How to Tattoo for Beginners - Tattooing 101 (2023)

If you’re new to tattooing, the amount of information about becoming a tattoo artist can be overwhelming.

However, unlike most art mediums, you can’t dive right in and “figure it out” as you go along because you could leave behind a bad tattoo, or worse, give someone a lifelong disease.

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This article will explain how to tattoo for beginners by breaking down:

  • The basics you need to know before you start tattooing people
  • How to get safe tattoo equipment
  • How to start tattooing for the first time

We’ll also give you some beginning advice you can apply right away in every aspect of tattooing - from creating designs to shading techniques to finding clients.

Table of Contents

How to Draw Tattoo Designs

Practicing on Fake Skin

Needle Depth





Getting the Right Tattooing Equipment

How Tattoo Artists Get Clients

Become a Professional Tattoo Artist with the Artist Accelerator Program

How to Draw Tattoo Designs

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If you want to be a tattoo artist the first thing you need to learn is how to draw. Your ability to draw is the “ceiling” of your potential as a tattoo artist. The better you are able to draw, the better you will be able to tattoo.

For some people, this is a natural skill. Others have to invest time into developing their drawing skills. Luckily, it’s possible to speed up the learning process if you follow these steps:


Pick One Style: Traditional or Realism.

If you want to learn fast, traditional tattoo designs and realism are both great beginner tattoos for new tattoo artists who want to sharpen their skills. Here’s why:


A lot of the time, what slows artists down is figuring out what to draw. With realism, you do not have this problem. You just have to copy a photograph.

Additionally, realism is a great style because it’s in demand. No matter where you are in the world, realism is one of tattooing’s most popular styles. If you can do realism, you can make a living anywhere in the world. As a beginner, stick with black and gray. You’ll only need to focus on the values of the image as opposed to trying to work with color on top of everything else.


Realism allows you to focus on the technical side of drawing (shading and correct tones) without having to learn other difficult drawing concepts (perspective and proportion). However, it’s a difficult style. You’ll need to nail realism on paper long before you touch human skin. It requires less creativity than coming up with your own designs - but your technique has to be perfect.

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Traditional tattoo designs are the easiest to draw, and it’s what most tattoo artists start off doing.

The cool thing about traditional is that lots of the design elements are repeated over and over in each tattoo. After drawing 50-100 or so traditional style tattoos you’ll learn how to draw stuff like ships, flames, water, flowers, and more.

Once you learn how to draw these elements, designing tattoos becomes a lot easier. You won’t need reference images because you’ll have muscle memory and experience to rely on. After that you’ll be able to knock out designs even faster, and it will get easier and easier.

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Whatever style you choose, stick with smaller designs at first. You’ll be able to draw them faster and learn quicker from mistakes. This will also prepare you for when you first start tattooing, as you’ll only be doing smaller designs at the beginning of your career.


When building a portfolio, most shop owners will want to see a variety of styles before giving you a tattoo apprenticeship.


Pick 1-3 Artists and Emulate their work

Find an experienced tattoo artist whose work you admire (Instagram is a great place for this). Try to replicate their tattoo designs without tracing. If you trace every design, you won’t learn a thing. However, when you replicate, you learn:

  • What good tattoos look like
  • How to draw designs that fit the shape of the body and flow with the muscles.
  • What “works” in a tattoo

As you continue to replicate the work of famous tattoo artists, you’ll pick up on these three things and start to naturally use them in your own designs later on. Picking these instincts up by studying an artist’s work will save you a ton of time. Why?

Reason 1: You Skip the Trial and Error

You don’t have to waste time trying to figure out what designs work in tattoos...and which ones just don’t. When you use practice drawing this way, you can leverage the decades of experience from other people and skip the trial and error of learning how to design tattoos on your own. You’ll quickly pick up what looks good on skin.

Reason 2: You Don’t Have to Make Up Your Own Designs

Emulating professional artists takes the creativity out of the process so you can draw more designs per day (no staring at the wall trying to think of a design). You’ll be able to produce more art, make more mistakes, and therefore learn much faster.


Do NOT put any of these drawings in your portfolio. Someone looking at your portfolio is not only looking at your drawing skills, but also your design skills. Passing off someone else’s design as your own is stealing. You only want to do this exercise for practice. When you get good, create your own designs and use them in your portfolio.


Pick One Medium

If you are trying to learn how to use watercolors, acrylic/oil paint, charcoal, digital, graphite and copic markers at the same time, you will spread your focus - too thin. It will take you much longer to reach competency in any one of them compared to if you just focused all your energy and effort into one. If you want to learn how to start tattooing fast and progress quickly, focus on one medium. Graphite pencils or iPad are what I would recommend starting with.

Practicing on Fake Skin

You should not practice tattooing on people. That’s what fake skin is for. Learning on practice skin massively reduces the amount of bad tattoos that you do in the beginning of your career. When you can do a smooth shade, pack color, and pull a clean line in a single pass without any blowouts then you are ready for real skin.

Practicing on fake skin also offers these additional benefits:

  • No consequence for failure. If you make a mistake, it doesn't matter
  • No risk of contaminating a person or yourself with AIDS or another blood-borne disease.
  • No bad reviews on Google from angry clients (a bad tattoo can ruin your reputation as a tattoo artist permanently and make it impossible to get new customers).
  • No messed up tattoos that you have to fix later.
  • No pressure (free to take risks).
  • You can try different techniques and see what works for you.
  • You can tattoo more frequently.

That last point is one of the most important parts of learning to tattoo. Friends and family, if they’re willing to get a tattoo, will not be available every day for you to practice. Additionally, when you first start, you’ll be giving them free tattoos, since most people will be doing you a favor by letting you practice on them. Because they won’t be placing deposits, they’ll often cancel/ reschedule, giving you fewer opportunities to improve.

When this happens and you’re only tattooing once or twice a week, it’s hard to get better. Even if you can see a mistake you made, you won’t be able to apply what you learned until the next week - or whenever you have another opportunity to tattoo. By then, you’ll forget what you learned and continue to make the same mistakes.

However, if you’re tattooing on practice skin several hours a day, you’ll improve quickly and form good habits. If you’re looking for a brand recommendation, Reelskin has high-quality practice skin.

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Cons to Fake Skin

The only cons when it comes to practicing on fake skin is that the texture is slightly different from human skin. Firstly, fake skin does not bleed like a client will. And secondly, the surface of fake skin is flat and very solid, so you don’t have to stretch the skin, which is something you’ll have to do with an actual client.

However, tattooing on fake skin is far better than leaving behind bad tattoos on others or deciding to simply watch videos. In tattooing, you learn by doing, and fake skin is the best way to get a feel for the craft before moving on to clients.

Needle Depth

“Needle depth” simply refers to how far into the skin the needle is going. Getting the right tattoo needle depth is important not only for preventing pain, blowouts, and scarring, but it’s also key to making sure the ink in the tattoo’s image is clear and will last.

To understand tattoo needle depth, you need to understand the skin’s construction. And while you don’t need to be an anatomy expert to be a tattoo artist, you do need to know the three layers of the skin:

  1. 1

    The epidermis, or the top layer.
  2. 2

    The dermis, which is the middle layer.
  3. 3

    The hypodermis (sometimes called subcutaneous tissue), which is a layer of fat.

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When you are tattooing, you need to put the ink in the middle layer of the skin.

  1. 1

    The top layer of the skin will push the ink out, and the tattoo will fade very quickly. One good sunburn can get rid of a tattoo that doesn’t have ink deep enough in the skin.

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  1. 2

    The middle layer is the sweet spot. Unlike the top layer, ink sits well in the dermis. And unlike the fat layer, ink in the dermis does not move.

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  1. 3

    The particles of the bottom fat layer are loose and liquidy. If tattoo ink is put in this layer, it will disperse. This is what causes “blowouts.”

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How to Tell if You Have the Right Needle Depth

Getting the right tattoo needle depth is something you have to get a “feel” for as a tattoo artist. If you’re tattooing a line, you’ll feel the vibration in your stretching hand that indicates you’ve hit the right depth in the skin. (This is sort of a “you’ll know it when you feel it” situation.)

Whether you have the right needle depth depends on what part of the body you are tattooing. For example, the skin on the shins is very different to skin on the arm or eyelid. Additionally, the skin’s thickness will be different for every person. But as a rule of thumb, you can expect men’s skin to be a little thicker than women’s skin. And the older someone is, the thinner their skin will be and the more gentle you will have to be.

Should You “Float the Needle” or “Ride the Tube”?

You can use two different methods to determine your needle depth.

Ride the Tube

This means pushing the tube all the way down on the skin. You can use this method to make it impossible for you to go too deep in the skin and get blowouts. However, riding the tube makes ink splurt from the tip of your machine, which makes it hard to see your stencil. And it causes more pain to the client since you are dragging the tip of the machine across a freshly tattooed line.

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Float the needle

“Floating the needle” means keeping the machine off the skin. The machine stroke will have to be long enough that you can get the right needle depth. (Sometimes this is called “hanging the needle” out of the tube.) While you do have to control the depth manually, no ink will spurt from the needle tip, and you can see your stencil, which allows you to tattoo more accurately. However, blowouts are possible if you’re not sure how to manually control the depth properly.

You must have a long enough stroke to be able to do this so that your needles fully retract into the cartridge/tip with each up and down cycle. If it does not, then you wont get good ink flow, and your lines will not come out solid. For more info on this check out our article on machine stroke.

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Many new artists “ride the tube” in the beginning. However, you should aim to “float the needle” later on, as it will give you more accuracy with your linework.


A big part of doing perfect lines is making sure your tattoo machine is angled correctly. The machine should be pointing toward where the line is going.

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Where the needle enters the skin will be just a little behind where the ink is actually going to be delivered. When you push the needle forward, the ink continues its forward motion too, leaving you with a crisp line. If you pull a line “across” or to the side, one side of the line will be sharp, and the other will be fuzzy because the ink is “blowing out” to the side of the line.

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A big part of lining is moving at the proper speed. To learn more about hand speed and machine voltage, check out our Tattoo Line Work Techniques article.

Use 3 Points of Contact

Like a tripod balances a camera, having three points of contact will keep your tattoo machine steady, which is especially important when pulling smoother lines..

Here is how to establish 3 points of contact:

  • Put the pinkie finger of your tattooing hand against the thumb of the stretching hand
  • Lock elbow in against your ribs or on massage table
  • Plant your wrist against table or tattoo chair

In this position, rather than move your hand to tattoo a line you want to keep your hand stiff, hinge at your elbow, and move your entire arm. This will help keep “wobbles” out of your lines.

Should you start off using thick or thin lines in your tattoos?

When picking the thickness of your liner needle (aka selecting your line weight), you’ll want to remember that the thicker the line, the easier it is to get straight. This is why many beginner tattoo artists practice tattooing the thick outlines of traditional-style tattoos first.

However, it’s harder to get the ink in the skin with a bigger needle. While this means fewer blowouts, it can also mean that it’s difficult to get a larger line into the skin with a single pass.

On the other hand, thinner lines are harder to keep straight. Any wobbles of the hand or machine are much more noticeable. But because there is less surface area on the tip of the needle, it is much easier to get into the skin to do a solid line. However, this is a double edged sword, because it makes it easier for you to go too deep in the skin, causing blowouts.

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When stretching the skin, stretch in the same direction of the line. If you stretch the skin in the opposite way, the skin will stretch unevenly and the line will come out looking wavy.


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When shading, you’ll usually use the whip shading and pendulum shading technique.


When you are shading with just black and gray, then you can have your needles a bit more shallow than what you would do if you were packing color. Also, curved mags and bugpin needles will help you gut much smoother shades than standard needles.

For more information read our comprehensive guide to shading and packing.

Mixing your own Gray Wash

Black and gray tattoos are easier than color tattoos because they rely only on shading (as opposed to shading and color). However, without the gray wash mixed at the right solutions, you can’t achieve those different values. If you want to make your own gray wash in individual caps, you can learn how in our Tattoo Shading Guide.

Note: Mixing your own gray wash will save you a ton of money. Just make sure that you wear gloves while mixing, your area is sterile, and that you do it over a sink.

If you want to make your own gray wash in large batches, you will need four sterile 50ml bottles, one in each of the following concentrations:

  1. 50mls black
  2. 5 mls black, 45 mls witch hazel
  3. 2.5 mls black, 47.5 mls of witch hazel
  4. 1.25mls black, 48.75 mls of witch hazel

If you want to buy premixed gray wash, all you have to do is put the ink in your ink caps, and you’re ready to go.

Note: Keep in mind gray wash heals 30% lighter. While shading tattoos, always do black and gray tattoos just a little darker than you think they should be.


Packing ink into the skin means making a solid fill on the skin. When you are packing, move the needle in a small, oval formation. Because tattoo needles contain multiple needle barbs, you want to avoid all the barbs lining up and cutting the skin. To avoid this, tilt the needle on an angle so the needles never line up when doing oval formations (see below).

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Packing Color

When packing color, tattoo dark colors first. 12-gauge needles work best for color because the individual needle barbs are thicker and space between the barbs is wider, which means you can pack more ink into the skin, faster. Additionally, you want your needles to be standard taper. Longer tapered needles pack less ink, slowing you down.

Note: You can go a bit deeper with packing than you can with shading.


When it comes to hygiene and sanitization in tattooing, there’s one rule to always remember: Pretend that everything has AIDS. Keeping this in mind will help go through the correct tattoo process and avoid cross-contamination.

A few other rules to keep in mind:

  1. 1

    Never touch a client’s skin without gloves.
  2. 2

    Wrap absolutely everything including the surface you’re tattooing on. Your machine and clip cords should be covered by a machine bag and a clip cord sleeve.
  3. 3

    Make sure that you have an actual tattoo station, and that it is wrapped and ready to go.
  4. 4

    Never reuse anything. If you do not have access to an autoclave, you should be using disposables.Boiling your tubes in hot water will not sterilize them.

  5. 5

    When you take a picture, make sure it’s on a wrapped surface...even if the tattoo is completely healed. When you post the image online, you won’t be there to explain that you did the tattoo on a wrapped surface. Viewers will only see the unwrapped surface and assume you’re tattooing in an unsanitary environment. Also make sure that when you take a photo the background is not dirty, looks unprofessional and will hurt your reputation. If you don’t have a good background, you can use clean paper towels.

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Distracting and unsanitary background.

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Empty background with good lighting that puts the focus on the tattoo.

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Empty background with good lighting that puts the focus on the tattoo.

Getting the Right Tattooing Equipment

No matter your skill level, if you use low-quality materials, you will make low-quality tattoos. Avoid buying a cheap machine off eBay or Amazon.

Tattoo Machine Recommendations

If you’re still trying to decide whether tattooing is right for you, there are a few tattoo machines that don’t ask for a huge investment. However, if tattooing is something you want to do for life, it’s worth buying a good tattoo machine. Some of our top picks include:

  • Inkjector fliter nano rotary tattoo machine
  • Cheyenne hawk rotary pen
  • Spektra edge x rotary tattoo machine

Find our full list of tattoo equipment recommendations in our article, “How Much Does it Cost to Become a Tattoo Artist?

How Tattoo Artists Get Clients

Many tattoo artists think the only way to attract more clients is to improve their tattooing skills. While having stellar art skills certainly helps, it is impossible for new tattoo artists to compete on skill alone with people who have 10+ years of experience. If you can only rely on being the best, you’ll struggle to get any traction in the tattoo industry for a long time.

The best way to become more competitive, even as a newer tattoo artist, is to market yourself.

A good tattoo artist knows that getting lots of clients relies on both their tattooing skills and their marketing skills. No one will know how great they are at tattooing if they don’t find a way to get the word out about their tattoos.

That’s why if you can sell your services better than an experienced artist, then you’ll have more clients and make more money:

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How to Market Yourself as a Tattoo Artist

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Here are 3 cheap, easy marketing tactics to get more tattoo business:

1. Build an Email List

Building an email list usually means giving something away for free in exchange for a person’s email address. For example, you could give away sketchbooks or digital prints for free in return for a potential client’s email address. Now that you have a long list of people you can contact whenever you want, you can simply send out an email when you have time open in your schedule for more clients.

Note: An email list is more reliable than only having social media. If your Instagram gets deleted or you get locked out, all of your contacts are lost. An email list, however, you can keep forever.

2. Build a Facebook Group

Starting a Facebook group allows you to build a brand and community of people who are constantly looking at your work and seeing your growth as a tattoo artist. There’s no competition in this space because you’re the only artist there, and you have a chance to build a relationship with the people in the group. You can continue to build trust by posting valuable content about how to care for their tattoos, beginner tips for members who are interested in tattooing, etc. The more your audience trusts you, the easier it will be to sell tattoos to them.

3. Building a Personal Website

Most tattoo artists only have an Instagram account. Building a website where potential clients can look at testimonials, Google reviews, and a gallery of your first tattoos will set you apart as a professional.

Putting a video introducing yourself on the homepage will help people feel like they know you, and using blog posts to rank higher in Google search will allow more people to find you...meaning lots of customers.

Learn more about growing a tattoo business with our Tattoo Business Marketing Guide.


When looking for a job in local shops, it’s beneficial to have a social media following. It shows the shop owner that you’ll be bringing customers into the tattoo studio regularly.

Become a Professional Tattoo Artist with the Artist Accelerator Program

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Learning how to become a tattoo artist is an important step in beginning your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist.

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits.

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos.

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

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  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community

get started


How do you practice tattooing for beginners? ›

  1. Draw constantly. ...
  2. Draw on contoured objects. ...
  3. Test your tattooist skills with a non-toxic marker and a friend. ...
  4. Train yourself in inking lines and tracing. ...
  5. Use a weighted pencil or pen to simulate the tattooing machine. ...
  6. Purchase a cheap tattoo machine for practice. ...
  7. Learn about the different kinds of tattoo machines.
Aug 24, 2018

Can I teach myself to tattoo? ›

It is possible to teach yourself how to tattoo but you need to put the hours in and practice as much as possible. Speak to reputable tattoo artists for their advice and understand exactly what is required to become successful. If you're committed and passionate about this career path, you will succeed.

What is a good way to practice tattooing? ›

Practice on fruit or pigskin

As we said, it's not uncommon for apprentices to practice on fruit at the beginning – the most popular fruits being oranges, grapefruit and sometimes bananas. Another alternative to human skin when you're practising tattooing is pig skin or 'practice skin'.

What is the easiest tattoo style to learn? ›

Blackwork tattoos are one of the easiest tattoo styles to recognize due to their intense boldness, and sole use of black ink. These tattoos rely on the skin to create depth and contrast within a composition, rather than shading.

What is the most realistic thing to practice tattooing on? ›

Apples, oranges, and other contoured items, like rocks, can simulate some of the difficulties you'll have tattooing various parts of the body. Seek out items that somewhat resemble body parts commonly tattooed, so that you're well prepared when someone requests a tattoo on a more curvaceous part of the body.

What skills should I learn before tattooing? ›

Wherever you're at in your learning process, there are three important things you need to know:
  • Bloodborne Pathogens. Training in bloodborne pathogens is crucial before getting into tattooing. ...
  • Cross-Contamination. ...
  • Equipment and Sterilization.
Jan 24, 2023

Can someone who can't draw learn to tattoo? ›

The difference between drawing and tattooing is the skin. Someone's skin may have abrasions or rough spots, and you have to hold the tattoo equipment steady over these areas. You don't need an art degree in order to get into a tattoo artist school. But it is a good idea to get a formal education in drawing.

How long does it usually take to learn how do you tattoo? ›

Becoming a tattoo artist takes between one and three years of apprenticing under a master tattooist. And that's time you will need to be working hard and also be working elsewhere to support yourself: Tattoo apprenticeships are earned and are unpaid internships. But ultimately, it's going to be so worth it.

Is it OK to be a self taught tattoo artist? ›

The tattoo apprenticeship process can make the same shift with proper elearning resources. Learning to tattoo online allows aspiring tattoo artists to grow independently and at their own pace, which leads to quality learning as opposed to a time-based commitment.

What not to do when tattooing yourself? ›

“You need to work on nonporous surfaces that you can easily disinfect,” says Osajima, who also cautions against tattooing yourself on any surfaces that can't be thoroughly disinfected first, like on a carpeted floor or couch. Speaking of disinfectant, not any random wipe or spray you have at home will work.

What is the hardest tattoo technique? ›

Realistic And Portraiture

The most difficult form of realism in tattooing is probably portraiture, because it requires the artist to capture both the likeness and character of a real person. Realistic tattoos can be created using colour, or in black and grey form.

What is the basic of tattooing? ›

There are four basic skills that every tattoo artist should master. You need to learn lining, shading, coloring, and lettering. You'll learn the basics of these skills in your tattoo course, but mastering them is up to your practice dedication. Of course, you'll need to find your own style too.

What should I tattoo first? ›

If you're worried about how you'll deal with the pain, it's good to test your first tattoo out on the legs or arms, where Brodsky says the pain can be less intense, especially if it's a fleshier part of your body.

What is the hardest part of being a tattoo artist? ›

In this article, we'll break down the most difficult parts of learning to tattoo, including:
  • Drawing for tattooing.
  • Finding high-quality materials and tuning your equipment.
  • Getting into a tattoo studio (and keeping a good work/life balance)

How do you know if you would be good at tattooing? ›

Good tattoo artists love to answer questions and provide comfort to their clients, from what kind of machines they use to what kind of ink they use to how long they've been at it and what they have a preference for doing. The look and presentation of the shop itself speaks volumes about the artists in the shop.

How hard is it to get good at tattooing? ›

It is relatively hard to become a tattoo artist.

Even if you have natural drawing ability, it does not automatically mean you will be good at tattooing. Tattoo artists often have to work for free initially to build a good portfolio of work. If you can get a paid apprenticeship from the start, consider yourself lucky.

How do you progress in tattooing? ›

How to Improve Your Tattoo Artist Skills
  1. Get inspired by other artists. Sometimes it helps to learn from others. ...
  2. Get inspired by surrounding. Look around you, there is so much more to see than you think. ...
  3. Try new techniques. ...
  4. Take art lessons or drawing workshop. ...
  5. Sign up for a tattoo training.
Sep 18, 2021

Is tattooing just tracing? ›

When a client selects the design they want tattooed, the artist will trace the image onto transfer paper (thin paper with an additional carbon sheet attached) or use a pen with stencil fluid on tracing paper.

Do all tattoo artists do handwriting tattoos? ›

Most tattoo artists will be able to scan handwritten text and replicate it exactly on the skin. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind when considering this tattoo style. 1. Size matters.

Am I too old to be a tattoo artist? ›


Changing careers and becoming a Tattoo Artist at any age is absolutely possible. A career as a Tatto Artist is not relegated to recent college grads who found out they hate their graphics design job at their cousin's “fashion” company.

Do you need steady hands to be a tattoo artist? ›

One of the most important qualities for a tattoo artist is having steady hands. If your hands shake when you're doing something as simple as writing your name, then tattooing is probably not for you.

Do tattoo artist like it when you let them do whatever? ›

Artists love it when you give them creative freedom but don't do it unless you really do want them to make all creative decisions. If you have something specific in mind, tell them. Don't tell the artist “you have complete freedom” and then come to the shop and make a lot of corrections.

Do you put Vaseline on while tattooing? ›

Vaseline is one of the world's most natural lubricants, and you'll find that most tattoo artists will use it on your skin during a tattoo session itself. Though most would also advise, it's unnecessary to use it in your aftercare process. Here's all you need to know about how and why we use it during your tattoo.

Do you put Vaseline on skin when tattooing? ›

Generally, there's no need for Vaseline on a new tattoo whatsoever. Once your bandages are off, you'll want to stay away from Vaseline during the healing process, too. You may be able to use Vaseline on a newer tattoo only after it's completely healed.

Do you wipe while tattooing? ›

Use the diluted mix of green soap and water as needed during tattooing process when wiping down the area. “This could be during a color change or simply to cool and clean the skin during long sessions,” says Charest. Clean and sanitize the skin with the green soap solution at the end of the process.

What tattoo takes 1 hour? ›

A small, simple quarter-sized tattoo could take an hour, where a large back piece could take seven or 10.

What is the hardest colour to tattoo? ›

While no other colour is as hard as white, a few of them can take more time. These include yellow, orange, red and fluorescent colours. Since some of these take too much time, many people opt for fading rather than complete removal.

What are the most overused tattoos? ›

Here Are 25 Tattoo Designs That — According To Tattoo Artists — Are Totally Overdone
  • The Deathly Hallows symbol. ...
  • Anchors — usually accompanied by the words "Don't sink." ...
  • Chemistry formulas. ...
  • Big cats in crowns. ...
  • Forests around people's arms. ...
  • The entire Bible. ...
  • Little sun/moon combos. ...
  • Palm trees.
Feb 15, 2020

Do you push or pull when tattooing? ›

Small Circles: Involves filling color into the tattoo using small concentric circles. The Push: Shoving the pigment into the skin in a single, fluid line with back and forth movements. The Pull: You'll pull the tattoo machine away from the tube tip to allow for a reduced amount of color into the skin.

How deep should a tattoo needle go? ›

A Tattoo needle penetrates 5 layers of the epidermis

That may sound like a lot of skin, but in reality it is only 1/16th of an inch, about 1-2mm. That's pretty tiny. It goes through five layers of the epidermis, through the dermal layer, and into the topmost layer of the dermis.

What not to do before tattoo? ›

Drink a lot of water during the week; avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours before getting tattooed. Please do not shave the area; we will do it for you at your appointment. Avoid aspirin or blood thinning medication at least 24 hours before your tattoo; ibuprofen, acetaminophen, & other NSAID pain relievers are OK.

Where should you not get your first tattoo? ›

"Tattoos on hands, fingers, knees, armpits, elbows, etc. often take longer to heal and they will often not last as long as tattoos in other places." An exception to the arm being one of the most ideal spots for a first tattoo is the underside of the upper arm, which is full of nerves — ouch!

Where not to get your first tattoo? ›

For your first tattoo, we suggest avoiding areas of the body that are bony or have more nerve endings, like the neck, elbows, ankles, hands, and feet. These areas have thin skin and a lot of nerve endings, making them a particularly ouchy spot to get inked.

What is the least a tattoo artist can make? ›

Tattoo artist salaries typically range between $24,000 and $108,000 a year. The average hourly rate for tattoo artists is $24.94 per hour.

Why do some tattoo artists hurt more? ›

Your tattoo artist plays a role

Another factor that can influence how much pain you feel is who your tattooer is. Some artists are more heavy-handed than others, making for a more painful experience. If you're sensitive to pain, ask the studio for a recommendation on a “gentle” tattoo artist.

When should you not get a tattoo? ›

If you have a medical problem such as heart disease, allergies, diabetes, skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, a weak immune system, or a bleeding problem, talk to your doctor before getting a tattoo. Also, if you get keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue) you probably should not get a tattoo.

What feels closest to a tattoo? ›

Tattoo artist JoJo Roman compares the sensation of getting a tattoo to the feeling of a constant cat scratch (all my cat people out there know what she means). Other people say getting a tattoo feels like someone is continually scratching a hot needle across your skin—because that's kinda what's happening.

Can I tattoo myself with no experience? ›

If you've never gotten a tattoo before, you should get it from a professional. But if you're looking to get into the art and practice on yourself, you can learn to do it safely and effectively. Learning to tattoo properly involves preparation, concentration, and safety. Learn how to get inking the right way.

Can you learn to tattoo at 30? ›


Maybe you found a job that allowed you to use your creative talent. Maybe you could use your drawing skills and extensive knowledge and training in the arts.

How hard is it to learn how do you tattoo? ›

It is relatively hard to become a tattoo artist.

Even if you have natural drawing ability, it does not automatically mean you will be good at tattooing. Tattoo artists often have to work for free initially to build a good portfolio of work. If you can get a paid apprenticeship from the start, consider yourself lucky.

What are the risks of tattooing yourself? ›

The risks of home tattooing

Getting any tattoo carries some health risks. However, performing your own tattoos puts you at greater risk of: contracting serious infectious diseases, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV. contracting severe skin infections, including bacterial infections such as 'golden staph'

What is the average age people get their first tattoo? ›

A closer look at the US data shows that 39% got their first tattoo between 15 and 19, and one in four went under the needle after they turned 30. A survey from Remember a Charity also found that 5% got their first tattoo after turning 60.

Do simple tattoos age well? ›

The more detailed the tattoo, the worse it'll age. That's a simple, unavoidable fact. Thin lines, shading, small words, and small tattoos all fade much more quickly. Some like the effects age has on their tattoo.

Can you tattoo an 80 year old? ›

If you never got that “Mom” tattoo because Mom called it an eyesore, you're in luck: You can still get a tattoo at age 80! However, there are a few factors about tattooing that seniors should keep in mind. Here are some things to consider before going under the needle.

Is it smart to tattoo yourself? ›

The risk of bacteria entering your punctured skin is too high. Then there is the fact that you're untrained in using a tattoo machine, and are sticking yourself of a vibrating needle over and over again, injecting foreign materials (ink) without the expert hand, eye, and knowledge of a professional.


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