how much do tattoo artists make

How Much Do Tattoo Artists Make?

How much do tattoo artists make/earn?

If social media has anything to do with it many artists would have you believe they are all millionaires!

Although this maybe true for the top 1% out there it’s not quite reality for the majority of tattoo artists.

Tattooing can pay well and it can offer a very flexible and free type of life.  That said all these benefits will only come to you if you work hard and smart.

The reality is that most successful and well paid artists are the hardest working in the room.  To hit that level of mastery takes obsession and some luck.  

I do believe we make our own luck, in that opportunity comes to those who put themselves in places and take chances to receive “that lucky turn”.

The best artists spend many hours designing, painting and drawing.  They study the tattoo artists they aspire to be with absolute focus and determination.  They tattoo all day and then design, paint, draw and prepare for their next client all night 6/7 days per week!

And that is why passion is so necessary.

Without a love for tattooing you just won’t do the work and you certainly won’t push past the hard times. 

Ok ok ok you say but how much does a tattoo artists make?

Ok, a tattoo artists can make anywhere between £100 to £10,000 per day!!

Yes the difference really does fluctuate that much, let me explain.

Firstly without good marketing, reputation or a good studio supporting you I’m afraid to say that some days you may not even earn a penny!

That’s right, you could be the worlds best but if no one knows about you then you won’t earn much at all.

Tattoo apprentices are typically not paid at all, in fact at this stage in the industry people usually pay for their tattooing education.  This can be tough especially if you are older with responsibilities such as children and a mortgage.

That’s said, I am a believer in, if you want it enough you will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Once an apprentice has some degree of confidence, consistency and competence they can start charging any where from £10 to £30 per hour.

A junior artist will have a extra year or 2 or 3 and so they will be charging anywhere from £30 to 60 per hour.

A established senior artist will typically charge anywhere between £350 to £10,0000 per day or per tattoo.

Again this fluctuation will depend on many factors.

  1. Just how good there are in comparison to the market.
  2. Demand, once you have big demand you are able to increase your price point.  Of course you will lose some clients but if your demand is high enough you will always keep enough clients.
  3. The way you present your personal brand and the market you target. For example some artists have had that “lucky break” and have tattooed a celebrity or football player etc. if you market this right you can cash in on the hype and name your price.
  4. A high end tattoo studio or tattoo brand. Quite simply a place that invests back into itself to create a great client base and demand. You having exposure to working with great studios will increase your personal brand awareness.
  5. Obsessive, hard work! Yep I’m afraid there’s no escaping it, hard work is a must.  I don’t won’t to promote burn out and declining mental health issues so be careful here.  I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you learn to enjoy the hard work nothing is worth the cost of your mental health.
  6. Doing lots of shows/conventions around the world to win sponsorship and worldwide recognition/opportunities.

I would like to add that the world of tattooing has become seemingly, very entrepreneurial. 

With the rise of social media artists have got great at making it all about themselves.  And hey, good luck to them no judgement here, just an observation. 

The trouble for me with this though, is that ego and narcissistic behaviour can lead to loneliness and isolation.  It usually comes from not feeing enough to begin with and then once a person gets fed recognition, extrinsic praise and likes etc take over.  Making some a slave to the numbers.

For every tattoo artist who wants worldwide recognition there are 10 who want to enjoy the thing they love whilst being around decent like minded creatives.

As humans we need human connection, we crave it!  And in this day and age although we have more connections via the internet, none of those connections give the same deep and rich feeling that comes when people come together.  

Personally this is one of the reasons I began Monumental ink tattoo studios.

At my peak I was charging £5,000 per piece and I got to mix with some high flyers and travel a bit.  But as exciting as that was at the start, once I had exhausted my circle with showing them how great my life was, I realised that actually, being with others was where it was at.  And so I lean’t into growing the brand into what we have today.

A culture that’s professional, caring and humble.  We still have ambition and passion for sure, but we like to help and support each other as well as ourselves.

Whatever your drive for becoming a tattoo artist, we wish you well!

We are passionate to serve any artist who shares our values.

If that’s you why not check out what help and support we can offer you at: 

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