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Curved Magnum Quick Technique Tips


Many techniques can be achieved with most any needle configuration including magnum needles. However, the magnum needles really shine when it comes to efficient coverage with an airbrush quality. The results can be soft or packed in solid. The effect form the magnum configurations are more air brushed looking than pixels that you would get from a round needle.

During the video I demonstrate a few techniques:

  • Stippling:  you can vary pressure for different opacities of color 
  • Small movements such as ovals:  pack in color
  • Pixel short movements on the surface. Either direction works and cross hatching will help blend the color.
  • Long sweeping /brushing movements build the color softly. Wipe and check frequently.
  • Back brushing is great for less color, such as top of the brow, blending down from the lip line for a borderless effect and also for areola edges. It's a personal favorite technique.
  • Moving forward at an angle will...
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Machine Stroke Length

Machine Stroke Length

 Machine stroke length refers to the amount of travel the cam wheel or stroke wheel makes around the machine bearing in one rotation. Machine stroke also refers to how soft or hard of a hit a tattoo machine has. 


It’s common for PMU Artists to use rotary tattoo machines.  Rotary machines have stroke settings anywhere from about 1.8 up to 5.0. Some machines have set strokes and others are adjustable with a turn of the grip (Axys) Some machines come with various cams or stoke wheels that you can replace after taking the machine apart (Xion)

 The stroke affects 3 key factors such as:

  • How hard the machine hits the skin
  • How fast the needle moves up and down
  • The maximum amount of needle throw out of the cartridge tip        

With a short stroke setting such as a 1.8 or 2.5, the cam or stroke wheel has a short distance to travel.  This in turn makes a lower stroke setting a softer hitting machine option...

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Needle Throw

Needle Throw

How far outside the cartridge tip do you extend your needles while tattooing? This is referred to as needle throw or some say needle hang.

There are benefits to a longer needle throw and a shorter needle throw and in the end it will depend on your comfort level.

 Here are considerations for a longer throw verses a shorter throw:

1-Longer needle throw:

There is more precision with more needle visibility and less ink puddling, you control needle depth.

You may need to dip more often if your needle is out too far and doesn’t retract back into the cartridge tip to pick up more ink.

Tip:  I prefer a longer throw for the precision aspect when tattooing the eyes and lining the lips. Seeing the needle clearly makes me feel more comfortable.  However, one  needs to control the depth of the longer needle throw and only work off the tips. To better understand and control the needle depth, use the senses of sight, touch and hearing.

  • See the...
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Digital Tattoo Needles


Do you ever wish you could practice tattooing without ink?   Well, you can with an app.

 There are tattoo apps that let you import a photo, select a variety of needles, color, speed, force/pressure and more.  While the translation isn't exact, exploring  hand movements, machine speed, hand speed, needles, and layering patterns and colors, with an app and Apple Pencil can improve your tattooing skills and techniques for sure.

Below you can see different patterns, combination use of needles from liners to mags and color selections.



The app in the video is called Tatt App by Cody Deegan  available in the Apple App Store.  

The tutorial inside the app ishelpful and the learning curve in the Tatt App is minimal.


To your PMU success,

PMU Artist & Needle Specialist
Inside Needle Knowledge

Purchase the I.N.K. Course Now



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Cross Hatch Shading

There are several ways to tattoo color into the skin and I often used cross hatching so I can achieve both texture and even shading. 

This works with most needle groupings.  If you see too much of a pattern and needle marks in the skin,  try moving the needles in the other direction on your second pass to create a blended shade.

My first pass was vertical and the second pass over it is horizontal.  I didn't wipe in between in this case but sometimes I do to check on the skin and saturation before adding another pass. 

This skin was radiated and is similar to an orange peel texture. Textured and bumpy skin can grab the ink the same over and over  if you move in one direction too many times so cross hatching is helpful for several procedure areas and not limited to just areola.  

 To your PMU success,

PMU Artist & Needle Specialist
Inside Needle Knowledge

Purchase the I.N.K. Course Now

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Permanent Eyeliner Needle Choices

This is an everyday common question PMU artists ask themselves before every procedure.

There are several ways to choose needles and the SKIN is always in the forefront of my choice. When I consider the skin I also include my client’s goals and will come up with a technique based on that.

Then the fun part….choosing my needles

The delicate skin and small lash line requires a small needle configuration. I used precision needles in a .253RL, .253RS available  at Tina Davies.

The liner (RL) gives me a denser pattern for the uppers ( which meets my client’s goals)and the shader (RS) gives me a less dense pattern for the lowers. Using a shader needle and a softer color create a dusting of color for the lowers.

How I use the  selected needles with my machine and hand speed, pressure etc. is where my artistry comes together. ‍


 To your PMU success,

PMU Artist & Needle Specialist
Inside Needle Knowledge

Purchase the I.N.K. Course Now



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Areola Tattoo Techniques

Usually I employ several techniques when Im working on a procedure, especially when Im tattooing an areola. This is a 4 year faded case when the initial goal  had started more of a tan soft color.  

My client wanted more pink so I incorporated a couple different pink tones over the existing color trying to create some texture variations with color. Since the color had faded and was rather flat, the pinks showed up over the top.

 I find that If the previous ink color isn't too dark,  tattooing over it turns out nice for  both areolas, brows and lips and even eyes.  The new ink, instead of finding its placement in the skin has  some type of  substrate (previous ink) to "grab".  

The pixel technique, that leaves open color space, is quite effective over previous color and it also lets the previous color glow through.  I used a 3RL instead of a 1RL. so that I could get in more color and see more texture from the...

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What Can I do for Breast Cancer Month?

We all like to help and this is one way to reinforce your relationship with referring doctors and also a way to reach potential new referral sources.

Donating a procedure on behalf of the doctor or other business puts them in good light and you as well. 

Here's some verbiage you can use on a gift certificate that the doctor can give to a patient per their discretion:


A special gift 

 On behalf of  Dr. XXXXXXX

Your Name, Permanent Cosmetic Expert, offers you an Areola Tattoo procedure.  

 The permanent cosmetic restoration phase is the final step after breast reconstruction. The natural appearance of the  restorative tattooing procedure brings back the shape and color of the areola complex. 

This is simple and the certificates can be given to the doctors or business of your choice.  

 To your PMU success,

PMU Artist & Needle Specialist
Inside Needle Knowledge

Purchase the I.N.K. Course Now

IG jillhoyer


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Tattooing over previous eyeliner

Taking a previous thicker faded liner and refreshing it doesn't always require the new artist to follow the existing design.  

At first, my client requested a new soft thin lower liner and a solid black upper liner cover up over her 6 year faded permanent makeup.  Although I personally don't begin new liner with wings or tails, I could either darken over previous work  or I have an option to create a new design.   I explained to my client that her faded steely grey-blue liner could act as a shadow above a  black, dark defined line in the lash line.  I also thought this would look nice with the soft lower line request.  She liked the new design idea so I tattooed it.

Note that the previous work has yellowish color above the old line.  This is usually a highlight that could have been white and turned yellow over time,  or there was a dark mistake that the artist tried to cover with  lighter ink. In this case, the...

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PMU Needle Cartridge Chart

Hello PMU Artists,

I thought there was a boom in our needle choices and I was mistaken.  There is an explosion!  

Isn't is a challenge to keep track of your needle favorites and which companies sell what sizes in the variety of configurations? I love needles and it's quite exciting to see what's coming to market for our PMU industry.

Of course, you could use most standard tattoo needle cartridges labeled for the tattoo industry or for the PMU industry in our procedures, however I must say, Im proud of the PMU industry pushing to the forefront and creating great products and a variety of needle choices for the  variety rotary machines we have available to us today.

I decided to start a log sheet of some of the "PMU" needle cartridges available.  This is by no way all of them and keep in mind, you could use most cartridges so long as the needles are the size, taper and configuration are you want for your artistry.

 There is an abundance of needle...

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Liner Shader Guide

This chart helps you pay attention to your hand speed, machine speed, and hand movements when using liners for a liner effect and shaders for a shaded effect.

It also shows how you can use:

  • Liners for a shaded effect 
  • Shaders for a liner effect

A great go-to chart is just the beginning!