There’s no one set path to becoming a tattoo artist, but clients often underestimate how difficult it can be to get into the business — and then get good enough to make it your full-time job. Even once you’re part of a shop, it’s a constant process of building portfolios, creating new and innovative work, and putting yourself out there in all sorts of different ways.
Many artists come from a fine art background and have degrees in art. No matter the background, no one just jumps into a successful tattoo business. Regulations for artists vary by state, and at the very least, they’re required to take classes in things like blood borne pathogens. Artists, shops, and shop owners must be licensed in accordance with local and state health departments. There’s a good reason for all that paperwork you’ll likely fill out before your session starts!