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Tattoo Training: 5 Things To Know Before Training To Become a Tattoo Artist

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There’s something quite special about being able to create something that lives on another person’s body forever – whether it’s a beautiful piece of art on someone’s arm to capture a moment in time or thicker, fuller brows that give someone a much-needed boost of confidence. If you’re serious about tattooing, finding a cosmetic tattoo studio or traditional tattoo studio where you feel comfortable learning the craft can mean the difference between giving up and discovering your new career path.

Tattoos Can Be Cosmetic Too

When you hear the word “tattoo,” you may think of a dainty fine-line design or a large-scale, custom-drawn back piece or sleeve. But aspiring artists can also opt to pursue a career in cosmetic tattooing.

More and more cosmetic tattoo studios are cropping up, offering microblading and other semi-permanent tattoo options. Microblading involves drawing hair-like strokes over sparsely-filled brows to create a fuller look.

In addition to eyebrow microblading, cosmetic tattooing also includes:

  • Lip blush
  • Lip liner
  • Eyeliner
  • Faux freckles

Tattooing Doesn’t Require a Degree

It is common to hear about successful tattoo artists who got their start simply by purchasing equipment and tattooing friends, family, or anyone brave enough to be a human canvas for an apprentice tattooer. 

While there are tattoo schools you can attend to learn techniques and tricks of the trade, it’s not required (and is often looked down upon in the tattoo community). What is required, however, is being trained in sanitation, sterilization, blood-borne pathogens, and how to avoid damaging your client’s skin. 

The best way to learn how to tattoo is to find a studio and a mentor to teach you what they know. You’ll pick up skills by shadowing other artists and practicing the skills you pick up. 

Equipment Is Pricy

Tattoo equipment can be fairly expensive. If you’re just getting started, there’s quite a long list of supplies you’ll need to purchase before you do your first tattoo. These include:

  • A tattoo machine
  • Power supply
  • Foot pedal
  • Clip cord
  • Tattoo lining tube
  • Lining needle
  • Armature bar nipples
  • Tattoo ink
  • Ink caps
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rubber bands
  • Thermofax paper
  • Skin pens

And this is just for the absolute essentials. If you also need a license or want to get an apprenticeship, you’ll be paying a few extra thousand.

You Might Not Make Much in the Beginning

Even with all the money you’ll be throwing at equipment and supplies, you might not get paid much during your first year as a tattoo apprentice. It’s not uncommon to work in a studio checking customers in or cleaning the building in exchange for time to practice your craft. 

This arrangement is standard in the industry, so you might need a part-time job to supplement your income as you build your portfolio and skills.

You Can Say “No” to a Bad Design

Your job as a tattoo artist is to give customers what they want. It’s also to say “no” to a bad design, weird placement, or overly complicated request. A tattoo is a collaborative process, blending the customer’s idea with what you can realistically accomplish with your skillset, the time they have, and their ability to deal with the pain.

Tattooing is not for the faint of heart. It takes skill, precision, focus, and a creative edge to become one of the best. For those on the receiving end, coming in for a session can be a cathartic release or provide a cosmetic enhancement that builds confidence. Either way, tattooing is a fantastic career choice if you’re prepared to do the work.

Nancy
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