How to Learn Tattoo Art

Tattooing is an ancient art that combines artistic vision and talent with precision skills. artists are called on to create everything from common motifs—called flash—to elaborate custom designs for clients. In this article, you’ll become a tattoo artist. Each state has its own guidelines and requirements for working as a tattoo artist, so be sure to check out the laws in your state before you get started.


Step 1
Become an apprentice. Serving an apprenticeship with an established tattoo artist is the most common and most widely accepted way of becoming a tattoo artist. Many states also require that tattoo artists have a certain number of hours as an apprentice completed before they are allowed to work as artists themselves. Visit tattoo shops in your area and get to know the artists there. Set up appointments with the artists to ask about opportunities for apprenticing. Take along a portfolio of your artwork, preferably drawings, to give the artist an idea of your capabilities and style. As an apprentice, you’ll learn not only how to create tattoos, but also about blood-borne diseases, sterilization of equipment and the proper care of new tattoos.

Step 2
Use training videos and books on to help you learn and understand techniques new to you. Some vendors of videos and books are listed in Resources below.

Step 3
Practice drawing in a variety of styles and scopes. Draw small designs, large designs and everything in between. Draw cartoon characters and flash-like designs. Draw elegant butterflies and wings. Draw anything you can think of being a tattoo. Work on your drawing skills on paper and practice transferring them to skin and practice skin.

Step 4
Practice tattooing your work on the practice material called Almost Skin. Look at tattoo art by other artists, and look at books of photographs of tattoos to help expand your imagination and give you ideas for your own future designs.

Step 5
Learn the machinery. Tattoo machines are delicate instruments that must be well maintained. Ask your mentor/employer to show you how to properly tune, clean and sterilize all of the machines and equipment used in the tattoo process.

Step 6
Keep your first aid, CPR and sterilization skills and knowledge up-to-date. Be a safe tattoo artist.

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