How to become a tattoo artist

You love tattoos. You even have a few. At times, you even find yourself admiring the work of famous tattoo artists. But it’s not enough. You want more. You want to become a tattoo artist yourself. Below, we’re going to answer the question of “how to become a tattoo artist?” Let’s go!

How To Become a Tattoo Artist?

There are a number of skills required in order to become a tattoo artist. Not only must one possess an artistic sensibility, but a social capability as well. If you want to become a tattoo artist, you must follow the steps below.

Learn To Draw

Before you even think about tattooing someone’s body, you must first make sure that you possess sufficient artistic capabilities. In other words, you must possess the ability to draw.

Have no substantial drawing experience? Want to learn how to get better? Then read below.

Attend Art School

If you already possess a modicum of artistic talent, you could opt to go to art school. Art school programs are designed to help budding artists hone their craft. They can take decent drawers and turn them into masterful ones.

Generally, you can obtain a bachelor’s degree from an art school in four years. However, you don’t necessarily have to obtain a degree to become a tattoo artist. Truthfully, you could take as many courses as you wish before trying to move into the tattoo realm.

You should also make note of the fact that there are schools which specifically cater to the needs of budding tattoo artists. If you want to fast track your way into the career, these schools are viable options for you.

Practice, Practice, Practice

As was noted above, you don’t need a degree in order to become a tattoo artist. Therefore, to obtain the skill needed to pursue a tattoo career, you could conceivably teach yourself to draw.

Note, however, that if you go this route, you’re going to need a great deal of discipline. Regular practice and self-education are required and can wear down on those who are not good at policing themselves and their work habits.

There are all types of online resources which can help you learn to draw. If you use these resources and take your drawing seriously, you just might get good enough to achieve your goal of becoming a tattoo artist.

how to become a tattoo artist

Create a Portfolio

Once you’ve honed your drawing to a sufficient enough level, you need to create a portfolio of your best drawings. This will demonstrate your abilities, helping you to obtain vital apprenticeships with legitimate tattoo artists.

When creating your portfolio, make sure to be diverse. You don’t want all of your drawings to look similar. Show that you’re capable of high-quality work in a number of different styles, and you’re sure to be noticed.

Secure an Apprenticeship

The entire point of putting together a portfolio is to attract existing tattoo artists. Your goal is to nab an apprenticeship with one of these artists, as an apprenticeship will bring you full-force into the world of tattooing.

While an apprentice, you will learn about everything from designing tattoos, to working a tattoo machine, to sterilizing tattoo equipment, and more. You’re also likely to learn about the business aspect of owning a tattoo studio, taking in information on payroll, scheduling, and taxes, to name just a few entities.

Make note that apprenticeships are usually not paid positions. In fact, in many cases, you’ll actually have to pay the tattoo artist you’re working with in order to keep the apprenticeship. In any case, plan on staying in your apprenticeship for at least 3 years.

Always Be Networking

As with the obtainment of all jobs, getting a job as a tattoo artist requires networking. The more connections you make with fellow tattoo artists, the greater chance you have of securing employment in the future. Be friendly during your apprenticeship, join tattoo-related groups, and do everything else you can to make yourself known in the tattoo community.

networking

Get Licensed

The vast majority of states in the US require tattoo artists to obtain licenses in order to work professionally. These licenses not only indicate that you’re capable of performing high-quality work, but that you’re capable of doing so in a safe and sanitary manner.

Before securing a full-time job as a tattoo artist, you must obtain certification. Plan to do it some time at the end of your tattoo artist training.

Buy Supplies

In most cases, tattoo artists are expected to buy their own supplies. They are not typically given supplies by their employers. Supplies you will need to buy include but aren’t limited to needles, ink, a tattoo machine, bandages, and tattoo lights.

tattoo tools

How To Become a Tattoo Artist With a Job

Next, you can go about the process of finding a full-time job. This works in essentially the same way as any job search. You look for openings online, keep an eye out for local listings, and network to see if anyone is hiring.

In some cases, tattoo artists are able to land jobs at the studios where they had apprenticeships. This is not always possible, however.

How to Become a Tattoo Artist & Open a Successful Studio

The primary goal of most tattoo artists is to eventually open their own shop. This is not something which is typically done right out of an apprenticeship, but after years of full-time work.

It generally takes at least 5 years of work, in particular, before an artist is able to break out on his or her own. Not only must he or she perfect the trade, but he or she must also have a firm grasp on the business aspect of, indeed, running a business.

And with that, the question of “how do I become a tattoo artist?” is answered. As long as you follow the steps reviewed above, you stand a good chance at landing your dream career.

Tattoo Software

Are you, by chance, already in the middle of your career? Looking to open your own studio soon? If so, you’re going to need management software. When it comes to business management software for tattoo studios, there’s none better than InkBook. Specifically catered toward tattoo entrepreneurs, it can handle all of your business needs. Check out a free trial now!