How To Become a Tattoo Artist In The UK?

A tattoo artist is also known as a body artist or a tattooist. Nowadays the fondness for designing tattoos on the body is raising throughout the world. So, the United Kingdom is also not an exception.

Popular shows such as tattoo fixers, help the art of tattooing become more popular and mainstream than ever. Like launching any new business, tattoo startups also need to consider various factors before stepping forward.

They need to consider from premises to payment procedures. The UK government now supervising the health issues related to tattoo ink among the people.

But, after executing thorough research, we are here to guide you easy to follow steps on how to become a tattoo artist in the UK.

Want to become a tattoo artist: what’s involved

Tattooists are people who are professional artists who design on any individual’s body by using needles and ink.

If you want to become a tattoo artist then you need to specialize in various tattoo styles, such as portrait, tribal, black and grey, lettering, blackwork, Japanese, etc.

So, what you can do depends on your specialization. You also need to be up to date with the present trend and should create accurate artwork.

Tattooing is one type of skilled job. One tattooist needs to undergo some proper training and practice. The responsibilities of a tattoo artist include:

  • You need to ensure that the client has a proper ID and making sure that he/she has no allergies or any medical issues.
  • You need to make artwork based on your client’s wishes and demands.
  • You should consult with the client about what type of artwork they prefer.
  • You need to trace the finalized design onto the client’s body.
  • You need to provide all the details of aftercare methods to your client.
  • You must sterilize all the equipment and maintain a clean environment.
  • You also order new needles, ink, gloves, machine heads, etc.

Tattoo artist educational qualification requirement:

There are no such set entry requirements for becoming a tattoo artist in the UK but there are some routes that you need to take so that your journey of becoming a successful tattooist can be smoother. Many tattooists start their career as an apprentice.

If you are determined to become a successful tattooist, you may contact the local tattoo artists. You can ask them if they are interested to accept you as a trainee.

Tattoo studios will observe your work during the training and you need to prove to them that you have a real talent for tattooing, a small amount of technical ability, and an innovative artistic mindset.

As tattooing has popular over the past few years, more apprenticeship has become available in the market, so, there is huge competition. You need to prove your work by your ability.

During your apprenticeship, you will be provided with all the necessary training that you require to become a tattoo artist. For the first few months, you will learn about cleaning and sterilizing the equipment. After a few times, you will learn about design, how to prevent infections, the human body, and how tattooing works physically.

Your apprenticeship may last for around three years. But it depends on your learning ability and how quickly you can learn.

Once you have acquired all the necessary skills and experience then you can plan for your startups.

Opportunities for tattoo artists:

There are huge positives to becoming a tattoo artist especially when you have a passion for body art and an artistic flair.

  • This role will allow you to become an innovator by being creative with trending designs and templates.
  • When you design someone’s body with beautiful body art and can satisfy your clients with your work, will be an exciting, rewarding, and satisfying experience.
  • Tattoo artist jobs are available nationally and internationally.
  • This role provides you the opportunity to choose to be self-employed or employed.
  • Some of the job offers will provide you with flexible working hours so you can easily handle your personal life.
  • A tattooist role doesn’t require such a degree such as a degree. It can be the greater choice with lower academic qualifications.
  • Being a tattoo artist you have the opportunity to become your boss. It can be attractive.
  • A tattoo artist needs not to go through boredom as their work is varied and trendy.
  • Tattooists get the opportunity to fix their charges and have independence in their overall career progression.

Licenses and regulations for the tattoo artist in the UK:

Get a license:

According to health and safety regulations, you just need to register with your local council for an electrolysis, tattoo, and piercing license.

You need to take the license for yourself and your premises if you are opening your studio.

The license will cover:

  • acupuncture
  • Electrolysis
  •  Semi-permanent skin coloring
  • Tattooing
  • Cosmetic piercing

If you are opening your studio based in Greater London, then you need to get a special treatment license from your council. With the activities listed above, will include:

  • Massage
  • Manicures
  • Saunas
  • Chiropody

Once you will get your license, you can only work on the premises on that you are licensed. In your premises, you must display your license or other bylaw certificates. If you fail to do that you may be fined.

Meet health and safety regulations:

Besides getting a license, you need to follow any local bylaws. This includes cleanliness of your premises, staff hygiene, and sterilization of the equipment, and furniture.

Your premises will be inspected to check whether you are following the laws or not.

You should remember that the local health department will regularly visit your premises; so it is important to keep everything up to scratch.

Get insurance:

Most local councils of the UK don’t require to carry business insurance coverage for tattoo artists or tattoo shops. Many tattoo artists and tattoo shops chose to be insured with liability insurance.

Professional liability insurance will protect the artist and the tattoo shop if there occurs any issue or mistake.

Personal qualities are needed for becoming a tattoo artist:

Following are some of the personal qualities that a tattoo artist requires including:

  • A passion and enthusiasm for body art.
  • Knowledge about various tattoo styles, current trends, and designs.
  • A taste for color, texture, and shape.
  • Needs to be aware of commerciality and business minded.
  • Innovation, creativity, and real
  • Patient, honest, trustworthy, passionate, motivated, and dedicated.
  • Good verbal communication skills.
  • Customer service skills.
  • Design skills such as free hand and tracing.
  • Artistic and technical skills.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Time management skills
  • Organizational and networking skills
  • Having excellent attention to finish the work perfectly.
  • The ability to accept criticism.
  • Remain calm and stress less in uneven situations.
  • Ability to use IT equipment like computers.

Where do tattoo artists work?

Tattoo artists work in tattoo studios or tattoo shops registered with the local council. They can also build their startups and work for their studios at their premises. They can also rent registered premises and work for themselves.

Tattoo artists get their job in large cities and towns. There are some opportunities to work overseas.

Working hours of a tattoo artist:

The working hour of a tattoo artist is variable. It depends on whether he is self-employed or employed and works part-time or full-time.

Most of them work Monday to Friday; 30-40 hours a week.

Sometimes, tattoo artists need to work on unsociable hours such as evenings, weekends, and holidays, because of customer demand and the pattern and size of the tattoos.

How much a tattoo artist can earn in the UK?

The income of tattoo artists depends on certain factors such as whether they are self-employed or employed. Some other factors are their specialization, working hours, reputation, experience, location, etc.

  • A tattoo artist, on average, earns a minimum of £17,000 per year.
  • The average tattoo artist’s income in the UK is £21,969.84 per year
  • A tattoo artist, on average, earns a maximum of £35,000 per year.

In the United Kingdom, many tattoo artist charges their clients per hour basis. A self-employed tattoo artist charges considering their various expenses such as premises or rent, National Insurance, other Insurance, licensing costs, equipment, supplies, etc.

As an apprentice, tattoo artists earn as per their experience and ability. An apprentice should earn the current National Minimum Wage.


How long does it take to become a tattoo artist in the UK?

Ans: While you will be on an apprenticeship, the course will be for 3 years. But, it depends on how quickly you can learn all the things in detail. Once you will gain detailed knowledge then you can be thinking of starting on your own.

How much does a tattoo license costs in the UK?

Ans: The license costs depend on the length of the tattoo license you are applying for. A one-year and temporary tattoo license costs £255, and a three-year license costs £315. The licensing fees change every year so you can visit the licensing office before applying.

Q. Is there any course for tattoo artists in the UK?

Ans. Yes, you can take a 10-day course for Tattoos from top institutions like Tattoo Academy UK. 

Wrap Up:

According to some reports, around one in five UK people are tattooed. So, you can realize the demand for tattoo artists in the UK. But, before stepping forward you need to gain specialized knowledge of tattooing. If you can acquire depth knowledge of body art designing then getting a job as a tattooist will become smoother.

It is a little bit difficult to build a successful career in this competitive market. But, if you are determined as well as talented then you can build a secure position in the market.

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