Thursday, January 27, 2011

L.A. Ink Pictures: Kat's Tattoo Process

You’ve seen the show, marveled at the artwork, and wondered, "How do they do that?" Scroll through this gallery for the step-by-step process on making a tattoo, demonstrated by L.A. Ink’s very own Kat Von D!

Creating tattoos is a skilled art. The basic supplies include gloves, disinfectant, ink, and tattoo needle, which attaches to a foot-pedaled machine that pumps the ink through the needle into the skin.

When clients come into Kat’s parlor, they first work through the design concept. In this photograph, from Season 2, Episode 12, Kat talks with Staind frontman Aaron Lewis about what he wants in his tattoo.

After Aaron makes his decision, Kat begins by carefully shaving, cleaning and disinfecting the location of the intended tattoo. Then, she will trace the outline using an imprint of the design.

Kat creates the tattoo, using a machine designed by Samuel O’Reilly in the late 1800s and modeled after Thomas Edison’s autographic printing pen. It creates the tattoo through quick, repeated punctures into the skin, where ink is deposited.


The process, depending on the design, complexity and location, can take a long time. Kat first outlines, then shades in the spaces for depth, and finally adds color as the tattoo requires.

Through every step, Kat makes sure that the client is satisfied with the process. Here she holds up a mirror for Aaron to examine his newest piece, his daughters’ names, which she has completed on the back of his neck., 

The final result is a beautiful rendition of Aaron’s design and Kat’s talent. But it’s not over yet: Like all tattoo artists, Kat has instructions for aftercare, including proper moisturizing and cleaning to prevent infection as the tattoo slowly heals.

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