- Design and apply permanent artwork to your clients' bodies
- You'll need a flair for art and design & excellent attention to detail
- With experience you could open your own tattoo studio
As a tattoo artist you'll create designs and apply them to your clients' bodies using specialist tattooing equipment.
- Advise clients on suitable tattoos
- Make sure the chosen design is exactly what the client wants
- Check that clients understand that the tattoo is permanent
- Copy the chosen design onto the customer's skin, either by drawing freehand or using a transfer
- Follow the design lines with an electrically-operated needle which injects ink under the skin
- Make sure all equipment is sterilised and clean
- Follow strict hygiene and health and safety procedures
You may also spend time researching artwork, creating new designs and developing a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills to potential customers. You'll usually create your artwork using traditional hand drawing techniques, or computer packages like Adobe Illustrator.
You'll usually work a 5 or 6 day week, including Saturdays. Studio hours are usually 9am to 5pm, but you may schedule your work into short sessions during the day because of the level of concentration and attention to detail you need. Some tattoo artists are employed by studios but many work for themselves and can set their own hours and rates.
There are no set entry requirements but you'll need a flair for art and design, excellent attention to detail, the patience and concentration to deal with long tattoo sessions, good hand-eye coordination and a steady hand, high standards of cleanliness and constant awareness of the need for hygiene, good communication, and customer service skills.
You could start as an assistant by finding a tattooist who is willing to take you on and train you.
It may be possible to work as a customer service assistant in a larger studio, answering enquiries and booking appointments. From there, you could become a trainee as opportunities come up.
You could arrange this by approaching local registered tattooists to ask if they will take you on as a trainee.
You will be expected to show you have a real interest in tattooing and that you have artistic ability.
Developing a portfolio of your artwork and design ideas can be a good way to showcase your talents.
You must register both yourself and your premises with your local council for a tattoo, piercing and electrolysis licence.
You'll also need to get vaccinated against hepatitis B.
With experience and business skills, you could open your own tattoo studio.