Career Development

What Does a Tattoo Artist Do?

Learn more about what it takes to succeed as a tattoo artist, the skills you'll need to become one, and what you can expect on the job.

Tattoo artists are responsible for creating permanent designs on the skin. They use a variety of techniques, including traditional tattooing and modern laser technology, to create unique body art that their clients will cherish forever.

Tattoo artists must be highly skilled in their craft. They must know how to apply tattoos properly so they stay in place and look good over time. They also need to have an eye for detail and creativity so that they can come up with original designs that their clients will love.

Tattoo Artist Job Duties

Tattoo artists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Ensuring client satisfaction by creating custom designs and providing outstanding customer service
  • Applying stencils or other markings to clients’ bodies to create a stencil template for a tattoo
  • Cleaning, sterilizing, and storing equipment, materials, and supplies used in the tattoo process
  • Creating custom designs for each client’s tattoo based on their concept or idea
  • Conducting consultations with clients to determine their ideas for tattoos, including size, placement, colors, and possible complications
  • Discussing with clients about aftercare instructions, potential risks of infection, scarring, etc.
  • Preparing sterile equipment and supplies, including needles, ink, bandages, and gloves
  • Drawing sketches of designs or customizing pre-drawn designs provided by clients
  • Supervising other tattoo artists and trainees to ensure they are performing their duties correctly

Tattoo Artist Salary & Outlook

Tattoo artists’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the size of the tattoo they’re working on, and the location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of tattoo artists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Tattooing has become more socially acceptable, which should lead to increased demand for tattoo artists. However, some people may be less willing to get a tattoo because of concerns about cleanliness and safety in tattoo shops.

Tattoo Artist Job Requirements

Tattoo artists typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most tattoo artists have at least a high school diploma or GED. Some artists choose to pursue a two-year associate degree in fine arts, graphic design or another closely related field. Many artists also choose to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree in fine arts or fine arts with a concentration in graphic design.

Training & Experience: Many tattoo artists learn the specific skills and techniques they need for their position while on the job. Training may last a few months to a year, and the artist may work under the direct supervision of an experienced tattoo artist.

Certifications & Licenses: Depending on the work you intend to do, certification through a recognized industry organization can demonstrate your dedication to the profession.

Tattoo Artist Skills

Tattoo artists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Artistry: Artistry is the ability to create original designs and artwork. This is a crucial skill for tattoo artists because it allows them to create unique and attractive tattoos for their clients. Artistry also allows them to create designs that fit their clients’ body types and personalities.

Communication: Communication is another important skill for a tattoo artist to have, as they often work with clients to create a design and then apply the tattoo. This involves explaining the design process and answering any questions the client may have. Tattoo artists also communicate with their coworkers to discuss clients and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Customer service: Customer service skills can help you interact with clients and make them feel comfortable. Tattoo artists often work with people who are getting a large, permanent design on their body, so it’s important for them to make their clients feel at ease. You can use your customer service skills to listen to your clients’ needs, ask them questions to get to know them better and make sure they’re satisfied with their tattoo.

Drawing: Tattoo artists use their drawing skills to create original designs for clients. They also use this skill to modify existing designs to ensure the tattoo fits the client’s body and the client’s expectations.

Time management: Tattoo artists often have multiple clients scheduled throughout the day. Having strong time management skills can help them ensure they complete each client’s tattoo in a timely manner. This can help them provide quality work and keep their clients happy.

Tattoo Artist Work Environment

The work environment for tattoo artists can be very different, depending on the type of shop they work in. Some tattoo artists work in very clean and sterile environments, while others may work in a shop that is not as clean. Some shops may have more rules and regulations than others. Tattoo artists may also work in different positions in the shop, such as working the front desk, working on the floor, or working in the back.

Tattoo Artist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how tattoo artists work. Tattoo artists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of the Tattoo Removal Industry

The tattoo removal industry is growing rapidly as more and more people are getting tattoos later in life and then regretting them later on. This has created a demand for tattoo artists who can remove these unwanted tattoos, which is where tattoo artists can find opportunity.

Tattoo artists who are skilled in removing tattoos can be extremely valuable to the community, as they can help people get their lives back on track after making a mistake with their ink. In addition, tattoo artists who are able to remove tattoos will be in high demand from both customers and employers.

More People Are Getting Tattoos as a Form of Self-Expression

The trend of getting tattoos as a form of self-expression is becoming increasingly popular among young adults. This is due to the fact that tattoos are a way to express who you are without having to say a word.

As this trend continues to grow, tattoo artists will need to develop new skills in order to meet the demands of their clients. This includes being able to create unique designs that reflect the individual’s personality.

A Greater Focus on Artistic Expression

The trend of artistic expression is becoming more and more popular among young adults. This is leading to an increased demand for tattoo artists who can create original and unique artwork.

Tattoo artists who are able to create art that reflects the individual’s personality will be in high demand, as they will be able to create tattoos that are truly unique. Additionally, tattoo artists who are able to work in different styles will be able to appeal to a wider range of customers.

How to Become a Tattoo Artist

A career as a tattoo artist can be both rewarding and lucrative. However, it’s important to consider all the factors before embarking on this journey.

First of all, you need to be sure that you have the right personality for this job. It requires a lot of patience, as well as a strong artistic vision. You also need to be able to work under pressure, as most clients want their tattoos done immediately.

Additionally, you need to be able to draw well, as this is an essential part of your job. You should also be familiar with different styles of tattooing, so that you can cater to the needs of your clients.

Lastly, you need to be comfortable working with people. As a tattoo artist, you will be interacting with a lot of customers, so it’s important that you are friendly and welcoming.


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