How to become a Tattooist. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Tattooist do?
Tattooists, also known as body artists, apply permanent images onto their clients’ bodies. They use needles and ink to draw images, symbols or words onto the skin.
As a tattooist your tasks would include:
- advising clients on suitable tattoos
- making sure that the chosen design is exactly what the client wants
- making sure that clients understand that tattooing is permanent
- placing the chosen design onto the customer’s skin, either by drawing freehand or using a transfer
- following the lines with an electrically-operated needle, which injects ink under the skin
- using different shapes and numbers of needles depending on the type of tattoo
- following strict hygiene and health and safety procedures
- keeping up to date with the latest fashions in tattoos.
You would usually work a five- or six-day week, including Saturdays. Some Tattooist would also work on Sundays especially if they are the owner of the shop.
Studio hours are usually 9am to 5pm, but you may schedule your work into short sessions during the day because of the level of concentration and attention to detail you need.
Your premises must be registered by the local environmental health department.
How much does a Tattooist earn?
Earnings will depend on your personal talent and ability, and the reputation of the studio.
- A trainee tattooist can earn around £15,000 a year.
- An experienced tattooist can earn from around £18,000.
- Earnings for those owning their own studio vary widely.
Figures are intended as a guideline only. You can never guess how much would a Tattooist earn a day.
It is usual to become a tattooist through an apprenticeship. You should approach local registered tattooists who may agree to take you on as a trainee. You will be expected to buy your own equipment and sterilising units.
You can get details of registered tattooists from the Tattoo Club of Great Britain or from the Environmental Health Department of your local council.
- Tattoo Club of Great Britain
You must be registered by your local Environmental Health Department – it is illegal to work as tattooist without being registered.
Training and Development
An apprenticeship can last between one and three years.
It can take about five years to become fully competent and able to carry out the various styles of tattooing.
The best way to learn this job is to work with someone who has been working as Tattoo specialist for a while. You can also attend to courses. Courses are online these days due to the COVID-19.
Skills and Knowledge
- a flair for design
- excellent attention to detail
- good hand-eye co-ordination and a steady hand
- high standards of cleanliness and constant awareness of the need for hygiene
- a knowledge of health and safety
- good communication and customer service skills.
You could work as a tattooist in tattoo studios around the UK. Some of these are part of beauty salons offering other similar services such as body piercing.
Once you have experience as a tattooist you could become self-employed.
Tattoo shops are classed as none essential so they are not open at the moment due to the pandemic. They haven’t been open nearly for whole year in 2020. Due to the nature of the business it’s not very easy to let those shops open during the pandemic.