Tattoo Shop FAQs

  • Introduction

    A tattoo is body art that leaves permanent designs or pictures on the skin. They're applied via needle by depositing ink onto the second layer of skin. While the first tattoos were applied manually with a single needle that was first saturated in ink, today's tattoos are done by a machine. These machines feature multiple needles that pierce the skin simultaneously, speeding up the process and creating tattoos that are more visually appealing.

    Tattoos are usually done in licensed tattoo shops. These shops adhere to health and cleaning standards and are typically regulated by state and municipal governments. While tattoos are generally safe, there are associated risks, including skin infections. Any person getting a tattoo is legally required to be at least 18 years of age. It's also inadvisable for anyone who isn't in good health to get a tattoo, as the body requires time and energy to heal and prevent infection.

  • What should you know before getting your first tattoo?

    Before getting tattooed, it's important to think about design and placement. A tattoo is a permanent fixture on the body, and it's important not to rush into things. You should also consider the artist's background and take time to look into their portfolio to ensure their style best suits the tattoo you want.

  • What are some examples of tattoo styles?

    There are many types of tattoo styles, and it's important for a person to familiarize themselves with them before they select a design. Styles include:

    • Americana: Bold lines, vivid colors
    • Japanese: Large images that cover the back, arms, and legs
    • Black and Grey: Colorless grayscale designs
    • Stick-n-Poke: Thick, bold, black lines and small designs
    • Blackwork: Bold black lines and larger geometric shapes

  • Is tipping expected & how much to tip on your tattoo?

    While most tattoo artists don't expect tips, it's often appreciated. If you're happy with the work your tattoo artist has done, consider tipping between 15% and 25%. If the tattoo requires multiple sessions, a flat amount per session is appropriate.

  • What are some basic tattoo aftercare tips?

    It's important to follow all aftercare directions provided by the tattoo artist. Usually, artists will advise clients to ensure that tattoos are kept clean and dry. After showering, the tattoo should be gently patted dry and treated with Vaseline or another tattoo aftercare product.

  • What are the best practices for healing a tattoo?

    After removing the dressing, it's important to keep the tattoo clean, dry, and uncovered. Applying Vaseline or another recommended ointment can help to speed up the healing process. As they heal, tattoos can sometimes itch, but it's vital that you don't scratch or pick at it.

  • What are the most and least painful places to get a tattoo?

    Parts of the body that have the most nerve endings are generally the most painful to have tattooed. That includes the head, ears, and face. Places that don't have a lot of fat, such as the fingers, shoulder blades, and feet, are typically more painful. The least painful parts of the body to get tattooed include the outer arm, buttocks, and thighs.

  • Is tattoo ink vegan or organic? Are there vegan/organic options available?

    There are plenty of tattoo ink brands available on the market, some of which can include pigment that comes from insects, animal bones, animal fat, and gelatin from horse hooves. It should be assumed that most tattoo ink is neither vegan nor organic; however, organic and vegan inks exist. It's best to discuss these preferences with the tattoo artist before booking an appointment to ensure they're available.

  • How much do tattoo artists make?

    According to ZipRecruiter, the average tattoo artist in the U.S. earns $99,956 annually, which equates to about $48 hourly. As with most careers, pay increases with experience. Salaries in this profession range from $12,000/year to $309,000/year.

  • How does one become a tattoo artist?

    While there isn't a clear path for one to become a tattoo artist, the best way to work towards this goal is by taking art and graphic design classes and building a broad portfolio of designs. Once you have a professional portfolio, you can apply for mentorships with reputable, established tattoo artists who are seeking apprentices. Mentors can teach tattooing techniques and help you gain valuable experience.

  • How do you get a tattoo artist license?

    In some states, tattoo artists are required to get licensing from their state health department. Application processes vary, so it's important to check with your local licensing department prior to offering services. Additionally, some states may require you to complete a course in blood-borne pathogens and communicable diseases prior to obtaining a state tattoo license.

  • What safety certifications do tattoo artists need to acquire to become licensed?

    Besides having a state tattoo license, most tattoo artists are required to have certification in blood-borne pathogens and communicable diseases. It's important for tattoo artists to be prepared for emergencies by obtaining CPR and first aid training.

  • Are there minimum training requirements to become a tattoo artist?

    Every tattoo studio has its own requirements when it comes to training. In most cases, new artists are required to have a well-presented portfolio and spend several months working under the guidance of an experienced mentor. These teachers show how to use the tools of the trade, oversee designs, and instruct interactions with clients.

  • What tools do tattoo artists need?

    Most tattoo shops require artists to have their own supplies. That includes their own tattoo machines and necessary parts, such as needles, tubes, tips, and grips. Tattoo artists also need a large supply of ink and tattoo stencils.

  • Do tattoo artists make more money working in a tattoo shop or opening their own?

    Just as with any industry, there is a large risk associated with going into business for oneself. Any tattoo artist considering opening their own shop should ensure they have business management and marketing skills to enable their shop to succeed. While becoming a tattoo shop owner can be lucrative, artists who don't have the business skills to succeed may earn a higher salary working in an established shop.

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