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Tattooing Tips with Jose Perez Jr. LESSON 2: Equipment and Set-up
First & foremost, this lesson will be all about consistency. Every time you tattoo, everything you do has to be the same and you have to have a system that you repeat each and every time to ensure that you are reliable in the quality that you are able to produce. You want your clients to be confident with the product they will receive when they book an appointment with you. If we were talking about building houses or countertops, it always will have to be done a certain way if you want the end product to be the same.
Each time I set up is always the same. Ink in the same spot, rinse cup, green soap, always in the same spots. The ink cups should always be set up from dark to light, left to right so you never get confused. My ink is always a 5 cup system counted by drops. I dont eyeball it. I count every drop to ensure that it's perfect each time. You always want to run your machine and power supply at the same voltage. I may travel all around the world to all different shops and meet new people every day but I always am able to stay consistent in the quality of my work because I always maintain the same core rules to my set up and equipment.
The machines that I use currently are FK Irons Spectra Halo, which I love for several reasons. It's an incredibly reliable machine. You always want to make sure your machines run the same all the time. I also like them because they are lightweight. I switched over from coils to rotaries because I tend to work long hours and the weight was getting to my fingers, causing calluses and bumps and makng my hands and wrists tired. You can also adjust the bounce or give which to me is one of the most important things because it mimics a coil machine. You can adjust the amount of give it has so its not just jamming the needle into the skin. There are a lot of options out there as far as tattoo machines go, the technology has advanced in many ways. It's all about finding the right machine for you. I cant stress enough how your machines need to be consistent in order to reach the same end result every time.
The way I've reached this system I'm at today is pretty much trial and error. In order for trial and error to work, you have to always set up the same and then tweak one element at a time. If you need your ink to be darker, add more drops. If you need to add another machine for speed, then do so. But stay with your original system and add as you go. If you change everything at once, you won't be able to tell what it is that is causing a problem that you might be having. If you tweak one thing at a time then you can tell what it is that is working and what is not.
I also use the same brand of paper towels every time and I always stick to the same brands of tubes and needles. I use Needlejig needles and tubes from True Tube. They've always proven to produce great quality products. However, no matter where you order your tubes and needles from, it's always important to individually check each one until you know that they're dependable. I've jumped around from different companies to reach these two because I have not found any damaged needles, and the spacing between the individual needles is always the same. Little flaws like that can greatly affect the way your tattoo heals in a negative way if you don't pay attention to it.
What I'm trying to say here is that if you keep all your procedures, all your steps, your machines, your needles, all the same, the outcome will always be the same. That's what makes a great artist- if you stay consistent and reliable with all your work. The bottom line here is: consistency, Consistency, CONSISTENCY!!