We have started talking about the process of getting a tattoo from start to finish. This is to show you the exact steps from start to finish so that if you are thinking of getting a tattoo, you know exactly what to start. Last time we talked about how an artist prepares for the tattoo process. Today, we will talk about the tattooing process itself.
Depending on the width of the outlines the artist uses different tipped needles and starts going over the stencil with the machine. Right handed artists usually start at the bottom of the right hand side and work up, while left handed artists usually start from the left side so the stencil of the outlines won’t be lost when cleaning a permanent line. For outline work a thinner ink is usually used than the ink for shading and coloring because it can be easier wiped away from the skin without smearing. As he is going over the stencil and is working the ink into the skin, the tattoo machine is buzzing and smooth clear lines should be appearing where the needle pierces the skin.

Once the outlines are done the tattooed area is cleaned with antiseptic soap and water. If needed the artist will go over some outlines again to make sure the outlines are the way they are supposed to be.

After that and possibly a little break the shading is added. For the shading he will use a different needle and probably a different machine than he used for the outlines. Each artist works differently and using a different machine is up to the artist depending on her or his experience and preference.

When the shading is done the tattooed area is cleaned again and is now ready for color. When applying the color, the artists usually goes twice over each colored line to ensure a solid and even coloration with no “Holidays”. On uneven looking areas the color has either faded during the healing process or the artist missed an area of the skin. This does not mean he or she did a bad job, it’s just that you can’t really see those spots during the application.

After the coloration the tattoo is sprayed and cleaned again. The artist will then use a disposable towel to remove any blood and plasma excreted during the tattooing procedure. Bleeding always occurs during tattooing even under normal circumstances, but most of it stops after a few minutes. If alcohol or illegal drugs have been used prior or during the process the bleeding could hold on longer and there could be other complications. No tattoo artist will tattoo a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs anyway.

When done cleaning the tattooed area for the last time, the artist will then apply a bandage over the tattoo to prevent it from bleeding any more, getting blood and still excreting tattoo ink on your clothes. This bandage is supposed to be taken off about 2 hours after completion.