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Tattoo Kit. To buy or not to buy?

Why should a novice tattoo artist choose a tattoo kit on their own?

There must be people in the tattoo industry who have all the knowledge about tattoo equipment and are willing to help beginners with a starter tattoo kit. Does this kit have to be enough to try your hand at the profession? The more so everyone says that the result in the first place depends on the tattoo artist’s skills.

If you ever had the question ” to buy or not to buy a tattoo kit?”, this article is written to help you figure it out.

All the information described below will be useful only for beginners and people just planning to associate themselves with the art of tattooing.  

A ready-made tattoo kit is aimed at giving the beginner a chance to try basic tattooing techniques with a minimum of tools and expenses. The nice bonus is to free up time and keep you avoid buying extra stuff when you are enthusiastic. 

So, you can choose a tattoo kit for yourself based on this review https://inkedway.com/best-tattoo-kits. Here you will find the best tattoo kits and experienced tattoo artists’ opinions about them.  

The tattoo kits include: 

  • The tattoo machine

One or two: a versatile machine or a contour + coloring set (depending on what direction you plan to go in).  

  • Power supply

This is an indispensable element that will ” come to life” the tattoo machine in operation. Most often, it has minimal functionality and information value.

  • Needles

You will need a set of premades or cartridges for contouring, shadowing, and coloring in enough quantities for the first jobs. 

  • Inks

The minimal set of basic colors. The basic colors are most often included: red, black, white, blue, yellow, green. No special hues.  

  • Other consumables

Grips, grommets, plugs, keys, nose hooks, barrier films, fake skin, and so on. This point grouped together various attachments and consumables, which you also can’t get started without. 

Any tattoo kit is an all-in-one set of elements for a seamless start to your career. Sounds logical, doesn’t it? 

Why not?

Why do not ease your life, trusting the choice of equipment and supplies professionals? Let’s go through each item and conclude, based on our knowledge base and experience in these matters. 

The tattoo machine from the kit

Most often it is a coil tattoo gun, and there are usually two or more of them in a kit (liner, shader, and so on).

This is a tool that is as easy as possible to produce and even branded in individual kits. Machine cost of the same architecture, executed qualitatively, in the overwhelming majority of cases exceeds the price of the tattoo set. 

A smaller number are kits with rotary machines, direct drives, or pens. 

Everything else is China.

Beginning the practice with low-quality and short-lived equipment means spoiling your technique with a tool that works… but how does it work? 

A beginner most often has nothing to compare it with, and if the machine “came alive” in his hands – it means that it works and you can do tattoos with it. This is a very dangerous misconception that can slow you down for a long time. 

A tattoo machine is designed to transfer your artistic skills from paper to skin. The modern tools can bring your drawing style as close as possible to the style of tattooing. They become an extension of your hand rather than something foreign that you have to fight to get the image under the epidermis.

Power Supplies

If you compare the price range of power supplies that are sold individually with what is offered in tattoo kits, you will see that in the vast majority of cases we are dealing either with China or with the cheapest power supplies with very little wear and minimal functionality. 

The amount of features is not important for a beginner. The important thing is that these power supplies are practically not protected against peak loads or more or less serious voltage drops in the network. 

That is, replacing a low-powered machine from the kit with a branded and expensive machine in the future, you still run the risk of either burning the power supply (which would not be the worst outcome) or burying the new tattooing tool (and setting yourself far back).  

The pairing of a cheap power supply and an expensive tattoo machine is a duel of who will be the first to “crumble” and eventually burn out. Regardless of the winner of this confrontation, you as the artist will lose. 

Needles

Premades and cartridges are the equivalents of an artist’s brush. 

The brush applies paint to the canvas, the needles and cartridges apply inks under the skin. With a thin brush, you paint smaller elements, with a thicker brush you paint larger elements. The execution and technique also depend on the configuration and width of the painting surface.

The choice of the brush should come from the drawing you plan to do, not the other way around. No one becomes a graphic artist because they found only a pencil, or a painter if there are only brushes in the house. It’s also hard to imagine that a lack of fine brushes would cause an experienced artist to give up details.

So why should you start from some average standard in your art? Needles vary in width, configuration, sharpening, etc. “Brushes for the skin” along with your machine, should match your tattooing style perfectly. 

The equipment must fit you, not vice versa. Breaking your creativity and nascent tattooing skill, you are not growing as a tattoo artist.  

The set of inks

In short, follow the brand. The process of ink manufacturing is very long and technically complex. All of the world’s proven manufacturers have been fine-tuning their production processes for years. 

If you hold in your hands a product of an unknown brand, the information about which is not available on google, most likely a Chinese tattoo ink is in your hands. 

Let’s briefly describe the problems of unknown inks or pigments: 

  • Inability to trace sterility and true expiration date
  • No safety assurance about the composition of the product
  • The potential risk of infection and allergies
  • Inconsistency and severe color shrinkage during the healing
  • An additional difficulty in getting under the skin
  • Lack of manufacturer responsibility (since, if it is a Chinese production, no claims can be made, and in the case of unauthorized bottling, the brand representatives are not legally liable for the consequences)

This is primarily a risk for your customers – the people who are ready to wear the results of your creativity for a lifetime. 

It is not worth it to save money for such a poor result. Appreciate your work and your customers. 

Consumables  

The only thing in the kits is the general market quality. They can be easily ordered in any tattoo store for the same price. 

Small consumables are very inexpensive, and they are wasted in a relatively stable work on the portfolio rather quickly.  

As you are going to have to study the range of the nearest tattoo shop in a couple of weeks anyway, what’s the point of putting it off? 

What if I absolutely can’t be a tattoo artist? What if it’s not my thing?

In this case, I can simply resell my equipment and supplies and get the money back. 

And here, dear friend is the main pitfall. 

Reselling quality equipment, inks and a lot of consumables is much easier than trying to explain to a potential buyer what kind of machine and unit you have in your tattoo kit, what needle sharpening, and who is the ink manufacturer. 

If you take apart any tattoo kit – it completely loses its value, as it is only a clever marketing move, aimed at naive beginners. 

The fact that someone took care of you and prepared the cheapest possible choice of everything you need to start – sounds pretty nice and logical. But cheap as part of a tattoo can’t be good and high quality. And we hope that in this article we’ve laid out why in accessible language. Both for the artist and the client. 

Any tattoo kit, at least partially consisting of unknown or “local” brands – is created for the promotion of these very brands, but in no way for your convenience. 

Let’s summarize

Thus, you do not have to buy a tattoo kit to get started. If you have time, try to study all the information, understand what kind of equipment you need and order everything separately. If you just need to figure out if this is your thing or not, if you even want to do tattoos for people, then most likely a tattoo kit is a good choice for you. And despite the fact that most kits include rather cheap and not the best quality goods, there are also quality kits, about which you should learn from the reviews of tattoo artists. 

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