What is the Process of Becoming a Tattoo Artist

How to Get Started as a Tattoo Artist

Do you love tattoos? Do you find yourself designing amazing tattoos on paper, but unable to make your dreams into realities because of a lack of knowledge, equipment, and know-how? How can you learn to become one of Dublin’s premier tattoo artists?

Evaluate your skills and personality

Before you look into this profession, you should evaluate your skills and personality to make sure you have what it takes to perform the duties of this job. Are you an artist? Do you live and breathe tattoos? Do you find yourself continually drawing and dreaming about tattoos? Do you have manual dexterity and are you able to perform tasks with precision? Do you have tact and excellent interpersonal skills? Are you a patient person? Do you have a respect for safety and health regulations? Can you sit still for long periods? Are you able to put people at ease?

While some of these skills can be learned, to be a tattooist you need to have the heart of an artist. If you don’t have that heart, this job may not be for you.


If you talk with a tattoo artist, many will say that the only way to learn the art form is to obtain an apprenticeship with a known artist. It may be difficult to find someone to apprentice under because mentoring is a job by itself. Not all experienced tattoo artists are good at teaching, or they may not be willing to give up their free time to apprentice an aspiring artist.

Even if an artist is a good teacher, and they are willing to give the time to a young person just starting in the industry, some may be wary of accepting just anyone’s request. It’s exhausting to invest time and energy into an apprentice to find that the young artist is unwilling to learn or unable to stay focused on the amount of time it takes to master the craft. For every ten apprentices that approach a master, the only one makes it become a full-time tattoo artist.

To impress a potential mentor, you should first create a portfolio of work. If you find yourself drawn to a particular style, find out who has similar sensibilities and reach out to him or her. Show up at the shop with your portfolio in hand. Ask for feedback, and don’t feel attacked when you receive criticism. It’s part of the process.

If you find an experienced, talented artist who is willing to sacrifice the time to work with you, be humble enough to listen to his or her advice. Be understanding when you are asked to clean or run errands. Be patient enough to know that the craft takes time to learn. Be persistent in learning the skills required to be one of the best in the industry and don’t forget the artistry that drew you into the field in the first place. Stay focused on your art. It doesn’t matter how skilled your mentor is, if you don’t stay focused on your art, you will not make it in this industry.

Government Regulations

Perhaps you already have the knowledge and experience to become a tattoo artist, but you want to the process and regulations of opening your own tattoo parlor in the Republic of Ireland. As of 2018, there is no government regulation for tattoo artists or for those who do body piercing in the country. As such services become more common, this may change.

According to the Health Service Executive website, there are no structural or operational standards that need to be obtained before opening such a business. According to the government, you do not have to receive any training or license to perform this service. The Environmental Health Officers will not visit or inspect any of these facilities.

At the same time, your clients do not have to meet any minimum age or medical history requirements before receiving your services.

Even though you do not have to meet any minimum requirements according to the government, you do have a moral responsibility to run an ethical business. There are risks associated with tattoo artistry. These can range from allergic reactions to infections of the blood and body fluids. You and your client could be exposed to not only Hepatitis B and C, and HIV, but also infections that go untreated can be life-threatening. Clients could also unknowingly have allergic reactions to inks, metals, or latex.

Even though earning a certificate is not officially required, it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the industry before becoming a part of it.

This article was originally posted on The Black Hat Tattoo