The Best Tattoo Practice Skin of 2018 (with Reviews)
Tattoo practice skin provides an effective way for both beginners and professional artists to perfect their craft.
Its greatest asset is giving users the opportunity to see how their tattoo setup handles. It’s great for pros who want to branch out with new techniques and ideas.
Quick Top 5 Tattoo Practice Skins
Got Hobby Assorted Mix Sheets
Reviews of the Best Tattoo Practice Skins of 2018
What Is Practice Skin?
The best tattoo practice skin is just what the name implies, a synthetic canvas that tries to replicate the experience of tattooing on real flesh. You can think of it as the practice art paper you’d use before you would set down paint on an actual canvas. They’re not the same, nor are they meant to be.
You’ll find practice skin in flat sheets of various sizes and thicknesses. There are blank sheets for freelance work. You can use these skins to test new designs and styles. You can use them to try different tattoo machines to find one that you like.
There are also products that have designs already stenciled on them. If you’re new to tattooing, the design sheets are an excellent way to build your skill set as an artist. Of course, there is a transition between paper to flesh. Using practice skins streamlines the process.
Practice skins come in various materials like silicone, latex, or even pig skin. Each type handles a bit differently. Price varies too. Products made of silicone are an excellent choice for beginners or those with a limited budget. While pig skin is a good substitute, it is expensive and not very nice to smell.
You’ll also find practice skin molds of various body parts if you really want to create a realistic experience. They look great, but they’re not cheap. Sheets are a lot more affordable, making them an excellent choice for the novice or apprentice.
Best Way to Practice Tattooing
The point of using tattoo practice skin is too perfect your technique. For a beginner, it’s all about learning to set up your equipment right. You should get to know your tattoo setup along with all its quirks and idiosyncrasies. And practice takes time to get it right.
It includes basic things like knowing how deep your needles should go. And of course, your technique will differ depending on the type of tattoo machine you’re using. There’s a learning curve whether you’re using a coil or rotary machine.
This video by Johnny Gault discusses how to determine the right technique for getting the proper depth for your needles. As he explains, it’s something you learn with experience. Practice skins can help you understand how your tattoo machine operates in a safe setting.
Practice Skins Help the Pro Artists Too
As an artist, you’re probably always looking for new ways to improve your technique. But, you will obviously know that things don’t always go as planned. Using practice skins can help you fine-tune something new before you let it loose in the wild. Better safe than sorry.
You can use them as a selling point too. Designs on a practice skin can give potential clients a more realistic view of how things look better than a photograph. You can create a display of your work that can attract some new business. A sketch next to the finished product is a great option.
You can use them to try out a design for a client that may be a bit unsure about exactly what they want. Test a pattern on a practice skin first so that everyone is on the same page. You may find that you’ll get more artistic freedom if a client knows what you can do.
If you want to try new inks or equipment, using practice skin is an excellent way to see how new products handle before using them on real clients. You can try new needle setups or styles. And you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle by trying things out first. An artist never stops learning.
Benefits Specifically for the Beginner
There are several advantages to starting off with practice skin for beginners. It’s an excellent way to ease into the craft without the distractions of a real person moving around. The flat surface of sheets allows you to concentrate on getting to know your tattoo machine first.
Of course, real skin has a lot of texture that the practice skins don’t simulate. But you should learn to walk before you can run. It is a different experience. And you’ll likely have to relearn a few things once you move on to the real thing. You’ll approach it knowing how things work.
It’ll also give you the chance to work on your art skills in this new medium. Think of practice skins like your sketchbook to bounce around ideas. They give you the chance to try designs multiple times to get your technique right. You’ll feel more confident when it comes time to move on.
Be Realistic about What You’re Getting
You’ll find that people either love practice skin or they hate it. There isn’t a lot of middle-of-the-road fans. Practice skin may replicate the look of it, but it’s not the real thing. It will handle differently. It’s not going to be just like real skin. The color may not be exact.
That said, the products have come a long way since their humble beginnings. They’re easier to work with and offer an excellent chance to practice. As you move on in your career, you’ll likely pick more complex skills that require a lot of practice. Fake skins offer a cheap way to learn.
If you want to replicate the tattoo experience, you can wrap it around something like a cup to simulate the curves of the human body. It’s a good way to get used to handling your tattoo machine with something that has a shape to it without having to drop the cash for a real form.
It’ll give you a chance to get a feel for manipulating the shape without fear of twisting someone’s arm in weird ways. With some practice under your belt, you can move on to wrapping skin on your body to get a feel of working with various contours.
How to Use
So, you know that using practice skin is different. You’ll notice subtle things like the hardness of the surface. Synthetic products don’t always have the feel that real skin has. This quality will be evident if you use thicker skins or those made of materials like silicone.
Stenciling is another issue too. Your designs will not transfer with the same rich color as they would on flesh. Using a stencil transfer product will help. You can also touch up your design with a permanent marker for parts that come out faint.
Smearing is a complaint you’ll likely hear about using practice skins. To keep your work intact, you should use petroleum jelly over the work area before starting. It’ll prevent the skin from staining as you work and make clean up during and after a lot easier.
You’ll find that ink will take to the practice skin well almost like real skin. You can clean up with warm, soapy water. Then, your art is ready for display or as part of your portfolio.
All your worries and concerns about buying good practice skins for tattooing should now be eliminated if you've read our reviews above. We've ensured the absolute best picks on the market are listed above, and every one of the 5 choices has something to offer. Now it's up to you to decide which one is right for practicing your tattooing skills and developing your confidence!