Tattoo Artist









Watch a Tattoo Artist in action


What is a Tattoo Artist?

A Tattoo Artist (tattooist) is a person who applies permanent ink to the skin of their clients as a decorative design called a tattoo. 

They often work in a business called a “tattoo studio” or ‘”tattoo parlour.”  They learn the skills through an apprenticeship.

Avoid tattooing until you have completed an apprenticeship !!!

Generally tattoos are very difficult and expensive to remove and without the right instruction, a bad tattoo artist (‘scratcher’) may scar a client’s skin.

What does a Tattoo Artist do? 

As an Apprentice:

  • you will do all the uninteresting jobs, for example: taking out the garbage, cleaning, making appointments, running errands, checking stock etc etc.  This is one way the parlour will note if you are interested or not.  Do every chore correctly and with enthusiasm.
  • you will be doing a lot of watching of ‘qualified’ tattoo artists
  • you will be instructed on needles and equipment
  • you will be instructed on hygiene
  • you will be doing a lot of drawing, designs and colouring in
  • you will be practising with the tattoo machine on fake skin

As a Tattoo Artist:

  • you will talk with clients and understand exactly what they want
  • prepare drawings and designs, in detail and colour for the client
  • make changes where necessary.  A tattoo is a very personal thing.  It’s generally on the skin for life so the client might make a lot of changes
  • be patient
  • manage your ‘station’/work area and keep it clean and hygienic
  • in charge of staff and supplies
  • in charge of invoicing and keeping the books
  • continue to research tattoo trends
  • you will continue to draw, draw and draw to hone your skills

Are you … ?

  • extremely creative?
  • have amazing drawing talent?
  • can you sketch, in detail from memory?
  • good with people?
  • sensitive?  Some memorial tattoos can be very emotional for the client
  • patient?
  • a good communicator?
  • keep your ego under control?
  • share your skills with others?

How do I become a Tattoo Artist?

Tattoo Artists learn their trade/skill under an apprenticeship.  This can take from 6 months to 2 years. 

These apprenticeships are not easy to get, but with the right attitude, abundant talent, a great portfolio of completed drawings, … anything is possible.

An apprenticeship is usually a non-paid position so you must have other means to support yourself during this time.

Minimum requirements:  There is no actual qualification to become a Tattoo Artist, but recognition under your apprenticeship, from an already practicing master Tattoo Artist is what you will need to go out on your own.

School subjects: Art is not compulsory but highly recommended.


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Greeting Card Illustrator … or … Airbrush Artist

Is becoming a Tattoo Artist the right career choice for me?