How can I become a Tattoo Artist fast? Skills, Tools, Training & Salary

Tattoos are a work of art and reveal beauty when done with finesse. We usually only celebrate the design and never shine the spotlight on the designer. For this cause, we have designed to spotlight these heroes by showing you how to become a tattoo artist.

In this article, we will reveal how to become a tattoo artist, the tools they use, and the money they earn, to name a few.

The designs created by tattoo artists are esoteric as they capture beautiful moments in drawings. Specifically, I remember a drawing of Manchester City player Kun Aguero celebrating after he scored the goal that gave the club their first EPL trophy in decades.

Who is a Tattoo Artist?

A tattoo artist is simply someone who specializes in applying permanent decorative tattoos on the human body.

These decorations are specifically carried out in a place known as a tattoo studio. Contrarily, some people refer to it as a tattoo parlor or a tattoo shop.

Whichever name you call it, it remains the place where some of the most beautiful designs have been created, as depicted in the image above.

What do Tattoo artists do?

Again, tattoo artists are individuals who make beautiful designs using patterned instruments.

Their designs are carved so that they are illuminating and aesthetic. Therefore, tattoo artists must help individuals capture the best moments of their lives in drawings.

In conclusion, now you understand what they do; you may want to know how you can become a tattoo artist yourself. However, before that, let’s acquaint you with the tools used by a tattoo artist.

What are the tools used by a Tattoo artist?

Most of the tools tattoo artists used for their trade have gone extinct, while some remain. A machine such as the traditional machine has not changed from its original design.

However, as new machine designs evolve, powered tools such as rotary and pneumatic tattoo machines have paved the way in the industry. A professional artist may also use many diverse sets of needles such as round liner needles, flat shaders, and magnum needles.

The number of needles that get attached to the needle bar changes as more needles come. For instance, a large magnum needle group ranges from 15 to 55 hands on a bar.

An artist is expected to possess these basic work tools. Every other work tool at the artist’s disposal is as different as each tattoo. Furthermore, some of his basic tools include the tattoo machine, power supply, clip cord, foot pedal, grip, tips, grip stem, needles, and tattoo ink.

In countries such as the UK, the equipment can only be sold to registered studios that are provided a certificate by their local environmental health department.

How much does a Tattoo artist make?

As expected, tattoo artists don’t make pennies from the beautiful and hard work that they execute.

According to, tattoo artists earn as much as $107,318 per year from their craft. In addition, these earnings are exclusive of bonuses from lucrative deals and partnerships with individual brands and companies.

Of course, you might be surprised that this much is coming from just a little shop/studio so let’s get a view of what a tattoo studio looks like.

What does a Tattoo studio look like?

You might probably think a tattoo studio is a dark room with little light and rock music playing loudly. This is very contrasting to what a tattoo studio looks like today.

Notably, the picture below depicts a tattoo studio owned by Dragons Forge in the U.K.

How long does it take to become a tattoo artist?

If you want to venture into the field as a tattoo artist, you need to ready for the long ride. In essence, it takes as many as six years to become a professional artist.

The first few years will be spent learning the laws that guard sanitation and effective studio management. In addition, the other years will be spent understanding the basics behind tattoo designs and how to conceptualize them.

Indeed, you might say it’s a long time, but you should understand that it has a fulfilling reward at the end.

How can I become a Tattoo artist?

If you want to truly know how to become a tattoo artist fast, then get ready to be shocked.

Interestingly, I can advise you to enroll in a school of art where you learn the basics of arts from another understanding. Moreso, you understand art history and the perspective behind the art. However, this will be a long shot and take you more energy, time and money.

If you wish to enjoy a booming career, you must go for an apprenticeship. In apprenticeship, you’re open to first-hand training and learning by experienced artists. In addition, a lot of these senior artists, through experience have learned a lot of tricks that you could quickly learn in a short time frame.

Therefore, quit thinking that an academic environment will give you what you need; instead, learn from the field by observation and practice.

How do I become a licensed Tatoo artist?

If you wish to enjoy a stellar career as a licensed artist, you must take certain measures.

Firstly, you need to undergo an apprenticeship for several years. Secondly, you must start practicing actively and possess real design innovation. Finally, you must have a studio or work in a studio that has passed standardized regulations.

Conclusively, after you must have fit all the stated requirements, then you can be given a license to practice professionally.

How do I become a Makeup Tattoo artist?

Makeup tattoo artists are also referred to as permanent makeup artists. Similarly, they perform the same duties as tattoo artists, with just an exception.

The difference between them is that permanent makeup artists inject pigments under the skin to tone the skin permanently, while tattoo artists create designs on top of the skin.

Therefore, to enjoy a career path as a makeup tattoo artist, you must fit certain requirements.

These requirements include:

As a worker dealing with blood, you must take this safety training.

Therefore, the training aims to acquire you with the best knowledge on safely handling infectious materials.

Furthermore, you get to understand waste disposal methods and handwashing practices.

As stated earlier, apprenticeship is the fastest way to become a tattoo artist and scale in your career. Some states require a certification that proves you underwent professional training.

Therefore, these apprenticeship programs allow the student to have supervised practical lessons. In addition, you can step ahead as you learn from more experienced tattoo artists.

When dealing with needles, mistakes are likely to happen, which results in injuries. However these injuries come, they need to be treated before further diagnosis by a medical professional.

A safety and first aid training will allow learning how to apply first aid to injuries together with best safety practices. In essence, these safety practices help you learn how to apply safety rules in your workspace to curb mishaps.

As a makeup artist, you must go for state licensing after meeting the requirements.

To be given a license, these candidates must pass the licensing exam. The exam tests your knowledge of sanitation, and safety techniques in conjunction with rules and regulations.

As a makeup tattoo artist, the Society of Permanent Cosmetics Professionals administers the governing body.

This body prepares a certification exam that you can take after completing your pathogens course. Therefore, passing this exam helps you obtain a certificate from the association.

Can I become a Tattoo Artist without Apprenticeship?

I believe you might want to hear a yes as a response to this question. Well, you can become a tattoo artist without undergoing an apprenticeship.

If you want to escape entrepreneurship, you must be trained in an art school. In that case, there are a host of art schools which can educate you and improve your art skills.

Therefore, if you wish to follow this pathway to further your career, we can reveal to you the best art schools you can attend.

How can I scale higher in my career as a Tattoo artist?

Everyone wants to start from somewhere, and nobody wants to remain where they started. Moreover, moving up the ranks in this career connotes increased pay, flexibility, and fulfillment.

Therefore, if you wish to improve yourself in your expertise, you need to;

  • Diversify
  • Attend Training and Mentoring Programs
  • Advertise

When you diversify, you’re more open to more opportunities, which translate into more clients and experience.

You can decide to learn better art styles and features so you can improve your designs.

Training and mentoring programs are an opportunity to be in sync with the latest models used in the trade.

When you attend this training, you get connected to more experienced folks who can spur you ahead in your career.

A lot of folks don’t see the need to advertise. Funnily enough, most of them see it as not being very necessary, and they get cheated.

Advertising is a big way of exposing your brand to people who need your service and don’t know you exist.

What are the Best Schools to Study Art?

Art schools train students to see deeper concepts in the world of Art. Therefore, according to, seven art schools have been listed as the best in structure, learning, and development.

They include;

7. Aalto University

Tuition: $13,291.80 per year

Aalto University was instituted in 2010 to merge three Finnish universities: the Helsinki University of Technology, the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and the Helsinki School of Economics.

However, the University of Art and Design Helsinki was founded in 1871, before the merger. Currently, it holds the record of being the largest university in the Nordic countries.

Conclusively, QS Global World Ranking ranks Aalto University at the 134th position in the world.

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6. Politecnico di Milano

Tuition: $4,127.48 per year

Founded in 1883, it remains the largest technical university in Italy, with about 42,000 students.

As expected, this institution offers undergraduate, graduate, and higher education engineering, architecture, and design courses.

Interestingly, a limited number of students are admitted to the Design School every year. Again, the selection is based on a national test administered by the Ministry of Education.

According to the QS World University Rankings, the university is ranked as 149th overall in the world. In addition, it is ranked 6th for Design and 11th for Architecture according to the field of study.

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5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tuition: $17,800 per year

MIT, which is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a private research university founded in 1861. This university has played a key role in developing diverse aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. Furthermore, it is widely known for its innovation and academic strength.

The School of Architecture and Planning is responsible for most of the structures in the institution. Notably, innovation has kept this University at the helm of great universities.

MIT is ranked #1 QS Global World Ranking because of its excellence.

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4. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Tuition: $51,800 per year

This is a private art and design college with an immersive model of art and design education. Therefore, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) teaches practical and studio-based learning.

Essentially, this school has a graduation rate of 87% and an acceptance rate of 34% which shows promise.

U.S. News & World Report ranked RISD first among Fine Arts programs, above Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Additionally, in 2019 RISD was ranked 4th by the QS World University Rankings amongst Art & Design programs.

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3. Parsons School of Design

Tuition: $25,230 per year

This art and design college offers advertising, interior design, and graphic design programs.

Historically, it is presumed to be the first of its kind in the country. A host of the schools include;

  • School of Art and Design History and Theory
  • The School of Art, Media, and Technology
  • School of Constructed Environments,
  • School of Design Strategies: Cities, Services, Ecosystems.

Meanwhile, it was ranked third by QS WUR and remained a great place to be if you seek to learn how to become a tattoo artist.

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2. University of the Arts

Tuition: $11,950.77 per year

This university specializes in arts, design, fashion, and the performing arts. Therefore, six colleges help in the training and education of young minds.

Consequently, this college is part of an affiliation system with two other colleges. Moreso, students from these colleges get to learn in the three colleges.

As expected, this university ranked 2nd in the world for Art and Design according to the QS Rankings®.

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1. Royal College of Art

Tuition: $24,297.97 per year

This a public research university that offers postgraduate degrees in art and design.

Although it has an acceptance rate of 27.2%, it still ranks as the best art school.

RCA was placed first in the art and design subject area in the QS World University Rankings.

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Is it hard being a tattoo artist?

These positions are very competitive and challenging to get. A tattoo artist often needs several years of commitment and effort to succeed. Due to their continual bending over and use of their arm for tattooing, many tattoo artists also suffer from a lot of physical problems, including arm, neck, and back discomfort.

What skills do tattoo artists need?

Requirements for tattoo artists:
State-issued tattoo license or a high school diploma or GED.
Certificate for Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP).
CPR instruction.
A nicely laid out portfolio.
Proven track record of tattooing in a shop.
Outstanding communication abilities.
Excellent interpersonal skills.

What does a beginner tattoo artist need?

Every Tattoo Artist Needs These Supplies:
Needles for tattoos. There are five basic varieties of tattoo needles: turbo, shader, flat, round, and magnum… Grips, Tubes, and Tips. Don’t take the chance of dropping your rifle while working. Transfer paper. Barrier Gel. Tattoo ink and ink cups. Tattoo machines. Sterilization tools and medical supplies.


Essentially, you should undergo an apprenticeship to build your career as a tattoo artist.

Generally, you should be able to take up programs and courses in your career to help you do better.

Conclusively, you decide to make it if you venture into this path.


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