You wake up every day, brew the coffee, and sit down to a job you hate. You dream of doing something better, but don’t know how to change. If this sounds like you, you might be ready for a career change in 2022.
In January 2022 alone, nearly 4.3 million people quit their jobs. In 2021, a record 48 million people quit in the U.S. These people are tired of the daily grind and not feeling fulfilled in their careers.
Where are they going? Some are just switching desk jobs, but quite a few are stepping away from the desk life entirely to less traditional career paths. Now might be the time to take a leap of faith and leave your job, choosing a new career.
A lot of artists are finding success selling their art online on sites like Etsy, yet maybe the most lucrative path for you is becoming a Tattoo Artist. Some Tattoo Artists have made a name for themselves by charging incredibly high prices for their work. If you’re looking to leave your job, and you’re looking for a career in the arts, consider a new career as a Tattoo Artist.
One of the key ways to be happy in your career is to be intentional about what you’re doing and where you’re going, rather than just going with the flow. So, you should start by doing some research in the industry and reflecting on your skills, interests, and hobbies. Understand what you are good at, and what you want to do all day before making a career change.
However, becoming a Tattoo Artist may be a great option if you already love art and working with people. A lot of Tattoo Artists started as art students because they love art. However, making a living off of painting can be difficult to achieve. That’s where tattooing comes in; it provides a steady income while still allowing artists to practice a craft that they love. (Although, it is different to design on a living, changing canvass, like skin rather than paper!)
So, if you’re an art lover who wandered off for a high-paying job, it’s not too late to choose a new career in the arts as a Tattoo Artist.
So, let’s dive in!
A Tattoo Artist is a skills-based career, which requires the artist to have a comprehensive understanding of tattooing. Tattooing is the process of permanently embedding ink into the skin to create designs or images. Tattoo Artists design and apply tattoos to a customer’s body.
Tattoo artists must manage much more than just designing and applying tattoos, however. Job duties include:
It does take a very steady, patient hand to become a successful Tattoo Artist. It can take hours or days to complete a single tattoo, so you shouldn’t become a Tattoo Artist unless you are willing to be dedicated to the craft.
Tattoo Artists also need to understand sanitation and sterilization to prevent blood-borne pathogens and damaging clients’ skin.
Tattoo artists also need really good people skills. On top of needing to provide great customer service, sometimes you may feel like a therapist. You will get clients who are getting custom tattoos with deep meaning for them, and they may have some memories or thoughts they share while you’re working on them. This can be an emotional job, so you should leave your own stress aside to give clients the quality experience they deserve and create a safe space for them to preserve memories.
Tattoo artists make an average of $60,000 a year, according to Indeed, yet some Tattoo Artists are charging as much as When starting out, you will make a little less because you typically work for a shop owner which may take a percentage commission. However, once you have the experience you need to set up your own shop, you can make a lot more.
The more you build up a successful, satisfied client base, the more demand for your services there will be, and the more you can charge. You can also make tips. So, although the average cost of a tattoo is about $100, you could make more than that on tips. The cost of tattoos ranges from $50 for small ones to $250 for larger ones. Eventually, you could charge up to $500 per hour for your work, depending on your skill, experience, and demand.
However, note that to become a Tattoo Artist you will need to invest upfront in a course as well as equipment like ink, machines, needles, skin pens, etc. You may also have to pay to become licensed. Additionally, you may work for a low cost to free when you first start out, so it can take some time to repay your investment. But all the successful Tattoo Artists we’ve met would agree it’s well worth it!
Here are six steps you can take to become a successful Tattoo Artist and make the career change you need in 2022.
Working as an apprentice can give you really valuable experience, but tattoo school may be a better place to start. First of all, some health departments and states require classroom experience to become a licensed Tattoo Artist. Additionally, a course is a safe place to learn tattoo skills, develop your art, and network with other artists.
It’s especially a good idea to attend tattoo school if you have limited experience or don’t come from an art background because a course is a safe space to make mistakes. Remember that when you’re first starting out, it’s okay to make mistakes! The only way to become a great Tattoo Artist is through consistent practice. But you have to set your fears aside and learn from mistakes to improve as a Tattoo Artist. Just remember, your clients are not going to critically analyze all the details – they’re more concerned with getting their idea made into art they can keep with them forever.
Next, prepare a professional art portfolio to showcase your work. Your tattoo portfolio should include original designs and photographs of your work, and can also include drawings. You’ll also need to prepare a cover letter and resume to keep with your portfolio, addressed to the shop where you want to apprentice. Once your portfolio is ready, you can take it to a tattoo shop and apply as an apprentice.
There’s no replacement for experience in the tattoo industry. You need to work in a real shop with a mentor to hone your skills and your art. The experience of working in an actual shop with clients and other Tattoo Artists is irreplicable, which is why a tattoo apprenticeship is key to becoming a successful Tattoo Artist.
Some tattoo apprenticeships are wild, unstable, and only intended to use you for free labor cleaning up the shop and doing administrative work that someone else would be otherwise paid to do. Be careful. If you find yourself in one of these, make a change.
If you decide to take your tattoo apprenticeship at a place like Body Art & Soul Tattoos, you’ll have a guaranteed job offer the day you finish your apprenticeship. This is the kind of apprenticeship you are looking to find.
States require Tattoo Artists to become licensed in order to practice. Each state in the United States is different. Research your state here. This may come with a fee and include a written exam, depending on the state. A license is completely necessary to become a Tattoo Artist.
Once you’re licensed, you can begin marketing and selling your services. One of the best ways to advertise as a Tattoo Artist is with social media. Create an Instagram account and/or a TikTok where you can post designs and completed jobs and find prospective clients.
Use apps available on all smartphones and tablets to help your images stand out, like these:
Even after you are successfully selling your work, you need to continue to keep current with trends in the industry and stay updated with the latest requirements for sanitation. Some states require continuing education to maintain your license.
Take the pressure off of yourself to learn how to become a successful Tattoo Artist; let us help you make the career change you need in 2022 into a career in the arts.
Go to TattooSchool.com to start your new lucrative career as a Tattoo Artist today.