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Tattoo Artist Job Description

A client walking into a tattoo shop is usually unaware of the action that goes on behind the scenes. Tattoo artists have more responsibilities than simply applying a piece of permanent artwork to a client's leg, arm or back. Education, safety training and advertising are important components in a tattoo artist's daily job requirements. Tip your tattoo artist for all of the hard work and effort put forth to keep you safe and adorned with body art.

Consultation

Meeting with clients for a consultation before a tattoo is an aspect that every tattoo artist must execute while working in a shop. A consultation with a client includes discussing placement, size and color of a tattoo, looking at reference materials that the client provides for the artwork, and collecting a deposit before beginning to draw the tattoo design. The client and tattoo artist discuss options and details for the design to prevent the tattoo artist from drawing a design that is not in the realm of the client's vision. Drawing a design for the second time wastes valuable time and money for the tattoo artist.

Drawing

Preparing a drawing or design for a client sometimes requires an artist to draw after hours or before coming into work. A tattoo artist traces the body part onto a piece of transparent tracing paper to have an outline of the size to work with. The design is drawn in pencil with notes detailing color or background filler. The client's name, phone number, and appointment date and time are written on the tracing paper to keep the tattoo artist organized. The client receives a phone call when the drawing is finished to inform them that it is ready for approval.

Sterilization and Sanitation

Sterilization and sanitation are necessary for a tattoo artist to avoid spreading blood borne pathogens from client to client or to themselves and other shop employees. Scrubbing tubes, placing them in an ultrasonic and sterilizing them in an autoclave is a daily process for a tattoo artist. Sterilizing needles in the autoclave and purchasing other one time use products, such as razors and ink caps, contribute to a safe environment. Spraying down workstations, chairs and equipment with a germicidal spray is required before and after each tattoo.

A tattoo artist bandages a tattoo after performing the procedure and advises the client not to touch the tattoo to avoid the exuding bodily fluids transferring to any surface in the tattoo shop.

Aftercare Knowledge

Clients complete legal paperwork before receiving a tattoo. The tattoo artist looks over the paperwork to see if the client has any condition that causes issues when a tattoo is healing, such as diabetes, anemia, or an immune deficiency disease. For some diseases, such as hepatitis C or HIV, the shop may require a note from the client's physician stating that the client is well enough to receive and heal a tattoo. After performing a tattoo, the tattoo artist explains to the client orally how to take care of the tattoo, and gives the client written instructions to take home. If a client comes back to the shop with a tattoo that is not healing properly, the tattoo artist needs to be able to troubleshoot the healing and explain to the client the steps to take to get the tattoo to heal.

Promotion

Tattoo artists are independent contractors and need to advertise their work to form a client base. A strong, clean portfolio of the artist's work is present at the shop at all times. A printed version of the portfolio is available for a client walking into the shop and a digital version on the shop's website for people who are web surfing for a new tattoo artist. Drawing, printing and distributing professional business cards and stickers with an example of the tattoo artist's work allow a miniature version of a portfolio to reach other potential clients. Submitting work to tattoo magazines and participating in tattoo conventions also help advertise the tattoo artist.



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