How To Become A Tattoo Artist ? 4 Main Factors to Consider

What is Tattooing?


Tattooing is a form of body art which has become increasingly popular over the years.  A tattoo is a permanent design on your skin made by piercing ink through a needle. There are various designs and ink colors available for you to explore.

 It is a unique form of self expression and tattoo fanatics usually look for meaningful designs and symbols to express themselves. Religious and tribal symbols are very common. Moreover many people prefer simple and minimalistic designs like butterflies, flowers or crowns just for the sake of decoration.


how to become a tattoo artist

Planning To Take Tattooing Up As A Career? Here’s What You Need To Know

If you feel that you possess the skills and the creativity required to become a tattoo artist then you must know the following details.


Firstly, there is no degree level for this kind of a profession but it is important for you to complete your schooling and degree. This is important because your whole university experience helps you grow and lets you think innovatively. You are you and that is your power.

You should be able to fully explore yourself, your capabilities and interests as you grow.  Your educational experience will allow you to explore your areas of interest and you will be able to decide whether you choose it as a career or not.

Having a degree up your sleeve is a plus because it would help you get better job opportunities and decently paying jobs. Fine art degree, in particular as it would help improve your drawing skills to a great extent. If you take up a couple of business courses as well, it will be an added advantage for you because you would be able to start up your own tattoo parlor.

You should take up art courses during your time in school, college or university. These courses will help you awaken your inner artist. Never miss a chance of attending seminars and workshops of everything art related. Graphic designing classes are particularly helpful if you are interested in becoming a tattooist. Such a course will help you design beautiful 3D pictorial tattoos and make your work stand out.

Apprenticeship Program

Look up successful tattoo artists. Read about them and take inspiration from them. Find out different techniques and drawing methods used by them and try to apply them. Some of the most popular ones, include, Frank Carrilho and Rit Kit. To enhance your skill and make best use of your free time, practice different drawing styles. Keep a handy sketch pad and a pen with you at all times. Also, designing and updating a professional portfolio is vital.

Furthermore, you should talk to tattoo artists who own tattoo parlors and ask them if they would allow you to observe how they deal with their clients and complete the whole tattoo procedure. You can show your portfolio to them as a resume so they can get an idea that you are a versatile and a talented artist who’s willing to learn more. Learn the basics and how to begin the procedure from the experts.  This is called apprenticeship. Most apprenticeships last for about 6 to 12 months.

These etiquettes are very important because at the end of the day, you will earn if your client is satisfied with your work. You must make them feel comfortable and understand the fact that they must be freaked out because of the potential pain. It is your job to make sure that they are relaxed and hydrated.

Once you are done with your apprenticeship, you will be aware of all the hygiene practices and business skills linked to tattooing. You will also be able to practice tattooing on yourself, under the supervision of a senior tattooist. If you succeed they might ask you to try out a small design on a client.


Before you can start practicing tattooing as a career, you will need a license or certification. Find out about your country’s licensing policies and requirements. You would be required to complete apprenticeship and also be over 18 years of age. You would have to look for a government office near you. They would guide you properly and let you know all the formal requirements. They may ask you to fill out a couple of applications, submit your picture and identity card.

After you are done with your apprenticeship and licensing procedure, you must start looking for jobs. You may even start working for your supervisor at his tattoo parlor. If not, start applying at other parlors and keep your portfolio updated. Keep yourself well informed about all the latest trends, patterns and hygienic practices. Also, sometimes, tattoo parlors expect their employees to have their own equipment. So, buy your own set of tools.

Salary Prospects

The amount of money you make out of your tattooing career mostly depends on your skills and reputation in the industry. If your work is finely detailed and extremely neat and you make sure your customer is completely satisfied, you will most definitely get paid decently. The rates also depend on the industry average rates of your area. You should try and build your image by make your own public Integra account, maybe. Market yourself and your skills.

History of Tattoos

Tattooing is an ancient practice. Ancient Europe, Greece and China all had tattooing as a traditional practice. Otzi the Ice man is the oldest human mummy found in the Otz Valley Alps who had multiple tattoos inked on his body. Most of them were found on his legs.

Ancient Chinese used this form of art in interesting ways. Folk heroes in Chinese literature had tattoos on their skin and people who were not trustworthy also had tattoos on their skin. Indians, on the other hand, used tattooing to be close to their religion and for spiritual healing. Om symbol tattoos are extremely popular among Indians today.

Ancient Romans also tattooed their slaves so they could be easily identified. Archeologists found traces of tattoos on the mummies of ancient Egyptians. Egyptians also used tattooing as a means of treatment and cure for chronic pelvic diseases.  Another interesting fact about tattooing practices in Ancient times is, Hawaiians used to get three dots inked on their tongues when they were mourning or going through emotional pain or grief.

Many today believe that getting sacred symbols tattooed on your skin tends to protect you from all evil entities and keeps you under the umbrella of God’s protection. While, some also believe that tattoos are a form of good luck charm. Some even use tattoos to conceal their scars – scars that remind them of their painful past and give them unpleasant flashbacks. No matter what their reason, tattooing as a practice and as a career is growing immensely.

Early tattoos however, were made using inks prepared at home mainly with oil, carbon and ash. Puncturing and piercing was done by attaching multiple needles onto a stick. Now the tattoo game has gotten way stronger and there are many cool new tools, colors and patterns available.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Qs)

Let us address some of the most frequently asked questions now.

Is tattooing a good career?

If you are still doubtful, it is best to apply for apprenticeships first. This way you will learn from experts and get to know everything about their practices and whether their business is rewarding or not. Hopefully you will be able to assess and make up your mind in a proper manner, keeping all factors in mind. If you are truly passionate and know that you can do it, then there is no reason for you to feel confused.

Do I need to finish my degree if I want to take tattooing up as a career?

Not necessarily. If you have the skill and the creative streak needed for this kind of art, then you are good to go. Although its better if you complete your degree if you want better paid job opportunities.

Will my apprenticeship be paid?

No. Most apprenticeships are unpaid because you are just there to observe and polish your skills. They may ask you to assist them in doing some chores though. So, if you are planning to apply, look for a job as a part time thing to earn some money. These apprenticeships can be beneficial for you in the future because your master may hire you as a permanent employee once you have a license.

I’m planning to become a tattoo artist, what is my job outlook?

The once taboo tattoo culture has now become very popular and trendy. Tourist hubs, such as Phuket, Thailand are full of tattoo parlors. This profession has scope and you will earn if you are employed at a well reputed place with a hygienic environment. The average pay of a tattoo artist is $85 per hour.

How can I practice my skills?

Watch tutorials on YouTube and stay in touch with the procedure. Try drilling patterns on a fleshy fruit using a knife or a pointy tool. If you have the right equipment and you’ve practiced before, try making a simple tattoo yourself. Other than that, always keep a sketch pad with you, so if a unique pattern comes to your mind you can sketch it down.

Just like with any other career, you have to be dedicated to tattooing to keep on doing it with passion. If your inner self is not motivated to do it, you will find a plateau very soon. Do it only if you enjoy doing it. Good luck!