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How To Become A Tattoo Artist In 2023

How to become a tattoo artist in 2024 | Step-by-step guide

Are you passionate about art and interested in a career that allows you to express your creativity while helping others express theirs? Becoming a tattoo artist might be the perfect path for you! Tattooing is a rapidly growing industry with a high demand for skilled artists. But how do you get started in this exciting and rewarding field? In this ultimate step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know how to become a tattoo artist, from finding an apprenticeship to building your portfolio and developing your unique style. Get ready to turn your passion into a career that you'll love!

Is it hard to become a tattoo artist?

Becoming a tattoo artist is no easy feat, but it is certainly achievable with dedication and hard work. The road to becoming a tattoo artist typically involves completing an apprenticeship, which can take anywhere from one to three years. During this time, you will learn the fundamentals of tattooing, including techniques for using different types of equipment and creating designs that meet clients' needs. You will also need to develop a strong understanding of hygiene and safety practices to prevent the spread of infection. In the end, to be a successful tattoo artist, you need more than just technical skills. You also need to have a strong work ethic, be creative, and be willing to learn and get better all the time. With perseverance and passion, however, anyone can achieve their dream of becoming a tattoo artist.

What does a tattoo artist do?

A tattoo artist is a skilled professional who creates permanent artwork on clients' skin using a tattoo machine and ink. Their job involves various tasks, including:

  • Consultations: Before creating a tattoo, a tattoo artist will consult with clients to understand their ideas and preferences and help them choose a design that suits their needs.
  • Design: Once the client's vision is understood, the tattoo artist will create a custom design or modify an existing design to fit the client's needs.
  • Sterilization: Ensuring the workspace and equipment are clean and sterilized to prevent the spread of infection is crucial in the tattoo industry.
  • Tattooing: The artist will use a tattoo machine to apply the ink to the client's skin, taking care to maintain a steady hand and create a precise and accurate design.
  • Aftercare: After the tattoo is complete, the artist will provide instructions on how to care for the tattoo and prevent infections or complications.

Overall, tattoo artist is responsible for providing a safe and comfortable environment for their clients while creating high-quality and unique pieces of art.

Basic requirements to be a tattoo artist

Qualifications to be a tattoo artist is a unique and rewarding career path, but it requires a specific set of skills and personal qualities. Here are the basic requirements to be a tattoo artist.

Qualifications for tattoo artist

  • Age: Most states require tattoo artists to be at least 18 years old.
  • Education: A high school diploma or GED is typically required, but some tattoo artists may have formal art education or training.
  • Apprenticeship: Completing an apprenticeship is typically required to become a tattoo artist. This can take anywhere from one to three years and involves working under the supervision of an experienced tattoo artist to learn the fundamentals of tattooing, including equipment use, design, hygiene, and safety.

Personal qualities

  • Artistic ability: Tattooing is a form of art, and should have a natural talent for drawing and design. You should be able to create original designs and adapt to clients' requests if you want to be a tattoo artist.
  • Steady hand: The ability to work with precision and a steady hand is essential in the tattoo industry. Tattoo artists must have a steady hand and the ability to work in detail to create intricate designs.
  • Creativity: Tattoo artists must be able to create unique and custom designs for each client. They should have a strong sense of creativity and be able to think outside the box to create one-of-a-kind tattoos.
  • Good communication skills: The ability to communicate effectively with clients and understand their needs is important in creating a successful tattoo. Tattoo artists should be able to listen to clients' ideas and translate them into a visual design.
  • Hygiene: Tattoo artists must maintain a clean and sterile environment to prevent the spread of infection. This includes using sterile equipment, properly disposing of needles and other materials, and following strict hygiene and safety guidelines.

Overall, you need a mix of technical skills, creativity, and personal traits to become a tattoo artist. Those who are passionate about art, have a steady hand, and are willing to undergo the necessary training and apprenticeships can find success in this exciting and rewarding career.

How to become a tattoo artist in a few easy steps

Becoming a tattoo artist may seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps and dedication, it can be accomplished. Here are the steps to become a tattoo artist:

Take a tattoo artist course

Taking a tattoo artist course can provide a strong foundation in the art of tattooing. Many courses cover topics such as design, technique, equipment, and hygiene.

Prepare a portfolio

Building a portfolio is an essential part of becoming a successful tattoo artist. A portfolio showcases your work and demonstrates your style and technique.

Attend an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships provide hands-on training under the guidance of an experienced tattoo artist. Apprenticeships typically last one to three years and consist of learning the fundamentals of tattooing, such as equipment use, design, hygiene, and safety.

Obtain a license 

Many states require tattoo artists to obtain a license before practicing professionally. Licensing requirements vary by state but often involve completing a certain number of training hours, passing a written exam, and providing proof of insurance.

Buy your own tattoo equipment 

As a tattoo artist, you'll need to invest in your own equipment, including a tattoo machine, needles, ink, and other supplies. It's important to choose high-quality equipment to ensure the safety and satisfaction of your clients.

Order products and manage inventory effortlessly with suplery

 Suplery is a platform that allows tattoo artists to order products easily and manage inventory online. It can help streamline the process of ordering and tracking supplies, freeing up time for artists to focus on their craft.

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Practice, practice, practice 

How do you become a tattoo artist? Becoming a skilled tattoo artist takes practice. So it's important to continue practicing and honing your skills to improve your technique and develop your own unique style. For example, you could becoming a tattoo apprentice.

Experimenting with different designs and styles 

Tattooing is an art form that allows for creativity and experimentation. Experimenting with various designs and styles can help you find your niche and stand out from other tattoo artists.

Market & advertise your services 

Marketing and advertising your services is the key to building a successful tattoo business. The creation of a website, a social media presence, and business cards can help spread the word about your services.

Build a clientele 

Building a loyal client base is essential to a successful tattoo career. By giving great customer service, listening to what clients want, and doing high-quality work, you can build a strong reputation and get clients to return.

Tattooing trends and styles are constantly evolving, and it's important to stay up-to-date with current trends and techniques. Attending tattoo conventions, following industry leaders on social media, and continuing education can help keep your skills and style relevant.

Pros and cons of becoming a tattoo artist

Becoming a tattoo artist can be a rewarding career choice for those with a passion for art and a desire to express themselves creatively. However, like any profession, there are both pros and cons to consider before embarking on this career path.


  1. Creative expression: Tattooing is a unique form of art that allows for creative expression and individuality. As a tattoo artist, you have the opportunity to create meaningful designs and leave a lasting impression on your clients.
  2. Flexibility: Many tattoo artists have the ability to set their own schedules and work independently, allowing for a flexible work-life balance.
  3. Job satisfaction: The satisfaction of seeing a happy client with a tattoo you've created can be incredibly fulfilling.
  4. Income potential: As a successful tattoo artist, there is potential to earn a high income, especially if you have a strong client base. According to Zippia, the average salary of a tattoo artist is about $51,000 per year.


  1. Physical demands: Tattooing requires long periods of standing and working with your hands, which can lead to physical strain and discomfort.
  2. Health risks: Tattooing involves working with needles and ink, which can expose you to potential health risks, including infection and disease.
  3. Initial costs: Starting a tattoo business can be expensive, as you will need to invest in equipment, supplies, and potentially rent a space for your studio.
  4. Competition: The tattoo industry is highly competitive, and breaking into the market can be difficult without a strong portfolio and client base.

If you are interested in a question - how to get into tattooing? Hard work, dedication and love for your craft will help you. Although there are certainly issues that need to be considered, the reward can be great for those who are passionate about tattooing and want to build a successful career in this field.

Frequently asked questions

Can you become a tattoo artist without knowing how to draw?

It's difficult to become a successful tattoo artist without strong drawing skills. However, some artists develop their skills over time through practice and training.

How can I train to be a tattoo artist?

Training to become a tattoo artist typically involves taking a course or an apprenticeship, building a portfolio, and obtaining a license.

Is it hard to become a tattoo artist?

Yes, becoming a tattoo artist requires a significant amount of time, effort, and dedication. It takes years of practice and honing your skills to be successful in this field. However, for those who have a passion for the art form and are willing to put in the hard work, becoming a skilled tattoo artist can be a truly rewarding and fulfilling career path.

What do you need to become a tattoo artist?

To pursue a career as a tattoo artist, you should possess a genuine interest in art, excellent drawing abilities, attention to detail, creative thinking, and interpersonal skills. These traits can help you excel in the field and establish a successful career as a tattoo artist. In addition to these personal traits, some states in the US may require formal training or an apprenticeship under a licensed tattoo artist to obtain a tattooing license.

How much does a tattoo artist make?

The income of a tattoo artist varies based on experience, location, and clientele. According to Payscale, the average hourly rate for a tattoo artist in the US is $48.71.

How to be a tattoo artist?

To become a tattoo artist, start with mastering drawing skills, then complete a tattoo apprenticeship. Learn equipment handling, safety protocols, and client service. Obtain required licenses, build a portfolio, and continuously improve through practice and ongoing education in the field.

How to become a professional tattoo artist?

To become a professional tattoo artist, develop strong art skills, complete an apprenticeship, and learn safety and hygiene practices. Obtain necessary licenses, create a compelling portfolio, and gain experience by working in established studios or starting your own business. Continuous learning is essential.

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Last updated on May 03, 2023

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