Yes, if you know how to tattoo you can tattoo yourself, but you should think carefully before you do. In our article Is Tattooing Yourself Easy? You can read about some of the reasons it might not be the best idea.
Tattooing yourself can be difficult and can result in very poor tattoos. You might be a skilled artist but this doesn’t mean you have the skills to turn your drawings into a tattoo.
Even a trained tattooist can have difficulty tattooing themselves. There is a psychological problem that is difficult to overcome. When you cause yourself pain, it is perceived differently than when it is caused externally. The brain tells the area of the body where the pain is felt to pull away, but it also tells the source of the pain to stop doing what it is doing. This can cause uneven lines and colour. Then there is also the physical problem of getting yourself into a comfortable position in which you can do the tattoo properly.
4 things to consider before tattooing yourself
1- Do you have the necessary skills to complete a good tattoo safely?
Most tattoo artists train for years before they begin doing commercial tattooing. They will learn all the skills needed gradually from an experienced artist. Trying to learn these skills from tutorials and educational videos should only ever be a part of the learning process. They can never substitute for the knowledge gained from working in a commercial tattoo studio.
2- Do you have all the equipment you will need to complete the tattoo?
The list of equipment needed to safely do a tattoo can be more expensive than you might think. There are many small disposable things that you will need but there are also larger expensive items that push the price up dramatically. Even an experienced tattooist will struggle to do a good tattoo with the cheap, poor quality tools that are sold in kit form. It may actually work out cheaper to get someone professional to do the tattoo.
3- Can you provide a sterile, hygienic environment in which to do the tattoo?
This can be difficult in a home environment, especially if there are multiple people using the home. Everything in your home becomes a potential source of bacterial infection and some of these can be very dangerous. A tattoo studio is designed from the ground up to make it easy to clean and keep sterile. The studio will have a daily routine designed to make sure there is no build up of bacteria within the premises. Your home is just not designed like that. However much you try to make it hygienically clean there are areas that will make this hard. Carpets and upholstery will hold bacteria and there is little you can do to entirely remove all the potential for bacterial infection.
4- Can you physically sit in the position needed, with both hands free for use, for long periods?
You will need both hands to tattoo properly. Some areas are almost impossible to tattoo on yourself. Sitting comfortably and steadily in any position for long periods can be difficult. This becomes even harder when you are tattooing yourself. Tattoo studios have chairs and benches designed so that the person being tattooed can be comfortable in any position the tattoo artists needs.
If after answering all these questions you do decide to tattoo yourself, remember, you do it at your own risk.
You will need some very good lighting too. Trying to tattoo when there are shadows or insufficient lighting just makes the job hard. The flood lamps photographers use can be great. Try to arrange multiple lights so they shine on all the area to be tattooed. Our brains have a tendency to fill in the blanks when it comes to what we see, so it is a good idea not to give it chance to do that.
Just as with drawing, you should tattoo what you see not what you think you should see. Learning how to follow a stencil will help you to keep the tattoo balanced and in proportion. you should at very least practice on some fake skin until you are happy with your technique. This will give you a better chance of success . Iif you are adamant you want to tattoo yourself, try it. This will never be the same as working on real skin but it will help at the very start.