What Are the Skills of a Tattoo Artist?

Published on May 7, 2014 by Jodie Michalak

As tattoos continue to emerge in popularity there are more people than  ever interested in the career.


Are you considering becoming a tattoo artist and wondering what the most important skills are that will be needed for your job?


You’re an Artist

Before you can consider becoming a tattoo artist you must be honest with yourself and your natural talent. This career will never come easy or be lucrative to you if you cannot draw. You are likely to become frustrated if you don’t possess this necessary tattoo artist skill.


You should have some formal background in art and understand the basic fundamentals before you reach for skin as your canvas.


There are many things an apprenticeship can teach you, but a basic talent for drawing is not really one of those things.


If you struggle to design or get inspired artistically but still love the tattoo industry, perhaps other occupations within the field may suit you better.


A tattoo photographer, supply merchant, writer or shop manager may balance your unique abilities while catering to your tattooing interests.


Customer Service

Customer service is crucial in any service oriented profession and you can’t lack it if you plan on being a reputable and well-liked tattoo artist.


This means if you aren’t a people person that’s okay, so long as it’s still your goal to please each and every patron.


You’ll need to empathize, express concern, follow up professionally, and be courteous in all of your business endeavors. People will expect friendliness and comfort when they are in your chair.



When customers book tattoo appointments they have devoted a small part of their personal schedule to meet with you. That means you’ll need to show up daily to do your job.


You can’t call off work, stay home because you feel like it, or have a trail of excuses as to why you can’t make your scheduled appointments.


If you don’t like being tied down to a location or a tattoo shop but still strive to be a successful tattoo artist, you may consider the traveling lifestyle and book yourself at various tattoo studios as a guest artist instead, where you can work for just a few short weeks at a time.


Many artists adopt the gypsy lifestyle and become travelers, making ends meet by appearing at tattoo conventions all over the world.


Bear in mind conventions will require an artist booth desposit and fee, so you’ll need to ensure your artistry is in demand and that the potential earnings are promising before hopping on a traveling caravan.



Last, a tattoo artist must be clean and presentable.


You need to puts your client’s health, safety and well-being at the forefront of your priorities.


If you don’t care about blood-borne disease or pathogens, you are a disgrace to the integrity of the industry.


You will be dealing with needles and bodily fluids daily, and you need to respect either the disposal of, or sterilization of all your equipment.


Do You Have Tattoo Artist Potential?

A career as a tattoo artist can be very rewarding for the right person.


If you crave a creative outlet, enjoy trying something new each day, and love an artistic challenge, a career as a tattoo artist may be the perfect fit.


To  get started you’ll need to take your art portfolio and shop it to several tattoo studios around town where you may eventually find a mentor who will hire you as an apprentice and train you in tattooing basics as you merge into the industry.


So long as you possess these natural skills for becoming a tattoo artist, you may be lucky enough to find success in an occupation that feeds not only your mind and creative talent, but your pocketbook as well.



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