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How to Start Tattooing: A Beginner’s Guide




You’ve finally decided that you want to learn how to tattoo. Congratulations! Tattooing is a rewarding and challenging profession that can allow you to express your creativity while making a living. But where do you start? Learning how to tattoo is not as simple as picking up a machine and some ink—it takes years of practice and dedication to perfect the craft. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of starting out in tattooing so that you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right career path for you.

1. Research the industry.

The first step in learning how to tattoo is to do your research. Read books and articles, talk to tattoo artists, and visit tattoo shops to get a feel for the industry and decide if tattooing is really for you. It’s important to go into this with your eyes wide open; Tattooing is not all fun and games—it’s hard work, long hours, and there is always a risk of injury. But if you’re willing to put in the work, then tattooing can be a very rewarding career.

2. Find an apprenticeship.

Once you’ve decided that you want to pursue a career in tattooing, the next step is finding an apprenticeship with a licensed tattoo artist. This is the best way to learn the trade, as you’ll be able to shadow an experienced artist and learn firsthand how to safely set up equipment, mix colors, sterilize needles, and apply tattoos. Apprenticeships typically last 1-2 years, and during that time you will likely be working for free (or for very little pay). But remember, this is an investment in your future—so it’s important to choose an apprenticeship that will set you up for success.

3. Get licensed.

After completing your apprenticeship, the next step is to get licensed by your state or local municipality (these requirements vary by location). To do this, you will need to pass an examination administered by the health department which tests your knowledge of sterilization procedures, bloodborne pathogens, and other safety protocols. Once you have your license, you will be able to open up your own shop or continue working at an existing one.

4. Never stop learning.

Tattooing is a lifelong profession—which means there is always something new to learn. As styles change and new technologies are developed, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends so that you can provide your clients with the best possible service. There are many ways to do this—taking classes, attending conventions, reading books and magazines—so find what works best for you and never stop learning!

6. Practice, practice, practice!

The best way to become a good tattoo artist is to just keep practicing and experimenting. Set up a workspace at home and watch tutorials online to familiarize yourself with the tools and techniques. Try different styles and don’t be afraid to make mistakes—you will get better with time. Most importantly, remember to always be safe and follow sterilization protocols when working with needles.

7. Tattoo machines and other tools

In order to start tattooing, you will need to purchase the proper equipment. This includes the best tattoo kits for beginners, needles, inks, ointments and aftercare products, stencil paper, disposable gloves, and aprons. It’s best to buy these items from a reputable supplier that specializes in tattoo supplies. Make sure to read reviews and do your research before making any purchases!


Q. What do I need to learn before becoming a tattoo artist?

A. To become a successful tattoo artist, you should research the industry, find an apprenticeship, get licensed by your state or municipality, stay up-to-date on the latest trends, and practice as much as possible. You will also need to purchase the proper equipment such as a tattoo machine, needles, inks, and other supplies.

Q. How long does it take to become a certified tattoo artist?

A. It typically takes 1-2 years of apprenticeship before you can be certified as a professional tattoo artist. After that you will need to pass an exam administered by your local health department in order to receive your license.


Tattooing is a complex art form that takes years of practice and dedication to perfect. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in tattooing, then read this beginner’s guide for some tips on getting started. Remember, research the industry thoroughly before making any commitments; find a reputable apprenticeship program; get licensed; and never stop learning!