If art is a strong point, you may look at working in the tattooing industry. There are many things that you need to be successful in this industry, including a license, tattoo guns and knowledge about after care. There is the potential to earn more in the tattoo industry than as a regular artist but you need to be sensible and understand the work of ink.
You Cannot Start Tattooing Overnight
This is a profession that takes years to learn and master. Those who decide that they want to become a tattoo artist will find that it takes around three to five years to full master the subject and start earning their dream salaries. You need to have the ability to draw in the first place and will then need to hone that skill through art classes and reading various books on the subject.
Building a portfolio is the only way that you will start to get people willing to have you put the work on their skin permanently. This portfolio needs to be on paper and online, depending on how you are going to promote your talents. Think about having different styles, such as lettering, black and white tribal designs and colored pictures to show off the various skills that you have.
Finding an Apprenticeship
You cannot just start a tattoo business. You need the license and knowledge, which means that you need to find an apprenticeship. There are many different ones on offer so you need to find something that suits your style of learning and your needs. There are many people who look for an apprenticeship in tattooing so you need to make sure your portfolio shows off your wide range of skills and talents so you are chosen above the rest.
The apprenticeship is about learning the skills of a tattoo artist and not a general artist. You will learn about the different types of tattoo guns available, the importance of sterilizing equipment and protecting your clients – and yourself – from potentially fatal diseases, among many other areas. These are skills that no book or class will be able to teach you in full, especially when you get hands-on experience in the skills.
Deciding that You Are Ready
Some apprenticeships will have set contracts where you will need to work with the company for a set number of years or will need to remain an apprentice until the teacher decides that you are ready. However, others will not have these limitations and you will be able to decide when you are ready to go your own way. It is always wise to talk to your teacher and decide together when you are ready wherever possible.
You then need to decide whether you will work for a tattoo store or open your own business. The benefit of working for someone is that you build your experience as a tattoo artist, which is something that many people look for. They feel better with someone who has gained the experience as well as the knowledge, to ensure that nothing major goes wrong. However, running your own business means that there is the potential to earn more and you can work your own hours. However, there are set rules to set up your own business, such as having one specific area for tattooing.
You will need to look into the different types of materials you will need when setting up your business, including any tattoo guns, the type of ink and the sterilizing equipment. All of these will usually be available through the store that you work for if you decide that that is the best route for you.
Whichever route you take, remember that this is something that takes time and patience. You could end up being extremely successful and find something that easily supports your family but you will need to go through years of training to get there.
Elle Liban is a full time tattoo artist and part time freelance writer. She spent years honing her artistic skills and building her reputation and now helps others in their tattooing dreams. She offers advice on building your reputation and buying the best equipment, including tattoo guns and ink.