Tattoos are on the rise, with over 145 million people having at least one tattoo. Becoming a tattoo artist can be a fulfilling and exciting career for people who have a background in art and want to monetize it. Alisha Gory is a successful tattoo artist who has put in her time to work in her profession. Here are her top 5 tips to help aspiring tattoo artists build their careers.
Don’t try to tattoo on your own right away
It might be tempting to buy a tattoo gun online and start working on your friends, but Gory definitely wouldn’t recommend it. “You need to learn how to walk before you can run,” she says. “You don’t want to regret giving someone an ugly tattoo.” Tattooing at home also makes it more likely that you or your clients will develop infections since sanitizing conditions won’t be the same as they are in a tattoo parlor.”
Take the time to learn how to draw first
Being a great artist is certainly the most important part of tattooing. “I went to art school before I realized that I wanted to do tattoos. That time helped me to be able to draw anything and make it beautiful. This helps me deal with custom pieces and developing my own tattoos.”
Build your portfolio
Before you can get an apprenticeship, you’ll need to develop a tattoo portfolio. This shows your art skill and proves to the parlor that you’re serious about your art. “Your portfolio should show that you’re creative, that you can draw in a style that’s compatible with tattooing, and that you know how to draw. Don’t rush this process.”
Practice on inanimate objects
You won’t be able to practice on human skin until you’re ready. A common life hack in the tattoo community is to practice on an orange, melon, grapefruit, or other skin-like surfaces. You can use non-toxic ink or henna if you don’t have a tattoo gun. “This helps with your nerves and allows you to practice in a no-risk environment.”
Start with an apprenticeship
The best way to break into the tattoo industry is to become an apprentice of a current artist. “Apprenticeships aren’t easy to do or get. They are unpaid, which was very difficult for me. But they’re really the only way to start working.”
Tattooing is a fulfilling way to get your art out into the world. If you have great artistic talent and drive, you can have a successful career like Alisha Gory.