Home » Tattoo Artist
While tattoo art has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, with evidence of tattoos found on mummies dating back to ancient Egypt, it is only in recent years that tattoos have gained mainstream popularity as a form of self-expression and art. In the past, tattoos were often associated with criminal behavior or deviance and were not widely accepted in many parts of the world. However, today, tattoo art has evolved into a modern art form, with skilled tattoo artists achieving celebrity status and their appointment calendars filling up months in advance.
If you’re passionate about tattooing and want to pursue a career as a tattoo artist, there are a few things you should know. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the career of a tattoo artist, from what a tattoo artist does to the skills you’ll need to succeed. We’ll also discuss job requirements, salary expectations, and more.
A tattoo artist is a professional who creates permanent designs on the skin using specialized equipment like tattoo machines, needles, and ink. They go beyond just applying ink, as they are skilled artists who bring intricate and detailed designs to life on different body parts. To become a successful tattoo artist, one must have a deep understanding of the art of tattooing, including the technical aspects such as line work, shading, and color theory.
They must also be familiar with different styles of tattooing, to ensure they can provide a range of options for their clients and cater to individual preferences. Some popular styles include traditional, neo-traditional, Japanese, black and grey, and realism. Having knowledge of these different styles enables tattoo artists to create custom designs that are unique and meaningful to each client. Additionally, staying up-to-date with emerging trends and techniques within the industry is also crucial to offering high-quality, modern tattoo designs.
A tattoo artist’s job involves much more than just drawing designs onto skin. They work closely with their clients to ensure that their tattoos meet their preferences and specifications. This involves consulting with clients to discuss design ideas, placement, and size of the tattoo. Once the design is finalized, the tattoo artist will draw or stencil it onto the client’s skin, selecting appropriate colors and shades of ink. They must also prepare the equipment and the client’s skin for the tattooing process.
During the actual tattooing process, the tattoo artist uses various techniques such as line work, shading, and color blending to apply the tattoo. They must monitor the client’s comfort and well-being during the process to ensure a safe and positive experience. After the tattoo is complete, the tattoo artist will advise clients on aftercare instructions to ensure proper healing of the tattoo. This includes keeping the tattoo clean and avoiding activities that may irritate the skin.
Additional duties and responsibilities include:
Summary of Steps
Learn How to Draw
Get an Art Education
Establish Basic Skills
Build a Portfolio
Become an Apprentice
Earn Your License
Steps in Detail
If you’re serious about a career as a tattoo artist, it’s important to seek out opportunities to become a well-rounded artist. It’s important to be realistic about your financial situation and to assess your skills as an artist so you can make a decision about whether to pursue a traditional art degree, training at a master tattoo institute, classes at a community college, or the self-taught route. The bottom line is, that the more time you spend developing your skills, the better artist you will be. Tattoo artists aren’t required to have a formal education or even a high school diploma, so this step is a big decision. Weigh the pros and cons of each.
Once you’re confident about your drawing skills and ability to design attractive tattoos, it’s time to gain hands-on experience and to start applying the techniques you’ve learned in a real-world environment. Tattooing isn’t something you can learn from a book; it’s critical to work with an experienced mentor who has been working successfully in the trade for many years and who is able to take you under their wing. Here’s what to keep in mind when finding a tattoo artist to work with:
It’s important to do your due diligence when searching for a tattoo artist to apprentice under. Make sure they abide by basic hygiene guidelines and have plenty of clients. Avoid tattoo shops that seem to be empty, who can’t tell you about their hygiene practices, or that you just get a bad vibe in.
Mentoring is difficult even for the most seasoned tattoo artist. Look for someone who has taken an apprentice before, so they have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. The artist you choose as a mentor should be able to challenge you, hold you accountable, and push you past your limits. Don’t choose a mentor who seems too easy to please; a laissez-faire approach won’t help you in the long run.
A tattoo artist’s salary can vary widely depending on several factors. The first factor is their skill and ability to create high-quality tattoos. As they gain more experience and build their portfolio, they can attract a larger client base and charge higher rates. Tattoo artists who specialize in certain styles or who have a unique artistic vision may be able to command even higher rates.
In terms of actual figures, the average salary of a tattoo artist in the United States is $57,117 and can range from $30,000 to $137,500 per year, with some artists earning significantly more. Entry-level tattoo artists typically earn a lower salary than those with more experience. However, as they build their portfolio and reputation, they can earn more by attracting a larger client base and charging higher rates. Location is also an important factor, as tattoo artists working in urban areas with higher demand for tattoos may be able to charge more than those in less populated areas.
The amount of time it takes to become a tattoo artist can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s natural talent, dedication, and the amount of time they can commit to their training.
Typically, aspiring tattoo artists undergo an apprenticeship program that lasts anywhere from one to three years. During this time, they learn the necessary skills and techniques for tattooing, including machine handling, needle and ink selection, sterilization procedures, and proper safety protocols.
In theory, anyone can become a tattoo artist if they are willing to put in the time, effort, and dedication required to develop the necessary skills and techniques. However, becoming a successful tattoo artist takes more than just having a desire to create tattoos.
Most reputable tattoo shops require their artists to complete an apprenticeship program or formal education in art or design. This means that becoming a tattoo artist requires a significant investment of time and money, as well as a willingness to work hard and learn from experienced professionals. Ultimately, while anyone can try their hand at tattooing, becoming a skilled and successful tattoo artist requires a combination of natural talent, hard work, and a commitment to ongoing learning and improvement.
You May Also Like
Starting Your Own Fashion Label
How Interior Designers can Maximize their Earnings
Redefining What it Means to Make a Living on Your Creativity
Evaluating the ROI of a Graphic Design Degree
What Is the Best Fashion Designer Salary?
Fashion Photography Tips: Directing Models and Creating Impactful Images
What Are the Perks of Being a Graphic Designer?
Sustainable Fashion Design: Incorporating Ethics & Environmental Consciousness
Fashion Design Job Interview Tips: How to Stand Out in a Competitive Industry
7 Out of the Box Careers for Creatives
Quick Start Guide: 5 Ways to Not Be a Starving Artist
Marketing Your Photography Business: Strategies for Attracting Clients
The Art Career Project is a trusted resource for emerging and professional artists.