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Tattoo Needle Depth

How deep should we be in the skin?  It does depend on the area your tattooing.  As an example the eyebrows verses the eyelids are different.  Even the eyelids at the tarsal plate are different than the eyelid skin above it.

As a former skin care professional, I can just about look at the skin and know if it's thick or thin, however you can also give it a pinch and feel the skin and note the difference.  Tattooing in thin skin will be more shallow than tattooing in thicker skin.  The best advice I can give is to feel your needles in the skin with your stretching fingers.  It's something you start to intuitively do and you know where you are in the skin by feeling the vibration form the needles.  

It's more difficult to feel smaller needle groupings and also smaller diameter needles such as nano needles.  The vibration is minimal and the nano needles  and smaller groups penetrate the skin quickly so it's important to F E E L where your needles are because you can't really see them once they are in the skin.

Let's talk about the above photo. I tattoo on various practice skins often and pay attention to the feel  of the needles, I look at the needle foot prints, and also try different techniques.  This particular pad was new to me and I gave it a lot of hand pressure and purposely overworked it and under worked it.  I wondered how it might look and then I decided to cut it open. I think this is a great idea for all artists. Push too hard, push too shallow, try different techniques, draw, color, shade and scribble with your needles and cut your pad open to see "in the skin."

Although practice skins aren't the same as real skin, by working on various types it will help you feel your needles and  control your pressure.

 To your PMU success,

PMU Artist & Needle Specialist
Inside Needle Knowledge

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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!