Archive | Tattoos RSS feed for this section

Tattoos Part 1 – What are the materials used

12 Feb


by Natacha

We all have seen a tattoo before during our lives, some of us here at Bravi even have a couple of them to show. There are also a lot of different opinions about tattoos: you should get one, you should not get one, you should get several, it will prevent you from getting a job, it will look bad when you’re older, etc… But this post is not meant to talk about that, we’ll save those discussions for later! 😉

Our first post will be to talk about the materials used for tattooing, do you know what they are? We have tattooing machines, needles, different inks and also medicine used to increase the healing process.

First off, have you even seen a tattooing machine? It looks like the image below. I know it would seem a bit like a torture device (some people might even state that IT IS a torture device), but in reality it is an electric tool that moves the needles in and out of your skin at a really high speed! There are several types of machines used for different kinds or work: the outlining of your draw, the painting, the shadowing… Your tattoo artist can pick his/hers favorite type from several different models, and might either use one machine during your entire session, or switch between two or three for each kind of work.


This machine automates a manual process that started in the Ancient times, but became really famous in Polynesia. The process consisted of poking the skin with a needle containing ink, dot by dot, until your tattoo was formed. You can see an example of a typical Polynesian tattoo here as well, and we can talk more about the history of tattoos at later posts.polynesian tattoo example

Ok, what about the needles, have you ever seen them? The needles are like the paint brushes that the tattoo artist will use: they may vary on their sizes and shapes and each one will have a different artistic outcome on the skin. We basically have two types: the needles used for the outlining of your drawing (the liners – on the right side of the image) and the ones used for shading (the shaders – on the left side of the image). The liners are several needles grouped together in a round configuration and tightened together so that the points are very close, it resembles a pen shape. The shaders can also be configured in a round manner, but we usually see them side by side, fanned out into what we call Magnums, looking more like a painting needles

We also have the hand grips, which connect the needle to the tattooing machine. This is what the tattoo artist holds when drawing in your skin.

hand grips and needles

At last, we get to the inks. Even if you chose to do a black and grey tattoo, the artist will still need to make several different tones to apply on your skin. I say “make” because they essentially mix two or more colors to get to the chosen tone. They also might use more black or more white when mixing up the ink to get different tones of gray. The use little trays to mix up the ink and to dip the needles in them.

tattoo inksink trays