Tattoo Artist

Ink all sorts of designs onto skin.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$29,000 – $98,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Tattoo Artists do?

A Tattoo Artist creates images on human flesh using permanent ink. This is more than a job—it is a sub-culture of which you should already be a fan before choosing to pursue a career as a Tattoo Artist. In fact, you probably already have a few tattoos sprinkled across your body, none of which are a small heart on your foot.

Sketching on skin is different than sketching on paper. For one, you really, really shouldn’t mess up. For a second, safety and sterilization are huge issues that, as a Tattoo Artist, you must prioritize at all times.

But if you like tattoos, this could be a great use of your artistic talent. Given that you practice your art on peoples’ bodies, it is not unreasonable that they expect to tell you what to draw. However as time goes on and your reputation grows, you will gain some creative leeway in working with your clients to create a shared vision.

Sometimes clients come in with a drawing they want you to replicate, while other times they ask for a dragon and expect you to do the rest. But whether someone gives you complete artistic freedom or none at all, you create the lasting memento they want to keep with them. And what better compliment to your art can be given than to have someone wear it on their shoulder everyday for the rest of their life.

Should I be a Tattoo Artist?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Jagger, Tattooer, Tattooist

    How to become a Tattoo Artist

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Tattoo Artist-related education!
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