Can I Be A Tattoo Artist If I Can’t Draw? 4 Important Skills

Can I be a tattoo artist if I can’t draw? So many times that we’re asked this question that we lose count of! 

Tattooing is a promising and likely well-paying profession with seemingly few obstacles to entry for newcomers. Yet, for the most part, the inability to draw and sketch seems to be the number 1 factor that prevents people from choosing this job. 

So, can you be a tattoo artist if you can’t draw, and does a natural flair for drawing matter in the world of tattooing? 

Do You Have To Draw Good To Be A Tattoo Artist? 

Can I be a tattoo artist if I can’t draw? The answer is YES. You can go down this career path even without much drawing skill or art background, and this is how many successful tattoo artists enter this industry. 

However, knowing how to draw is a huge advantage in this profession, which can enhance your skills and give you a better understanding of how to create more quality work along your journey as an artist.

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You can become a tattoo artist even when you are not good at drawing

You DON’T have to be good at drawing to tattoo

There is no hard and fast rule saying that you must be good at drawing to choose this line of work. Flash tattoos, for example, still can be done by a person without much drawing skill. You can start out in this way and work your way up to improve your techniques. 

We also saw many tattooists who only use stencils to transfer the pre-made drawing to the skin or take inspiration from someone else’s work to give tattoos to their clients. This does not require much of their drawing ability, and they are doing just that to make a steady living. 

Sometimes, being good at sketching and drawing doesn’t mean being good at tattooing. It can be a world of difference between drawing things on soft paper with your hands resting on it AND carving out a tattoo on the skin.

There are a few factors in play here! 

The skin surface is more supple and pliable than a paper stabilized on the table’s hard surface. This means you are more likely to spell errors while tattooing if you’re unfamiliar with the human canvas. Of course, a natural aptitude for drawing will help, but be aware of the fair share of mistakes that you can make.

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Being good at sketching and drawing doesn’t always mean being good at tattooing


Drawing helps you go farther!

So, we talked about the not-so-significant role of drawing as an entry requirement to become an artist. 

However, if you are not just in for quick money but have a true love for art and a real aspiration to become a great tattooer, drawing is an essential skill that you should possess and consistently hone as you grow. 

Let’s say you start out with stencils. Although this tool can ensure great tattoos, it also takes the tracing skill to make the most of it. Tracing is all about the ability to control the cleanliness and consistency of the drawing line. If you’re good at drawing, it would be easier to adapt and enhance this fundamental skill. 

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The best thing about tattooing that most artists will agree on is carving out custom designs for the client. It is the area where their true artistic self shines, and the ability to draw, or to freehand, is key in this case. 

Of course, you can print the predetermined design on stencil paper and trace it on the client’s skin, depending on your comfort level. Yet, it’s always a thrilling and unique experience inking a custom design on your own. 


What Skills Do You Need To Be A Tattoo Artist?

Besides drawing ability, there are many other important skills that you need to invest yourself in to succeed in this profession:

A steady hand 

Tattoo artists need to have a super-steady hand for a stable implementation of ink on the supple skin. If the hand is shaky even in the slightest, the consistency, clarity, symmetry, and precision of the design will be compromised. 

Great attention to details

Before busting out the ink, it pays to cover all the tiny details of the design to ensure that you and the client are on the exact same page! Close attention to details is all the more crucial while you’re tattooing since any mistake is almost irreversible. 

Patience and dedication

A large-scale, intricate tattoo can take hours or even several days to complete. This is where patience and mental concentration are really important to guarantee the quality of your work. 

With multiple-hour tattooing sessions, it is also easy to lose patience and even temper (it’s understandable while thinking about the pain and discomfort they’re experiencing). These situations require patience and dedication the most, so don’t lose your cool!

Interpersonal skills

The majority of tattoos start with a consultation with your client. This is the opportunity for you to know what they’re after and let them know how you can incorporate your skills into bringing it out to life. You need to ask questions or even dig into something quite personal (a tattoo is always a personal and special thing!)

Interpersonal skills are equally important while you’re moving the needles. You want to make them as comfortable as possible and divert their attention away from the pain by talking with them!

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You need to know how to work with your client to ensure the quality of the tattoo

So, how should you start to become a tattoo artist?

Guidance and training from the pros are essential for aspiring artists. Therefore, when you feel ready, check out quality tattoo parlors to know if they can give you an apprenticeship. The best way to learn is to immerse yourself in the shop, observe how the experienced perform their job, and get the right questions answered! 


Conclusion

Can I be a tattoo artist if I can’t draw? The answer is a resounding Yes, and you should not let this prevent you from pursuing this job. However, possessing great drawing skills will aid you in creating better tattoos and, thus, a more rewarding and satisfying experience every time your client watches and marvels at the artwork you’ve made.

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