If you think someone’s clear patch of skin looks empty without a tiger fighting a dragon etched on it, you may be a tattoo artist at heart. But beyond a simple passion for the craft, you’ll need ambition, patience and raw skill to make it in this competitive business.
The first prerequisite to becoming a quality inker is simple: artistic talent. If you’ve got it, develop it however you can, whether through formal classes or just tireless practice. As with more traditional artistic pursuits, tattooists must develop a portfolio to show off their best work to potential employers. A portfolio can include drawings, paintings and other examples of visual art.
Once you feel you’ve produced a good representation of your work, you should find a respected tattoo artist with whom you can apprentice. Ask around, visit local parlors and do research to find trusted professionals near you — then see if they’ll be willing to mentor you. Trying to master tattooing on your own is ill-advised in terms of both safety and artistic growth.