4 Common Tattoo Artist Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Allegedly, about 46% of Americans have at least one tattoo. Tattoos are getting more popular by the day, and the idea of being a tattoo artist is tempting, right?

Becoming a tattoo artist isn’t as easy as buying a knock-off tattoo gun on Amazon and drawing on a friend. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most common tattoo artist mistakes.

Read on to learn about a few other mistakes that wannabe tattoo artists make when they’re trying to get started.

1. Trying to DIY Your Career

In most cases, trying to tattoo on your own without any training is a bad idea.

Becoming a tattoo artist can be challenging, especially for people who don’t fit the mold of what others think a tattoo artist “should” be. Women and minorities often have a harder time getting into the industry, for example, and it can be very expensive to breach.

Some people are very successful after starting on their own, but these are few and far between. Unless you’re already an incredibly talented and driven artist, it’s best to find training if you can.

In most cases, an apprenticeship is the best choice. Most people think that a finished apprenticeship is one of the most important tattoo artist qualifications.

If you can’t find an apprenticeship, you can pay for tattoo school. At tattoo school, you’ll learn methods and styles of tattooing in a less traditional environment.

2. Starting With Skin

When you’re learning how to tattoo, never start with skin. You should always work your way up.

Before you ever pick up a tattoo machine, learn the basics on paper. Then you’ll move onto a skin-like surface like fake skin, pig skin, or even fruit! Grapefruits make great tattoo canvases.

You’ll only move onto skin when you’re confident in your work. It’s also best to start with your own skin.

3. Not Learning How to Draw First

Tattooing is a “cool” job, and because of that, many people want to do it regardless of their art background. You need to know how to draw if you want to tattoo. Yes, you can make a career tracing forever, but this doesn’t make you a genuine tattoo artist.

Spend time finding a style that you like, learning the basics of art and design, and studying tattoo artists that do work you like.

4. Piercing First

Many tattoo shops have their tattoo apprentices pierce as part of their apprenticeships. This is an outdated model. The only thing this will teach you is basic aseptic technique and safety.

Piercing is its own art. It’s not something that apprentices should be doing.

Avoid These Common Tattoo Artist Mistakes  

These common tattoo artist mistakes are pervasive in the industry. While they don’t apply to everyone, in most cases, these mistakes will be detrimental to your future as a tattooer. Do your best to avoid them.

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