In this part, Mr.Shi will share his idea about tattoo skill levels and tell you their differences. I cannot wait to hear what he is going to talk about.
Mr.Shi: As I said in part 1, you need to learn the tattoo techniques, tattoo needle skills, tattoo styles, and painting. Someone told me it was too difficult. But you can learn it in a simple or complex way. You can make money even if you are just at a primary level. If you want to do it better, you must learn all the practical skills. Well, I divided tattooing into 3 levels, primary level, intermediate level, and advanced level. Primary level is the first level, but it is not the easiest. Primary level means that you can add a program in your shop and you can make all tattoo patterns.
Question1: What is the primary level? In my opinion, the primary level has 8 characteristics. The first characteristic is that your tattoo machine technique not bad. The tattoo machine technique means you do know how to use a tattoo machine when you are making tattoos. Many people, especially tattoo beginners told me they could not use the machine well since the machine is too heavy and shakes heavily. When they were making complex tattoo, it was difficult to make outlines. And the shading is uneven either. That ‘s because their tattoo machine skills aren’t perfect enough. They are at the primary level. They can only hold the machine steady, but can not make an outline at a high standard. What is a high standard? High standard means that he can finish a line in one time when someone is making outlines. What is more, the thickness and smoothness of the lines and the depth of needles are controlled perfectly. You can make tattoos even if you are just at the primary level. But it may take you double time to finish a tattoo or to achieve the effects you want.
The second characteristic is that your tattoo needle skills are not bad. Like pencils, tattoo needles also have different sizes. Tattoo needle diameters, counts, and groupings are various. We need to use different needles according to different body parts and tattoo patterns because the thickness of the skins on different parts is different. Shall we make the line real or virtual? Shall we tattoo regularly, fast or slow? If you are at the primary level, you don’t know the answers and you can’t control the depth of needles well. And you can not control the speed of the tattoo machine, power supply or your hands perfectly.
The third characteristic is that you can not change needle depth perfectly. The most difficult is to control the needle depth. Even though we can not see how much the needle goes into the skin, we can feel the depth by training tattoo needle skills. I will teach you 20 to 40 needle depths. The thickness of skin is between 1.2mm to 1.5mm, so there are 40 depths from the surface to 1.5mm. Well, how do we judge needle depth? It depends on the thickness of lines, light, and shade of the pattern, and body parts. In order to make a perfect tattoo, reduce skin damage, and avoid the risk of infection, we have to learn tattoo needle skills. We talk about skin complications in the later videos. For example, hyperplasia, demitint, rejection action, swelling, excessive bleeding, ink become blue, etc.
The fourth characteristic is that you don’t know much about skin structure. Many students practice tattooing on fake skins. The needle goes in the fake skins as deep as it can. Fake skins don’t feel painful, but people have feelings. The thickness of the skin on different body parts is different. So we must know the skin structure when we are tattooing. Like painting, you need to the objections before you paint. For example, what paper do you use? white paper, cardboard, sketch paper, or canvas? After you understand its characteristics, you can take advantage of its characteristics, so you can show better skills. In a word, you may not know the skin structure very well if you’re at the primary level.
The fifth characteristic is that you can not transfer jigsaw puzzle onto the skin perfectly. Tattoo artists need to transfer tattoo designs. It seems simple to transfer tattoo design onto a body part with a transfer paper. And for some big tattoo designs, the combination and splicing between the patterns maybe not good after you transfer them on skins. In other words, you don’t understand the structure of the jigsaw puzzle well if you are at the primary level. Even though you can transfer it onto the skin, the pattern is not good enough.
The sixth characteristic is that your operation skills are not such good. For example, you may not know how to deal with the guests’ pain, or how to communicate with your guests. besides you can not deal well with the hygiene and your preparations either.
The seventh characteristic is that you can not offer health enough environment for your guests. A tattoo is a kind of traumatic art or traumatic beauty. We make needles penetrate into the skin and deliver dyes to the dermis layer. Then there must be wounds. That is why we must have good hygiene. You may have trouble if you don’t use qualified disinfectant or disinfectant tools, especially disposable tattoo products. You may also be in trouble if your disinfection method or tattoo aftercare is not professional. A primary tattoo artist always can not make every aspect perfectly. Maybe his tattoo studio environment is not healthy. Maybe his tattoo products are not good enough. Maybe his disinfection method or tattoo aftercare is not professional.
The eighth characteristic is that you don’t know how to attract customers. Even though you are just learning a skill, you also need to know how to do business. Many primary tattoo artists are not good at attracting customers. They just open a tattoo studio and wait for customers. Someone may create posts on their social media accounts. When we open a tattoo shop it is not wise to wait for customers. We need to be not only a professional tattoo artist but also a good boss. A good boss needs to know skills about how to run a tattoo shop, how to attract more guests, how to maintain a relationship with your guests. Remember that we are in the service industry, so service is vital. But primary tattoo artists don’t know much about it, as a result, his business may not be good. What is worse, they don’t know how to maintain a relationship with guests.
Question2: What is the intermediate level? And what are the differences between the primary level and intermediate level? Firstly, intermediate tattoo artists know more about tattoo needle skill, tattoo machine skills, and tattoo style. An intermediate tattoo artist can make the outline or color perfectly every time when the tattoo needle moves. For example, when he is doing a gradient from 100 to 0, he just needs to shade 1 to 5 times to finish it. But a primary tattoo artist needs to shade more times. What is worse, the skin will bleed or the color is uneven. An intermediate tattoo artist just needs to shade 3 or 5 times and the color is even and beautiful. The same thing goes for the outline. An intermediate tattoo artist knows more about the thickness and virtual of outline. In other words, an intermediate tattoo artist can shade gradient well and all his tattoo skills are higher.
A primary tattoo artist knows 50 tattoo styles, an intermediate tattoo artist may know 100 to 150 tattoo styles. I once did a butterfly tattoo. That guest asked me how much it would cost. I said the cost could be 50$ or150$. Even higher than 150$. The guest doesn’t understand why the prices were so different. He thought I was kidding. No, I was telling the truth because styles were not different. I could add a line in the butterfly pattern. I could also add a simple pattern or a colorful pattern in it. I could make an ordinary colorful or a 3D colorful butterfly tattoo. I could use 1 or more than 10 colors. The more complex it is, you need to get more work done. The more time you spend, the more detailed your tattoo work is. You must practice more if you want your skills at a higher level. And you can get a higher payment. Generally, an intermediate tattooist gets more skills than a primary tattooist. He knows more methods to transfer tattoo patterns. He also has his own creative ideas when transfer jigsaw puzzles. Many tattooists know nothing about painting. Many tattoo patterns need your creations. You need to modify tattoo drafts. How could you create if you don’t know how to paint? I will teach you how to assemble various patterns. I will teach you how to assemble patterns by software and transfer paper, and transfer it onto the skin. You will get a better understanding of jigsaw puzzles, the structure of pattern, and the meaning of tattoo patterns at an intermediate level. You will know how to add your hand drawing and take advantage of all kinds of painting skills.
As I said, we don’t just transfer tattoo patterns. But primary tattooist just transfers tattoo designs onto skin. You will look for some painting skills and apply them to tattoo designs if you are at a higher level. I always tell my students not to be like a frog in the well. A frog in the well is a Chinese saying. I mean, you will search butterfly tattoos, tiger tattoos, and dragon tattoos online when you are looking for tattoos. These tattoo designs you see are limited. The internet only shows your tattoos and tattoo drawings. But tattoo is a new industry, and it is always developing. It is almost impossible to ask someone whose painting skills are excellent to become a tattoo artist. He will develop his business in the painting filed if his painting skills are excellent. But some painting learners whose painting skills are not good as a painter will join the tattoo field. This tattooist can make the use of their advantages. If they are good at Chinese painting, calligraphy, sketch, or an oil painting, then they can add elements related to their painting styles into tattoo designs. But most tattooists have no painting skills at all. Even if you know some painting skills, you can not find perfect tattoos when you are searching for tattoo designs online. Most tattoos won’t pass if they are judged from an artistic point of view. When we judge a tattoo from the artistic point of view, we will consider its composition principle, its principle of perspective, its anatomical principle, its virtual and real match, and its meaning. But you still need to learn some painting knowledge. You should know what sfumato technique in watercolor is, what kubi technique in calligraphy is. If you know these techniques, you can use its terminology when you are searching for the information. When you use its terminology to look for the technique, then you are not a frog in the well. Then you will realize that you can show too many things. Am I right? At that time, you may feel excited, because you know you have too many beautiful things to show. You can show your ideas in the form of tattoos. Right? So you must think more about the future and learn more skills. An intermediate tattooist can make some kind of complex tattoos by himself. He can also take advantage of painting skills when tattooing.
The complex tattoos are something like the hairs of animals, the stereoscopic impression of portraits, and machinery. He can make such complex tattoos, but the reality and stereoscopic impression of these tattoos are not that strong. Meanwhile, his painting appreciation ability needs to be improved. Why do we learn painting appreciation ability? Because every painting has a certain of deep esoteric introduction and meaning. For example, we all know Pablo Picasso, but many people don’t understand his paintings. There were many painting genres during the Renaissance period, such as Fauvism, Dadaism, Realism, Hyperrealism. Why were there so many genres? when these painters painted an apple, a figure? A genre is a style of art. What is style? Many people said these painters paint ugly pictures because they can not understand those pictures. They learn painting courses according to normal procedures. Their paintings are very real. We can even see the hair when they paint a figure picture. You will feel amazing that you can see each hair. And the water beads on the paintings look like real. In fact, it can only show the fineness of paintings. Even if you can also paint a picture like real, your paintings may have no value art appreciation, have no connotation, have no meaning. Or your painting can not show a deep meaning. When we are looking at an artwork, we appreciate not only its reality but also the powerful image it expresses and the artist’ s conception and thoughts. Anyway, it shows a painting style. This kind of paintings has life. But many people can not understand this kind of paintings. So you must improve your art appreciation ability if you want to understand the artworks. So you have to reach an intermediate level. Question3: What is an advanced level? It may take you many years to reach an advanced level. I always tell my students to practice hard according to my methods. Five years later, you will become a master if you insist on practice and improve your skills continuously according to my methods. You will be an expert in the tattoo field 10 years later. How many people can insist on practice for 10years in the same field? What if you insist on 15 years? Maybe you will be the authority. I mean few people would insist on doing the same thing for a long time. Many people will refuse to learn more because they want to make money early. Someone can insist for a long time, someone can not, since their purposes are different, as I said in part 1. What characteristics does an advanced tattooist have? The first one is that his proficiency is high. A primary tattooist needs to do many times to achieve the effects he wants when he is making a line or gradient. And the tattoo may not look nice because of skin damage caused by him. An intermediate tattooist needs to do 3 to 5 times to achieve the effects he wants. And so there still will be skin damage. The color won’t be even since he does too many times. An advanced tattooist can deal with the speed of a tattoo machine and hand very well. He just needs one time to make a line or gradient. He can take advantage of different angles and the speed and depth of the tattoo machine, so he just needs one time to achieve it. Of course, he needs an amount of practice to reach an advanced level.
Secondly, he can finish a jigsaw puzzle and other tattoo designs by himself. I mean he doesn’t need to use too much experience of other tattooist or other jigsaw puzzles. He has his own ideas. He can modify it and make it become his own style when he is looking for a pattern. He must be good at hand drawing and painting so that he can modify a tattoo pattern. Thirdly, he can apply painting styles to tattoo designs. In other words, he is a leader rather than plagiarist when designing tattoo patterns. All of his tattoo works are his won styles. He is always doing technique research. There are many subjects in the painting. Each subject has its won style and culture styles. What is culture styles? Culture styles are something like Sak Yant tattoo, Maya totem, tribal patterns, various symbols, Japanese traditions, graphic culture, tribal culture, and religious culture. An advanced tattooist can combine these styles and apply them to tattoos. Some cultural graphics don’t look nice, but they have a kind of traditional beauty. Someone like traditional styles and beauty. Someone wants to make the tattoo design more beautiful. The lines should be clear. The pattern should be bright. The colors should be even. As a qualified tattooist, you should know how to design according to your guest’s requirements. You make the original one if your guest wants original style. You can modify it if he wants to make it more beautiful. Sometimes you need to add some elements to make it become a new tradition. Sometimes, you also need to turn a pure color tattoo into a multi-colored one. Since you are facing the market, you must know how to change the styles. You are designing a tattoo according to your guest’s requirements instead of your own idea. So you have to change the pattern if the guest has demanded. As an advanced tattooist, you can apply the painting styles and cultural styles to tattoo and modify them. Fourthly, an advanced tattooist knows body art and combine it with tattoo art. Many tattoo schools can not teach you this skill. Remember that we are not tattooing on skins, Actually, we are tattooing on the human body. Since our target is the human body, we have to understand body art. I don’t mean the guest must have a perfect human body ratio. Some of our guests are tall; some are short; some are fat; some are thin. We must be good at discovering the advantages of our customers. What is his special feature? Is she likely to be more sexy, more individual, more elegant, or something else? What characteristics does her body have? For example, someone’s waist looks nice, someone’s legs look nice, someone’s skin is fair. We must consider the structure of the human body and his special feature when we are designing a tattoo pattern for our guests. In other words, we must make sure the tattoo he wears is beautiful no matter you see it from distant places or near places, no matter what clothes he wears. It must be beautiful whatever he does. It is too bad if others can not understand what the tattoo is no matter from distant places or near places. This kind of tattoos does not combine the pattern itself and human beauty. Many people just know make a beautiful tattoo on the skin when they are making a tattoo. When we see a tattoo wore on a stranger, we will notice its whole design at first sight. Then we will say his tattoo is really beautiful. We know the shape of this tattoo from distant places, then we will say it is nicer if we near it. So we must understand body art, then you will know how to create a tattoo pattern when you are designing. We need to make use of the different skin colors of the human body, stereoscopic impression and the special condition of our guests’ body, and his wearing and personality when we are designing.
Mr.Shi: Fifthly, an advanced tattooist has high artistic appreciation. That means he was able to tell you clearly the meanings, the graphic structure of each tattoo. He even knows what techniques the tattooist uses. We must make meaningful tattoos, instead of making tattoos for the sake of tattoos. There are many forms when you tattoo on the human body, which we will talk about later. Under what circumstances will he make this tattoo? So an advanced tattooist must have high artistic appreciation. And he can mix all painting skills and cultures around the world. What’s more, he has his own methods to design a tattoo pattern and make tattoos. That means the tattoos made by him is different from others no matter what kind of tattoos he makes. We can know which tattoo is done by him at a glance. Because each tattoo done by him differs from others, the graphic is special. It is his graphic style. Most of the tattoo techniques are reflected in his tattoo needle skills and tattoo machine skills. Tattoo needle skills mean how fast his needles work, how dense and thick the color is, he makes a virtual or reality tattoo. When he finally finishes a tattoo people will think this tattoo has its own style and interesting techniques. But it takes a long time for one to learn the skill to mix painting styles. Anyway, practice makes perfect. Well, these are my judgments about tattoo artist levels. Primary level, intermediate level, and advanced level. According to what I said just now, you will know which level you are at now. I always say that art is endless. We can regard it as an art, right? I want my pursuit of this art to be perfect and ultimate. I will pursue it as long as I can. Maybe I need to purse only a style of painting subject for a long time. What's more, a tattoo is a collection of all painting subjects and different cultures around the world. Maybe we are disabled to understand it all our lives. But you just need to remember that it is fine if you have your own tattoo style and unique tattoo technique. Here is the link for tattoo tutorials videos on YouTube.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqM6rn2MH94