How to Become a Tattoo Artist

On average, a tattoo artist can make around $60,000 a year, according to Indeed.

In addition to a great salary, this career path also offers a rewarding job that lets you interact with all kinds of people.

If you want to learn more about starting this new career, keep reading this post!

Practice Drawing

In a creative career, it’s important that you start practicing some of your creativity. You’ll need to have good drawing and design skills to be a good tattoo artist.

You should spend time practicing your drawing and illustration techniques so that you can design your tattoos and practice tattooing. If you haven’t had any experience drawing and creating your own images, you’ll need to learn how.

Many customers will come in and want you to draw a design for them, and you’ll have to show them a sketch before you can start tattooing. You should take this time to see whether or not you actually enjoy creating art and drawing for other people.

You may even want to take this opportunity to explore different types of art. For example, do you like drawing designs with minimalist lines? Or do you like creating abstract and colorful art? You may even decide you like contemporary art.

You should figure out what area you like best so that you can spend time working on that and niching down your expertise. If you need help, you may also want to consider studying some famous tattoo artists.

Learning what other tattoo artists did will give you a sense of what type of tattoos you want to create, and it’ll help you understand how to hone your own creativity.

Learn About Design

If you haven’t had any professional design experience, you need to learn the basic artistic rules. This will give you a good foundation to build on when you’re designing different tattoos.

For example, understanding the basics of design elements will help you create intricate designs. It can also help if someone comes to you with existing tattoos and wants you to fit in your own version.

You’ll need to be knowledgeable about the different design elements so that you can apply the design theories to your tattoos. For example, you should know the basics of color theory so that you know what colors to include in the tattoo.

You should also learn about things like:

  • Texture
  • Value
  • Balance
  • Lines
  • Alignment
  • Proximity
  • Contrast
  • Space
  • Repetition

You don’t need to learn all of these at once, but knowing the basics of them will help you progress in this creative career.

Take a Course

While teaching yourself can be helpful, taking a professional course can really help you. There are many tattoo schools that will teach you all you need to know about medical tattoos, designs, skills, and networking.

To satisfy the health and state departments, you’ll need to have some classroom experience before you can get your license. A course is a great place to learn, and you may even be able to find a tattoo school.

These classes are even more important if you don’t have a background. These schools offer a safe space to make mistakes, which can make you a better tattoo artist in the long run.

Find a Mentor

After you graduate from your class and courses, you’ll want to start your apprenticeship. The best way to start this is by finding a mentor. Your mentor will help you get invaluable experience that can help you further your career.

You will need to work in a real tattoo shop and with other clients. However, all tattoo apprenticeships aren’t created equal.

Some are unstable and chaotic, and you may have to work for free or do some administrative work. However, there are some apprenticeships that will pay you and also offer you a job once you’ve graduated from the program.

Create a Portfolio

Once you’ve had some experience in the classroom and with a mentor, you want to create a professional portfolio that highlights your experience as a tattoo artist.

You should include your original designs as well as photographs of your actual tattoos. You should create a website and upload all of them so that future customers and employers can decide if they want to work with you.

In addition to a portfolio, you’ll want to create a resume and possibly a cover letter that you can send to different businesses for employment.

Get Your License

After completing your courses and apprenticeship, you’ll want to get your license so that you can start practicing on your own.

The first thing you should do is check all of the state requirements. Each state has different requirements for tattoo artists to practice in the state. For example, if you’re in Oregon, you have to have trained for 360 hours and have done fifty tattoos.

You will also need to pass an exam and a skill assessment. However, there are some states with more relaxed requirements, only requiring the shop that you work at to have a license. The shop could still require you to have a license to hire you though.

Once you know the requirements, you’ll need to meet all of them and then apply for a license. You’ll need to fill out a form, provide supporting documentation, and pay a fee.

Learn More About a Tattoo Artist Career Path

Following these tips will help you jumpstart your career path as a tattoo artist.

However, if you’re interested in learning more about choosing a career path, we’re here to help you out.

Check out our website to read more articles that are just like this one!

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