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How to Become a Tattoo Artist

Becoming a tattoo apprentice

Did you know that Americans spend around $1.65 billion on tattoos every year? Tattooing is a lucrative business that will always be in demand, and has been in demand for centuries. Archaeologists have even discovered 12,000 year-old tools in France, Portugal, and Scandinavia that were most likely used for tattooing.

If you’d like to become a tattoo artist, you must first learn how to tattoo before you can work at one of the estimated 21,000 tattoo parlors across the country. First, you should understand the daily schedule you will be undertaking.

Job Description: After you’ve become a tattoo artist, you will be expected to design tattoos and apply them to customers. You will be holding initial consultation meetings for those who are unsure of what they want done.

A tattoo artist must have solid artistic skills and have a good eye for color and design. They must be able to follow various state safety regulations while meeting customer expectations and being patient (tattooing someone takes a long time!).

Many tattoo artists don’t have a college degree, but you need a state license to practice the trade. However, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you become a tattoo artist that is respected and praised.

Education: Though you do not need a college degree, many get a tattoo education at a tattoo college which can also specialize in body piercings. At the college, you will most likely attend art courses to perfect your skills that will help you design and create better tattoos in the future. A tattoo college will help you build both your resume and portfolio.

Apprenticeship: An apprentice tattoo artist is someone who has either graduated tattoo college or has taken enough courses on their own to get to the next step. People often take this route instead of a tattoo education. An apprenticeship should last at least three years. Here you will learn how to properly use the tattoo machine, how to sterilize materials, and even learn such things as what a “holiday” is (an area where an artist missed a section).

License: Most states now require tattoo artists to have a license to ensure that they are practicing safe tattoo procedures and are preventing the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS. Requirements for a license vary from state to state, though don’t be surprised if your state requires you to take continuing education courses to keep up to date with changes in the industry. You must also be 18 or older to be a tattoo artist.

Final Thoughts: To become a tattoo artist, you must also have manual dexterity, patience, and knowledge of tattoos — such as old school tattoo ideas — and customer service skills. Remember, you are dealing with people, you must be a people person! Helpful sites:

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