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  #1  
Old 10-22-2012, 03:03 PM
GautamaB GautamaB is offline
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Default Linework: Not Blown Out, but Not Crisp

Hey Guys,

Been tattooing for about 2 years now including my apprenticeship, and never tattooed outside of a shop. Good line work was the hardest thing for me to "get a feel for" when learning; but I eventually got a pretty good feel for the correct vibration in your stretching hand that means you're putting in a good line. With time I got my line work to a point where I was finally mostly confident in putting in a pretty solid line anywhere on the body (but no where near a master... so don't think I'm claiming to be Mr. Clean by any means...)

Over the last month I had to take an unexpected hiatus from tattooing for reasons beyond my control. Been back tattooing two weeks now but something is wrong:

My lines aren't quite blown out (no light hazyness/bruised look, and not super "watery/wet" looking) but they're definitely not as crisp as they were 6-8 weeks ago. They look just a little "mushy" if that makes sense. Not blown out but definitely not crisp. AND I'm also having a real problem getting that "vibration" feeling in my stretching hand I always relied on to gauge depth.

I asked my mentor and we both went through the check list: I'm getting a good three point stretch, checked the voltage on my power supply (I've got a slow hand so I tend to keep it on the lower side), tried angling the machine between 90 and 45 degrees, and we're both stumped.

I'm using 5rl from Needle Jig and Sumi lining black. My mentor wants me to ride the tube so I do as I'm told.

Is it possible my needle isn't hanging enough and I'm having to push the tube too harshly to the skin and it's causing this mushy look? Maybe something with my liner machine is off (going to try one of my mentor's machines asap)?? Machine not hitting hard enough?

Anyone ever had this issue? It sucks. So frustrated right now and it's pissing on what little confidence I did have 6-8 weeks ago.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2012, 11:18 PM
kirk7613 kirk7613 is offline
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Default Re: Linework: Not Blown Out, but Not Crisp

Dont stress out relax and let it ride,check your needles if you have not do so already.sometimes your supplier can slack a bit on the quality side also try going up in size abit try a 7 or 8 liner to get your line back i switched to a 9 liner from 5rl a year or so ago and now its my main line size. Good luck and dont over think it.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2012, 12:33 PM
GautamaB GautamaB is offline
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Default Re: Linework: Not Blown Out, but Not Crisp

Thanks Kirk. I'm going to have a friend come into the shop, hopefully tomorrow, set up a couple different liners and hopefully figure out what the hell my deal is. Possibly just over thinking things like you're saying. I'll double check those needles too.

I'm still interested in hearing if anyone's seen something like this before.
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  #4  
Old 10-28-2012, 10:49 PM
GautamaB GautamaB is offline
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Default Re: Linework: Not Blown Out, but Not Crisp

Thanks for all the feedback. An update:

I had been using King Pin 5's previously and had semi-recently switched over to the Need Jig 5's. I LOVE everything Needle Jig that I've used previously (flat 7 mags, curved 9 mags, 8 rounds...) so I assumed the 5's were fine and that wasn't be the issue.

I feel like a moron for not thinking of it sooner but I'm pretty sure the needles were the issue. My mentor was a confused that I didn't mention to him that I switched 5's recently and was certain that was the issue (along with what people here seemed to be saying). Rookie mistake: never assume every batch of needles is okay.

So I had my mentor do a tattoo with one of the Needle Jig 5's I had been using. He put in 2 lines before he stopped, said "Dude these are junk, I can't feel anything I'm doing with these...", and switched out the needle to a King Pin 5. HA! That was exactly my problem: couldn't feel anything to gauge depth

I swapped to one of his King Pin 5's (what I had been using for months) and the tattoo I did today went in smooth and easy.

Upon looking under a magnifying glass, it looks like the Needle Jig liners are crazy loose. There's basically no taper, they almost looks like a round shader.

So I have some Tat Soul 5's in the mail (heard good things) and am re-ordering more King Pin 5's right now. Hopefully that solves the mystery! I liked everything Needle Jig until this, I guess every company has bad batches though. I'll post again once I get the new needle and make sure that was the issue.
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  #5  
Old 10-28-2012, 11:17 PM
kirk7613 kirk7613 is offline
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Default Re: Linework: Not Blown Out, but Not Crisp

Good im glad that worked out for you sometimes its the little things that get over looked it didn't seem right to me that you would lose your line that fast...a couple of years maybe but it should be muscle memOry by now my friend so get back to work and quit playing on the compute..ha!
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  #6  
Old 11-27-2012, 07:01 AM
conorblue's Avatar
conorblue conorblue is offline
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Default Re: Linework: Not Blown Out, but Not Crisp

riding the tube is a bad idea. you cant see your needle or the depth. 2cents.
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