Tattooists design and apply permanent artwork to peoples' skin, based on their customers' requests. The tattoos may be those of your own design, or you may be working from reference material or from a set of tattoo designs offered by the studio or an idea described or illustrated by a customer.
Day to day activities may include:
- Greeting customers and making them feel at ease as well as general studio opening, closing and administration tasks
- Ensuring equipment is sterile and adhering to strict health, safety and hygiene procedures
- Talking with clients about their ideas and requests - then advising them on cost, length of procedure and general suitability
- Potentially creating designs based on customer requests or selecting suitable solutions from existing portfolios
- Applying the chosen design template onto the client's skin, either by using a transfer or by drawing freehand
- Applying the tattoo itself by following the design using an electrically-operated needle. (This injects ink under the skin)
- Dressing and bandaging the tattood area following the procedure and advising the client on aftercare
You will likely 'rent' a chair in a studio - initially for an existing business - though ultimately may want to setup your own business as part of your career progression. You may wish to expand your skillet by training to offer other types of body modification, such as piercing.
There are no formal education or training requirements, but you must be familiar with industry safety and best practices. You will need to gain experience, likely starting as a trainee or apprentice for an existing studio and learning the basics of the profession and demonstrating your understanding of the equipment and practical skills before first beginning with small pieces of work with actual clients. You can access courses (at cost) from commercial training providers based on your level of skill and experience that may help you access or advance in this career.
You'll need A tattoo, piercing and electrolysis licence from your local council (For yourself and your premises if applicable) and must be vaccinated against hepatitis B. You must be aware of basic health and safety principles, have had basic first aid instruction and be aware of other relevant precautions related to bloodborne diseases.
- An interest in tattooing and the industry as a whole
- A portfolio of artwork to demonstrate your skills and ideas. Initially this will be drawn, painted or produced on a computer package but will need to grow to include examples of work on real customers
- Artistic talent in both design and application
- Knowledge and experience of industry techniques, best and safe practices
- Practical skills with the tools of the trade
- A good level of concentration, patience and the ability to work very accurately
- Good listening skills to understand the your client's requirements
- Good verbal communication skills to explain your ideas, proposed solution and any further important information to the customer