As the experts in laser tattoo removal we’ve gained some serious wisdom over the course of 18,000 treatments. We’ve seen the safest and finest examples of tattoo art, and we’ve seen the other end of the spectrum too.
Embarking on a journey to become a tattoo artist is both exciting and rewarding. Whether you're an aspiring artist or someone passionate about the world of tattoos, there’s no better way to become an expert in the world of tattoos than by listening to the advice of tattoo removers.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to kickstart your career as a tattoo artist, paying special attention to what makes for a safe, good quality, and removable tattoo design.
Gain a strong understanding of tattooing:
Research is key. Study the history of tattooing, different styles, and techniques. Familiarise yourself with the tools of the trade, such as tattoo machines, needles, and inks. Attend tattoo conventions, visit reputable studios, and observe experienced artists to gain insights into the industry.
The inks part is especially important. One of the crucial factors when removing tattoos is the quality of the ink used. If you want to safely tattoo people it is important to follow all of the guidance on safe tattoo inks, avoiding dangerous compounds and low-quality inks.
Build a diverse portfolio:
Assemble a portfolio that demonstrates your skills and versatility. Include drawings, paintings, and any other relevant artwork. Tailor your portfolio to showcase your proficiency in the style you wish to specialise in, whether it's traditional, neo-traditional, realism, or another style.
“Now artists are starting to specialise in certain styles and they put more thought into the artistry rather than just taking people’s money,” tattoo artist Magdalena Dekundy told NAAMA.
Securing an apprenticeship is a crucial step in becoming a tattoo artist. Look for reputable tattoo studios with experienced artists willing to mentor. During your apprenticeship, you'll learn about hygiene, client interactions, and the practical aspects of tattooing. Be prepared to start with basic tasks like cleaning equipment and observing the process before gradually advancing to hands-on experience.
Study tattoo safety and hygiene:
Safety is paramount in the tattoo industry. Familiarise yourself with sterilisation procedures, proper disposal of materials, and maintaining a clean workspace. This not only ensures the safety of your clients but also establishes your professionalism as an artist.
Networking and Building a Reputation:
At NAAMA we partner with some great tattoo artists.
Attend industry events, connect with other artists, and actively participate in the tattoo community. Building a positive reputation is crucial for attracting clients. Utilise social media platforms to showcase your work, engage with potential clients, and network with other artists.
Obtain necessary certifications:
Depending on your location, there may be specific certifications or licenses required to practice tattooing professionally. Research local regulations and ensure that you comply with all legal requirements.
Continuous learning and improvement:
The world of tattooing is dynamic and ever-evolving. Stay updated on industry trends, new techniques, and emerging styles. Attend workshops, take additional courses, and never stop learning to refine your craft.
Handle criticism gracefully:
Accept constructive criticism with an open mind. Every artist, regardless of experience, has room for improvement. Use feedback as a tool for growth and refinement of your craft.
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Other tattoo removers "are still holding on to the materials and equipment that they’ve had for like ten years… I’m picky, I’ve done my homework.”
Becoming a tattoo artist is a journey that requires dedication, artistic talent, and a commitment to continuous improvement. In a world where tattoos are no longer permanent, it’s best to get involved with the removers early on to find out how tattoo removal has changed the industry.
By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to establishing yourself as a skilled and reputable tattoo artist. Remember, patience and perseverance are key as you navigate the path to turning your passion for art into a fulfilling career in the world of tattoos. So too is speaking to the people who remove tattoos. While you will typically be at the start of a person’s journey with tattoos, we are more likely to be at the other end.
For trends in breakthrough laser tattoo removal technology, here are NAAMA's top FAQs.