Tattoos are expensive, and that can lead a lot of people to trying to find a cheaper alternative. In many states buying tattoo equipment online isn’t illegal and though using it is, that often doesn’t stop people from trying out what seems like such an easy job. The issue is that there’s loads of reasons you should never do your own tattoo work and should always go to a professional.
1)They’re usually not good
Can you draw a straight line with a vibrating 1lb barbell duct taped to a ball point pen? Probably not. It takes artists years to get their “hand” so that they can do this and even they will admit that most of their first attempts and even their first few years of work wasn’t great. While you might be a good artist that doesn’t make you a good tattoo artist and without knowing how to set the needles, what hand motions to use for color, black, lines etc. you’re basically experimenting with what will end up permanently on skin.
Most people do not have any idea about infectious materials and spreading disease. The moment the ink punctures the skin blood can microspray up to 9 feet! That means that anything you touch is essentially covered in blood, and that’s not including the obvious mixed with ink on your hands and on their skin. Just putting gloves on isn’t enough, and common misconceptions like “alcohol sterilizes” often put yours and your “client”s lives at risk.
3) It Hurts
Getting tattooed hurts, and being able to concentrate enough to do a tattoo while in pain is difficult even if you’re experienced. Think about the most painful experience you’ve had, would you be able to focus enough to read a book and actually know what it said? It’s likely you’ll be far too distracted to do it and the same applies while getting tattooed.
4) It Doesn’t Help
A lot of people who buy tattoo equipment are trying to learn to tattoo and become tattoo artists. The problem is that without a mentor like you would have in a traditional apprenticeship it can be impossible to know when you’re doing it right or wrong. By teaching yourself how to tattoo you’ll often learn a lot of “bad habits” which, when the opportunity to work in a shop does happen, can mean you’ll spend longer learning in a shop and that they may not hire you because of this. In fact, the moment the shop hears you’ve experimented with tattooing yourself that might be the very reason they won’t hire you.
5) It’s illegal
Most states have laws about tattooing without a license. These can be extremely strict to the point of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. You’re probably going to want to show off your tattoo once you’ve tried it out, and even if it turns out well, if someone reports you to the local authorities (varies by state) then you might find yourself with a lot of paperwork and a very very very expensive legal bill which far outweighs the cost of paying a tattoo artist to do it.
Tattooing yourself often seems like a cheap way to get your “fix” but there’s loads of reasons why you shouldn’t. It’s not only dangerous but often illegal so you’re putting your life at risk by trying. If you’re trying to become a tattoo artist go about it the right way with lots of artwork and an apprenticeship. Whatever the reason you want to tattoo yourself, just don’t, go to a professional.