Tattooists create permanent artwork on their clients' bodies.
Arts, Crafts and design
Average annual salary
There are no set entry requirements.
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship. You could arrange this by approaching local registered tattooists to ask if they will take you on as a trainee.
You will be expected to show you have a real interest in tattooing and that you have artistic ability. Developing a portfolio of your artwork and design ideas can be a good way to showcase your talents.
You must register with the local council for a tattoo, piercing and electrolysis licence, for both yourself and your premises. It’s illegal to work as a tattooist without being registered.
You should also be prepared to be vaccinated against hepatitis.
a flair for art and design
excellent attention to detail
the patience and concentration to deal with long tattoo sessions
good hand-eye coordination and a steady hand
high standards of cleanliness and constant awareness of the need for hygiene
good communication and customer service skills
What you’ll do:
Your day-to-day duties might include:
advising clients on suitable tattoos
making sure the chosen design is exactly what the client wants
checking that clients understand that the tattoo is permanent
copying the chosen design onto the customer’s skin, either by drawing freehand or using a transfer
following the design lines with an electrically-operated needle, which injects ink under the skin
making sure all equipment is sterilised and clean, and following strict hygiene and health and safety procedures
You may also spend time researching artwork, creating new designs and developing a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills to potential customers.
You’ll usually create your artwork using traditional hand drawing techniques, or computer packages like Adobe Illustrator.
30 to 40 hours per week
You’ll usually work a 5 or 6 day week, including Saturdays.
Studio hours are usually 9am to 5pm, but you may schedule your work into short sessions during the day because of the level of concentration and attention to detail you need.
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What you'll do
What you’ll do in a certain career can vary depending on where you work and how much experience you have. We all have to ‘do our time’ to gain experience, so think about the bigger picture and where you want to see yourself in the future.
Money means different things to different people. When it comes to salaries, some see the long game while others look at the short-term scenario. Time will pass so it’s a good idea to look at the bigger picture and think about where you want to be in 10 years time.
Many jobs revolve around the Monday to Friday, nine-to- five routine, but not all. When exploring potential careers, make a note of the working patterns and think about what will suit you.
After a few years in any job, you’ll likely be thinking about new challenges and a higher salary. When exploring potential careers, look at opportunities for moving up the ladder. It might seem like a long way off, but that day will come.