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6 Things You Can Learn from Ink Master as a New Tattoo Artist – SilkCards

Ink Master started in 2012 as a reality show where tattoo artists were judged by famous tattoo artists and aficionados. With each challenge, one tattoo artist gets eliminated. The final contestant wins a prize of $100,000 and the coveted title of Ink Master. Since its inception, several other shows have spun off of Ink Master, including Ink Master Redemption and various Ink Master competitions based around a holiday or theme.

What Every New Tattoo Artist Can Learn From Ink Master

Ink Master is just a reality show. As we know, most reality shows hold little value other than their drama, time clocks, and spectacle, and tattooers can gain much more know-how by hanging out with the real deal in shops and parlors.

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But there are a few things that every new tattoo artist can learn from Ink Master:

1. Both New and Old School Tattooing Matters

Old school tattoos are characterized by simple thick black outlines, classic “flash” designs, few colors, and no mixing of colors or gradients. New school tattoo designs, on the other hand, have a lot more choices with bright colors that can be mixed together to create interesting visual depth, variation of lines, and complexity of design.

Both have purpose and appeal. On Ink Master, the rift between these schools is sometimes emphasized, but the most skilled and experienced contestants master both. Some clients like the classic look,  history, and universal appeal of old school tattoos. The visual complexity of new school tattoos, on the other hand, can be very refreshing, striking, and modern. See what works best with your client’s personality.

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2. The Importance of Anatomical Correctness

A great design can be completely ruined by one anatomically incorrect detail. Being a tattoo artist doesn’t mean you need to crack open books full of medical illustrations, but a fine eye for detail and a love of research can make you into a really great tattoo artists and avoid awkward pinups or eagles with dysfunctional wings.

3. Go Bold With Color

Tattoos are all about getting attention, and what better way to make it happen than with really eye-catching colors for your next tattoo? Depending on your execution, you’ll want to beware of making your tattoo look too washed out or not saturated enough. The final product should say, “look at me!” and really pop off the skin.

Related: Your Guide to Color Theory for Design [Infographic]

4. Keep Your Lines Clean

A good confident outline is probably the most important  part of creating a tattoo. The Ink Master judges really look at how precise line work is.

Take your time and really focus on creating a nice stencil when you are first getting started on a design. Remember, the outline is only as good as the line on the stencil, so keep it simple and clean. If you have a more complex design you are working with, just fill in the basic lines and you can add in details later by freehand. Don’t be in a hurry, make sure you have a good ink flow, and ensure your machine is running at the proper speed to avoid wobbly lines.

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5. Color Flush Up to the Line

Filling a tattoo in with color is probably one of the hardest parts of creating a tattoo. Start with the lighter colors and fill in each color with a circular motion to reach up to the line. Many competitions on Ink Master came down to tiny details like this, and even the smallest sliver of the original skin color peeking between the outline and its color can break an otherwise well-executed tattoo.

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6. Get Enough Sleep

Maybe you have seen some of the long tattooing marathons on Ink Master. You may not have a lot of clients that require an 18-hour tattooing session, but you should still be prepared to do a good job no matter how long it might take to create your next masterpiece. Getting enough shut-eye is essential to having a steady hand, critical thinking skills, and artistic flow so you can do a good job.

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