How to Practice Tattooing for Beginners

If you dream about being a tattoo artist and want to bring it into reality, you’ll have to go through the process. This process involves getting the best starter tattoo kit, improving your skills by practicing consistently with beginner kits before finally switching to human skins.

Don’t get it twisted, learning tattooing never stops, you’ll always be on the lookout to improve your skill. Professional tattoo artists have mastered the art of reproducing images on the skins of their clients and are paid heavily for this. 

If you want to start your tattooing career, patience is required to get better as you’ll face a lot of difficult situations. However, there are ways to practice your tattooing as a beginner that will improve your skills quickly and put you on track to becoming an expert artist.

Here is how to practice as a beginner:

Practice Drawing on Paper

Tattooing is all about replicating images and even though tattoos are done on the skin, if you can replicate images on paper, you are on your way to becoming a great artist.

As a beginner, start practicing by drawing on paper. The aim is to improve your drawing skills and help you draw faster as you won’t have weeks to complete a tattoo. 

Doing this consistently will improve the quality of images you can reproduce and reduce the time it takes you to draw. While it will be a little different when tattooing on curved human skins, you would’ve gotten used to the basics of drawing.

Buy the Starter Kit

Before you can start practicing properly you need to first purchase the starter kit based on the investment you’re willing to put in. You may not be able to buy all the tools a tattoo artist needs as a beginner but you should at least get some of the basic tools like the tattoo machine, ink, and synthetic skin for practice.

If you’re an apprentice in an established tattoo shop, you may not need to buy all the tools immediately as you can practice with the tools available in the shop.

Learn How to Use Your Kit

Do you want to become an expert tattoo artist? Then you have to know how to use all the tattoo tools available. Start with your beginner kit, get used to all the tools, and learn how they work and when to use each one.

Tools like the tattoo machine will require more time to get used to, its vibration and handling can be distracting for beginners but with constant practice, it will quickly become just an extension of your arm.

You should also learn about tattoo papers, how they work and when best to use them. Tattoo papers help you reproduce almost identical images on the client’s skin.

Practice Tattooing on Synthetic Skins 

Synthetic skins are the closest thing to real human skins so if you want to get a glimpse of how it’ll feel tattooing a real skin, you should practice on synthetic skins or pig skins. You can wrap the skin around an object to mimic the curve on the human body.

While there is still quite the difference between human skin and synthetic skin, you will be able to get a feeling of how it should be or appear. Your progress on synthetic skin will signal your step up to tattooing on human skins and for clients.

Learn the Right Tattoo Depth

Ideally, the tattoo ink should be deposited on the middle layer of the skin, the dermis. The dermis layer keeps the tattoo fresh and prevents it from fading easily. 

If you tattoo on the outer layer, the ink will fade quickly leaving an ugly tattoo. Tattooing on the innermost layer on the other hand is too painful and can also lead to infections as the tattoo machine punctures deep into the skin.

Get a Mentor

Just like in any other career, a mentor is important and can shorten your learning curve significantly. A mentor may be even more important when learning how to tattoo as you not only save money since you can use the tattoo equipment in your mentor shop to practice but it also helps get your feet in the door after you finish learning.

As an apprentice, you’ll have to learn for a long time before you will be allowed to start tattooing clients.


Learning how to tattoo is rewarding as expert tattoo artists are paid handsomely while doing what they love. You shouldn’t let that get into your head when learning though; you want to focus on becoming a better tattoo artist first by practicing constantly.