How to be a Freelance Tattoo Artist

freelance tattoo artist

Tattoo art- the art of painting the human body with well-crafted designs using specifically created equipment. Freelance tattoo artists are those artists who perform this art using creativity and suitable tools.  They work with clients on an independent project basis and provide them with art for their bodies. For all those who imagine that being a tattoo artist is easy- their news for you-it is not’. Becoming a tattoo artist and a successful one at that requires a lot of hard work and caution. Caution because for these artists their canvas is the human body, the skin.

There are many complications that may arise if the artist is not careful enough. Also, every customer may need a unique design that calls for great creative ability on the part of the artist. Given all this, an individual who wants to become a tattoo artist must have the certification and must also have undergone apprentice under an experienced tattoo artist before practicing on his/ her own. Mostly those people who have gained an education in the fields of art or have a strong proven artistic ability only can enter the world of tattoo art. For all those considering a career as a freelance tattoo artist can read on to gain perspective.

Freelance Tattoo Artist Job Duties

The work of freelance tattoo artists is very critical and complicated in nature due to the fact that there are health and safety concerns on the part of the customer. There are various duties that a freelance tattoo artist has to fulfill to meet the purpose of his/ her job. Some of them are listed below.

  • To ensure that all the equipment and tools that he/ she uses in making tattoos are sterile and clean.
  • Maintain the work area and keep it clean too, to avoid any scope for possible infections in the tattoo.
  • Communicate with the respective client and understand what they want for their tattoo. Then prepare an appropriate design.
  • Keep devising/ making new tattoo designs to add to the collection of tattoo designs they already possess.
  • Make sure that the customer understands the whole concept of getting the permanent tattoo; and that they are sure of what they are doing.
  • Ensure that all the safety and health regulations are met by the artist when working on a project.
  • Explain to the respective customers the precautions he/ she needs to take to avoid any health/ safety issues.


We have already established that the tattoo artist has to be pretty cautious while working with the customer because of the safety issues. But that will happen only when the artist gets enough work and customers. To make it as a freelance tattoo artist, the individual must possess a set of skills which draw business towards him/ her.

Some of the most important tattoo artist skills are:

  • Excellent Sketching Abilities: A tattoo artist is the one who applies the tattoo on the customer, the individual must have excellent sketching skills to ensure the tattoo turns out beautifully.
  • Design- Creativity: The artists usually, actually almost always have to create their own designs as per the needs of the customer. Thus only those who are very creative and have a flair for design can enter and sustain in the industry.
  • Detail Oriented: The individual must be detail-oriented, since designing tattoos and then applying them requires the individual to be attentive to every little detail.
  • Steady Hands: Having stern and steady hands is a must, must have. It may seem stupid to read or hear, but one can only imagine what happens to the customers if the artist has flimsy hands.
  • Excellent marketing and promotional abilities to bag more clients.

Freelance Tattoo Artist Career

The characteristics that make for a good tattoo artist, one who will be pretty successful in the industry, are what we have established above. And even though those are the core values, they may fall short if the individual is not able to display conduct.

There are a series of additional qualities that are needed in the individual if they are to be truly successful as a tattoo artist.

  • Develop good communication skills and work on your interpersonal skills to be able to deal with clients.
  • Understanding customer relations to maintain cordial relations with all clients and associates.
  • To look for job opportunities on online freelancing portals such as PeoplePerHour etc. where there are ample opportunities for tattoo artists as well.
  • Make your presence felt through social media portals to use their growing access/ reach to promote your career.
  • Keep developing and grooming your designs by reading all about the upcoming new trends.
  • Keep reading about the latest health and safety regulations that have been issued or established, so that you can serve the customer better.

Freelance Tattoo Artist Salary

The average remuneration made by a budding tattoo artist is stated to be about $ 30,000 to $ 36,000. The Freelance Tattoo Artist salaries will differ depending on a multitude of factors. The most common factors are the location of the freelancer and the scope of the art there. But the effect of all these factors almost nullifies as time passes and the individual grows as a tattoo artist gaining recognition and experience.  Experienced artists will definitely earn larger sums than inexperienced ones.

While the above-stated salary is a tallpark figure, the amount of salary earned boils down to the quality of the work and design. If you are talented enough, it will be extremely (comparatively) easy for you to earn larger figures.

Finding Work

Finding the right kind of work/ projects as a freelance tattoo artist may be tricky at first. (1) Thus you must explore all the options- social media networks, online website portals and direct communication with clients.

Get yourself registered on the online portals like,, creative pool, etc. You can also set up profile pages on social media websites to reach out to customers. And the third way is to communicate through existing clientele to reach out to a larger customer base.