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Starter's Toolkit: The Essential Guide for Aspiring Tattoo Artists - Part 2

Man tattooing

This blog post is a continuation of our last post, which focuses on the important aspects an aspiring tattoo artist should look for and try to improve. This post will focus more on the technical aspects of tattooing and will try to give you detailed information about the toolkit needed for a tattoo artist and also tips on setting up a workspace.

Let's get started!

Chapter 3: The Tattoo Artist's Toolkit

Every artisan knows the importance of their tools; this principle is also essential for tattoo artists. A tattoo artist's toolkit is extensive and specialised, with a range of equipment designed to ensure precision, safety, and the highest quality of work. This chapter introduces the essential components of the tattoo artist's toolkit, offering insights into their importance, how to select the best tools for the job, and the crucial aspects of maintenance and safety standards.

Essential Equipment:

Tattoo Machines

The core of the tattoo toolkit consists of two types of machines: coil and rotary. Coil machines are known for their precision and are traditionally used, employing an electromagnetic circuit to move the needle. They are favoured for their control and are typically used for lining. Rotary machines operate through a small motor, making them quieter and smoother. They are often preferred for shading and colouring due to their consistent power and less trauma to the skin. Our favourite tattoo machine brands are Inkmachines, Dan Kubin, and Bishop.

How to choose yours:

  • think about what you want to use it, and do a bit of research - they do different things

  • depending on what type of tattoos you are making, you may need 2 or 3 different high-quality tattoo machines

  • quality makes a difference in how it feels working with the machine, capabilities, and servicing options


Tattoo needles come in various configurations, each designed for a specific purpose, such as lining, shading, or colouring. The choice of needle size and grouping affects the tattoo's detail, texture, and saturation, making it crucial to select the right needle for each task.  Quality also matters!


High-quality tattoo inks are vital for vibrant, lasting tattoos. They come in various colours and formulations, with options designed for sensitivity to ensure compatibility with all skin types. The choice of ink affects the appearance of the tattoo and its longevity and safety.

Sterilisation equipment and/or disposable materials

Ensuring the sterility of equipment is not just a recommendation, but a non-negotiable in tattooing. Autoclaves, ultrasonic cleaners, and disinfectants are indispensable for preventing infection and cross-contamination. The gravity of this aspect cannot be overstated, as proper sterilisation protects both the artist and the client, making it a critical component of the toolkit.

Drawing Supplies

Before the tattooing begins, artists must transfer their designs onto the skin. This process involves sketching and stencil-making materials such as tracing paper, transfer paper, pencils, and markers. These supplies allow for precise design placement and serve as a guide during the tattooing process.

Extra necessary equipment: printers, stencil printers, Ipad + pen

Choosing the Right Tools

Selecting the right equipment is about balancing quality, comfort, and personal preference. It's advisable to research and invest in reputable brands known for their durability and safety. Testing different machines, needles, and inks can help artists find the tools that best suit their technique and style. Furthermore, attending conventions and workshops provides opportunities to discover new tools and technologies in the tattooing field.

Maintenance and Safety Standards

Proper maintenance of tattoo equipment is essential for both performance and safety. Regular cleaning and sterilisation of reusable components, along with the proper disposal of single-use items, prevent the risk of infections and diseases. Keeping equipment in top condition also ensures optimal performance, preventing technical failures that could affect the tattoo's quality.

Adhering to safety standards, such as using gloves, maintaining a clean workspace, and following health regulations, not only protects the artist and client but also enhances the professional reputation of the tattooist. Staying updated with the latest safety protocols and participating in continuous education on health and safety practices is crucial for every professional in the industry.

This chapter emphasises that a tattoo artist's toolkit is more than just a collection of tools—it's the foundation of their craft. By understanding, selecting, and maintaining their equipment with care, artists can ensure the highest standards of safety, efficiency, and artistry in their work, laying the groundwork for a successful and respected career in tattooing

Chapter 4: Setting Up Your Workspace

Creating a workspace that is clean, safe, and welcoming is crucial for every tattoo artist. Not only does it reflect professionalism and care for client welfare, but it also ensures compliance with health regulations and fosters an environment where creativity can flourish. This chapter provides guidelines for setting up an ideal workspace, navigating health and safety standards, and creating a space that clients will find comforting and professional.

Organisation and Cleanliness

A well-organized workspace facilitates a smooth tattooing process. Ensure all tools and supplies are easily accessible and stored in a sterile environment. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the workspace, including surfaces, tattoo machines, and chairs, are mandatory to prevent contamination and infection.

Proper Lighting and Ventilation

Adequate lighting is essential for the precision required in tattooing. Natural light supplemented with high-quality overhead and task lighting can create an optimal environment for detailed work. Good ventilation is equally important to ensure the removal of airborne contaminants, maintaining a comfortable environment for both the artist and the client.


The physical setup should prioritise comfort for the artist and the client. Adjustable chairs and workstations can help prevent strain and fatigue during lengthy tattoo sessions. Supporting the client's back and limbs can also enhance their experience and reduce movement during tattooing.

Creating a Welcoming Environment for Clients

Personal Touches: Adding personal touches to your workspace can make it more welcoming and reflect your artistic style. Consider displaying your artwork, incorporating plants or comfortable furniture, and playing background music to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Privacy and Comfort: Many clients appreciate privacy during their tattoo sessions, especially for tattoos in sensitive areas. Consider setting up partitions or private rooms to make your clients feel more comfortable. Amenities like water, snacks, or Wi-Fi can also improve their experience.

Consultation Area: Designate a specific area separate from the tattooing space for consultations. This will allow for private and focused discussions about designs, expectations, and any concerns your clients may have, establishing a trustful relationship from the start.

This blog post will continue with part 3.

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