Tattoos have been a part of human culture for thousands of years and continue to be a popular form of self-expression. If you have an artistic talent and a passion for tattoos, you may be wondering how to become a tattoo artist. We will cover everything you need to know about becoming a successful tattoo artist, including the time it takes to become one, the steps to take, and the skills and traits you’ll need.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Tattoo Artist?
Becoming a professional tattoo artist takes time, dedication, and a lot of hard work. The amount of time it takes to become a tattoo artist can vary greatly, depending on a number of factors, including your level of experience, the quality of your education, and the amount of time you’re able to dedicate to your training. On average, it can take anywhere from six months to 3 years becoming a professional tattoo artist.
Necessary Education for Tattoo Artist
There is no specific education requirement to become a tattoo artist, but there are several paths that can help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the field. Here are a few options to consider:
- Apprenticeship: One of the most traditional and effective ways to become a tattoo artist is through an apprenticeship. During an apprenticeship, you’ll work with a seasoned tattoo artist and learn the basics of tattooing, including how to use equipment, prepare needles, mix ink, and sterilize your workspace. Apprenticeships typically last one to two years and can provide you with hands-on training and experience.
- Art school: If you have a strong background in art, you may want to consider attending art school to further develop your skills. Art school can provide you with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of art, such as color theory, composition, and drawing, and can help you improve your artistic abilities.
- Online courses: Online courses and workshops can provide you with a comprehensive education in tattooing, from the basics of equipment and techniques to the latest styles and trends. Online courses are flexible and can be taken at your own pace, making them a convenient option for those who want to improve their skills or start a new career.
- Workshops and seminars: Workshops and seminars can provide you with hands-on training and the opportunity to learn from experienced tattoo artists. Attending workshops and seminars can help you stay current on the latest techniques and styles and can provide you with the opportunity to network with other tattoo artists.
In general, the best way to become a tattoo artist is to combine formal education with hands-on experience. Whether you choose to attend art school, participate in an apprenticeship, or take online courses, it’s important to continue practicing and developing your skills to become a successful tattoo artist.
How to Write Tattoo Artists Resume
To write a successful tattoo artist resume, follow these steps:
- This is your chance to make a good first impression, so use it to summarize your relevant experience and qualifications in a clear and concise manner.
- If you have any formal training or certifications related to tattooing, list them here, including the name of the school, program, and date of completion.
- Start with your most recent job and work backwards, listing the name of the shop, your role, and the dates you worked there. Highlight the skills and responsibilities you had, such as designing tattoos, preparing the skin, and using sterilization techniques.
- A portfolio of your best work is essential for a tattoo artist’s resume. You can include high-quality images of your tattoos, along with a description of the design, placement, and clients you worked with.
- Tattoo artists need variety of skills, such as attention to detail, creativity, customer service, and the ability to work under pressure. List the skills you have that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
- If you have any references from previous clients, employers, or colleagues, include them on your resume. This can help give potential employers confidence in your work and experience.
- Use a clear, easy-to-read font, and keep your resume to one or two pages. Make sure it is well-organized and free of errors.
- ProResumes.io is a professional resume writing service that can help you create a high-quality and effective resume. They offer a variety of resume writing services, including resume writing, cover letter writing, and LinkedIn profile creation. They have a team of experienced writers who specialize in creating resumes for various industries, including the tattoo artist field. By using a professional resume writing service, you can benefit from the expertise and knowledge of a seasoned writer, who can help you showcase your skills, experience, and achievements in the best possible light. They can help you tailor your resume to the specific job you are applying for, highlight your unique selling points, and ensure that your resume is free of errors and typos.
- If you are looking to create a professional and effective resume, consider using a service like ProResumes.io.
Job Board Where you Find Tattoo Artists jobs
You can find tattoo artist jobs on a variety of job boards, such as:
Indeed: A popular job search engine that allows you to search for jobs by keyword, location, and industry.
Jobsath: A comprehensive job board that offers a wide range of job postings, including tattoo artist positions.
Glassdoor: A job board that also provides company reviews and salary information, making it easier to find a job that’s the right fit for you.
LinkedIn: A professional networking site that also offers job postings, including tattoo artist positions.
ZipRecruiter: A job search engine that aggregates job postings from a variety of sources, including company websites and job boards.
It’s also a good idea to check local classifieds and websites, as well as social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, where tattoo artists may advertise their services and look for new job opportunities.
How to Become a Tattoo Artist
Gain experience in the arts: Tattoo artists need to have a strong foundation in the arts, including drawing, sketching, and shading. If you don’t already have experience in these areas, consider taking art classes or workshops to improve your skills.
One of the best ways to learn how to tattoo is to find a professional tattoo artist who is willing to take you on as an apprentice. Apprenticeships usually last for one to two years and involve working with a professional tattoo artist to learn the ins and outs of the trade.
Studying the Basics of Tattooing
To become a professional tattoo artist, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of the basics of tattooing, including the equipment, supplies, and techniques used in the process. There are many books and online resources available that can help you learn the basics.
Get a Portfolio Together
To show potential clients and employers your skills and abilities, you’ll need to have a portfolio of your work. As you gain experience and build your portfolio, be sure to include pictures of your best work and any awards or recognition you’ve received.
Most states require tattoo artists to be licensed. To obtain a license, you’ll typically need to pass a written exam and complete a certain number of hours of training.
Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship and obtained your license, you can start looking for work as a tattoo artist. Consider working at a tattoo shop or starting your own business.
Become a Tattoo Artist: Essential Skills and Traits
To become a successful tattoo artist, you’ll need to have a variety of skills and traits, including:
Artistic ability: As a tattoo artist, your ability to create beautiful, high-quality tattoos is essential. You should have a strong foundation in the arts and be able to draw, sketch, and shade with ease.
Attention to detail: Tattooing requires precision and attention to detail. You’ll need to be meticulous and meticulous when it comes to creating tattoos that look clean and professional.
Customer service skills: Tattooing is a service industry, and you’ll need to be able to provide excellent customer service to your clients. This includes being able to listen to their needs and being able to work with them to create tattoos that they love.
Sterilization skills: Tattoo artists need to be knowledgeable about sterilization and infection control. This is essential to protect your clients and keep them safe during the tattooing process.
Physical dexterity:Physical dexterity is an important skill for tattoo artists as it requires the ability to control the tattoo machine with precision and steadiness for extended periods of time. This skill can be developed through practice and repetition, and by working on building up your hand strength and stability.
Creativity: Tattoo artists should be creative and have an artistic vision. This helps you to come up with unique designs and ideas that will stand out and make your tattoos memorable.
Adaptability: Tattooing is an ever-evolving field, and tattoo artists need to be able to adapt and keep up with the latest techniques, styles, and trends. This requires a willingness to learn and an open-minded approach to new ideas and techniques.
Types of Tattoo Artist
There are several types of tattoo artists, each with their own unique set of skills and specialties. Some of the most common types of tattoo artists include:
Traditional Tattoo Artists
Traditional tattoo artists specialize in classic, timeless designs and techniques, such as bold lines and bright colors. They often work with traditional imagery, such as hearts, anchors, and roses.
Realistic Tattoo Artists
Realistic tattoo artists specialize in creating tattoos that look like photographs. They have a high level of skill in shading and blending colors to create lifelike portraits and other images.
Black and Gray Tattoo Artists
Black and gray tattoo artists specialize in creating tattoos using only black ink and different shades of gray. They have a high level of skill in creating intricate designs with subtle shading and contrast.
New School Tattoo Artists
New school tattoo artists specialize in bold, bright tattoos with a more cartoonish style. They often incorporate bold lines, vibrant colors, and exaggerated features into their designs.
Watercolor Tattoo Artists
Watercolor tattoo artists specialize in creating tattoos that look like they were painted with watercolor paint. They have a high level of skill in blending colors and creating a soft, ethereal look.
Lettering Tattoo Artists
Lettering tattoo artists specialize in creating tattoos that feature beautiful lettering and calligraphy. They have a high level of skill in creating text that is both legible and visually appealing.
Biomechanical Tattoo Artists
Biomechanical tattoo artists specialize in creating tattoos that feature mechanical or robotic elements. They often incorporate gears, wires, and other mechanical elements into their designs to create a unique and futuristic look.
Each type of tattoo artist has its own set of skills and specialties, and the best tattoo artist for you will depend on the type of tattoo you want and your personal preferences. It’s important to do your research and find an artist whose work you admire and who has the skills and experience necessary to create the tattoo you want.
Tattoo artists are highly skilled professionals who use their artistic talents to create tattoos for their clients. They need a combination of technical skills, creativity, and customer service skills to succeed in the field. To find a job as a tattoo artist, it’s important to have a strong portfolio, a well-written resume, and the ability to network with potential employers.
Tattoo artists play a crucial role in helping people express themselves through their body art, and they can make a real difference in their clients’ lives. With the right skills, experience, and portfolio, you can pursue a successful and rewarding career as a tattoo artist.
How to Become a Tattoo Artist: FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about becoming a tattoo artist:
What Skills do I Need to Become a Tattoo Artist?
Good hand-eye coordination, attention to detail, and artistic talent are essential for success as a tattoo artist. You also need to be able to work well under pressure, be comfortable communicating with clients, and have excellent interpersonal skills.
Is a Formal Education Required to Become a Tattoo Artist?
No, there is no formal education requirement to become a tattoo artist. However, many tattoo artists choose to attend art school or participate in an apprenticeship to develop their skills and knowledge.
How Do I Get Started as a Tattoo Artist?
The best way to get started as a tattoo artist is to participate in an apprenticeship with a seasoned tattoo artist. You can also take online courses, attend workshops and seminars, and practice your skills as much as possible to become a successful tattoo artist.
What are the Licensing Requirements for Tattoo Artists?
Licensing requirements for tattoo artists vary by state and jurisdiction, but most states require tattoo artists to pass a bloodborne pathogens exam and obtain a license to practice. It’s important to research the licensing requirements in your area to ensure that you are in compliance with all local regulations.
What are the Job Prospects for Tattoo Artists?
The job outlook for tattoo artists is positive, with many tattoo artists enjoying successful careers and a high level of job satisfaction. The demand for tattoo artists is growing, and many tattoo artists are able to build successful careers and earn a good living.
How Much Can I Expect to Earn as a Tattoo Artist?
The salary of a tattoo artist varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and demand. On average, tattoo artists can expect to earn between $30,000 and $100,000 per year, with experienced tattoo artists earning the highest salaries.
How do I really become a tattoo artist? ›
- Take a Tattoo Artist Course. ...
- Prepare a Portfolio. ...
- Get a Tattoo Apprenticeship with A Guarantee. ...
- Become Licensed. ...
- Market & Advertise Your Services. ...
- Keep Current with Trends.
Let them know you are an artist and that you want them to take a look at your work. Explain to them that you are interested in an apprenticeship and that you respect their shop and that you would like to learn from them. They are going to ask you all kinds of questions. Keep your cool and answer them the best you can.Can you get different styles of tattoos? ›
The different styles of a tattoo can give even the exact same subject a completely different look and feel. And, just like in the more mainstream art mediums have where there are a variety of styles, modern, classical, impressionist, and so on. There are just as many different tattoo styles.Can you be a tattoo artist if you can't draw? ›
You Should Be Good at Drawing
You need to draw concept art for your clients so they can understand what your tattoos will look like. You may need to make quick drawings, as your clients suggest edits to your concept art. You then need to use tattoo machines to draw the ink on your clients' bodies.
How long does it take to become a tattoo artist, you might ask? Usually, it takes around three years, if not longer. This time period is necessary for you to build the skill you need to become a professional tattoo artist. That way, you can be confident in your skills, and you won't make any mistakes.How hard is a tattoo apprenticeship? ›
Be prepared to be unpaid
A lot of tattoo apprenticeships are unpaid and require long hours, and, you could end up spending a lot of time making drinks, cleaning the studio and answering calls.
“A suggested percentage of 20% to 25% for personal services is an accepted standard, especially in these post-COVID times.” Cornolo puts the range between 15% to 20%, but says that it really varies. “Some tip less, and some are very generous."Are tattoo apprenticeships hard to get? ›
Getting a tattoo apprenticeship will take time and effort. Start hanging out at the tattoo shop you want to apprentice at, and meet the staff. Spend time developing your portfolio. You can show your different styles and abilities.What is the easiest tattoo style to learn? ›
Blackwork tattoos are one of the easiest tattoo styles to recognize due to their intense boldness, and sole use of black ink. These tattoos rely on the skin to create depth and contrast within a composition, rather than shading.What is the hardest style to tattoo? ›
The most difficult form of realism in tattooing is probably portraiture, because it requires the artist to capture both the likeness and character of a real person.
Can you mix tattoo types? ›
A tattoo is as unique as the individual who wears it, so it comes down to your personal preference. Don't forget to keep in mind that you may choose to mix and match any of these tattoo styles. The possibilities are truly endless.Is tattooing a skill or talent? ›
Tattoo artists use artistic talent and technical knowledge to provide services for their clients. Becoming a tattoo artist requires a variety of training and experience to ensure that they can provide clients with safe, well-designed tattoos.What do beginner tattoo artists practice on? ›
Practice on fruit or pigskin
As we said, it's not uncommon for apprentices to practice on fruit at the beginning – the most popular fruits being oranges, grapefruit and sometimes bananas. Another alternative to human skin when you're practising tattooing is pig skin or 'practice skin'.
If your tattoos look just as good as well-seasoned professionals, you can start charging a higher hourly fee as you gain new clients. Your business could skyrocket overnight if your work speaks for itself. That said, once you become an experienced artist, you can expect to make between $30,000 to $50,000 per year.Do tattoo artists just trace? ›
Creating the tattoo stencil
When a client selects the design they want tattooed, the artist will trace the image onto transfer paper (thin paper with an additional carbon sheet attached) or use a pen with stencil fluid on tracing paper.
- Dragonhawk Mast Pen Rotary Tattoo Machine. ...
- FK Irons Spektra Rotary Machine. ...
- Dragonhawk Coil Machines Tattoo Kit. ...
- Solong Tattoo Pen Kit Rotary Tattoo Gun Machine. ...
- New Star Dragonfly Rotary Tattoo Machine.
To be a successful tattoo artist, you need to have talent and skill. A steady hand helps, too! If you don't have natural artistic ability, that's okay. There are plenty of courses and workshops you can take to improve your skills.What age should you start tattooing? ›
The safest bet is to wait until you're 18 to start getting inked, but if you just can't wait, there are many ways to still get one with parental consent. Regulations are for your safety and well-being, as well as that of the tattoo artist and the shop.Are all tattoo apprenticeships paid? ›
Tattoo artists start out as apprentices working under the guidance of more experienced artists. Most of the time tattoo apprenticeships are unpaid.How many hours do tattoo artists work a week? ›
There really is no typical work schedule for tattoo artists. Some work first-shift hours, some work second-shift, and some may work third-shift. Jobs can be either full-time or part-time depending on the employer and tattoo artist's preferences.
How long does it take to complete a tattoo apprenticeship? ›
A total of 5 to 7 months of in-shop training where the first 3 to 4 months is practice on fake skin and the last 2 to 3 months is practice on real skin. Apprentices must be in the shop for at least 2.5 days a week including 2 days for study and 0.5 days for other training.How much do you tip for a $1000 tattoo? ›
How much do you tip for a $1,000 tattoo? You would tip around $200 - $300 for a $1,000 tattoo. So, the final price you'd expect to pay for the service is $1,200 - $1,300.How much should I tip on a $500 tattoo? ›
The average percent of tips to a tattoo artist is 15-20%. So, for a $500 tattoo, you can tip $75-100.How much do you tip for a $600 tattoo? ›
To be honest, it is better that they know you tipped them and how much, so Cash is the best idea. If you're wondering how much? Again about 20% would be the average. If you're expecting to pay, say $600 for your tattoo session, I'd recommend bringing $120 in cash to give directly to the artist.Should I be a tattoo artist? ›
If you love body art and you want to spread your art to other people, you might be happy in a tattoo artist career. If the downsides seem like small problems and you're ready to put in the hard work that it takes to tattoo, it might be time to get started.How do I start a tattoo portfolio? ›
- Highlight Your Creativity and Unique Concept Ideas. ...
- Showcase Your Drawing Technique. ...
- Include a Variety of Different Tattoo Styles. ...
- Feature 50-100 of Your Best Tattoo Designs. ...
- Maintain an Online Website and a Hard Copy Portfolio.
The human skin is not the same as a piece of paper so it's important to get used to different textures like rocks, oranges, and even apples. By practicing on surfaces that have curves you'll be better prepared for tattooing.What do tattoo artists not like? ›
Tattoo artists hate when clients don't trust the process, schedule something immediately after their appointment, or go to the beach right away. Showing up intoxicated or not listening to your artist's suggestions will make the tattooing process unpleasant.What is the most overused tattoo? ›
- The Deathly Hallows symbol. ...
- Anchors — usually accompanied by the words "Don't sink." ...
- Chemistry formulas. ...
- Big cats in crowns. ...
- Forests around people's arms. ...
- The entire Bible. ...
- Little sun/moon combos. ...
- Palm trees.
Most Popular Mixed Style Tattoos
Geometric and Illustrative styles mix well together, so they're seen used together in a number of tattoos. Illustrative and Neo-Traditional, as mentioned before, are often used in combination with each other, as well as Neo-Traditional and New School, or Illustrative and new School.
Can 2 people use the same tattoo needle? ›
Needles should be sterilized in an autoclave before inking begins. Needle reuse in tattooing is illegal.Will tattoo artists do multiple tattoos? ›
Of course. Two tattoos may be no different than getting a big or complicated ink job in a single session, but as with any work, there are some things you need to consider first.Does tattoo affect your career? ›
' Tattoos at the workplace is a visibility issue – no one cares as long as it stays hidden. Wear dark coloured shirts, full sleeves, leave your hair open, or if need be, wear makeup to hide it. Clearly, body art and boardroom don't mix. But in India, dress codes are more understood than written down.What soft skills do you need to be a tattoo artist? ›
- A flair for design and creativity.
- A steady hand.
- A love of alternative cultures.
- Patience and dedication.
- Good interpersonal skills.
- Extremely good attention to detail.
- Empathetic nature, and the ability to turn clients' ideas into reality.
Tattooing isn't a glamourous career. There are plenty of benefits, like the ability to travel, the earning potential, the ability to meet new people, and more, but there are just as many downsides for people who aren't prepared. First, it takes a lot of work to get to the point that you're making a lot of money.Do tattoo artists make decent money? ›
Tattoo artists make $51,867 per year on average, or $24.94 per hour, in the United States. Tattoo artists on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $24,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $108,000.Do tattoo artists make a lot of money? ›
The average Tattoo Artist salary in California is $48,237 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $44,027 and $53,138.What is the risk of being a tattoo artist? ›
Exposure to Illness
The use of needles to inject ink onto the skin of clients puts artists at risk of exposure to illnesses the client might have. Artists also come into close contact with any blood-borne illnesses a client might be infected with, as noted by Tattooing 101.
Tattooists and their clients can be exposed to possible sources of contamination through accidentally sticking themselves with a used needle. Exposure to blood-borne pathogens is one of the biggest risks that tattoo artists face. Hepatitis B is a virus that can survive for a week or longer in dried blood.Where do tattoo artists make the most money? ›
- Boston, MA. $102,973 per year. 8 salaries reported.
- Orlando, FL. $94,535 per year. 5 salaries reported.
- Portland, ME. $80,257 per year. 7 salaries reported.
- Miami, FL. $72,785 per year. 12 salaries reported.
- San Diego, CA. $69,020 per year. ...
- Show more nearby cities.
Is a tattoo artist a job or career? ›
A tattoo artist is a professional that applies tattoos. These individuals will typically create tattoos based on what each individual client wants. Some tattoo artists might also perform other forms of body modification, such as piercings or brandings.Do tattoos hurt your acting career? ›
Unless it's a face tattoo, having tattoos or not having tattoos has zero bearing on your success potential as an actor, as they can easily be masked by makeup or wardrobe.How hard is it to become a successful tattoo artist? ›
These jobs are actually quite competitive and hard to obtain. It typically takes years of dedication and hard work for a tattoo artist to become successful. Many tattoo artists also experience a lot of physical issues with back, neck, and arm pains, from constantly bending over and using their arm to tattoo.What tattoo artist makes the most money? ›
- Ed Hardy. Although one of the most successful and world-famous tattoo artists in the world, 77-year-old Ed Hardy retired from tattooing. ...
- Scott Campbell. ...
- Ami James. ...
- Joaquin Ganga. ...
- Anil Gupta. ...
- Bang Bang. ...
- Paul Booth. ...
- Jonathan Valena (Jon Boy)
Without a doubt, one of the best jobs for aspiring artists is tattooing. Currently, there are around 30,000 tattoo artists in the US, and most of them will tell you they have no intention of looking back! However, no good thing comes without a price, especially when it comes to a career.Is tattooing a good side hustle? ›
Tattoo artists often set their own schedules and are not forced to work traditional hours. In addition to having a large amount of flexibility, tattoo artists can have multiple occupations. This makes it the ideal choice for someone who wants to pursue multiple career paths at the same time.How do I become a freelance tattoo artist? ›
- Understand Your Customer Base. ...
- Offer More Than Tattoos. ...
- Develop Your Personal Style. ...
- Create a Portfolio of Your Work. ...
- Consider Creating a Website. ...
- Grow Your Social Media Presence. ...