manner Don't wan until the machine to run out oi ink. refill it every few lines and keep it. full foe the whole job.
Keepa paper tissue wrapped around the two lesser Singer* of the tattooing hand for wiping As the work progresses, the working hand neatly tilts river to wipe the work when it Is necessary and then just continue tattooing It's effirient and close to the work Press gsntls straight downatid thenlift straight up. You tattoo, then wipe, then tattoo some more, and wipe. etc. Keep a fresh supply of tissues nearby for this purpose.
PAPER TISSUE WRAPPED AROUND FINGERS FOR WIPING
There are many brands of paper tissues, all are not satisfactory for use in tattooing. Some will just pull apart as soon as you start wiping ink with them, others are very dusty and this is where your big problem starts, especially with outliners. Small unseen paper dust particles will be picked up off the skin between the outliner needles. At once, your outline will change from a solid line to one that looks like two lines and with a very scratchy appearance. Also, the line will be starving for ink because of the paper tissue dust packed in between the needles. To remedy this problem, take a single needle and carefully pick out the paper particles from between the needles, after that, a few seconds in the ultrasonic cleaner and your outline needles will work like new.
When outlining, just like the rest of tattooing, close attention must be paid to what one is doing. Check needles frequently to make sure they are not hanging up. If the needles continuously hang up, they are probably sticking out of the tube too far and need adjustment, this usually happens only with a round tip tube. The needle tips should be just outside the tube tip so they can barely be felt with the machine off.
Unless the machine is running too fast, those needles aren't going in as deep as they appear to be. but if it's running too slow, you will lack depth. Don't run the machine faster than what you can keep pace with and always work as shallow as possible.
What would be a good speed for single needle would be too slow with more than one needle. Also, using more needles reduces that tingling sensation that most people say they feel. By reducing the number of needles all the way down to one. they will feel less tingling. For back work, use a three or five needle outliner, as opposed to a single needle for a thicker, flowing line.
There are two ways of working an outliner. Use very short strokes and have only enough needle showing below tip to be visible when machine is resting.. Move machine along so tip is in contact with skin. Otherwise, use longer strokes, set tube a little higher in the jaws and have a little more needle showing below the tip. When doing this, work off the needle exclusively, don't try touching the skin wilh (he tip of tube. A good system is to use the former for large body pieces (the skin must be very taut), and the latter for small intricate work.
The tattoo outline should be sharp, solid and definite. As the machine is being held and bridged, the needles should be just skimming the skin surface. A tattooist doesn't have to dig it in. Don't use brute force, the machine will do the work. The tattooist'sjob is to guide the course of the needles so they puncture holes in the skin where the design calls for them. The ink, flowing along the needles, enters the holes by the way of gravity.
The main causes of bad lines are: Damaged points, (check frequently) side to side needle quiver, not enough ink flowing at the tip, in too big a hurry, too much pressure of the machine, digging into the skin and tattooing loose skin not stretched tight. If all these errors are avoided, few problems will occur and good sharp outlines will be consistent.
Dark black edg. or double line
1 Machine running too fast
Needle side quiver 1 Trembling hand syndrome Customer moving around
• Needles going in too far
■ Bent needle hanging out on group
• Paper tissue packed between needies
• Machine too slow
• You are going too fast along the surface
■ Skin not stretched enough
• Bottom needle of group worn out
Ragged gapped line ' \
Needle point damaged Needle side quiver
Needle snags/hangs up in skin
• Machine is running too slow, accelerate it a little
If you mentally think about the line that you are about to tattoo, your hand will automatically carry it through. Don't hesitate, or stop and start again. Let the lines flow smoothly without interruption. Before a really long line, get an ink refill so you won't run out in the middle of it. If you know the beginning of a line, and the end of it, the middle of it will take care of itself.
Start on the beginning of a line and not in the middle of it It's hard to reconnect lines to match perfectly. A perfect sweep is better than broken sections.
When you do points or tips with one stroke instead of two, lift up a bit and lighten up on the pressure so you won't get a heavy dot at the tip.
Eagle tips. Fangs and claws, etc., can he done in one single sweep, but take care that the needle points aren't ruined and make sure that you have enough ink. On the lines of ribbons or banners, do it in one clean stroke, If not, stop at intersections or places where if you make a bad joining, it can be easily shaded out later
In ribbons, st rolls and banners which will hold names or lettering, don't tattoo in the top line of the banner until the lettering is done. That way the top line c an be readjusted if need be. Bad lines can usually be hidden by some sort of shading.
The quality of the outline largely depends upon the quality and condition of the needles. If good results are not obtained, check those needle tips carefully with an eye loupe, both the tips and their motion,
When the outline has been finished on the tattoo, give it a green soap wash and gently wipe it with a clean towel Examine it carefully and see if there are any spots which need touching up. Any disconnected lines or forgotten spots? if so. touch those spots up. Wash it again and coat with Vaseline. Shut off the power pack and give yourself and the client a short break. Mention that the worst part is over. Remove the tube and needle bar from the machine and place the tube in a tray of soapy water so the ink doesn't dry. Place the used needle bar in a box labelled "used" for later washing and sterilizing for reusing, or for later soldering off and disposal, or to be resoidered with another new needle.
It should be mentioned here that most new customers are very nervous at first. That's why you start on an unimportant part of the tattoo so if the customer jumps around at first, tt won't ruin the tattoo. Get a good gri p on the client with the free hand for more stabilization. Tell them that the outline usually smarts more than the rest of the tattoo. Get them calm and talking to keep their minds off the tattooing, and if they persist in jumping around, explain to them that they are ruining their own tattoo and you will charge them double Tor the extra work involved. This will usually calm them down. Caim customers are good for business. .lust like not wanting to hear someone screaming in a dentist's office, it also holds true for tattooing.
This chapter covers just the straight forward mechanics of outlining a tattoo. For more information on this and how it ties in to the overall picture of giving a tattoo, see the chapter "Tattoo Review"
chapter sixteen Black Shading
This will beoneorthe chapters thai most people will turn to first. There seems to he a certain fascination to theblackshadingora tattoo thatreally attracts the eye Tiitloo artists love black shading, it presents a challenge on every design and a chance to really show your tattooing skill. Customers »re drawn toward it because of its dynamic and highlighting effects. It seems to really lift the design right off the skin. Well done black shading either makes or breaks a tattoo, and its feathered type effect looks extremely professional, somewhat reminding one that it has been laid down with an artist's airbrush instead of a tattoo machine
Black shading is used to highlight andior recess parls of a design to make it appear three-dimensional. A tattoo on skin or paper is two-dimensional and proper shading will give the impression that the design is standing out in light and appears more realistic than it really is.
Theartofshadingis more tlianjust black featherlngagainsta line. It's the science of light and shadow. Where there is a lot of light, there is white. Where there is no light there is black. In between the spectrum are values or grey and these are shading Shading and shadowing depict a light source (in relation to the design, not the light bulb over the table). Its teaching is beyond the scope of this chapter, and for more knowledge in this field, some good art books on light source shadowing or rendering will be a great benefit to follow up this with.
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