It may seem a little grandiose to talk about “the art of tattooing,” but when you are truly familiar with what goes into being a professional tattooist, you recognize that there is good reason these men and women are called tattoo artists. It takes both natural talent and the drive to perfect skills in order to develop into a true tattoo artist.

While the art of tattooing is certainly unique in the overall art world, many of the fundamentals are the same. Studying the basics of drawing, painting, illustration, and other forms of visual art are a great way to build the skills needed to become a successful tattoo artist.

Most people actually start out by simply recognizing that they have both a knack for and an interest in creating art on paper. Maybe an aspiring tattoo artist has always been a doodler and eventually decided to take that hobby to the next level.

Personal Drive
Formal training is certainly not the only way to become skilled. Simply being diligent about practicing can be more important than any college class for someone who is dedicated and is able to develop his or her natural talents. There are also thousands of art books available that can teach all manner of techniques that can be applied to the art of tattooing.

Formal Training
Formal training for art can take many forms. Some tattoo artists have attended art schools specifically to learn art history, methodology, and various specialized skills. Not everyone chooses this route, however, and there are options available. For example, many aspiring tattoo artists recognize that they can hone their skills with a few community college classes; and at a cost that is a whole lot less than going to art school for two or four years. While having an art degree may be helpful, it is most definitely not a requirement for being successful at the art of tattooing.

On-the-Job Training
There are some positive things to be said for building art skills right in the tattoo shop, and there are lots of opportunities. Even if you are not yet ready to pick up a tattoo machine and put needles to skin, there are lots of opportunities to practice fundamental art skills in the shop. One of the easiest methods is to start by creating stencils from flash designs that customers might choose. Tracing and working with these designs gives the aspiring tattoo artist a better understanding of what is required for the job, as well as a first-hand feel for some of the most common motifs.

Once the aspiring artist has gotten experience with flash in the shop, he or she may start designing original flash. Again, this helps to hone skills and also allows for the creation of a portfolio. The portfolio itself is very important when applying for apprenticeships.

The Unique Art of Tattooing
As we said, the art of tattooing shares many fundamentals with other forms of visual art. Color theory, depth and perspective, composition, and many other elements go into creating a great tattoo, just as they do with any drawing or painting. Of course, there are a number of differences between the art of tattooing and other visual art forms, too.

Probably the most obvious difference is the canvas upon which the tattoo artist works. Rather than actual canvas or some sort of specialized paper, the tattoo artist imprints his or her creations onto the skin of a living, breathing human being. This creates both challenges and benefits that other types of artists will never experience. For one thing, a tattoo artist’s work constantly moves from one location to another, rather than being displayed on a wall in a home or a museum or in the pages of a book.

Unlike other canvases, however, skin is very unforgiving. There is no erasing of mistakes or throwing out a first attempt and starting fresh on a new sheet of paper. In addition, receiving a tattoo can be rather uncomfortable, so the tattoo artist must constantly be aware of the need to make his or her “canvas” more comfortable or to reassure it. Dedicating oneself to the art of tattooing requires the ability to work with other people and to inspire and earn their trust.

What It Takes to Become a Tattoo Artist
Becoming a tattoo artist requires a certain type of person. There are some very specific skills and qualities that are required. If you’re interested in becoming a tattoo artist, you may want to check out this list and see if it sounds like you.

A tattoo artist…

Has an ongoing interest in art
Can produce art in a variety of styles
Is willing to constantly learn new concepts and techniques
Is willing to put health and safety above convenience
Can put up with all different personality types
Probably has several tattoos of his or her own
Goes through proper channels to learn the art of tattooing
Practices tattooing from every angle
Keeps equipment clean and sanitized
Enjoys getting to know people quickly
Is not squeamish about blood or needles
Uses personal integrity when making decisions
Can be trusted when clients expose bare skin
Offers good customer service while being true to his or her own vision
Can be assertive when necessary
Understands basic anatomy
Understands basic kinetics
Is patient with the process and the client
Becoming a tattoo artist is not always easy. It requires years of training and a commitment to becoming the best. Whether you’re depending on personal drive, formal training, or an on-the-job opportunity to broaden your horizons, there is more to be learned about this art form than one master can learn in an entire lifetime.
If you are willing to work hard and practice, practice, practice, though, the art of tattooing can be an amazing creative outlet that adds joy to other people’s lives while allowing you to make a good living at the same time.


By yanam49

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *