Q/A with Jill Höyer about the online needle course, Inside Needle Knowledge.
Q: What prompted you to develop the Inside Needle Knowledge (INK) program?
A: There’s a need for needle education in our industry. Many artists initially use one or 2 types of needles they learned on and find it intimidating to try new needles. I like to say, “the more you know, the more you’ll grow.” If artists really understand needles they will start combining various needles, techniques, and develop their own style.
Q: Why did you choose this format for the program?
A: I like the idea of a platform where you can watch the course 24/7 and re-watch the course and download the pdfs for reference. I like how the course is set up with lessons that you can easily replay as needed plus you can post questions after each lesson or email me privately for answers.
Q: How long have you been studying needles?
A: I’ve done permanent makeup for 15 years. From day one I was intrigued but didn’t understand my needles. Those first years you are just trying to get a grip on all the facets such as color, design, your set up, etc. With hindsight, I wish there would have been a class like Inside Needle Knowledge. Limited needle information was all over the place and I turned to several sources, especially in the tattoo industry which had more information available. A great book that I often referenced is Reinventing the Tattoo by Guy Aitchison. Even tattoo videos (gorillas, skulls, goth type) all contribute to my needle studies because of what the artists could create with different needle types. At first, it was confusing to understand what was solid information and just an opinion or just an amazing artist creating. Keeping in mind that tattooing is a craft, an art, and you could literally use any needle to achieve your masterpiece so long as you know-how. Artists must know how to use the needles, what the nuances are, and other specifics in order for your needles to work. It was a lot of research over the years to finally have a deep understanding of needles and be able to communicate what I've learned in a comprehensive class format.
Q: What drew you to the subject of needles as a specialty?
A: As I tried different machines, I discovered each manufacturer had different needle sizes and configurations. A 5 liner isn't a 5 liner. I started buying machines based on the needles available and found myself buried in learning all the needles form each manufacturer and comparing the differences. I was fascinated and still am today by the manufacturers perception of what makes a good liner needle and a shader needle. Today we have a lot of needle choices and both the cartridge and manual type needles have come so far in our industry. There is so much room for growth and discovery and needles are my focus because once you find the right needle(s) for what your trying to create, you can perfect and create your own techniques and style.
Q: Have you actually used all the needles you review in the program?
A: YES and then some. I’ve tried some really bizarre configurations- and they aren’t all effective; which can be discovered on a good practice pad such as Reel Skin. It’s normal for me to pull 2-4 needles per case and combine them.
Q: As a needle specialist what do you hope others will derive from the program?
A: I hope the course will have an influence in artists PMU careers. I believe with needle knowledge your artistry will improve and that is the goal; to keep growing and improving in your craft.
Q: How long did it take you to develop the needle map?
A: Too long. I use mind mapping (in my daily life) which is a proven learning method. You can use it to study or organize ideas and projects etc., but doing it on paper is different than learning one of several programs that can translate your idea into a nicely laid out format. The Tattoo Needle Map is a great course outline used to follow along during the course and a go-to reference. It really simplifies needles and gives you the whole picture of what your learning in the course.
Q: Will you be presenting Inside Needle Knowledge at any upcoming events?
A: Yes! I did a needle class for the SPCP a few months ago and now will be doing the course live again for The Tattoo Arts Festival in NC. The course content has changed since the first launch as I gather feedback and find innovative ways to help artists understand their needles. So far students, colleagues, and trainers find the course much needed.
To your PMU success,
PMU Artist & Needle Specialist
Inside Needle Knowledge, I.N.K.
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:
A great go-to chart is just the beginning!