A tattoo artist must have a steady hand to glide a tattoo gun over the skin. It is similar to sewing, but without a presser foot guiding you. The end of the tube is held just above the skin. The mechanism in the tattoo gun pushes the needles in and out of the skin 100 to 3,000 times per minute. When the needle moves upward into the tube, it picks up a bit of ink. Ink is injected into the second layer of skin--the dermis. This must be done because the top layer of skin--the epidermis--sloughs off constantly. Loading ink is done by putting the tip of the needle into an ink well and tapping the pedal. This causes the needles to dip into the ink a few times. Each time they come back into the tube, they allow ink to be stored there.