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How to Practice Tattooing

Learn how to practice tattooing from acclaimed tattoo artist James Vaughn in this Howcast video.


If you want to learn or try to practice tattooing. As an apprentice, I always... we'd go to the grocery store. I live in the south, so there's plenty of butcher shops that have... we usually used to get raw pig ears. Actually, pig skin is probably the closest skin that you could come to to human skin, although it doesn't bleed, but it's really, really, it's really close. Some friends of mine actually, they used to tattoo pigs feet, and put them in jars of formaldehyde and sell them. It was kind of funny, it's like a gag gift. But you can actually outline, you can work on your outlining techniques. Pigs are very, very close skin to humans, so we can, you can actually work on your techniques, your lining, shading. And that way you don't have to work on your friends, you don't have to have future coverups for your friends, because your not going to be... Everybody thinks they can do this, everybody thinks that this is a very easy thing to do and it's difficult. And I can't stress how difficult it is.

You have to really pay your dues, and you have to really pay attention to what your doing. You really, really need to focus on your line work. When I was an apprentice, I had to do line drawing after line drawing, after line drawing, after line drawing. If you have bad line work it's going to make the whole tattoo crap. You need to focus on the fundamentals of tattooing, is line work and shading. You can use fruit, we've done grapefruits. And you can actually tell depth, you can see how if your pulling a line and your doing a line on a grapefruit, and you're like [noises]. You have to understand that a humans skin is just as pliable and if you've blown out a grapefruit your damn sure going to blow out your friend.

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