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THE TATTOO SUPPLY TRAIL

The Art of the Skin is ancient, but there is a sudden surge in demand lately. Supply of materials to continuously support the Tattoo Artists have, thus, become important. Tattoo Supply is now a major supply-side essential of the world of Tattooing.     

Essentials

The essentials of tattooing supplies must include the minimum requirements for a day-to-day tattoo. Since these are inked tattoos, Ink is obviously of primary importance. We also need Needles, Cartridges, Tubes, Tips and Grips. The Machine is of-course of central importance. Peripherals like Stencil products and Power supplies often play a critical role and have made or marred many a reputation. There is more to the Tattoo Shop. The best shops are also equipped with medical and health products associated with the tattooing, preparation and post-operative treatment. The layout of the shop must give Clients sufficient privacy during the process, while guests and clients waiting for their turn must be given comfortable seating space. Reading matter that highlights the ‘skin art’ and encourages prospective customers must be tastefully offered up to the waiting public, so as to help while away the waiting hours. Lighting is of particular importance, especially in the tattoo cubicles, as is control of temperature and humidity of the whole ecosphere of the shop. Some of the most important supplies needed by the Tattoo Artist are listed below.

Inks

There are still traditionalists and conservatives among tattoo artists who decide to make their own ink, in the manner prescribed by the ancient practitioners of the art. But most artists belong to this scientific generation and prefer to buy their own supplies of certified tattoo ink. This not only gives them a vast number of color options, and ink characteristics, but also protects them from any ink-based litigation from discontented customers. Buying the ink frees essential time for the artist to spend on each customer, as well as cater to more customers. Variety of ink opens up the horizons of their artistic license, in keeping with customer requests. When buying ink, the Artist must remember that different inks may have different consistencies while ageing. Certain shades may be more popular with the customers, or better in line with the Artist’s personal style, but may not always be available with the stockist. These inks need to be stocked particularly.    

Needles and Cartridges

Needles often determine the quality of work produced by an Artist. The Artist must consider what the needle will be used for. Most needles are either for Liner or for Shader work. They are mostly classified as round, flat, turbo, magnum and shader. There are also some needles for specific uses, such as Cartridge Needles, Textured Needles and Bugpins. Sizes of needles are also important. For Lining, it is always better to use the smaller sizes, while the larger sizes are used for Shading. The combination of needle type and size allows Artists to reproduce some very complex designs on the living human skin.

Tubes, Tips and Grips

Tubes and Tips help the Artists to quickly and accurately insert the needles in their machines. While allowing the Artist to achieve proper ink flow, they also assist in the safe cleaning of needles. The choice must be such that the tubes and tips must never damage the needles. Grips are very important to ensure that the Artist be able to practice with stable hands. Whether made of metal or disposable, Grips ensure accurate and repeatable tattooing.  

The Machine

The Machine is at the heart of the Artist’s equipment. It is the equivalent of the paintbrush to the Painter. Two types of machine dominate this field, and both basic principles have been around for about the same time. The Coil Machine is still the most popular, as it seems to duplicate the ancient ‘stick and pin’ method of tattooing. This manual technique is still in use with isolated tribesmen around the world. The other main type is the Rotary Machine which uses a motorized hand-held pen-like device to make very fine artwork. The Artist uses his experience to make choices between the two types and sometimes carries both types.    

Stencil Stuff

Stencils were once disowned by creative Artists as artificial, but the exciting advantages of the creative use of stencil paper, to transfer the artistic vision to the skin, for further tattooing, is now being recognized worldwide. Various types of stencils and supporting auxiliaries are now required to form part of the supply scene.   

Powering The Tattoo

Power supplies, generally multiple points, and at the right voltage, form the most important supply item for tattoo shops and proper experts must be consulted. 

The Right Choice

Given the vast spread of tattoo parlors, shops and amateur tattooing activity worldwide, it is not surprising that Tattoo Supply has come to play a major role in the world of tattooing.

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