The world of tattooing is a competitive one, and in order to be successful, you need to have passion and be willing to work hard.
There are a number of skills that you can learn, from basic ability to use a tattoo machine to understanding the business end of things.
But, there are some traits that will improve your chances of making tattooing into a career…
Tattoo Trait #1: Artistic Ability
Whether or not artistic talent can be taught has been debated for a long time. There’s no doubt, however, that certain skills and techniques can be learned in order to improve whatever abilities you already have.
Those who are most likely to succeed in tattooing are the people who love art and view tattooing as their medium. Just as some people choose oil and canvas to paint, the tattoo artist chooses ink and skin. The client’s main concern is going to be what the final tattoo looks like, and those with artistic ability have a better likelihood of having a nice outcome. (As long as the artist is also comfortable and experienced using the tools of the trade to translate the image into a tattoo.)
Tattoo Trait #2: Attention to Detail
Attention to detail might not seem like the most exciting trait needed to become a successful tattoo artist, but it is one of the most important. Tattooing is very exacting work. You must listen carefully to clients’ ideas in order to turn them into pieces of art that fit their desires. The tattoo machine is made of many tiny parts that have to be used and maintained continually. Tattooing also requires a thorough knowledge of safety procedures and strict adherence to laws and regulations put in place to keep both artists and customers safe.
Tattoo Trait #3: Curiosity
The tattooing industry changes all the time. New tools and techniques are developed that advance both the art and science of tattooing. Trends change, as well, with styles going in and out of fashion. Keeping up with these changes and advances makes for a better, and more successful, tattoo artist. Fortunately, there are lots of trade magazines that you can read to keep up on what’s happening in the industry, and trade shows and conventions are not only educational, but also a lot of fun. Someone with innate curiosity will have fund staying informed and continue to become a better and better artist.
Tattoo Trait #4: Work Ethic
Tattoo artists work very hard. While there may be a perception that their days don’t start until noon and their nights are full of parties, this is not a true representation of how hard tattoo artists really do work. The truth is that they often work into the evening, they must find their own clients, and they have to continue to develop new skills and keep up with the industry.
And that’s AFTER they become professionals. The path to becoming a tattoo artist is full of challenges and hard work. From learning how to hold the tattoo machine to becoming skilled at sweep shading, every step of the process takes practice, practice, practice! Add to that the likelihood that you’ll be doing a lot of the “grunt” work during your apprenticeship, and you can see why having a strong work ethic is an important trait for someone who wants to become a tattoo artist.
Tattoo Trait #5: Adaptability
Being a successful tattoo artist requires the ability to work with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. And, generally speaking, you’ll be doing it amongst a group of people who already have some pretty set ideas and opinions. While it can be a bit frustrating, it also provides great insight into the industry. Because tattoo artists are often big proponents of their way of doing things, you get to hear the pros and cons of everything, therefore eventually coming to your own conclusions.
Along those same lines, clients will have all different kinds of ideas about what they want, where they want it, and everything else regarding their tattoos. While you will be the professional who will guide them to the best of your abilities, you will still need to be flexible enough to give them the experience they’re looking for with an outcome that reflects well on you.