From equipment to finding customers, just about every part of tattooing has changed in the past 10 years because of technology.
Artists who have adapted to technology have been able to speed up their work process to improve faster and do more tattoos. Artists who have not, however, have ended up falling behind in the industry.
This is why it’s so important for new tattoo artists to know what technology is out there for them - and how to use it.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down
What’s New in Tattooing: iPads, Machines, Marketing, and More
The following list will break down the biggest advances in tech that tattooing has seen in the past several years. We’ll also include resources to help you get started with that technology yourself.
iPad + Procreate
The Procreate App on the iPad is the biggest game changer tattooing has seen from technology. This is because it can save artists several hours of work each week.
Procreate makes it super easy to draw amazing designs fast without having to carry around a ton of art materials. You can easily show a client what a tattoo will look like on skin without having to pull out your watercolors and paint the design.
The iPad and Procreate have also been a big deal for coverup artists. Instead of trying to put a piece of tracing paper on the client, artists can put a picture of the tattoo they are covering up right into the iPad and design over it.
While stencil machines allowed artists to skip the process of making stencils by hand, Procreate has taken things a step further.
In the program, you can create perfect lines and shapes - which means your stencil will have perfect lines too.
Additionally, using an iPad makes it simple to resize a tattoo design. Instead of having to re-draw the design at a different size, you can quickly adjust it and print another.
Procreate is a great resource for artists. But if you’ve never done digital art before, it can come with a steep learning curve. If you need a quick crash course, check out this “Procreate Tips for Beginners” our instructor Brandon made:
Before social media, tattoo artists would have to wait for walk-in clients to get work. Overtime, as their work got better, those walk-in clients might come back and get more tattoos from that artist. However, building a client list and becoming an appointment-only artist this way took years.
Today, artists use Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and more to build a following, which makes it easier to reach more people and get more clients. Because those people are familiar with their work, they’ll become clients, even if they are a new artist without much experience.
Because of this, many new artists are getting popular online, which means they are getting the same type of clientele (and income) of much more experienced artists. Additionally, if they have followers across the country or worldwide, they can have work waiting on them whenever they want to travel.
Because of technology, “going viral” in a single day can lead to months of work and a stable career.
In the past, clients would have to come into the shop to book an appointment with their artist.
Today, you can connect your calendar to an online booking tool, and customers can book in with you without messaging back and forth trying to find a time that works.
You can also collect deposits online, and even have clients sign waivers electronically in the shop. These automated processes not only save you time, but it allows you to have all your documents in one place without having to keep a ton of papers around.
Rotaries and Pen Machines
For decades, coil machines were the only tattoo machines artists used. While some artists still prefer to use them, coil machines need a lot of tuning. To be able to use one properly, you need to be a bit of a machine builder on top of being an artist.
However, in the last ten years, rotary machines and pen machines have become incredibly popular. Instead of having to manually tune the machine, rotaries and pen machines have made it easy to get set up and start tattooing right away.
Additionally, because these machines are easier to use, they’re very beginner-friendly. This allows new artists to get to tattooing faster without having to worry about many settings.
If you want to try out a rotary/pen machine but aren’t sure which one to get, check out our Rotary Machine Reviews. We’ve tested out popular machines and rated them for how beginner-friendly they are.
Most artists today use cartridges and disposable grips while they tattoo. This saves artists hours of time. When they’re done with a tattoo, they can simply drop the used cartridges into a biohazard container.
Before cartridges were available, tattoo artists would have to clean their tubes before running an autoclave every night to sterilize them.
On top of that, many artists would have to solder their own needles. This is a dangerous and time-consuming process, and it’s no longer recommended that artists make their own needles.
Before artists could order supplies online, they’d have to order over the phone. Supply companies would send books of their products to tattoo shops, and artists would call in with a list of what they needed.
Today, online ordering has made this process much simpler. It’s also now much easier for beginners to get supplies if they aren’t learning in a traditional shop setting.
Even though it’s much easier to buy tattoo supplies online, there are tons of options. If you’re new to tattooing and you aren’t sure what to get, check out the video below:
Technology has made tattooing much more accessible. In the past, the only way to learn to tattoo was in a traditional apprenticeship. However, this meant that aspiring artists who couldn’t work fulltime in the shop had no way to learn.
Nowadays, artists are turning to online platforms to learn how to tattoo at home, on their own time.
Become a Tattoo Artist With the Artist Accelerator Program
Having a career in tattooing is not only fulfilling, but it’s also the most stable way to make a living as an artist. However, for decades, the process to become a tattoo artist has been notoriously difficult.
The apprenticeship process requires aspiring tattoo artists to work 50-60 hours a week without pay for 2-4 years. That, combined with the toxic culture of abusing apprentices, makes getting into the industry almost impossible for newcomers.
That’s why we created the Artist Accelerator Program. Our online course provides a simple, structured way of learning to tattoo that has been proven to work by over 2500 successful students, with many of them having gone on to open their own shops all around the world.
Inside the program, we’ll take you through every step of the tattooing process in 9 clear, easy-to-follow modules and support you along the way within the Tattooing 101 Mastermind online community.
In the Mastermind group, you’ll collaborate with other students, get answers to your questions, and receive personalized video feedback on your artwork and tattoos from professional tattoo artists. With this friendly community of both new and experienced tattoo artists, you’ll never be stuck again.
When you join the Artist Accelerator Program, you’ll have instant access to the full course and the Mastermind community, as well as our 30-Day Flash Challenge and recorded interviews with tattoo artists from all over the world.