How To Become a Tattoo Artist In 13 Easy Steps

Learning how to become a tattoo artist is important for most of us, but the true challenge here is...

Tattooing For Beginners: 9 Simple Steps

All of us that are passionate about tattooing for beginners want to know how to tattoo fast and easy....

The 4 Secrets to a Successful Tattoo Business

For many tattoo artist, owning a shop is a dream-come-true.  But, owning a business is about more than simply...
Tattoo Instruction
How To Become a Tattoo Artist In 13 Easy Steps
Tattoo Instruction
Tattooing For Beginners: 9 Simple Steps
Tattoo Business
The 4 Secrets to a Successful Tattoo Business
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About Tattooing101.com…

Tattooing101.com is simply about the art and process of tattooing…

This includes not only the process of tattooing, but also about what it takes to become a tattoo artist the right and safe way. Before anyone can become a tattoo artist, a good understanding and background knowledge of the process, the equipment and safety procedure is vital. On this website, we will cover various aspects on the subject of tattooing from techniques, to equipment, to tattoo flash, even to tattoo dating.

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At Bulldog Tattoo Supply we strive to bring you the best products, while staying within you budget. We just want to make sure you’re setting out on the right foot.

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Tattoo Business

The 4 Secrets to a Successful Tattoo Business

Tattoo BusinessFor many tattoo artist, owning a shop is a dream-come-true.  But, owning a business is about more than simply finding an empty building and moving in.

The successful tattoo business owner has to wear a lot of hats to keep everything running smoothly.

Here are five secrets to use in setting up a successful tattoo business…

Secret #1 – Location Really Is Everything

You often hear people talk about how the three most important aspects of real estate are location, location, and location.  While that may be a bit simplistic, it is still kind of accurate.  Choosing the location for a tattoo shop can absolutely make or break the business.  There are few guidelines to keep in mind when choosing your location.  For one, you want to consider your clientele and make yourself available in areas where they are.  If you want to tattoo soccer moms or college co-eds, you might choose to have a space near other retail outlets.  If you are looking for a rowdier crowd, maybe head toward a rougher part of town.  No matter where you’re setting up, though, you want to know that the population can handle another tattoo shop.  Being the best at what you do will certainly help, but if there are just too many shops in a small area, all of the tattoo businesses will suffer, with the newer ones potentially going under first.

Secret #2 – Write a Business Plan

If you’re looking for outside funding (say, from a bank), then a business plan may be a necessity.  Even if it isn’t, though, any new business owner should consider creating one before opening the doors.  Creating a business plan forces you to consider aspects of the business that may have never occurred to you otherwise, and being prepared for them puts you at an incredible advantage down the road.  There are fewer surprises, for sure, but the process also allows you to envision where you want the business to go and to create a sort of road map for how to get there.  Once the business plan is written, you can use it to guide your decision-making process, keeping in mind that it’s not written in stone and you can revise and alter it when appropriate.

Secret #3 – Treat Your Business Like a Business

Face it, one of the best reasons to start a business is so that you can do things the way you want and so you can enjoy the experience.  One way to do this is by surrounding yourself with people you like.  This is great and can create an awesome atmosphere in the shop.  On the other hand, it can be a business owner’s downfall.  Working with your friends is great, but having your friends slack off while you pay the bills is not so cool.  Be sure that everyone is aware of the policies of the shop and that when you bring in artists and other staff members they know that they are not above following the rules.  More than one friendship has been  torn apart by a business relationship, so rather than risking both, it makes sense to have contracts in place and expect everyone to abide by them.

Secret #4 – You Can’t (Shouldn’t) Do It All

A business owner is kind of like a juggler with dozens of balls in the air at a time.  There’s payroll to make and rent to pay and distributors to meet with and health inspections to pass.  Oh, and working with customers and actually doing some art, too.  How can one person do it all?  The answer is that one person probably shouldn’t do it all.  There will be areas in which the business owner really excels.  On the other hand, there are areas that really should have professional attention.  For example, the contracts mentioned above should really be created by a transactional lawyer.  It’s very likely worthwhile to hire a part-time bookkeeper rather than to try and do all the accounting yourself.  You may also want to work with a marketing company to develop a strategy for bringing in customers and keeping your artists busy.  The best approach is to determine which things you’re good at, as well as which things you enjoy, and then bring in the “big guns” for the other tasks.

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Tattoo History

A Brief History of Tattooing

Tattoo History

Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

Tattooing is an art form that has existed for thousands of years in cultures around the globe.  It’s likely that different groups of people independently discovered the ability to make permanent marks upon the skin, and many chose to incorporate this into their own cultures.  Still others were likely introduced to the concept of tattooing when they visited new lands or were host to travelers themselves.

The acceptance of tattoos has also been fairly dependent upon cultures.  In many Western countries, tattoos were considered to be low-class, while other cultures viewed them as signs of status.  The background of why different groups view tattoos differently is a complex one that is informed by religion, history, and the use of the tattoos themselves.

Prehistoric Tattoos

Obviously, there are no written records of the practices of pre-historic humans.  After all, that’s why it’s “pre-historic.”  So, we don’t really know what went on as far as tattooing during this time.  We do get a little glimpse into pre-history, however, with the discovery of a five-thousand-year-old frozen human.  Scientists refer to him as “Ozti the Iceman”, and his body was discovered frozen in the Alps.;  Ozti was covered in tattoos!

There is evidence that tattooing may be even older than this man from the Bronze Age, though.  There are some clay statues in Japan that are thought to be about ten thousand years old.  These figures are of humans, and the marks on their bodies seem to indicate that at least some people from that time wore tattoos.

Really, Really Old Tattoos

Without necessarily drawing the line between “history” and “prehistory,” there are other examples of really, really old cultures that incorporated tattooing.  Bodies of Siberians from nearly 2,500 years ago have been found with tattoos depicting animals.  Remains from North America have also been found that show tattoos from approximately 1,500 years ago.

Even older tattoos can be found when one looks at mummies from both Egypt and South America.  Female mummies from Egypt have been found with tattoos on the thighs and stomach, leading archaeologists to theorize they were fertility symbols.  South American mummies dating back 3,000 years have been found with animals depicted in their skin.

Tattoos for Punishment, Possession, and Prisoners

Perhaps part of the reason that such a stigma was placed upon tattoos is the fact that they were often used as a form of punishment in various cultures.  (Interestingly, the Latin word for tattoo was “stigma.”)  Tattoos were commonly used to mark slaves, a practice that stretches back into Greek and Roman times, and were also used to punish criminals.  Those caught stealing, for example, might be forcibly tattooed so that others would be able to identify them as thieves.

The practice of tattooing for these purposes became less commonly practiced in the Western world with a decree from the Roman Emperor Constantine when he adopted Christianity as the official religion of his empire.  More than 450 years later, Pope Hadrian I prohibited any tattooing at all.

A more modern example of the use of tattoos that has further added stigma is their complex history with prisoners of all types.  Particularly disturbing is the image of Holocaust prisoners who were tattooed with identification numbers on their wrists.  Not all prisoners come by their tattoos by force, however.  “Jailhouse” tattoos are quite common, with varying levels of quality.  There’s a whole cultural aspect to tattoos within the prison system, with different designs representing crimes and punishments.

Growing Acceptance in the US

In large part due to the prevalence of Christianity in the US, tattooing was not looked upon favorably for a very long time.  There were people who broke with tradition and got ink anyway, and many of them were soldiers and sailors who chose tattoos as permanent reminders of those back home, as well as of their experiences in the armed services.  Rather surprisingly, Christian symbols (along with patriotic images) were particularly popular.

It wasn’t until the 1890s, however, that a more accessible method of tattooing (the tattoo machine) was created.  It suddenly became much easier and desirable to get ink.  Tattooing still had a long way to go before it gained more acceptance, and for a long time it was still viewed as low-class, with connections to gang and prison life.

That is not the case today, however.  Everyone from soccer moms to celebrities now sport tattoos.  One estimate says that almost 40% of Americans under forty have a tattoo.  This is great news for the aspiring tattoo artist and goes to show how the acceptance of this art form has grown incredibly in the last few decades.

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Tattoo Artist Tips

5 Traits of a Successful Tattoo Artist

Tattoo ArtistThe 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.

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