How to Tattoo with an Electric Machine
The following information is to assist you in learning about tattooing and is not a tattoo course structure.
Configuration indicates how the needles are grouped together. The configuration determines the shape or pattern of how the ink will go into the skin. So in the example of 1207RL, where 12 is the diameter, 7 is the count, RL, indicates the configuration. RL stands for round liner, a round liner is a formation of needles in a tight circular formation which is used for lining. The other configurations are RS = round shader, F = flats, M1 = weaved magnum, M2 = stacked magnum and RM = round magnum.
These configurations make up the different tattoo needle types or groupings. RL or round liner needles grouped together in a tight round formation. RS or round shaders are grouped together in a loose round formation. F or flats are grouped together in a line formation. M1 or weaved magnum are grouped with 2 rows of needles in a weaved formation, so for example a 7M1 will have a bottom row of 4 and an upper row of 3. M2 or stacked magnum are grouped in the same way as M1 but are tightly stacked together hence the name stacked magnum. RM or round magnum are grouped the same way as M1 but the points are arranged in a curved arch.
So what tattoo needles do you need? RL or round liner needles are used for lining. RS or round shader are used for shading. Flats are used for areas with geometric shapes and shading. Weaved magnums are used for shading, blending and coloring large areas. Stacked magnums are used for shading, blending and coloring tighter large areas. Both can be used for lining if you turn the needle to the side. This does take a bit of skill to do, so only do it if you have practiced the technique enough or else you may end up damaging the skin. Round curve magnums are used for shading, blending and coloring large areas with less impact to the skin. The needles are made in an arch formation to better deflect the skin when it goes in and out. With a regular magnum, there is potential for the edges of the mag to dig into the skin, with a round magnum, the arch of the needle will allow you to move more freely on the skin without the risk of the edges digging in.
So how to use tattoo needles like rounds, magnums and curved magnums? Rounds are quite straight forward. The larger the area of coverage, the larger count needle you would use. For thicker lines, use a larger count round liner. Pigment dispersal using a magnum is smoother than rounds. A good comparison would be a round liner is a pen while a magnum is a magic marker. Proper use of a magnum takes a bit of practice. The magnum should always hit the skin at an angle. If it goes in straight and not at an angle it will stick into the skin which will cause the needle to jump. Always drag the magnum across the skin by pulling it across. Do not push forward as this will cause the magnum to dig into the skin causing pain and getting the needle caught. Color in a circular motion, a magnum, being wider, will cover more area faster than a conventional round. Wipe the skin often so you can pay attention to the texture while you are using a magnum.
The ink is not injected as many believe. The needle enters the skin with a very fine point and with the elasticity of the skin. The taper of the needle stretches the skin into a conical hole. The fine layer of Vaseline applied to the skin creates a seal between the surface of the needle and the stretched skin. As the needle retracts from the skin leaving a hole with no air pressure inside, an external air pressure of 1 bar average wants to fill the vacuum. The seal is broken between the needle and the skin, the ink which is around the needle and sat on the film of Vaseline is forced into the vacuum void from the external air pressure. Understanding this process and many other reasons leads to creating a perfect tattoo. When I have time I will write a lot more on this subject. I have learnt a lot from being in the environment I am in. Working with some of the top masters in Bamboo tattooing. They can do a tattoo faster than any machine artist I know. Practically no skin damage and the ink fly’s in.
Magnum is one row of any odd number of needles. Every other needle is bent up.
Stacks are two (could be more) layers one right on top of the other. The top layer has one less needle than the bottom row.
A stylish modern acrylic ink pot holder takes 10 ink pots, rubber feet to prevent slipping.
Always throw away the ink pots and left over ink away. It has been contaminated with blood.