Before you make your final decision about becoming a professional tattoo artist, you need to know that a career in tattoo artistry calls for a range of skills, from artistic ability to health knowledge and effective communication.
Basic Drawing Skills
Being gifted with basic drawing skills means you have the beginnings of what it takes to make it as a tattooist. Still, you need to add hard work and dedication to turn your talent into skills. Tattoo artists must understand how to visualize that art and make it work in practice, because many clients often ask tattoo artists to create an original design or modify an existing tattoo.
Tattooing is a very competitive career these days. Mean that there is competition for apprenticeship and training also. You should start with preparing your portfolio of designs and artwork.
You also need to be patient. You will probably work as an apprentice for a while before you get to ink a client. Your apprenticeship could last a few years and only expect to start as an assistant in a shop in the beginning. There are times where you will to pay to apprentice as it can be expensive to the shop owner.
Tattoo artists must be skilled in the essentials of both health and hygiene because the safety of customers is paramount for any tattoo shop. Every professional tattoo artist needs to know how to follow infection-control practices as established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state.
You must learn to be able to spot common skin diseases. Know the effects of scarring on the body and identify skin structure and function. Another vital part that you will have to learn is sterilization. You need to wash your hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap, followed by hand sanitizer and finally, a new pair of latex gloves. Next, you attend to your client's sanitary needs. Cleaning the area that will be tattooed can be washed with 'Green Soap'. There are many soaps that are approved for this business. The shop you are working with may have their own preferences.
There are classes that cover disease transmission and legal issues. Most often you can find community colleges that offer training in blood-borne pathogen and infection control.
Working as a tattoo artist, you will need both mental and physical stamina. You need the mental staying power to concentrate on a detailed drawing and the physical endurance to sit still for long periods. Another vital ability is the hand-eye coordination. You maybe were not aware that tattoo machines consist of powered steel instruments with needles that puncture the skin at up to 3,000 times a minute. So any loss of focus or an unsteady hand can lead to painful, costly mistakes for your clients.
You will be working with people all the time and communication is very important in order to create the perfect tattoo for your client. Skills like listening carefully and communicating effectively are a must. Many clients might be interested on the equipment you use, as well as choices of needles and similar.
After completing a tattoo on your client, you must explain verbally and in writing how to care for a tattoo upon leaving. You will be educating clients on signs of infection as well. If some infections get serious, they may need to follow up with their doctor.
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