You wake up daily, overdose on coffee, and think about becoming a Tattoo Artist, yet sit down for a job you hate. You dream of doing something better and making art for a living but don’t know how to change careers. If this sounds like you, you might be ready for a career change right now…. or even yesterday!
In January 2022 alone, nearly 4.3 million people quit their jobs. In 2021, a record 48 million people left 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 leap a faith and leave your job, choosing a new career.
Many 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. So 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 researching the industry and reflecting on your skills, interests, and hobbies. Then, 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 challenging to achieve. That’s where tattooing comes in; it provides a steady income while allowing artists to practice a craft they love. (It differs from designing on a living, changing canvas, 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.
This guide will help you decide if you should become a Tattoo Artist and help connect you with our tattoo apprenticeship to get started.
So, let’s dive in!
A Tattoo Artist is a skills-based career that requires the artist to have a comprehensive understanding of tattooing. Tattooing is permanently embedding ink into the skin to create designs or images. Tattoo Artists design and apply tattoos to a customer’s body.
However, tattoo artists must manage much more than just designing and applying tattoos. Job duties include:
Becoming a successful Tattoo Artist takes a very steady, patient hand. 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 must also understand sanitation and sterilization to prevent blood-borne pathogens and damaging clients’ skin.
Tattoo artists also need excellent people skills. On top of needing 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 stress aside to give clients the quality experience they deserve and create a safe space for them to preserve memories.
According to Indeed, tattoo artists make an average of $60,000 a year. When starting, 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 to set up your shop, you can make much more.
The more you build up a thriving, satisfied client base, the more demand for your services will be, and the more you can charge. You can also make tips. So, although a tattoo costs about $100, you could make more than that on tips. T tattoos range 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 must invest upfront in a course and 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 start, 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 to become a successful Tattoo Artist and make the career change you need in 2022.
Working as an apprentice can give you precious experience, but tattoo school may be a better place to start. First, 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.
Attending tattoo school is especially good 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 it’s okay to make mistakes when first starting! The only way to become a great Tattoo Artist is through consistent practice. But you must set your fears aside and learn from mistakes to improve as a Tattoo Artist. Just remember, your clients will not critically analyze all the details – they’re more concerned with making their idea 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 critical 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 Ink Different Tattoo School, 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 to practice. Each state in the United States is different. Research your state here. Depending on the state, this may include a fee and a written exam. A license is essential 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 or a TikTok to 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. In addition, some states require continuing education to maintain your license.
Did you know about our tattoo studio in Brooklyn, New York? Check it out!
At Ink Different Tattoo School, we can help you train with highly successful Tattoo Artists. You can apprentice with one of our professional, experienced artists and get placed with a guaranteed job offer when you complete your apprenticeship.
We recognize the value of giving our students a thorough education and practical training. Every step of your apprenticeship will be overseen by one of our qualified, seasoned tattoo artists, who will make sure you get the instruction you need to succeed in this field.
Maintaining compliance with sanitary standards and industry developments is another priority at our institution. To make sure that our students are informed and up to date in this constantly changing field, we offer ongoing education. You will have the information and abilities necessary to succeed as a tattoo artist in the cutthroat tattoo industry after attending Ink Different Tattoo School.
Make 2023 the year you devote to your artistic love and reinvent your profession. Start producing meaningful art on living canvases right away to transform your passion into a rewarding and successful job. Don’t wait any longer!