Being a tattoo artist seems easy; you got the needle, tattoo cartridges and some ink and you’re good to go.  However, doing tattoos requires much more work than it may seem at first. When we say ‘more work’, we mean hard work that could last for years, and might not even pay well or at all.

However, don’t let this discourage you; if you’re passionate about art, drawing, and design, then becoming a tattoo artist might be an excellent choice for you. However, learning new skills and getting enough experience, or working alongside other artists will be an important part of the process.

Now, that we’ve got the essentials out of the way, let’s take a look at what else it might take for you to become a professional tattoo artist!

Becoming A Tattoo Artist – Essential Requirements

1. Learning To Draw

Let’s start with the assumption that you’re passionate about drawing but you still need some practice and experience in creating a visually appealing drawing. Well, even if you’re good at drawing, you will still need to learn and practice new drawing techniques.

  • Practicing drawing skills – this step will require several sketchbooks and pens or pencils. You will use your sketchbook to draw shapes, objects, patterns, and create designs on your own. You should practice until you feel comfortable enough to go with any design you can think of.
  • Exploring drawing techniques and methods – while you’re practicing drawing, it is important to go through different drawing techniques and methods. This will get you a better sense of how the tattoo design is developed and help you understand how a design will apply and look on the skin. Some of the drawing techniques include perfecting the lines, working on details, learning to keep the design simple, and learning when to stop when the drawing is bad.
  • 2. Getting Educated

  • Proper education is important in any career, and so it is when it comes to professional tattooing. For you to become a well-rounded, professional tattoo artist, you need to get access to traditional art knowledge and skills.This may seem like a time-wasting step, but it’s far from that; it might be one of the most important aspects of the process if you’re planning on having a serious career. So, here’s how you can get educated;
    • Taking art classes – don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune on taking art classes. Try attending affordable art classes at your local community college or educational centers. There, you can get a great insight into the basics of art, drawing, painting, art movements, etc.
    • Getting an art degree – now, this a more serious approach that requires complete dedication. It is also not financially suitable for the majority of people, but it is an option. Getting an art degree or a degree in graphic design, design, digital arts, illustration, can help you develop strong art skills, which will serve as a background and a stepping stone for your tattoo career.

3. Working With A Pro Tattoo Artist (Mentoring)

The best way to learn about tattooing is to work with an actual tattoo artist. This will provide you with an insight into the real-world environment of tattooing and help you learn and practice new techniques.

Here’s how you can get a mentor;

  • Pay a visit to several tattoo shops – of course, going to tattoo shops physically in the middle of a pandemic may not be the smartest decision. However, if you live in an environment where you can go out so long you keep a social distance, then try to do a face to face exploring. If that’s cannot be done, try contacting some tattoo shops via email or phone, and ask about their apprenticeship. Of course, in such a case you’ll have to send an online form of your portfolio.
  • Explore potential mentors – while you’re contacting tattoo shops, it would be smart to do some research and explore the bios of your potential mentors and professional tattoo artists. This will help you present yourself to the people at the shop, and adjust your portfolio accordingly.
  • 4. Learn And Practice Everything Tattoo Related

  • This step is pretty straightforward. At this point in the process, you need to learn about the art of tattoos and complete the apprenticeship. Here’s what you’ll be doing during this time;
    • Buying equipment – remember that you’ll have to invest in your equipment, which will add up to your apprenticeship cost. The equipment usually includes tattoo guns, art supplies, sterile equipment, etc.
    • Using tattoo equipment – alongside all the other work, as an apprentice you will learn how to use the actual tattoo machine. You will have to study how the needle works with skin, and how the needle needs to work differently depending on the type of skin, or even customer.
    • Practicing tattoo designing – at this point, you will know how to draw a design on paper, but you’ll need to practice designing tattoos that will end up on a human body. You will study the placement of tattoos onto the body, how they look on each body part, and how you can go through the actual tattooing process, with all the detailing, coloring, etc.
    • Practicing hygiene before, during, and after tattooing – adopting proper hygiene practices will be crucial during your apprenticeship. You will need to learn to adopt certain standards of hygiene to meet the requirements of your client and your tattoo shop. Any hygiene issues can be potentially dangerous and result in your client’s health issues. Such issues will affect and potentially ruin the shop’s reputation. It is a general practice for the apprentice to check the mentor’s hygiene practices before accepting the mentorship.
Back To Top