As tattoos become increasingly popular among young people, the market for the tattoo industry is also expanding. With more people who love tattoos joining the community, innovations in personalization of tattoos and tattoo equipment continue to increase. Tattoo machines have evolved and innovated, leading to the development of tattoo pens. In this article, we will introduce the tattoo pens and how to use them, guiding you on a journey of exploration and learning.

Differences Between Tattoo Pens and Traditional Tattoo Machines

All tattoo machines essentially perform the same function: moving the tattoo needles up and down quickly to deposit ink under the skin. The main differences between tattoo pens and traditional tattoo machines lie in their operation and needle movement.

Traditional Tattoo Machines:

Traditional tattoo machines are typically wired and use electromagnetic coils to move tattoo needles, controlled by a foot pedal. They have many individual parts, making tattoo needle changes inconvenient, and require thorough cleaning after each use. Additionally, traditional tattoo machines are generally heavier and produce more vibration and noise. These factors can sometimes make the tattooing process more challenging, especially for beginners or those working on more intricate designs.

rotary tattoo machine

Tattoo Pens:

Tattoo pens use a motor to move the tattoo needles and come in both wired and wireless versions, with some models featuring both options to meet various needs. Tattoo pens use cartridge needles, which are easier and safer to replace compared to traditional tattoo needles. Tattoo pens are lighter, quieter, and produce less vibration. The simpler structure of tattoo pens makes them easier to clean, reducing the risk of cross-contamination. This can be particularly beneficial in a busy studio environment where efficiency and hygiene are paramount.

Tattoo pens also offer more innovations, such as adjustable stroke. For example, the JCONLY EPOCH Wireless Pen Machine features seven adjustable strokes ranging from 2.4mm to 4.2mm, suitable for most tattoo styles, effectively giving you the versatility of seven different pens. Additionally, it allows for easy adjustment of voltage and Hertz and can switch between RCA wired mode and battery, offering flexibility between wired and wireless operation. This versatility makes it an excellent choice for both seasoned professionals and those new to the craft.

JCONLY EPOCH Wireless Tattoo Machine

Preparation Work

  • Clean and Disinfect Tattoo Equipment: Ensure all equipment is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to prevent infection. This step cannot be ignored, as maintaining a sterile environment is crucial for the safety of both the artist and the client.
  • Choose the RightTattoo Needles: Select the appropriate tattoo needle type and size based on the tattoo design and client needs, such as JCONLY VETER Cartridge Needles, which provide stable and consistent results. Insert and secure the needle into the tattoo pen. Proper needle selection can significantly impact the quality and precision of your work. If you don't know how to choose needles, you can read our other article "A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing Perfect Tattoo Cartridge Needles" to check it out.
JCONLY tattoo pen

  • Prepare the Work Area: Place all components on a clean, soft, flat surface to ensure equipment safety. Disinfect and protect the tattoo pen, needles, and other items, and wear gloves. Ensure sharp or liquid parts are in a safe area, out of children's reach. A well-organized workspace can help you work more efficiently and safely.
  • Prepare Tattoo Ink and Design: Ensure all materials and designs are ready for smooth tattoo operation. This includes mixing your inks to the desired consistency and ensuring that your design is clearly outlined and accessible.
JCONLY cartridge needles

    Tattoo Pen Setup

    • Read the Manual: Carefully read the manual to understand the parts and adjustments. Connect all components correctly, which should be straightforward for the simple structure of tattoo pens. Familiarizing yourself with your equipment will help prevent mistakes and improve your efficiency.
    • Set Adjustable Parameters: For adjustable stroke tattoo pens, set the stroke length, voltage, and Hertz according to the tattoo style. The JCONLY EPOCH Wireless Pen Machine, for example, offers liner and shader modes that can be adjusted as preferred, with recommended voltage and Hertz settings. This allows for greater control and precision in your work.
    JCONLY EPOCH Wireless Tattoo Machine

      Operating Techniques for Tattoo Pens

      • Adjust Parameters: Adjust the stroke length, voltage, and Hertz based on different areas and tattoo designs to ensure ink is deposited in the correct layer. Proper parameter adjustment can help achieve the desired effect and ensure the longevity of the tattoo.
      • Hand Position and Control: How you hold the tattoo pen significantly impacts stability and line quality. Some tattoo artists find that using the ring and pinky fingers for support provides better stability and smoother lines, but this depends on personal preference. Practice on synthetic skin to find the most suitable grip for you. Developing a steady hand is crucial for precise work.
      JCONLY EPOCH Wireless Tattoo Machine

      • Practice Makes Perfect: Each person's usage habits and preferred tattoo styles vary. It's essential to practice extensively to understand the differences between tattoo pens and traditional machines and find the most effective techniques. Regular practice will help you refine your skills and improve your confidence.


      By learning and mastering the techniques of using a tattoo pen, you can better understand and stay abreast of the latest trends in the tattoo industry. It is crucial to choose not only a tattoo pen but also high-quality equipment like the JCONLY EPOCH Wireless Pen Machine, and to continually practice and refine your skills. This ensures you can provide clients with high-quality tattoos and a safe and enjoyable tattooing experience. Tattoo art is not just an art form but a responsibility. Providing your clients with the best possible experience and outcome is essential for your success as a tattoo artist.

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