How to become a tattoo artist in Australia

When you are a tattoo artist, people come to see you to get permanent markings that they will probably have forever. This means that there is very little room for mistakes in this industry. As a result, it can be quite difficult to enter into it. 

To become a good tattoo artist, you usually have to undertake an apprenticeship. However, you should note that being a good artist doesn’t directly translate into being a master tattooist. Sometimes, even if you can draw, you might not be able to enter or stay in the industry if you lack passion. In this article, we look at what is needed for you to become a tattoo artist in Australia. 

Personal requirements for a Body Artist

Below is a list of personal attributes that you should possess for you to be a tattoo artist in Australia.

  • Maturity
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Being able to put the client at ease
  • Have steady hands
  • Good personal hygiene
  • Responsible attitude to work (limits the chances of transmitting blood-borne illnesses)
  • Be comfortable around needles
  • Self-promotion skills
  • Artistic ability

What to do Before Tattoo Artist Training

Practice Your Art Skills

Before you get a place either for an apprenticeship or to learn at an institution, you need to practice your art skills. Tattoo artists should know how to draw. The trick here is to practice as much as you can until you are very good at it. It’s advisable at this stage to master the basics of both traditional and digital visual art. You will need these skills in the future. 

However, you should not think that just because you can draw, you are automatically going to be a good tattoo artist. Tattooing is not just about making lines on the skin. A lot of clients will request custom-made pieces of art instead of premade designs. This means you also have to be quite creative. Therefore, you will benefit a lot if you take the time to develop yourself as an artist. 

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Understanding What Makes A Good Tattooist

There’s no doubt that tattooing is an art, but there is way more than that to it. When you want to be a successful tattoo artist, you should know a little bit about the business side of things. 

Once you receive your training and are now able to make awesome tattoos, you will start working with clients daily, pricing your work, and scheduling appointments. If you are working alone, you might even have to learn how to run a shop. Take time to research all these aspects of your tattooing career before, during, and after training.

Education & Training for a Body Artist

The best way to become a tattoo artist is to take on some extensive on-the-job training. Apart from that, you can also enroll in the Australian Tattoo Academy. This school offers training in all aspects of the tattoo Industry.

​There are several things you will need to learn if you want to be an exceptional tattoo artist. These include the following:

  • The history of Tattooing
  • Proper methods for health and safety
  • Sterilization
  • Infection Disease Control
  • Point specific drawing skills for tattooing
  • How to assemble, maintain and use all Tattoo equipment. 

If you want to take the apprenticeship route, you need to first find a reputable studio. Most proper tattoo studios will need to assess how motivated and dedicated you are. There is usually a high level of competition for such positions; hence getting the position you want is not a guaranteed thing.

For you to be considered for an apprenticeship, you also need to display a high level of drawing skill. In some instances, you will even be required to produce a portfolio of your designs. 

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Length of Training

The length of training varies considerably and might range up to five years for a tattooist. At the beginning of the training, most of what you will be doing is observation. As you progress, you will start attempting some drawings but under close supervision. Typically, you won’t receive payment during this period. 

Get Licensed

If you want to become a tattoo artist who practices professionally in Australia, you will need a license. Fortunately, there are not too many requirements, and it won’t be too difficult as long as you follow the proper channels. If you plan to run a tattoo business, you will also be required to obtain a separate tattoo parlor operator license.

To get a tattoo artist license, you must be at least 18 years of age. You also need to be either a citizen of Australia or a resident. Lastly, you shouldn’t be a controlled member of a declared organization.

What you need

  • Police Clearance 
  • Certified copies of approved identification
  • Details of your employment as a body art tattooist, including any apprenticeship work
  • Your payment.

How to apply

Applications to be licensed as a tattoo artist can be made online. The first step is to check the eligibility requirements. The process is guided, so you can proceed and complete the application once you have ensured you have all the necessary documents and payment. 


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