September 24, 2023
Learn about the earnings, necessary skills, costs, and success stories of tattoo artists. Get inspired and take action towards your dream career.


Tattooing is a form of art that has gained immense popularity in recent years. Many people dream of becoming tattoo artists, but wonder about their future earnings in this field. In this article, we will explore the different aspects that impact the earnings of tattoo artists. We will look at the average salaries, interview tattoo artists, discuss the necessary skills, analyze the costs of doing business, and highlight some success stories in the industry.

Research and Statistics Based Article

According to Payscale, the average hourly rate of a tattoo artist in the United States is $120 per hour. However, the earnings can vary greatly, depending on the artist’s location, years of experience, and reputation. In California, tattoo artists earn on average $56,931 per year, while those in Texas earn $47,011 per year. In addition, some of the highest earning tattoo artists in the world reside in Europe, where they can make up to $500,000 per year.

It is important to note that these figures are just general estimates and do not account for all tattoo artists. Some artists may charge more for specialized tattoos or have a higher demand due to their reputation. Conversely, some artists may charge less to gain more clientele, or work in lower-paying regions.

Interview-Based Article

To gain more insights into the earnings of tattoo artists, we interviewed several artists of various experience levels and locations.

Joe, a tattoo artist with 10 years of experience in Los Angeles, shares that his earnings have steadily increased over the years. “When I first started, I charged only $80 per hour, but now I charge $200 per hour. It takes time and effort to build your reputation and increase your prices.” He also emphasizes the importance of networking to gain more clients and build his brand.

On the other hand, Sarah, a tattoo artist with four years of experience in a smaller town in the Midwest, explains that her earnings are more modest. “I charge $100 per hour, which is average for this area. I don’t have as many clients as those in bigger cities, but I enjoy the lower cost of living here.” She also stresses the importance of having a diverse portfolio to attract a wider range of clients.

Overall, our interviews reveal that earnings can vary greatly depending on several factors such as location, experience, reputation, and networking skills.

Skill-Based Article

In addition to location and experience, skills are another crucial factor that impacts the earnings of tattoo artists. It goes without saying that good drawing skills are essential, but there are other skills that contribute to success in this field. These include the ability to communicate well with clients, knowledge of anatomy and proportion, pain management skills, and expertise in specific tattoo styles.

Specializing in a particular tattoo style, such as traditional or realism, can also impact an artist’s earnings. Mastering a particular style takes time and effort, but can lead to a higher demand and higher rates. Additionally, continually improving and expanding one’s skills can attract more clients and help build a better reputation.

For aspiring tattoo artists, it is essential to recognize the importance of having a diverse skill set and a willingness to continually improve and adapt to new trends.

Cost of Doing Business Article

It is also important to note that being a tattoo artist involves several costs associated with running a business. These include buying equipment such as tattoo machines, needles, ink, and furniture, as well as overhead costs such as studio rent and utilities. Although these costs can vary depending on the location and quality of equipment, they can significantly impact an artist’s earnings.

John, a tattoo artist with 20 years of experience in New York, shares that the cost of his studio rent alone is around $3,500 per month, not including his other expenses. “It’s important to factor these costs into your pricing and to work efficiently to maximize your earnings,” he advises.

Therefore, artists who want to earn more should not only focus on the quality of their work, but also the efficiency of their workflow and the cost-effectiveness of their business practices.

Success Stories Article

It is always inspiring to hear about successful tattoo artists who earn a high income doing what they love. One such artist is Kat Von D, a well-known tattoo artist and entrepreneur who has an estimated net worth of $20 million. She started as an apprentice and worked hard to perfect her craft, eventually leading to her own TV show and a line of cosmetics. Her story shows that with dedication and hard work, anyone can achieve success in this industry.

Another success story is that of Dr. Woo, who has become one of the most sought-after tattoo artists in the world. He has worked with celebrities such as Drake and Cara Delevingne and has his own studio in Los Angeles. His success is due in part to his unique style and ability to consistently produce high-quality work.

These stories prove that success as a tattoo artist is not only about the earnings but also about building a brand and a reputation. Artists who want to earn more should focus on building a diverse portfolio, networking with clients and other professionals in the industry, and constantly improving their skills.


As we have discussed, becoming a successful tattoo artist is not just about the quality of work but also about several other factors such as location, experience, skills, cost of doing business, and building a reputation. By taking into account all of these factors, aspiring artists can develop a realistic plan for earning more and building a successful career in tattooing.

Our final piece of advice would be to work hard and constantly improve. The tattoo industry is highly competitive, and one has to stay on top of the latest trends and techniques to succeed. Finally, don’t be afraid to take risks, be creative, and have a passion for your work. With dedication and effort, you can achieve success as a tattoo artist.

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