Jobstr - Ask People anything about their jobs

Tattoo Artist

Tattoo Artist
Name:Tatted Mom
Location:Tucson, AZ
Gender:F
Age:32
I'm a tattoo artist who underwent a standard apprenticeship under a certified tattoo artist. I am an artist first, tattooer second, which means I put creativity and art into my tattoos, not just the 'you pick it, we stick it' type of tattooer. Apprenticeships for tattooing vary by state, according to the laws. I'm also a trained body piercer, as well. Any questions about the job or apprenticing, I'd be happy to help!

PLEASE NOTE: I will NOT price tattoos. Seek a shop for that.

Find me online: My website
Subscribe to this Q&A | Sort by:
Q
Is it illegal to tattoo someone who is drunk, and why? Is it just because they may get a tattoo they regret, or is it unsafe or something?
A

To my knowledge, it's not illegal to tattoo a drunk person, it's just annoying (lol). Most paperwork that is filled out before a tattoo is done states that the person is signing that they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they are getting tattooed. There are several reasons why most tattoo artists will not tattoo a drunk person:

1- Yes, people don't make the best decisions under the influence of drugs and alcohol, so we don't want to be held accountable for the Tweety Bird tattoo you wanted to get on your butt last night in a drunken stupor.

2- Drunk people do not sit still when they are getting tattooed.

3- Drunk people usually come in groups, and then we have an entire tattoo shop full of drunk people.

4- People who have been drinking bleed slightly more than
...More

Q
What is the certification process for a tattoo artist? Is there a minimum level of proficiency you have to show?
A

It all depends on the state. Where I apprenticed in South Carolina, a minimum of 1,000 hours of apprenticeship under a certified tattoo artist is required by the state to be a tattoo artist. You also have to have certain certifications such as first aid, CPR and Bloodborne Pathogens and Infection Control. Many states require apprentices to take an exam upon completion of their apprenticeship hours, and many states also require a license to tattoo.

What a lot of people don't understand when they venture into the tattooing industry is that most apprenticeships don't pay. People interested in becoming a tattoo artist will mop floors, clean a shop, scrub tattoo tubes and more for about a year of their life, without getting a dime for it. It's been my experience that only 1 in every 10 people
...More

Q
Is there one tattoo you've done that you're most proud of?
A

There is. It's my Panama piece (you can see it at http://www.theinklingsoflife.com/p/my-art.html#.UOyaQORqRs4). A customer of mine used to travel the world on his summer break, and when he got back from his various vacations, he'd bring me an idea of what he wanted to memorialize his trip, and then let me have creative freedom. After his trip to Panama, he told me he wanted some of the animals he saw on a night safari, gave me a list, and that was it. I chose to put the animals in the shape of Panama on his back, and we did the whole tattoo in one sitting, taking about 5 hours (if I remember correctly). To this day, that's my favorite tattoo that I've ever done.

Q
If a customer asks for a tattoo that you're 99% sure he will regret, do you try and talk them out of it?
A

Me, personally, yes- definitely. I don't put my name on any work that I don't think the customer will always be happy with. If a young person comes in and wants something I think they'd regret later down the road, I either try and approach their idea in a more long-lasting direction. (For example, if they wanted a band logo, I'd try and talk them into a generic music tattoo, or to get one of the song lyrics that holds the most meaning to them tattooed instead.) If I can't talk the person into a different idea, I will usually pass on the tattoo.

Just as an FYI, I do the same when people come in wanting their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend's name tattooed on them, too. If they are hell bent on getting it done, I try and steer them toward using a colored ink or gray ink because it's easier
...More

Q
Can anything that I can draw be turned into a tattoo, or does the ink limit you in certain ways?
A

The ink and skin limit you. Ink expands under the skin over time, no matter how well the tattoo was done or how amazing the skill level of the tattoo artist. This is why you see people with 30 year old tattoos that look like black blobs on the skin. The ink will naturally expand over time, so any tattoo that has a lot of fine line or details in a small space is at risk, years down the road, of being a blob. Anything with a small face (full-bodied pinup, fairy, etc) shouldn't be smaller than the length of a forearm. Portraits of loved ones should be at least baseball-sized. Tattoos should be done in a way to where they look good now, but they also look good 10 or 30 years from now, and while it may look impressive when it's first done to have fit all 50 stars and 13 stripes on that American ...More

Q
Have you ever messed up while giving someone a tattoo? Or is it a "perfect" execution every time?
A

I'm probably the first tattoo artist to admit that they'd messed up tattoos before (lol). The good thing is, I know how to fix them. Generally speaking, if I mess something up, it's usually small, and can be covered or fixed by adding more shading or changing the light source on the tattoo (if it's not too late). Thankfully I have never misspelled a tattoo or screwed one up beyond repair.

If I do screw up in the tattoo process, I never let the person know because I have always been able to fix it or incorporate it in.

Tattoo Artist [...continued]