How to Become a Tattoo Artist

A tattoo artist is a professional who applies tattoo designs on people’s bodies. They work in tattoo parlors, studios, and shops and typically learn their craft through apprenticeship. Tattoo artists work with varying degrees of expertise and skill, and they can specialize in many different areas. There are several ways to become a tattoo artist, including taking up an apprenticeship or training under an established artist.

Working with an actual tattoo artist

If you’re getting a tattoo, working with an actual tattoo artist is a great way to get a quality design. Tattoo artists work hard to make a living, and they need to consistently deliver quality work to stay in business. Some clients are difficult to please, and if you don’t deliver, you could lose your job or worse, develop a bad reputation.

Tattoo artists typically work 30 hours a week. Some work six days a week, with Saturdays being the busiest. Depending on the artist, they may even work in smaller blocks throughout the day. As a result, tattoo artists must be able to focus for long periods of time.


Before beginning an apprenticeship for tattoo artists, it’s important to know what to expect. First of all, tattooing is a very specialized craft. It takes a great deal of repetition to become proficient. Tattoo apprentices will often spend their first few months drawing roses and butterflies to practice the skill before tattooing a real person. After that, they’ll learn how to properly set up and dismantle tattoo machines, among other things. The best apprenticeships will be structured in baby steps, and they should begin with the basics.

Once an apprentice has been accepted, they may be asked to work at the shop for three or four days a week. It takes about a year and a half to complete an apprenticeship, but it could take less or longer depending on the student’s skills. In general, tattoo apprentices must follow the directions of other artists and not be obstinate in the face of changes.


Before starting a career in tattoo design, it’s important to complete tattoo artist training. This can be completed in a variety of ways. Some courses require hands-on practice while others are more theoretical. Whatever your choice, completing tattoo artist training will help you avoid injury. There are also safety courses and CPR certifications.

In addition to tattoo school, you can also enroll in art classes to learn more about other styles of art. This will help you develop a deeper understanding of how to develop a tattoo design and apply it to the skin. Some of these courses can be quite inexpensive. You can take classes in art history, drawing, and other forms of art while preparing to work as a tattoo artist. You may also want to consider specializing in one of the many styles of art, such as tribal, traditional Japanese, Celtic, Old School, or Fine Line.

To start, you should find a shop with a good reputation and an experienced mentor. This person should be willing to teach you and have a solid educational background. This apprenticeship usually lasts a year or two. During this time, you’ll be doing a lot of menial work around the shop and observing other tattoo artists.


Experience is an important quality to look for in a tattoo artist. An experienced tattoo artist will have a portfolio of past work that he or she can show to potential customers. This portfolio will give you ideas of the types of tattoos an artist can create, as well as what kind of service you can expect from them.

A good tattoo artist should have a lot of experience and be able to follow a client’s ideas. Experienced tattoo artists will be able to suggest ideas easily and be able to gather a client’s requirements. Also, he or she should be able to adhere to federal and state health regulations.

Mistakes to avoid

Tattoo artists should be clean and sterile and should always disinfect their work area after each tattoo session. Infections are a real risk and improper aftercare can lead to further problems. Tattoo artists should also have all necessary equipment for sterilizing and disinfecting the work area. This is especially important when the tattoo is still fresh.

One of the most common mistakes when getting a tattoo is placing the tattoo in the wrong place. This will result in the ink looking too small or too large. If you plan on getting a tattoo, make sure you get a stencil or tattoo template to help you avoid this mistake. Another mistake that people make is not thinking through their placement before getting a tattoo. When deciding where to place a tattoo, you need to consider the muscles beneath the skin, the size of the limb, and the visibility of the tattoo.